Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Warehouse Must-Haves

March 14, 2022 Julie Ball
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Warehouse Must-Haves
Show Notes Transcript

#117 - As you grow your subscription box business, there will be unique challenges that your business will bring and one of them can be your warehouse management. In this week's episode of Subscription Box Basics, Julie will share to you her Warehouse Must-Haves as these are the things that made her life easier and organize. So grab your pen and paper now and list down all these helpful things.


  • Thermo Printer (1:56)
  • Digital Scale (3:51)
  • Handheld Tape Dispenser (5:02)
  • Storage Shelves (6:05)
  • Storage Bins (7:11)
  • Dolly (10:00)


*The links above may be affiliate or referral links in which I may get a small commission, but I only recommend things that I really love.

Julie (00:01):

So you wanna launch a subscription box and don't know where to start. Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach, and your host here at subscription box basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some,

Julie (00:23):

Hey everybody. And welcome back to subscription box basics. I am your subscription box coach Julie Ball, and today's episode is inspired by a conversation that we were having in the private Facebook community for subscription box boot campers. So last week I was in the warehouse. And so if you haven't heard that story, I recommend that you go back to the episode that I recorded about moving our warehouse. So our warehouse is in our former Airbnb. It was a garage apartment upstairs. We converted to my office and the downstairs is a little bigger than a two car garage. We converted to our warehouse. So the whole story is on that episode, but anyhow, I was in the warehouse and I gave my boot campers kind of like this quick private tour around our setup, gave them some tips on how to make your packout process. Like very efficient showed them some of the tools we used.

Julie (01:18):

And so it inspired me to do today's episode. It'll be a really quick episode, and you're gonna wanna check out the show notes, cuz I'm gonna have links to all of these items, but I'm gonna tell you about some of my warehouse must haves. Now these I'm calling them must haves because they make my life easier. They provide a specific resource for a problem that we have in the warehouse or something that we just need to do, but it makes it streamlined. And so you can absolutely run your warehouse without some of these things. Yes, but these are the things that if someone's like, what do you recommend for your warehouse? These are the things that I'm gonna tell you about. So the first thing I wanna tell you about is a printer. So when I first launched sparkle household grow, I had a basic black and white brother printer and I would use those Avery labels.

Julie (02:06):

They were like the internet shipping labels. They were two to a sheet and I would run them through the printer there. It was fine. I was only printing, you know, 40 to 50, maybe 60 labels per month in those first couple months. And that worked, it didn't take a long time, but imagine running, you know, 500, a thousand or more on that type of printer. And it just blows my mind of how long that would take. So what we recommend and what we use are thermal label printers. And I started out by using the Dimo four XL because that was the one that's in my budget. Now highly recommend the Rolo at this point, cuz it's faster. 100% it's faster. I still have JMO four XL in my office. And then I keep the Rolo in the warehouse because I run labels in different places at different times.

Julie (02:52):

But anyhow, they're both right around the same price point at, at this time as I'm recording this, they're right around that $200 price point, you can get them on Amazon or U line. And what it is is a thermal printer. And what that does is when it sends the data to the printer, it uses heat to make it look like ink. And it's like a heat activated ink. I don't know how to explain it really like from a scientific perspective, but I do know that you do not have to do inquiry fills, which is awesome. All you have to do is feed the labels in there and then you connect it to your computer. I like the Rolo printer over the Dimo four XL at this point because it is faster and because it has foldable labels, whereas the Dimo is on a roll. And so while that works, it's just a little, little messier.

Julie (03:39):

When you take that roll to pack, it's easier when you have a stack instead of a roll. So again, check the show notes and I will put links to it on Amazon. The next thing I highly recommend is a digital scale. And that's just, you know, think of those little scales that, um, you could put in your kitchen to weigh much of a certain ingredient you're putting in there. I know, um, a lot of people use those if they are on a very specific, um, eating plan, think of that, but like a little bit larger. So a digital scale, um, the one that we use as 110 pound capacity, but it's still smaller than a piece of paper. Like it is a very small digital scale. The one I bought off of am on was about $25. And what I really love about this one is it's small and portable.

Julie (04:25):

So I can like carry it around to different areas of the warehouse. But the display that actually shows how many pounds and ounces it is on a little cord so that if you have a large box, you could still see the display. Other wise, if the display is right on the actual scale, you might not be able to see it. So I highly recommend that you get a digital scale that has that little cord that makes the display viewable outside of, you know, the, a large box. For example, the next thing that we use all the time is a handheld tape dispenser. So when you are packing and shipping box, you have to have a way to seal the boxes. So they don't pop O open. That's pretty obvious. So we use basic packing tape or it might be called shipping tape depending on, um, where you're buying it.

