QUESTION ON Growing a Greeting Card Business
I have sold greeting cards or simply poetry on pretty paper/framed to family and friends. Making a couple of thousands in 3 weeks a mother’s day special. I have sold over $300 greeting cards for Christmas. My question is where do I go from here. It is expensive to print. A printing company will charge 33 cent a card, but I do not have my own artist work for my line of cards. Is this the way to go or should I try to submit to companies? I have been paid $70 and $40 a poem. Most people think my writing is great. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you – –
– Yvonne, H – VA
Advice by Tammy Harrison
Congratulations on what could be the beginnings of a great entrepreneurial effort! I applaud all women who find something that they’re good at and make a run for it! And you are so lucky to have so much talent!
My first suggestion is to do your research. I am unfamiliar with the steps that one would take to try to get a job writing for card companies. If this seems like something you’d like to do, take the plunge and just start looking for ways to get ‘in’.
If you’re serious about trying to create a career out of what you’ve already done, then that’s more up my alley! I was visiting my in-laws for the holidays and found a cute little quilt boutique that I just had to stroll through. Inside, there were the usual things for quilters – sewing notions, fabrics, patterns … and at every turn, there was a greeting card stand. I was a bit surprised, but then I noticed how many women stopped and looked at the cards as they were shopping! I love those types of marketing opportunities!
I mention this because I saw some amazing cards in that store – not something I’d ever seen before … but, awesome and quite noticeable. One set in particular was something that really caught my eye — it appeared as if the designer had taken old photographs (non-copywrited, perhaps from her family or something she purchased at a tag sale) and photocopied them onto cardstock … cut them out to look like an old Polaroid. These photos were simply glued to the front of a card and her message was inside.
Do you see where I’m going? You don’t have to look for an artist if that’s not within your means. Look for something that will catch the attention of the consumer and draw notice to the face of a card – something different, something unique and something that makes someone want to pick up that card and read the inside! If the face of your card and your message are inside, you will sell well!
If you take this approach, all you need to do is to find a wholesale vendor for your cards and envelopes – and I’m sure you can find some that don’t require a huge initial investment or minimum order.
For printing, why not invest in a quality ink jet or laser printer? In the long run, I’m sure your costs would be less. Or perhaps you could get a stamp made, and stamp your messages inside of your cards.
Now, for growing your sales. I usually recommend that folks start locally. Find a shop or two in your local area who could do your cards justice – not a card store, but (like the quilt shop example I mentioned above) someplace where those who would purchase your cards would go. Create an eye-catching display stand that you can leave with the store, making sure you put your phone number and other contact info in case folks want to purchase more of your cards. Perhaps you could sell on consignment, or sell wholesale to the shop owner. I have a friend in my local area who has taken my quilts and showcased them with her business displays when she sells her homemade soaps – just to get the word out about what I do. Take advantage of your local Chamber of Commerce if you can – get a listing of all of the members and send them samples, business cards and a listing of where they can purchase your cards. Go to the local women’s shelter and offer them your cards, at no cost, just to get interest in you and your cards.
One of the fastest ways to sell is to go to the Internet. Set up a website with a shopping cart and start letting people know where they can find your products.
Oh, I just *love* start-ups and hope that I’ve answered your question (and then some)! Decide what you want to do … start with your research, business and marketing plans … and then give the big card companies a run for their money!
If you wish to submit your writing to companies, make a list first of the greeting card companies. Start by checking out the article Starting a Greeting Card Business for a list of places where you can find greeting card publishers. Check out their websites, as many of them publishes their submission guidelines (if not, request for it). Follow their guidelines carefully: do not submit humor cards to a greeting card company that specializes in romantic cards.
Where to Submit Greeting Card Writing
As for where you can apply to become a freelance writer, here are some of the greeting card companies, their submission guidelines and their contact information:
- American Greetings = does not accept unsolicited artwork, photography or writing submissions. However, you can periodically check their Career Center if they are offering any freelance opportunities.
- Blue Mountain = they are looking for writing that “capture genuine emotions on topics such as love, friendship, family, missing you, and other real-life subjects.” They are not accepting rhymed poetry, religious verse, one-liners, or humor. Pays $300 for accepted submissions.
- Avanti = Looks more for photographs submissions; less for writing submissions. To submit writing samples, send copies only of your writing (non-returnable).
- Dayspring = Focuses on religious cards, they are only accepting submissions from writers who have previously had work published.
- Freedom Greeting Cards = Accepts freelance art, photography and editorial submissions.
- Gallant Greetings = periodically accepts freelance submissions. Check first before submitting as unsolicited submissions are not returned.
- Recycled Paper Greetings = Looking for artist and design submissions, but check if they accept editorial or writing submissions as well.
- Snafu Designs = Looking for humorous writings that should invoke a laugh out loud response from customers
- Oatmeal Studios = Another greeting card company looking for writings that are funny and humorous
- Kalan = Looking for fun and original ideas for greeting cards to one-liners for magnets, shotglasses, and other product lines
Hope this helps!
Recommended Resources on How To Grow A Greeting Card Business
- Unusual Ways to Market Your Greeting Cards and 22 Places to Get Your Designs Featured
- Get Your Greeting Cards Into Stores: How to Find and Work With Sales Reps
- Growing a Business
- Growing Your Business!
Article originally published in October 2005. Updated March 5, 2012 by Isabel Isidro
Tammy Harrison is a successful home-based working mom for over five years. She holds a degree from Mizzou in Consumer Economics. Her business focuses on Marketing and Creativity for Small Businesses as well as numerous other small businesses.