QUESTION ON How to Grow a Greeting Cards 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 cents 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!
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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 inkjet 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 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 interested 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 plan … and then give the big card companies a run for their money!
Hope this helps!
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.