As entrepreneurs of all kinds know, a small business is often more than just a way to make money. For Steven and Shelle Wells, the husband and wife team behind My Bucket Journals, their business venture is at once a passion, a coping mechanism, and an exercise in humanity.
Just as Shelle suspected when she came up with the idea in 2017, customers have clamored for a tangible way to remember important moments in their lives, and their bucket list-journal-planner hybrids took off. Last year, the team sent out around 1,000 journals at the beginning of the summer, and by fall, they shipped out close to 8,000.
Naturally, massive growth within a short period of time can cause growing pains. Luckily, they didn’t have to go through it alone. Shelle and Steven used ShipStation’s Platform Optimization Consulting Package to better understand how the software could help their business thrive. Now, they ship out orders seamlessly while expanding their brand reach and solidifying their identity.
A helping hand at a moment’s notice
Steve and Shelle’s vision for My Bucket Journals came after two deaths in the family hit in one year. After this painful time, the couple wanted to help others live life to the fullest by planning and remembering special times in their lives like road trips, marriages, or vacations.
While the Wellses are in the business of creating roadmaps for others, they felt less prepared for mapping out their own success as business owners. They did, however, know that they wanted to take this endeavor seriously. That’s why Steve and Shelle signed up for ShipStation in the first place to manage their shipping needs, and it’s what led them to take the next step and pursue ShipStation’s Optimize Consulting Package to fine-tune their processes.
ShipStation’s consulting services allow users to dive deeper into their shipping processes and access expert help. With the Platform Optimization consulting package, a ShipStation expert reviewed My Bucket Journal’s account settings and configurations and provided detailed recommendations and hands-on assistance for optimizations, based on their specific needs.
“I had a person I could call and talk to, and she helped me with things that I didn’t know I even needed. When I needed to reformat the packing list, they did that for us. We were so busy, I didn’t have time for anything else.”
Having a real human just a phone call away was important to Steven as he navigated the ins and outs of the software.
“I could explain the problem and they could tell me not only that there is a solution, but then they could walk me through the steps to create the solution in ShipStation,” Steven says. “It helps me work faster and more efficiently.”
ShipStation features that make a real difference
Steven and Shelle wanted to know how they could make ShipStation work better for the unique needs of their business. With the help of their Service Agents, they were able to tap into ShipStation’s immense capabilities, discover features they never even knew existed, and create a more seamless workflow.
Label and Document Customization
“One of the biggest helps for us was putting the order number on the shipping label. Who knew?” Steven says. “Now, we automate so many things. And the knowledge I’ve gained about how we package our products is all on the labels, [which will] help when we bring in [new team members]. Because we know we’re going to bring in help this year. But now, I won’t need to tell them how to do it over and over and over. They’ll actually have a reference.”
Address Validation and Tagging
“Being able to look at things quickly and easily is one of the greatest things about ShipStation,” Steven says. “We use the address corrector feature, and they helped me put a tag together so I could see those quickly and easily. Since we tagged it, then we have a filter, so I can just bring up that without having to scroll through pages looking for the address corrections. I’d waste time doing that, but now, all I do is look at it and then let it sort.”
“The ‘group by’ feature is my best friend right now. I group everything by SKU, quantity, and shipping requested. Then, I print out labels so that when I give out the orders to be packaged, I know I’ve grouped everything that’s the same in one batch. Being able to group it and to see it quickly and easily, is huge. I did not know that ShipStation could do that.”
Referring to ShipStation’s ability to connect label printers and scales from anywhere, Steven says, “I had no idea what ShipStation Connect was when I started using ShipStation. The amount of time I spent clicking to print the pick list, go through the little steps to do that, and then go through the steps to print all the packing lists, and then the labels! ShipStation Connect just speeds up the time because it does its thing, and you can be doing something else while it’s printing instead of waiting for it. That’s a little thing that has helped a lot.”
Making the most of a challenging time
By making use of all of these features and more, My Bucket Journals has been able to recoup the losses they suffered last year during the supply-chain issues that came with Covid.
“I was chasing inventory that would get stuck,” says Steven. “Sometimes it got stuck in Dallas. Sometimes it was at a dock in Austin because they didn’t have trucks available. I’d have to drive down and pick it up. I’d rent a trailer, go unload pallets, and put the inventory in our house or a rented warehouse until we packaged and shipped to the customer. It was crazy.”
That’s when Steven and Shelle decided enough was enough. They sought out ShipStation’s professional services and learned to make the most of the program to keep track of inventory, regardless of the global shipping challenges.
“Using ShipStation is helping us earn back what we need after that time. It is saving us money that we were using to rent a building, buy pallet racks, buy a pallet stacker, pay for the shipping of products back. That’s where the savings is,” Steven says.
Now that My Bucket Journals is seeing more business than ever, the team is fully prepared to embrace what the next year will bring, as long as they have ShipStation by their sides.