As I pass each milestone, I have tried to share my learnings, mistakes I may have made, things I would change the next time, etc. Seeing as I shipped my first order to a store this week I thought I would share the little checklist I used to make sure I didn't overlook anything. Some of this is just good old common sense, well perhaps all of it might be. I don't claim to be recreating the wheel, but I think a spirit of sharing and cooperation will only make things easier for the next person who tries to do this.
Be sure to provide an invoice with the shipment. It should include your company name, address, phone number, email address, HST# if you require one (check out this site and take the quick questionnaire to help figure out if you need one), as well as other important information such as quantity and description of goods shipped.
2) I was advised that for the first few shipments to a new store it is always a good idea to state that your payment terms are COD. At least until you have developed a relationship with the store.
3) Check your jars
Just because you know you make an amazing product, don't take it for granted that all of your jars are sealed. Double check each jar to make sure the seal is perfect and that the colouring of the product inside is as it should be. I always store anything made with vinegar without the rings and put them on when it is time to go to market, etc. It is the best way to tell if your seal is true.
Make sure each jar is labelled appropriately and that each jar looks just as you want it. Remember this is your opportunity to market yourself and your other products as well. They should look great!
5) Commercial Kitchen
I think the first time you ship to a new store you should include a copy of the Food Safety Inspection for the kitchen you use. This way the store has it on hand should they get asked for it and it shows that you are professional and following all of the rules.
6) List of all your products
Include a full price list of all your other products. It acts as a good reminder if the store has only purchased a few of your products that you have others that might be of interest to them.
If you can think of other things to add to this checklist be sure to let me know.