So we ship to the US again. Samples and full sized products. Starting today...In order to be able to do so, I had to get a deal done with FEDEX. Shipping hazardous goods by air freight seems best to go through fedex, pricey, and not to be used for single bottle shipments, but very reliable, and I was amazed about how fast shipment with fedex actually was. They were so fast, that I was not ready when they wanted to pick the first shipment.
My products were already in the air, when I had to fill out more forms, for fedex, and for US customs. These days, everybody and every institution seems to be very curious and wants to know a lot. But compared to the European Union, exporting and importing from the US is much simpler. The European Union has managed to become one of the most regulated cosmetics market. And as the UNION is built of different countries, you have different customs procedures depending on where you export your products to. Some countries, like Italy, have a system in place that makes it virtually impossible to serve individual clients. Other countries are under less control of bureaucrats and more liberal. Anyhow, establishing a comparable system like I have it in the US now is much more complicated in Europe and less an option for me. Thus, Europe has to wait and for the next months, I will continue serving my European clients through my retail partners.
It saddens me a bit, but there is not much I can do right now. The future will tell us where we will end up in Europe.
Shipment goes to a warehouse in the west of the US. This warehouse belongs to shipwire. Shipwire is specialized in "order fulfillment" : this is everything that needs to happen after you placed an order through a website, and they did a thorough analysis of my products and came up with an offer, allowing me to ship through their services, provided I pack the goods in a particular way. Thus, we pack things "lick & stick" these days, which translates into: my perfume glass bottle in metal tin box, protected by an inlay, goes into a cardboard box and then it goes into a cardboard shipping envelope and gets three labels: A bar code for shipwire, a limited quantity label and a UN code label. Packaging efforts have doubled for me (and so have packaging costs), but the new packaging that is on the horizon will help a lot there, as it is optimized for shipment. NOONTIDE petals is going to be the first scent that comes in the new packaging. Having done a few tests, I am quite happy with shipwire so far. And I shall be able to ship other products through them in the future, too. Hurray! Of course, shipwire comes with a price tag, directly and indirectly, and I will have to see how this will all work out.
Indirectly means: I had to get an US company established, with a mail forwarding service, and a couple of other things.
Thus, today's picture: Yesterday's sky seen over Zurich, looking west, where my fragrant products sit on a shelf, somewhere in California.