Little Creek is a family-run business started by Caroline Nelson and her partner, Justin Nelson. While growing up, Caroline always felt a calling to be outdoors and find a lifestyle in nature when she got older. One day, she learned about the positive effect that grazing could have on land. This really struck a chord on her – not only would she get to spend her days outside with animals, but knowing she would also be able to make a positive impact on the ecosystem was extremely awe-inspiring.
During the summer when she was 18, Caroline worked as a ranch hand in Montana, where she had also just met her partner, Justin. About a decade later in 2017, Caroline and Justin began planning their life together to raise animals. Their business initially started with raising and offering grass-fed lamb, then they eventually added dry aged, ranch-raised beef and non-perishables — like seasonings, soy candles, and rugs, to name a few — to their selection.
Little Creek believes in whole animal butchery and practices turning every animal part into a product. They firmly believe in sourcing locally from other small businesses, as well as working with all women-makers. In 2020, Caroline was selected to represent the ranch community while presenting a virtual award at the Emmys. Little Creek sells consumable products, but their true mission is to build healthy soil, store carbon, and rebuild grassland.
In 2019, Little Creek began selling their grass-fed lamb, which ended up being a premium, niche product that the local community in Montana wasn’t willing to pay for. To survive, Little Creek knew they had to get the word out by telling their story through social media. This allowed them to garner interest in their products from consumers across the nation. But when someone in New York wanted to purchase their lamb, they were faced with a new challenge: figuring out how to ship perishable products thousands of miles away.
Caroline and Justin had to learn about different regulations when it came to shipping with dry ice. Another challenge was figuring out what the right packaging would be to keep their meat frozen. They didn’t want to risk putting all this effort into raising their meat for two to three years, just to ship it across the country and have it completely thaw during transit, becoming inedible once it arrived to the end customer.
When Caroline first looked at her shipping options, she was paying high retail rates while also testing out a few third-party shipping sites here and there. Nothing that she tried was helping keep her shipping costs low or streamline her shipping process. In order to successfully run her business, it was essential she identify the right shipping partner.
After stumbling across Shippo in January 2020, she immediately gravitated towards the solution. Caroline was using both UPS and USPS to ship, and Shippo provided discounted rates from both carriers. In addition, Caroline enjoyed how Shippo integrated seamlessly with her Squarespace (and now Shopify) website, making the whole end-to-end shipping process very easy.
Shippo’s easy-to-use interface also helped make shipping super seamless when Little Creek was getting started. “The interface is great. It’s easy to use and easy to teach other people how to use. Everything was truly so seamless. The customer service was also great, so any time we had an issue, somebody would walk us through it,” shared Caroline. Caroline also loved how automated the order fulfillment process is. “It’s great how all box types can be saved to make order fulfillment quick and easy. Also, being able to break orders into separate shipments since some people order perishables and non-perishables together in the same order makes packing so much easier.”
Little Creek takes pride in the quality of their meat, so it is critical for them to ship their products within a specific time frame to ensure the meat doesn’t completely thaw before getting to the end customer. “For us, being really consistent and reliable with everything is so important. The tracking numbers, customer communication, packing, the arrival – everything has to be consistent and good so we build that trust with our customers. Shippo has been a really strong and reliable partner”, shared Caroline.
Caroline also appreciated that there’s no large fee to brand your shipments. “I really like the formatting of the packing lists – it always looks really good, and it felt like Shippo helps you come across as professional without having to pay a $100 per month fee to put your logo on it,” shared Caroline.
With Shippo, Little Creek has shipped roughly double the amount of packages each year since the business started, allowing them to connect with customers nation-wide that believe in the regenerative agricultural work that they’re doing.
Shippo helps make Caroline’s day-to-day shipping process seamless, and gives her team peace of mind when it comes to shipping their products. When customers order from Little Creek, they take a huge leap getting their meat delivered across the country. “Since I got into my stride with Shippo a few years ago, I have spent zero percent of my energy worrying about Shippo working as it should. It just always worked and it’s been great. That allows me to worry about everything else and not shipping. Working with Shippo has helped facilitate our growth.”
A Shipping Solution for Businesses of All Sizes
Shippo is a single, easy-to-integrate program that powers everything leading e-commerce brands need for shipping. From a single integration, businesses gain access to over 85+ global shipping carriers. And since all carrier interactions are standardized, Shippo makes it easy for businesses to compare rates and ETAs, print labels, schedule pickups (with USPS and DHL Express), track shipments, facilitate returns, and more across several carriers, all in one place.
Connecting your online store is also fast and easy with Shippo’s pre-built integrations. Shippo can automatically connect with several popular e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, and getting set up can be done in a manner of minutes without the need for any technical developer resources.
You also have options for using Shippo: online through our web application or connected via API. The great thing about these options is that Shippo has the ability to grow with you as your business needs evolve.
For businesses that want to get started right away, the web app is a great solution. And getting started is as easy as opening an account, entering some basic information, and creating your first shipping label. For businesses looking for an even more customizable solution, Shippo’s API is the next step. With Shippo’s developer-centric API, businesses can take their automation efforts even further. Visit Shippo’s API information page to learn more.