We’ve been inspired by some recent customer queries to address the ugly topic of shipping and how it’s calculated at Ganesh Himal Trading.   Some want to know why we charge shipping at all and so I realize it’s time to explain!

To put it simply, the cost of the item that you buy from GH is the cost that we incur to get that item from the artisan and then shipped from Nepal to Spokane as well as warehousing and employee costs (excluding handling) and our profit. Our formula is to take OUR cost to the artisan and times it by 2-2.25 to cover these expenses.  We feel that this cost reveals to you, our customer, the item’s cost from Nepal.

Next we add shipping and handling. This shows you how much it costs to get shipping supplies, the item packed (handling) and shipped (UPS or USPS) to you. It even includes a bit to pay Ric for all of the dumpster diving he does to recycle boxes. We have had to generalize the shipping part since it’s impractical to weigh each box, calculate each individual boxes shipping cost and then add it to the invoice. The formula that we have arrived at is Jewelry: 5% (2% handling +3% freight), Hard Goods: 7% (2% handling +5% freight). Sometimes it is a bit over our actual costs but more often it is under.

To calculate your cost of an item you can add the GH item cost +7% (if it is a hard good, i.e. a $5.00 scarf adds .35 shipping and handling for a cost to you of $5.35) or +5% (if it is jewelry, i.e. a $10.00 earring adds .50 for a cost to you of $10.50). You can take this actual cost then and compare it to your other vendors who offer free shipping and incorporate their shipping costs into the cost of the actual item. Believe me “free shipping” is not an accurate phrase. Somewhere the cost of shipping in the US or Canada IS being included.

So, why do we do it this way? I like to monitor how much is being returned to the artisans and to Nepal. It’s easier for me to do that if I am not incorporating the US shipping costs into that mix. Somehow also I want you, our customers, to know what that shipping cost is for you. I don’t want to hide it, it just seems more transparent that way. In our pricing of our item cost we can’t absorb the US shipping charges so we would have to raise our prices and then you would not see your shipping costs.

Perhaps this is convoluted to some but one thing you can always count on is that we will try to stay as close to our actual shipping and handling costs as we can and they will not vary from month to month so you can ALWAYS figure your cost as the GH item cost plus 5% or 7%. If we are going to change that it will most likely be only yearly and when we are informed by UPS or USPS that they are changing theirs!

Hope this transparency helps and keep asking questions!