This case study was co-written with Kim Kadiyala, Marketing Specialist at Zapier.
In the age of pings, swipes, and endless notifications, a handwritten card arriving in your mailbox is a welcome surprise. INK MEETS PAPER, a letterpress paper-goods company with a focus on the timelessness of handwritten correspondence, believes these surprises should brighten our mailboxes more often. In fact, their online storefront—bursting with colorful cards and delicate calligraphy—declares we should all text less and write more.
Although the duo behind INK MEETS PAPER built their livelihood on paper, they power up their business with digital tools like ShipStation, task management app Asana, and app automation platform, Zapier. Read on for a behind-the-scenes-peek at how this letterpress company keeps their business running smoothly while maintaining a handcrafted touch.
Prior to opening INK MEETS PAPER, co-founders Allison and Jamie Nadeau had typical 9-5 desk jobs as an editor and interaction designer, respectively. After taking a printmaking and letterpress class at a local art studio, Allison fell in love with the art and process of creating a printed piece and got the itch to continue creating on her own. The pair scoured every antique store and Craigslist post for a printing press, finally uncovering a 1,000+ pound 8×12 Chandler & Price beauty at a print shop in Jacksonville, FL. That lucky find paved the way for their first greeting card line launch in 2010. After a couple years side-hustling after work and weekends, Jamie and Allison took their passion full-time, and have since designed, printed, and shipped tens of thousands of cards from their studio in a neighborhood north of Charleston, SC.
Team INK Fun Fact: Their 100% cotton paper is tree-free and uses cotton that’s recycled from the garment industry.
Of course, designing and printing the cards is only half the battle. There’s also a storefront to manage, orders to collect, shipping details to confirm, labels to print, and tasks to assign so the work all gets done on time.
As a small but mighty team of three, the INK MEETS PAPER crew needed to find tools to help them streamline their work, while still staying true to one of their core values— that a great product experience encourages customers to write more.
“The care and attention to customer experience of our physical products extends to the digital experiences that customers’ encounter when learning more about our business or placing orders through our various sales channels,” says Jamie Nadeau.
The most useful tools in their arsenal? (Besides the printing press, of course).
ShipStation: For consolidating customer shipments across multiple channels.
Asana: For assigning tasks and deadlines.
Slack: For notifications and team communication.
SolveCRM: For customer records of shipments, support, and sales.
To weave together these apps that run the business, INK MEETS PAPER relies on Zapier, an app automation engine they jokingly refer to as their fourth employee.
“Zapier is the thread we use to stitch together the most important technologies that run our business,” says Jamie. “Zapier’s biggest role in our business is to help build a clearer customer timeline so that when a customer needs assistance we know how and when they have been interacting with us.”
Here are a few ways the INK MEETS PAPER team leverages automation technology to spread more love to mailboxes around the world.
Beyond their dedicated eCommerce shop, INK MEETS PAPER collects sales via multiple channels, including peer-to-peer online retailer, Etsy. They rely on ShipStation to create labels for their online and wholesale orders. “ShipStation is our hub for all shipping services we provide across our sales channels,” says Jamie. The team uses automation rules to apply shipping configurations so their orders are ready to process as they import.
eCommerce Order in ShipStation
Zapier’s ShipStation integration alerts the team whenever a new Etsy order is placed, with a Zap (automation between 2 apps) that posts the new order details to their #retail channel in Slack.
Zapier Creates an Order Notification in Slack
Piping new orders into their team chat keeps everyone in the loop and provides a boost of motivation to celebrate a new sale.
It’s no secret that happy customers make loyal customers. But with a steady stream of orders flowing in from different channels, it can be a challenge to keep everything straight. Without a clear overview of each customer relationship, sales outreach and customer support can start to feel the strain. When is the order being shipped? What was the last order they placed?
Branding plays a special role in their customer’s post-checkout experience with the help of ShipStation. The company logo and a special message “Made for you by INK MEETS PAPER” is included on each shipping label. When orders ship out, customers receive a branded email that links to a beautiful branded tracking page to see the progress of their order. The page also gives the customer an opportunity to follow the company on social media or quickly reach out to their customer service. “As a small business,” Jamie says, “every small touch-point we can have with a customer increases their awareness of our brand and who we are.”
ShipStation Branded Tracking Page
True to their goal of a seamless customer experience, INK MEETS PAPER set up Zaps to add automatically add customer details to SolveCRM, which helps to build a clear customer timeline. That way, when a customer needs assistance, any support or sales representative can hop in and answer any questions—from order details, tracking info, to when and how the order was fulfilled.
Vendors who want to carry INK MEETS PAPER goods in their own stores can apply to be a wholesale stockist. A form on their site, powered by Gravity Forms, captures details like the store description and contact info.
Then, a Zap creates a contact record in their CRM before posting the form responses in Asana as a new task for Jamie and Allison to review and approve. Automating this process helps the team on board new wholesalers faster and keeps potential resellers from slipping through the cracks.
The team could also make use of Boards in Asana, to visualize wholesaler applications as they move through each stage of the review process: to review, reviewing, and approved.
Creating Tasks in Asana
INK MEETS PAPER’s goal from the beginning was to keep the art of letter-writing alive. By linking the apps that run their business, they find it easy to deliver a seamless experience for their customers. Inspired to create your own automations? Discover Zapier + ShipStation’s most common Zaps, or get started with one of the workflows from this article.
Zapier Integration in ShipStation