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International Shipping: “Today’s added location”

jdowney9000's Avatar

My first question, when looking into international shipping, was; “Where do I start?”

I decided to solve this problem by starting with the end, and working my way back. So I started with my Kickstarter page.

Kickstarter provides two options for reward shipping. The first option reads: “Ships anywhere in the United States”; on the reward page. The second option reads “Ships anywhere in the world.”; on the reward page.

I decided to offer my product worldwide. So I began searching for international shipping costs.

Originally I searched the internet for phrases such as; “international flat rate shipping”. But, unfortunately, I found very little useful information.

I wanted an answer, but instead was asked many questions. Most of which the answers to would likely change.

I came across terms like “customs” and “foreign regulations”.

The whole time I’m wondering if one little check box could make the difference between $2 and $20.

How much time can I spend sifting through information that will possibly change, significantly?

In an effort to move forward, I decided to offer option one instead; “Ships to anywhere in the United States”.

Less than 12 hours into my campaign I received my first $1 donation; abruptly followed by a comment from the same $1 donor, reading; “No international shipping?? :-(“.

That’s a sad face, by the way.

“Uh-oh!” I exclaimed. I gotta solve this problem fast!

With haste, I dawned my thinking cap, and began sifting through possible solutions.

My first thought was that I could literally spend the time searching for, and calculating each country, one at a time. That would get the job done. But I still needed to generate more content, make my media kit, find a manufacturer, reply to comments, not to mention; go to work and make ends meet.

I had to act quick, and think creatively.

So, I reminded myself of what modern customers want; “Options, entertaining information, and engagement.”

That is when I came up with the idea to create a “daily installment”.

I stated my offer: “...I will update with one new more specific shipping destination price each day. However, if anyone has a location they would like me to add, simply comment below or send me an email at my email address: jdowney9000@gmail.com. “

I titled my daily installment; “Today’s added location”.

Since then my initial commenter has replied with a smiley face and a like.

And I give the same right back; for it is because of them that I was inspired to initiate “Today’s added location”, and am able to offer Stripop technology to almost every location in the world.

And if I could mention one more thing; I received the best result when calling my local post office, than I acquired from any website or 1-800 number. Not to mention, the international shipping charges are about one tenth of the cost.

www.jacobleedowney.com

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Nosy Be, Madagascar

Robert Pontius
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Interesting "international shipping" journey you had there Jacob - thanks for sharing that and other details of your KickStarter experience. Over the years I have considered doing a KickStarter/Indiegogo many times, but never felt quite ready.

I have to admit, you're a better man than I - I would have just gone with "Ships to anywhere in the U.S.". Not because I don't want to include international backers but because I hate administrative hassle. To paraphrase Dr. McCoy from Star Trek: "[darn] it Jim, I'm an inventor not a shipping clerk".

Jacob Downey
williamj
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jdowney9000's Avatar

Thanks Robert. I didn't want to loose my first sale. I also didn't want to start out my campaign with problems, but rather solutions.

As an added bonus I have a tidbit of content to add to my facebook and twitter and kickstarter comments sections. Not to mention a daily bump to this thread. Which reminds me...

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Singapore, Singapore

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: La foa, New Caledonia

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Gozo Island, Malta

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Today's added location: Manzini, Swaziland

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Jacob - did you ever get your Twitter account fired up? I like seeing the updates here but those posts would also be perfect for Twitter (short, fresh info each day).

Looks like you are making steady progress on your funding!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jacobdowne...

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jdowney9000's Avatar

Yeah, where are my update providing manners?

I have been posting "Today's added location" here at EN, on facebook, on my kickstarter comments page, and on my twitter account.

I took the time to read the pr submission form for a couple of websites. I sent an email to Popular Mechanics. I took about 40 minutes.

Then I crafted a tweet. After which I proceeded to promulgate via "tweet @".

I tweeted at publications and famous people. I brazenly tweeted at whoever twitter suggested I follow. Check out the list: #bandageopener.

I called a local radio show today, but didn't get to speak. I mentioned to the screener that I am a local inventor and have a do-dad that helps disabled people open their bandages. He said; "That's great!", and sounded excited. Then he asked me to email some materials. Turns out today's not open phones Friday.

He asked me if I have a media kit? I proudly replied; "Yes!"

I sent out the email, but they will be on vacation until four day's after this campaign. Totally sucked too, because they were interviewing the guy who runs the expo center holiday sale, then interviewed Happy Joe, a local business creator.

