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!
Thanks so much for your very helpful information .
My pleasure Sue 🙂
Great advice Rosie, thanks for going to the time and effort to give us all some really good information 🙂 Hopefully my efforts will get big enough to be able to use it effectively.
My pleasure Kendra. Here’s to a successful business 🙂
Thank you for sharing these tips, Rosie. Your organisational skills are very impressive.
Thanks Rhondda, I can’t take all the credit though because my hubby had a lot to do with getting me organised 🙂
Rosie, Thank you and your hubby for that tip. I love this system. You would be shocked to see my current state of disorganization, and this will be very helpful, both with keeping things organized in my workshop AND with finding the correct item should something sell.
It’s great to hear that you found this information helpful. I would love to see a ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photo of your workshop, it would be a great follow-up blog if you would be okay with sharing 🙂 Please do let me know how you go 🙂
Thank you for sharing very helpful information.
My pleasure Sue 🙂
This is excellent advice! Thanks to your hubby for helping you and thanks to you, Rosie, for posting this and explaining in such great detail!
My pleasure Susan 🙂
Rosie, Could you tell us who makes the blue and black drawer system you are using? It looks perfect to me.
Janine, I bought mine from a local $2 shop (similar to the Dollar Tree store in the US I think) many years ago and when I needed more I went back to them with a sample and asked them to source more for me as I was buying in bulk. They came as a set of 8 drawers but I just kept building them up as high as I needed them before putting the top on. I’m sorry I don’t remember what brand they are. If you Google ‘plastic storage drawers’ you may find something suitable in your local area and something with a variety of sizes may be helpful too. Good luck with your search and let me know how you go with reorganizing your stock. 🙂
Oh my goodness, this is amazing! I have shallow drawers like that (not sure if you have this brand in Australia, but it’s Sterilite here in the US) My problem with them is the drawers as I get to the bottom, no matter how lightweight the stuff is inside, they tend to stick when I want to open them. I only have like 8-9 high and I think 4-5 across. I sell mostly at craft fairs, and this sure does help organize the shoes I sell better (I buy my shoes and accessories wholesale and leave the sewing for the fun stuff like outfits!) I was simply curious as to how much you put in a drawer so you don’t have the weight overloaded since you have what looks like at least 20 or more tall. Thanks Rosie, you always have the best ideas, thanks to your hubby too! This makes me want to reorganize and get even more drawers, only my problem is that there’s no married kid in this family who has left the nest LOL. I can’t really trust putting these drawers on the floor of my basement so mine are currently on a table. 🙂
Hi Tari, we do have the Sterilite brand here in Australia but that is not the brand I use. I don’t know the brand but I can tell you each shelf of the smaller drawers I have is about 12″ (31 cm) wide, 4″ (10 cm) high and 16″ (40 cm) deep and they came in a stack of 8 but I just kept building them up until I got to the height that I wanted. They were ‘flat packed’ so to speak and I had to put them together. I did purchase them a long time ago and after buying the initial ones, I had to get my local store to source more for me and he was happy to do that as I purchased quite a few. I got them from a $2 shop which I believe is similar to your Dollar Tree stores. I can have more than 20 pairs in a drawer and don’t have a problem opening them as long as I don’t have too many jammed in. I do hope you find something suitable as it does make things much easier. 🙂
Ooo thanks for the dimensions, those are definitely quite a bit larger and deeper than mine. I’m sure I might be able to find something similar here. It would be so awesome if Dollar Tree would have something like that, but I won’t get my hopes up! 😉 I’ll have to snoop around at Walmart lol.
Can you tell me where you buy the shoes and accessories in bulk. I live in Canada but still have to buy most of my items from the States. I haven’t been able to find the things I need up here. Our fabric stores don’t carry the small items we need for doll clothes. Thanks so much.
Hi Patsy, I too have to buy my shoes and accessories from American wholesalers and have them shipped to Australia which can become quite expensive. My best suggestion is to Google Wholesale doll clothes and visit the various websites. You will have to apply for a wholesale account and some have minimum order quantities. All the best with your business adventure 🙂
Great idea. My challenge is we’re downsizing to an RV and although I’ll have a good sewing area. The amount of space and how to store fabric and ready made to go.
Ideas would be helpful!
Hmm, that is a challenge Sherrie. Let’s hope some other readers have experience here and can share their ideas 🙂