Have you ever considered selling your own greeting cards? Maybe you can create outstanding designs, or you have a knack for writing witty, humorous, inspirational or sentimental copy that makes an impression on readers. Selling your own greeting cards can be fun and profitable if you know what steps to take.
Create your brand
One of the first things to know is that the greeting card industry is incredibly competitive, but it’s not impossible to break in as a new greeting card line. The all-important first step is to identify what types of greeting cards you will be designing/writing and how these differ from what’s currently available. You also need to learn who your target audience is, and how healthy a market is for your chosen type of business card. If you can find an untapped, original niche that has plenty of buyers, great! If not, it’s OK to strive to be the next Shoebox Greetings as long as you have a great game.
Compile your team
Selling greeting cards can be a do-it-all operation, but you’ll be more efficient and able to focus if you hire professionals who are more experienced in things you’re not. Perhaps you’re a designer but not much of a writer (or vice versa), or you can write and design but you’re not a very good salesperson. You can probably handle your own business books (or have your current accountant look them over) until your sales increase. You should also secure funding if required
Get a great greeting card printer
When it comes to your finished product, two things will dictate your success: The quality of your cards and the cost to produce them. For a startup this takes careful planning because you don’t want to print too few and run out, or print low quality and never make a sale (thereby printing too many). At the same time, the more greeting cards you print the lower your cost per piece, and thus ultimately the higher your profit margin per sale. The best greeting cards are printed on premium paper stocks such as 16-point gloss cover and eco-friendly recycled 13-point matte cover. Some are UV coated, others are not. Greeting cards can be printed in nearly any size, though standard sizes are 3.5-inch by 5-inch, 4.25-inch by 6-inch and 5-inch by 7-inch. Remember that you’ll also need to order envelopes to fit.
Market your business
Now it’s time to put your sales team to the test (even if it’s comprised of just you). You can visit purchasing reps from department stores, grocers and other retail outlets that sell greeting cards (think Hallmark). If you’re new and unproven, it might be difficult to get retailers to commit to a purchase or even to allow you some rack space to peddle your greeting cards. If you have trouble, consider making your own stand-alone display and selling your greeting cards on consignment. Since there’s no risk involved to the retailer, you might be able to score a few deals. Down the road you can use the success from consignment sales to negotiate long-term store purchases. You should print promotional sales items such as brochures, sales sheets, letterhead, sample packs, and anything else that will help you demonstrate why your greeting cards are a good fit for retail stores. If you can’t get any retail stores to bite (and even if you do), you should create a website from which you can sell your greeting cards. You might additionally be able to find unique selling opportunities through Ebay and other online outlets.