Creativity knows no bounds, and nerdiness encounters no foes. It’s why video games can be fun for everyone. It’s also why ZEEBAM delivers nostalgic joy through Sendle to customers all across the seas, without having to leave home or spend a hefty coin.
It’s the era of the nerd–and while things like video games, comic books, and anime have been around for a while, they remain great ways to bond with others. Even Grandma can get in on the turnip exchange in the Animal Crossing stalk market (pro tip: keep a calculator handy).
Sometimes, the best feelings lie in being part of a vibrant community, full of folks that are just as obsessed with the same thing. For Michigan-based photographer and embroidery designer Bettina, nerdy nostalgia is how connections across oceans are formed.
And through Sendle’s shipping built for small businesses like ZEEBAM, Bettina can spread her love for all things nerdy while saving on shipping costs, time, and energy as a business owner with chronic illnesses.
Press start: from behind the camera to stitching nostalgia
Bettina is the creator and player one behind ZEEBAM, a creative photography outlet that’s evolved to include embroidery, stickers, prints, and more. It’s common to adopt a nickname when playing video games, and in Bettina’s case, the inspiration behind her small business all started with World of Warcraft. “Yes, I was THAT nerdy girl,” she says. “The group of friends I played with developed the nickname "Bam" for me after I told them I was obsessed with having cool initials. One day, a friend added ‘Zee’ onto the nickname as a joke, and I loved it so much it has stuck with me ever since!”
Breathing life into ZEEBAM then began after Bettina’s grandfather gifted her a small Kodak Easyshare (“They don't even make Kodaks anymore if that tells you anything about how truly rudimentary this camera was,” Bettina adds). Photography became a natural passion and obsession for her, and it was only in 2021 that she experimented with other forms of art alongside her camera.
It was also around this time that newly acquired diagnoses for chronic illnesses reared their head, so she found catharsis in stitching creations of her favorite nerdy things, like The Legend of Zelda and Studio Ghibli films. “There's nothing I love more than recreating my favorite scenes and characters through a simple piece of fabric and thread. I've discovered that there is a whole community of amazing people who have become inspired by the process and my so-called ‘embroidery chapters.’ The support and encouragement I've gotten as a result has truly become such an inspiration for me to continue to create more and let my imagination run wild.”
The rest is history–now, Bettina is all in on bringing smiles to fellow nerds through cute embroidery stickers, acrylic glass prints, and retro polaroids.
Bettina and Lucy, collaborating on handwritten cards to include in orders.
No cheat codes: just effortless package pickup and delivery from home
There’s no need to choose between two separate routes or make compromises. By leaving ZEEBAM’s shipping needs to Sendle, Bettina successfully runs her small business and takes time back for her happiness and health. As a business owner with chronic illnesses, it’s been a game-changer to have orders picked up from her doorstep. She’s able to take more time during the day back to creating, inspiring, and enjoying instead of spending hours in long lines at the post office.
“I think the biggest savings to me is actually the ability to ship from home. I have a lot of chronic illnesses that are quite unpredictable and can often cause intense moments of fatigue and pain. Knowing that I can still pack an order and walk it to the end of my driveway regardless of how I'm feeling that day is worth so much to me.”
Leveling up: affordable small business shipping helps ZEEBAM grow
Before discovering Sendle, Bettina primarily used USPS. But it’s no walk-in-the-park with USPS’s pricing, as they typically reserve their cheaper rates for bigger businesses. “It proved to be rather difficult since I could not easily obtain quotes for shipping costs. Since Sendle also opened up services internationally, I've been able to not only expand my customer base across the globe more easily, but my shipping costs have also drastically lowered as a result!”
Because of the savings Bettina can grow when shipping with Sendle, Bettina runs some promotions to make the ZEEBAM customer experience even more enjoyable. “I currently only offer free shipping for very small packages, such as stickers. For my prints and original embroidery pieces, I have set the lowest price possible, thanks to Sendle! I know low shipping costs matter a lot to all my customers.”
“Knowing that I can still pack an order and walk it to the end of my driveway regardless of how I'm feeling that day is worth so much to me.”
Boon acquired: even more savings made through Sendle Saver
Sendle Saver has been major in helping Bettina save up to 83% on shipping costs. Paired with easy label creation and free package pickup, the option has improved both ZEEBAM’s bottom line and Bettina’s routine as a small business owner. “Having the option to select a slightly longer shipping time to get a lower price through Sendle has really saved me a lot of money,” Bettina explains. “I know my customers don't mind waiting an extra day or two for their package if it means a lower cost overall."
While USPS and UPS place too many hoops and hurdles for small businesses to access reasonable prices, Sendle doesn’t charge extra for anything other than what is shipped. “The ability to ship from home without minimums or hidden fees is truly one of the primary reasons I'm able to continue to meet the demands of my small business, and it is something that I continue to promote to my followers as well.”
New quest: venturing overseas with cheap international shipping
Shipping around the world was initially a challenge since delivering overseas tends to be notoriously not cheap. When Sendle introduced affordable international shipping at the start of 2023, Bettina was thrilled to finally be able to reach more fans while still saving on shipping costs.
ZEEBAM customers love how every order comes with helpful Sendle support and free tracking, no matter where in the world they’ve set up their gaming battlestations or cozy corners. Bettina recounts how far her nerdiness has gone, “I've sold as far as Australia, and it's pretty incredible to think that my art will now be enjoyed by others so far across the globe.”
Easy mode: Sustainable shipping for small business at no added cost
Sustainability is built right into ZEEBAM thanks to Sendle’s 100% carbon neutral small business shipping. When seeking an alternative to big couriers, Bettina appreciated how Sendle ships every package carbon neutrally, at no extra cost. Every single detail matters to Bettina, even down to the way an order is packaged and sent.
“I know it can be hard for consumers to be fully eco-friendly in all areas of their lives, but I believe that every little bit we can contribute helps the planet. I was really happy to learn that Sendle was the first 100% carbon neutral shipping service in the US and Australia!”
New game plus: Bettina’s current favorites, dream destination, and future plans for ZEEBAM
While she keeps racking up even bigger savings with Sendle, Bettina shares what’s filling her creative toolbox at the moment and her big dreams for personal projects and ZEEBAM.
Bettina’s current set-up is similar to the way she ships: easy and efficient! “You're going to laugh at me, but it's really quite simple: [I use] an iPhone 13 Pro Max, a PopSocket, and my Canvas lamp! I think everyone has the perfect camera right in their pocket, they just haven't unlocked its potential yet.”
As for where Bettina would like to go for travel and inspiration? “I would absolutely love to visit Japan! The culture and overall environment are fascinating to me, and it would surely be a dream to photograph all the beauty Japan has to offer.”
Bettina and her husband are developing a thread-tracking app for other stitching enthusiasts, in tandem with creating content for her embroidery and art blog. “I plan to focus heavily on embroidery in my blog, but I also want to feature topics for small business owners as well.”
So what’s on the horizon for ZEEBAM, which Bettina is looking forward to expanding with even more art, nerdiness, and love? “Recently I've discovered a love for stumpwork, which is 3D embroidery that's cut out of the fabric after it's stitched, and this technique lends itself amazingly well to photography prints. I started making these glass prints at the beginning of the year, and it's my dream to create a whole collection that I can continue to share with the world for many years to come.”
Victory! Ship with Sendle to save and win
Shipping cheaper only takes seconds. You don’t have to be a nerd (though we always welcome fellow nerds) to find happiness in how much you can save on your small business’s shipping! Take a page from ZEEBAM’s guidebook to start sending better and brighter with Sendle.
Photo courtesy: ZEEBAM