For those who don't know Happy Joe is credited with inventing Taco pizza.

A local inventor would have fit right along side those guests.

Robert Pontius
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Ok, so, this is weird:

U.S. restores trade benefits to Gambia, Swaziland today.

Guess what this morning's "Today's added location" was...

...eerie

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Oranjestad, Aruba

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Djibouti City, Djibouti

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Baku, Azerbaijan

#bandageopener

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Surabaya, East Java

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Glasgow, Scotland

Charlie Lumsden
Robert Pontius
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crystaldiane's Avatar

Jacob, Smart Marketing.  I am wondering what Platform you are using to start your project? Kickstarter?  I see you said 'sales' not funding. I am curious as to if you are using this as a sales distribution channel as opposed to getting sponsorship like most start up social media campaigns?Curious here....

Jacob Downey
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jdowney9000's Avatar

Crystal, Thank you!

I just typed you a big ol 10 minute message and it disappeared. Hrumph.

#perserverance. (let's try this again).

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jdowney9000's Avatar

Crystal,

What do you mean by "Platform"?

What do you mean by "start"?

Sales, yup. I can make small batches in my shop.

I would like to fund manufacturers tooling; or a facility of my own. Used injection molders can be had for $5000 + mounting + power up + plastic beads + maintenance.

But I want to fund that with sales. Kickstarter provides me a way of gathering preorders. And pre-feedback.

I welcome sponsorship. I need to spread the word.

I picked the coldest time to spread the word, because this butter is frozen. My summer was to busy, and my patent took longer than expected.

I have yet to hear final word from some 15 manufacturers. Mind that these places advertise; "Free quotes". I'm not calling for a licensing deal.

I'm having a lot of trouble being taken seriously. I have been asked how serious I am multiple times. I'm getting used to it.

One very helpful gentleman, to whom I am very thankful, even stuck a test in with his emails.

Among answering other questions he asked; "are you looking for a manufacting partner/investor?"

With the other questions I answered, I replied; "A manufacturing partner/investor is something I might be interested in. What did you have in mind?"

He sent back; "We don't invest in products. I was just wondering if you were a good fit."

Why did he bring it up? To see if I am a good fit. What does he mean by "fit". I asked for a quote, not an investor. Very confusing.

He answered a lot of my other questions, and offered to provide a final quote. I'll let you know when I receive one. (From anyone).

All part of a One-Man-Band operation.

Thanks for the curiosity. You added life to my topic. =]

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Any more questions?

Here are my links:

Kickstarter

My website

(check out my shirts for a little chuckle)


Twitter:

Facebook:

Friend, follow, or request a follow. =]

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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hey Jacob thank you  I will look at the links  probably tomorrow it's late here . I had looked at crowdfunding for my own product  but concluded that crowdfunding is mostly for  young people  products  us old people don't do crowdfunding so if the product doesn't resonate with the under 30 set it probably won't fly  on that sort of platform  in my case it didn't make sense . I  understand the problem with Manufacturing  no one will take you seriously without real orders after all they stay in business selling you their services  and this free quote and partner thing I'm not buying that either . I think  for myself my goal is to continue to prove concept I have some real numbers now and I'm going to start reaching out to people that I think are potential partners  but ideally I'm looking for a licensing deal  thank you for sharing your experience it's been  helpful  Best of You

Jacob Downey
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finally glasgow, It's about bloody time laddie. All the best in the New Year 

Robert Pontius
Jacob Downey
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jdowney9000's Avatar

Crowd funding is like a vending machine for preorders. Not a lot of people drive by kickstarter street to shop. I still need to advertise.

I've also found that most folks don't know what crowdfunding is.

" 's 'at like one o' 'em bitcoin things?"

I've received a few "offline" orders from folks who don't exactly don't use the internet.

Keep moving forward Crystal. I believe in you.

"Keep your friends close, and your calculator closer."

Crystal-Diane Nappi
Robert Pontius
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Charlie, I love you too buddy; Happy New Year!

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Crystal: "crowdfunding is mostly for young people products us old people don't do crowdfunding".

TOTALLY untrue - I'm old and I love Kickstarter and Kickstarter products. I know people my age and older who have launched Kickstarter projects and I know LOTS of older people with time and money who spend their days browsing Kickstarter for projects to back.

Once concepts are proven and a "sales" record established many of these projects turn into viable companies or get licensing deals (and many have gotten Shark Tank deals). Crowdfunding can serve as, well, a "kickstart" to get a product/business started down a path of success.

