187716_blog-post-headerLauren Andersen, owner of TheChainMailleLadyTM shares her small business success story – How she got started, what challenges she overcame and how Stamps.com helped her along the way!

Stamps.com: Tell us about your business? How did you start?  logo
I retired due to an injury and was at home watching a jewelry program on television when I saw the chainmaille technique being demonstrated by a jewelry artist. I thought that her project was beautiful, so I taught myself how to create chainmaille jewelry. Once I got started, I created so many pieces that I ran out of friends and family to give them to! So my husband and I would sell my jewelry creations every week at our local farmers market. I eventually met the owner of Beadalon. At the time, Beadalon had just bought Artistic Wire and were looking for a designer to help them design a line of chainmaille products, and I became that designer. I have since written two booklets and one book and am in the process of writing my second book! I have also designed pliers that are used in chainmaille along with a travel kit, which are all produced and sold by Beadalon.

Stamps.com: What challenges did you face as a small business owner?  How did you overcome these? 
The logistics of running a small business can be extremely challenging and time consuming. I had to find a software package that could help me with the accounting and inventory functions of running my business. I also had to find a way to maximize the time I was spending on “office” or administrative type duties. My business is to design and create gorgeous jewelry, not spend it on the computer or at the Post Office!

photo_theChainmailleLadyStamps.com: How did you find out about Stamps.com?
While searching for an effective postage solution, I came across Stamps.com online.

Stamps.com: What did use prior to using online postage? 
I used a different online shipping service but I was unable to accurately weigh my packages. Moreover, the options for shipping costs outside the United States were very limited and did not include all of the options that you can get by going to the Post Office. This service also did not offer the ability to order shipping or labeling supplies.

Stamps.com: What made you choose Stamps.com? 
Just for the day-to-day operations of my small business, I need to be able to package and ship items of various sizes all over the world. To be able to do this proficiently and accurately, I looked into several packaging and shipping options. Since being a small business owner does not afford me the luxury of hiring either an outside company or extra staff to perform these tasks, I had to find a way to do it myself. Originally, I went to the Post Office daily and had to stand in line, which was costing me valuable designing time. I found I could use Stamps.com at home and save myself the daily trips to the Post Office. I could order my packaging supplies, mailing labels, and accurately weigh my packages and print shipping labels, all using one program thus saving me time and money!  

Stamps.com: Did you have any challenges with Stamps.com, when you first started to use the software? 
I actually found the software quite easy to use. Setting up the scale for the automatic weight options was a bit of a learning curve, but once I set it up, I never had to worry about the accuracy of the weight of my packages any more!


Stamps.com: What types of packages do you mail out with Stamps.com? 
All sorts of packages! The most common ones though are First Class, Priority Mail, and International packages.

Stamps.com: Besides printing postage, are there other Stamps.com features that have helped your business?
Yes, absolutely! I love that I can order packaging supplies, mailing labels, print postage and print customs forms, all from right within the software.

Stamps.com: What features of Stamps.com do you use the most and how have these helped streamline your shipping process? 
I use the Address Book feature quite frequently – Saving customers addresses so I can recall them as needed is a great help! Also, being able to see the status of my packages and when they were shipped, along with the Reports section to check trends of my shipping services are all extremely beneficial features. I also use the Stamps.com Store to order shipping materials and labels. 

Stamps.com: What’s next for TheChainMailleLady? 
I will continue to design and teach classes in chainmaille.  I am also in the process of writing my second book. Finally, I hope to make additional appearances on Jewelry Television’s Jewel School and Beads, Baubles & Jewels.

To learn more about TheChainMailleLady, visit TheChainMailleLady.


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