Stationery Business: Inventory Resources & Tips

Stationery Business: Inventory Resources & Tips | Sycamore

How are you tracking your product? What is your best selling card? Do you have 60 of this item for a wholesale order? All of that information should be readily available. Set up a notification in your inventory system, if possible, when your inventory diminishes to a set quantity. I.E. Card “X” has 100 left in stock, time to reorder/print. Finding the right system for inventory is difficult, though, as I’ll explain…

SOME RESOURCES FOR YOU

I have to be honest, we are still using our own spreadsheets for our inventory. We haven’t found the right software that accommodates all of our needs (and that’s also in our budget). We need to be able to adjust on multiple platforms as well as manually from POs (purchase orders) coming from reps and major retailers.

One of our goals this year is to simplify and reduce the number of programs/apps that we use. While I like many features of these, there was so much overlap with other programs we already use that I felt the one or two unique features weren’t worth the cost.

Stitch Labs – Stitchlabs allows you to sync up most major e-commerce platforms. You can also manually enter Purchase Orders as they come in through email (non e-commerce orders).

Shopify Apps –  If you’re using Shopify, check out all of these add on apps you can integrate into your shop.

Big commerce Apps – If you’re using Bigcommerce, check out their app store/add-ons to see what they have for inventory management.

Etsy Inventory Apps – If you’re using Etsy, check out their app store/add-ons to see what they have for inventory management.

Fishbowl Inventory – Much more sophisticated. Quickbooks integration. Allows for very specific inventory management / auto reorders. Raw material inventory. $$$ — software starts at $4395. Might have a steeper learning curve, or require professional training.

Quickbooks: Manufacturing & Wholesale – A special version of Quickbooks made for manufacturers that allows you to track all your inventory and materials.

PLATFORM BASED INVENTORY

Most e-commerce platforms have a way to handle inventory with items listed on that specific site. The problem is, when you have multiple e-commerce platforms (Etsy, Shopify, etc…) as well as wholesale purchase orders coming in through email, phone calls, etc…, there’s not a good program that consolidates all of that in a user friendly way at a user friendly price. (There is a mint of $$ waiting for whoever designs a program to handle all of this.)

Stationery Business: Inventory Resources & Tips | Sycamore

How should you physically store your inventory?

EFFICIENCY

You don’t want all of your inventory on the other side of the office from where your shipping table is. When we first started SSP in our townhouse, we did shipping upstairs but all of our inventory was stored in the basement. Not very efficient but it was the best we could do at the time.

KEEP IT PROTECTED

If you don’t have it all pre-packaged in cello bags, consider finding a sealed container to keep your cards free from dust / water etc..

OFF THE GROUND

In that same basement we had some serious flooding. We were glad that our inventory was on shelving off the ground.

We like these corrugated bins for our inventory.

GET MAXIMUM USE OF YOUR SHELVES

We bought extra shelves for our standard industrial shelving units that allow us to adjust the height of the shelves so there is no wasted space. Each shelf is just tall enough for just one of our corrugated storage bins.

Organize by SKU, which makes it easy to pull orders.

For more in depth information, you can find our Stationery Biz 200: Wholesale class here.

You might also like: 10 Steps to Working Smarter (not Harder) at Your Small Creative BusinessTop 5 Tools for Small Business Organization, and Tips For Finding Stationery Suppliers & Manufacturers.

Due to popular demand, we’re working on a brand new class called Shop Biz 100: Online, Pop-Ups + Bricks and Mortar. To stay in the loop, sign up for our Creative Business newsletter here.

Photos by Jessica Peterson for Sycamore Street Press.

7 Comments

Leave a Comment to Viv Jordan

  1. Holly says:

    Hi Eva, I have been reading through all of your blog posts and they are so helpful as I begin my online shop rebrand. Thank you for being such a wealth of knowledge! I had a question about your atly courses: I may branch into stationery in the future, but I’m starting with a collection of art prints along with some of my custom work that I create for clients. Do you think your wholesale class would benefit someone not doing other paper goods? Or should I wait to take it in the future if I decide to get into stationery? Thank you in advance! Warmly, Holly

    • Eva says:

      Hi Holly! Thanks so much for your comment and for reading. I would say the Stationery Business 100: Start Strong would definitely be a good class for you to take. As for Stationery Business 200:Wholesale, I would say take it if you are planning on selling your art prints wholesale. Otherwise, I would hold off until you are wanting to start selling something wholesale. But the 100 class would be great either way. Thanks again!

  2. Kara Meloy says:

    This is so helpful! Sometimes as a business owner you wonder if your system is really as efficient as you think it is. I have just realized how I can make my systems a little better after this post. I love the courigated bin idea, thanks so much for the link! xoKara

  3. Cat says:

    This is great! Thank you!

  4. Viv Jordan says:

    I am a big fan of your work and have followed your social media accounts (stalk much?) for quite some time. I’ve been designing for a few years now and just stepped into the greeting card and prints realm over a year and half ago and I think I’m reading to make the transition to wholesale! So…I’m purchasing your class and hoping we’ll be friends one day. Asking too much? I went to NSS last May (2015) and was disappointed I didn’t get a chance to meet you! Thanks for always sharing your wisdom kindly and generously!

    • Eva says:

      Hi Viv,
      Thanks so much for reaching out! And congrats on transitioning into wholesale — I think the class should be a big help. It’s too bad we didn’t get to meet at the NSS last year — I hope we get to meet sometime in the future! xo

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