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Archive for September, 2009

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For any soap maker, candle maker, winery, jeweler, or any other handmade business, feel free to link to our blog. We’ll return the favor! Just drop us a message on our Contact Us page with the link and some basic info. It’s always great to see what the handcrafted communities are up to.

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Happy crafting and designing!

Barcodes for Small Business

barcode

Thanks to the invention and popularity of the barcode, global trade and commerce has now become a more unified process, making it easier for companies and retailers to not only track inventory, but to identify a specific product.  Also known as the Universal Product Code (UPC).  The question now becomes: what about small and local businesses, especially handmade products?

First, it’s important to identify the purpose of the UPC label, and the purpose is creating a unique identification for the manufacturer and their product.  The 12 numbers on the label aren’t placed by chance, but rather, for multiple reasons.  The first six numbers represent the manufacturer’s unique identification number that is given to them by the Unified Code Council (aka the GS1 Symbology Committee).  The next five digits are designated for the manufacturer’s identification of the specific product.  If, for example, a person who crafts three different types of soaps would like to sell their product, the first six digits of the barcode for each product would be exactly the same, while the next five digits for each product would be different since there are three different products.  The last number in the 12 number process is used to verify and validate that the barcode is correct.

To obtain your own barcode, visit the Unified Code Council site and join the Partner Connections Program.  According to the site

With Partner Connections you receive:

  • A certificate and online listing in a database that links your company to your GS1 Company Prefix, enabling retailer verification and traceability
  • Access to an exclusive, easy-to-use online tool to create and manage your barcodes. No technical knowledge is needed and you can print your barcode labels with 1-click!
  • Free Education and support

Overall, this sounds like a pretty sweet deal, considering they are the authority behind the barcode standard.  In case you need something temporary for a small scale of inventory, there are alternatives, too.  A handful of companies on the internet provide a solution where manufacturers can buy barcodes for a fee. This fee and process is usually cheaper and less complicated, especially if the product line is on a smaller scale.  This method is generally frowned upon by the Unified Code Council, but is certainly not illegal.  Sites like Simply Barcodes and Buy A Barcode are prime examples.

For most people who make handmade products, the second route is probably the best route to go, especially if you are looking to work with personal inventory and distributing to local shops.  If you want something more secure, unique, and are distributing to a larger scale of retailers go through the UCC.

Fun Fact: The standardized size for a UPC barcode is 1″ x 1.5″

With Partner Connections, you receive:

  • A certificate and online listing in a database that links your company to your GS1 Company Prefix, enabling retailer
    verification and traceability
  • Access to an exclusive, easy-to-use online tool to create and manage your barcodes. No technical knowledge is needed and you can print your barcode labels with 1-click!
  • Free education and support
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