Jacob Downey
Mark Bartlett
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Today's added location: Zagreb, Croatia

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Hamilton, New Zealand

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Amsterdam, Holland

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Tokyo, Japan

Robert Pontius
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Today's added location: Stockholm, Sweden

Robert Pontius
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Congrats Jacob - you appear to be tapping into a "pain point" people share world-wide.

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jdowney9000's Avatar

Robert, thank you.

I've had some interesting coincidences as well.

-Swaziland the morning before we reestablish trade benefits.

-New Zealand the morning the news about the booze island broke. (I've two orders going to our friends in Australia).

I've been getting more interest post holidays.

Plus I've been figuring out this twitter thing. #todaysaddedlocation makes for a great daily content installment.

I've learned a lot in live time during the last 45 days. I've received a little over one order per seventy views.

I started without a twitter, facebook, or youtube account.

I'll have an update later today.

In the words of Billy Mays; "I'm not done!"

Robert Pontius
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You're getting quite an education in social media, international relations, business!

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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hi Robert...I was told by some folks close to all of us with expertise to not use a crowd funding platform for my product...they felt the demographic was skewed toward younger early adopters...is love to create and effective crowd funding campaign...but got nixed. Feel free to contact me privately if you are curious....is rather not post on a public forum about this experience...but it really took the wind out of my sails.....

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Hi Robert...I was told by some folks close to all of us with expertise to not use a crowd funding platform for my product...they felt the demographic was skewed toward younger early adopters...is love to create and effective crowd funding campaign...but got nixed. Feel free to contact me privately if you are curious....is rather not post on a public forum about this experience...but it really took the wind out of my sails.....

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Crystal-Diane - have you considered Indiegogo or was the advice to avoid crowdfunding altogether?

I'll message you privately but must say I respectfully disagree about the demographics of crowdfunding or at least with the idea that a project geared towards older folks can't succeed.

In 2011 I backed a KickStarter project for a "Tool Watch". While I don't have statistical evidence, anecdotally I can tell you that many of the backers for this project were 50+ years of age:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/toolwatch/...

Jacob Downey
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Congrats Jacob! I just got this email:

Jacob Downey
Michelle Sartori
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Hi Jacob I finally took a peek at your website  oh my gosh what an amazing idea . Seriously I think I want to order one  I am constantly struggling with bandages .  I think you really have a great item  and I really hope that the visibility you're getting leads to some type of deal for you whatever you want that to be . Your product has a clear and obvious benefit and in my mind has many licensing opportunities I find it hard to believe if you submitted this to Edison nation that they didn't jump all over it it seems to me that they do searches in these categories all the time anyway let me know how I can buy one of your widgets it's very cool congratulations on all your hard work. One of these days I'd like to start a post a bit about my own Journey with my own product it might help other people best CD

Robert Pontius
Jacob Downey
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Hi Robert I actually haven't considered any of the other crowdfunding platforms yet honestly I've been too busy just getting the infrastructure and place but now I would be ready to do that . I actually have some products and some inventory and could do fulfillment  I kind of need a crash course lesson on all of this stuff . Much like Jacob it's been a hundred percent learning curve for me  I've had to learn everything along the way to get this far ....

Robert Pontius
Jacob Downey
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Hey! Thanks for the post Robert!

And thank you again Robert, for making one on your 3D printer. That verifies that someone can both make, and use one, without me present. You've been a great help Robert. Have you received your survey yet?

On a humorous note:

Hours after my campaign ended I received some of the manufacturers quotes I have been waiting on.

It's great to finally have some numbers. I'm going to use these to plan a re-launch after I receive feedback from my first orders.

Robert Pontius
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Thank you very much Crystal-Diane!

I'm planning to move the product over to amazon for the duration of fulfillment. I have some work to do fulfilling orders now.

Also, I have already been receiving my backer surveys. Some have such great compliments.

Compliments are like wind in my sails.

And so here is one for you; "Your articulation of your position indicates you have only a matter of time." Keep steadfast Crystal; I believe in you.

Crystal-Diane Nappi
Robert Pontius
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Jacob Downey
Robert Pontius
williamj
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Jacob - it was a lot of fun for me to make those 3D prints! That more than anything convinced me of the genius of your design.

Thanks for mentioning the survey email - it came in yesterday and I had missed it. I will include some panegyric compliments to make sure you have plenty of wind in your sails, especially as you make the big push for fulfillment!

Jacob Downey
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