I’m so tired I can barely find the mojo to type this post! Please forgive me, but I am about to fall over. And my day isn’t near done yet!
Earlier this week, I promised you an update about Glo Bakery US shipping, so without further ado…
When Caitlin emailed me asking me to donate Glo Bars to her charity bake sale she was hosting at the Healthy Living Summit, I knew I had to be a part of it. As you know, I am a huge supporter of cancer charities! All profits of the bake sale will go toward the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in honour of her friend who was recently diagnosed.
So while I am unable to go to the Healthy Living Summit, I knew my Glo Bars could! And raise some awesome money for research.
I am donating 10 each of my favourite Glo Bars:
- Heaven (Carob Brownie Bomb)
- Revive (Chocolate peanut butter)
And a new bar that I made today and instantly fell in love with:
- Awake (Coffee)
I also designed some fancy new labels! I am using the coloured lines to distinguish the bars.
I am in love with this coffee Glo Bar- and I don’t even like coffee!
I am also donating about 140 Classic Glo Bars for the Healthy Living Summit Swag bags!
I am almost ready to ship. I just need to prepare the documents for international shipping. This is the process I like the least out of everything I do.
US Launch Preparation:
I thought this would be a good info session for those of you who are curious as to why it is taking me so long to open up to US shipping! :) I hope this helps clarify everything I have been doing to make this possible. I really am not slacking- I swear! haha
Shipping food to the US is a huge undertaking; something I never even thought about until I received my first package sent back to me because it ‘didn’t pass’ customs! Never fun.
The first thing I had to do is research, and lots of it. Unfortunately, there was no clear guide on shipping food to the US. Only a tons of scattered documents and many calls to government agencies that were not helpful. You’d think there would be a clear cut guide to this by now, but what I found was that the info was all over the place.
Here is a snippet of what I had to do:
1) Research Canadian AND US government guidelines for food exportation and importation, respectively.
2) Research FDA Product Codes and Harmonized System codes for classifying product.
3) Apply for a DHHS/FDA Food Facility Registration Number. This number has to be on every single invoice I ship.
4) Learn how to invoice for US shipments (there are different things required on the slip for US).
5) Research FDA Prior Notice of Imported Foods. I have to file a prior notice online before every single US shipment that I do. This eats up tons of time and is quite annoying. This took a while and many, many trials. The first few times I filled one out it took me 45 minutes because it is so complex and detailed. The Prior Notice basically notifies customs that I have a food shipment approaching customs. In other words, it says to customs agents, ‘Yo, I have 50 Glo Bars heading your way’, if only it were that easy though. They need to know everything from product codes, to ingredients, to sizes, quantities, weights, unit weights, packaging material, Food facility registration, Business info, Manufacturer info, etc!
6) I had to research various postal companies to find out where I could get the best bang for my customer’s buck. I researched Canada Post, Fed Ex, USPS, among others. Canada Post came out on top for the type of business I am doing with them.
7) Other things too scattered to list!
What I have to do:
8.) Keep package stalking my US shipments and get a general timeframe that customs keeps the package. The first one was 3 days in customs. I am awaiting the other two. I’d like to have an average if possible so my customers know what to expect.
9) I want to implement, with Eric’s help, and online shopping cart (+ shipping selector tool) on my Glo Bakery website. This will minimize my own administrative work tremendously. I’d like to have this in place before US shipping launch, or I don’t see myself being able to handle all the admin work on my own. Right now the process I am doing it, is extremely time consuming and inefficient. Three cheers for technology! ;)
10) Pre-orders: Once I have my online shopping cart in place, I will be opening up for pre-orders from US customers. This pre-order opportunity will last about two weeks prior to the actual launch date. It will allow me to gauge my orders and plan in advance so everything is streamlined for the opening day.
11) Finish calculating all nutritional information on bars. I definitely want this done before opening up US shipping. While it is not required of me to have the nutritional info on the label (small businesses are not required), I still want the info up on my website because I know it means a lot to people to be able to see the stats.
Whew! That was almost therapeutic typing out!
Some days I feel like I am not making progress and I am stalled, but reading over everything is showing me what a large scale process this has been.
So please rest assured that I am working around the clock to get these bars to you! I am *hoping* hoping, hoping that I can be ready to open up pre-orders mid-August. Let’s keep our fingers crossed! :D
And now for a poll for the three charity bar donations:
I also ALWAYS welcome any suggestions you have!
I’m going to make a late dinner now (hubby just got home late) and then I have another order to start tonight to deliver tomorrow. I have a feeling this week is going to fly by!