Julie (05:17):

We actually have ours on subscribe and save with Amazon. It saves us a little extra money. We just kind of, um, take a look at and track how much we're using on any given time. And then we can subscribe to that. It comes in a six pack, the ones that we get and then the handheld tape dispenser just makes it easier to actually tape up. Especially if you're sending large boxes. It's really, really helpful. I find that the handheld tape dispense is easier to use. And I'm talking about the one with like the big handle, not just the one that you see at the post office counter. Um, you might be able to use that if you're not packing a ton, but once you are packing more volume, you're gonna probably want one of those ones with the hand held, it's like a handle. So the next thing that I recommend is in reference to like storage in your warehouse and where you're gonna keep excess inventory.

Julie (06:09):

And when it, when your inventory for next month comes in, like how are you going to organize all that? We have metal shelves that we got at target they're five tier and they, they can also be called catering shelves. Um, but the one that we bought I'll again, I'll link it in the show notes was about $80 and we could just have them lined up against the wall. And that's where we put product as it is after it's used in that month's box. And we, um, all we pack extra boxes too, if we have the capacity to. And so we'll put those pre-packed boxes with labels, we just use post-it notes to label the different things. So highly recommend metal shelves. Now, if you are going to be organizing lots of products, there's a couple different ways that you can organize the I've seen people use like storage unit, uh, like storage drawers.

Julie (07:02):

I've seen people use baskets or, you know, bins, that type of thing. We love these, this one set of plastic stackable storage bins that I found on Amazon. The, the ones that we got are specifically made for the, but they work really well for sparkle hustle grow, cuz we have lots of small items. So obviously we don't put our books on there. We just stack the books right on our shelves. But when it comes to the little products we use these stackable storage bins. Again, they're made essentially for the pantry, we have found on Amazon that we can get a four pack for $36. And what I like about them is they stack really well. So if I'm going to an event, I can literally just grab those stack 'em in the back of our minivan and take them with us and then use those as the display as well.

Julie (07:54):

We use those to display products and it looks really nice. So I love that they have that dual purpose. If you don't want to buy something like that, you can make it super, super simple by using like going to the dollar store and getting dishwasher bin like dishwashing bins, you know, like the little plastic bin that you put in one side of the sink and then you fill it with soapy water and you wash your dishes. Those make actually really great bins for, in a warehouse. And then you can label those as well with post-its or with tape or anything like that. Lastly, if you don't wanna spend a dime on bins or any sort of storage, what we've done in the past and has actually worked out pretty well too, is the boxes that your items come packed in. You can cut off the top flaps.

Julie (08:43):

And so it's just an open box and you can then use a Sharpie to label each box and then put 'em on your shelf. You can even go as far as at the front of the box, cut it in almost like a V-shaped format so that you can see the product and you can easily grab it instead of grabbing it from above. So there's tons of really great options for you when it comes to storage and finding a way to make it simple. Like if you just take the time to organize and label your products, especially excess inventory, it'll be so much faster for when you are selling those one, those as one time orders in your shop, you can just go grab what you need, you know exactly where it's at. And um, one more tip is if you have multiple shelves or, you know, multiple categories store things together.

Julie (09:33):

So for example, we've got multiple shelves across the one wall of our warehouse and one shelf is all office supplies. One shelf is all tech gadgets. One shelf is all books. So it's really easy and organized so that when I make a one time sale, I know exactly which shelf to go to, to find that product. The last item that I wanted to share that it's been so super helpful for me is a Dolly. And there's all kinds of different sizes of Dolly. Essentially. I'm talking about those little rolling carts. They typically have like two wheels and they're tall. I mean the one we have probably comes up to almost to my chin and I can stack lots and lots of boxes and move them in ways like move them from where they got dropped off. They usually get dropped off under my carport and then I have to move them into the warehouse.

Julie (10:25):

A lot of times my husband does that, but if they're out there and I wanna move them, I can use the Dolly to move boxes that I otherwise probably wouldn't be able to physically pick up. I've got lower back problems just in general back problems and fibromyalgia. And so I have to be really cautious about the type of weight that I pick up and the pressure that I'm putting on my back specifically. So those dollies help out so much. They do make dollies that have four wheels that are more like a cart. Um, the ones I'm talking about are more of like the upright ones. So they have travel versions. There's, there's so many options. So I highly recommend something like that. Again, I'll link all of our favorites in the show notes, but just as a quick recap, some of my warehouse must haves for your home warehouse are a thermal printer, a digital scale, a handheld tape dispenser.

Julie (11:21):

And don't forget to put your tape on subscribe and save metal shelves for storing all of your inventory as well as those stackable storage bins so that the individual items are nice and organized on your shelves. And then lastly, a Dolly to help you move all those packages. I hope hearing about some of these tools helps you out in the warehouse, helps streamline some things. And some of these things maybe you never heard of, and you're like, that's exactly what I've been looking for. So hopefully you can find those at a really good price, check the show notes and go equip your warehouse so that you can run your business more smoothly and efficiently. Thank you so much for listening as always. I really appreciate it. If you love this episode, be sure to share it with a friend, right. And review it. That always helps the algorithm in getting it into more hands of people, just like you who have an amazing subscription box business idea and just need a little motivation and some training to start. Thanks for listening as always. And I'll see you in the next episode.