When I first started Rosie’s Dolls Clothes, my online website where I sell doll clothes, I had piles of clothes on a shelf in my cupboard and they were sorted in piles for each doll size. I was feeling rather proud of my ‘organised’ system until my darling hubby, Brad, walked in and said, ‘You’ll never survive if you store your doll clothes like that. When you have lots of stock and the orders come in you are going to get so confused.’ Wham! That brought me back to reality and I will admit, it hurt a little but then he explained that being a Logistics and Supply Chain Manager and working in warehouses and distribution centres, he knew a thing or two about organising stock. Thankfully, I put my pride to the side and listened to the expert as I wanted this business to grow and succeed. Because I know many of you sell your doll clothes online I thought I would share this valuable tip with you and hopefully it will make your life a little less stressful.
The first thing Brad got me to do was go out and purchase some storage bins. I needed something that would fit into my cupboard and allow easy access to the doll clothes. I quickly ruled out the plastic bins that stacked on top of each other because to get to the clothes stored in the bottom bin I would have to pull that bin out of the pile and remove the lid, then put it all back in place. The ideal solution would be drawers and thankfully plastic storage drawers were popping up everywhere but what size would I need? I started with a couple of different sizes as I didn’t know at the time which would work best.
Now that I had my storage sorted it was time to get organised and this was when Brad introduced me to ‘Bin Locations’. In a nutshell, this is just giving each drawer (or bin) a number so I bought some sticky labels to put on each bin and simply started with ‘1,2,3,4….’, you get the idea.
Then I had to decide which product or doll outfit would go into each bin location and thankfully I could have more than one product per bin location as at the time, I certainly didn’t have enough drawers to allocate each outfit their own drawer. One major point to remember here though, is don’t put items that are very similar together in the same bin location as this can cause problems that I’ll explain later. For example, don’t put two different pink dresses in the same bin, try to put very different things together like pink dresses and purple pyjamas.
With the storage sorted it was time to get this working for me at the point of sale. Brad explained that I now had to go to each of my products online and add the bin location number where I had stored the outfit because then when I received an order it would not only tell me what was ordered but also which drawer or bin location I would find that outfit.
What platform you are selling on will determine where you put his number. If you are selling on Etsy or Ebay you may have to include it in the title for example, Pink Party Dress (21) or 21 – Pink Party Dress. If you have your own website and are using one of the many platforms such as Shopify, there will be a specific place designed for this number such as a product code, SKU number or bin location.
Remember I recommended earlier not to put similar items together in the same bin location? The reason for this is because if you receive an order and it’s for a Pink Party Dress (21) and you have a Pink Party Dress and a Pink Play Dress in bin location 21, you may pick out the wrong dress and the customer will not be happy when they don’t receive what they ordered. Hubby has drummed this into me big time as he sometimes picks the orders and has trouble telling the difference between a pink ruffle pyjama and a pink heart top. Yes, I know, how can anyone get that confused! But all jokes aside, it does make it much easier and prevents mistakes if the items stored together are easily distinguished.
Thankfully, Brad got me using this system very early on because my doll clothes business has grown considerably since 2004 and I now have over 500 product lines, including shoes and accessories. Although I’ve had a couple of major reorganisations and taken over my son’s room since he got married, using this bin location system has been invaluable. In all honesty, I could not have survived without it!
Let me know if you give this a try or if there is another system that you use to keep your doll clothes stock organised when selling online.
If you’re looking for tips on ways to make your doll clothes quicker and easier, but still with a professional finish, then you will find all the tips and tricks I share in my How to Make Doll Clothes course helpful too!