Adventures in shipping cold-pressed juice!
Never did we expect, in our wildest imaginations, for our vocabulary to expand so greatly, once we put our cold pressed juice for sale on Amazon.
Let’s start by reminding you that Marie and I are two passionate, juice-loving, entrepreneurs that were ambitious about getting our juice beyond our four walls and into the hands of customers throughout the nation.
About a month into our E-Commerce journey HAZMAT… RADIOACTIVE… CRITTERS… were words that jumped into our daily vocabulary escorted in through conversations with the western area director of Homeland security, PostMasters of too many United States Postal agencies to count along with the area director of the United States Department of Transportation. Also included was a rapid course of reading through pages and pages of protocol and policies, and researching to the very fine understanding of shipping regulations by air and by ship and by ground to yes… find section 49CFR, 173.217, sub c, subpart 5, tittle 49 …
Not how you were thinking this story would start huh? You are not alone.
Through our research and development, we concluded the most cost effective way to ship cold pressed juice was to flash freeze it, and package it with carbon dioxide solid … DRY ICE. We knew this required special shipping labels and had multiple conversations to be sure that we were meeting all requirements.
Everyone, and I mean, everyone we spoke to - through a variety of shipping companies - assured us, we had met all necessary requirements of labeling packages with dry ice. Until one day, about a month into our E-commerce adventures, after we began noticing that our packages were stalling out in St. Paul, and the unthinkable happened… we had 58 boxes returned to us, a day after we had sent them off.
Turns out… you cannot ship packages with DRY ICE on the same planes as birds … and to that end, the pilots have the final say.
Little did we know that at this time of year, there are a multitude of regional hatcheries shipping birds through Minneapolis to all parts of the country.
Now when you think about it, the choice is not hard to make, ship the birds right? Hold the packages containing DRY ICE, because birds need food and so on… DRY ICE just … well… melts.
So unbeknownst to us, our packages were being delayed while birds were being shipped, and ultimately, a decision was made to return a days worth of our packages, 90 miles back to us, in Mankato, MN.
When the packages returned, they came with detailed instructions for us to fill out shippers declaration papers for each package going forward, in triplicate. This basically informs the carrier of what is in the package, COLD PRESSED JUICE, with DRY ICE.
Hopeful that we had all our ducks in a row …or birds on a different plane… and ready to ship our packages out with clarity for all who came in contact with the packages, we were once again dismayed to receive reports from our customers that they were receiving their packages with HAZMAT & RADIOACTIVE stickers on them, even a couple customers informing us their package arrived with “CRITTER’s” labeled on it. (Clearly, not at all what was communicated through the shipping declaration we had filled out!!)
We can certainly tell you, the struggle was indeed very real, as conversation after conversation informed us we were doing everything right, but the beast that is that of the shipping carriers and all the hands that touch the packages and the regulations in place make for what seemed to be impossible maneuvering. All the while Marie and I are saying to one another, we are not the first to do this… what in the world is making this so difficult?
Well, we are happy to tell you that we have climbed to the peak and it seems that we have navigated our way to level ground. We had countless claims filed, lost a number of customers along the way, but we believe more of our customers were forgiving and supportive in their understanding of things that are truly out of our hands, and we cannot say enough how thankful we are for the good faith that our customers have in us. We have learned a lot about shipping, more than two juice fanatics ever imagined they’d need to know, and are happy to report, we are shipping more juice than ever lately! (It is not without a hold up here or there every now and again, but far, far less are those delays!)
It all comes from a special place that we hold dear; our hope to get our juice in your hands, to create for you a healthy choice to make day after day, as you hold hope for the healthiest version of yourself.
Thank you for choosing WYSIWYG Juice Co., where WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET, and we are proud to provide you with some incredible nutrition in a great flavored bottle of juice.
Kristi & Marie