Greeting Card Notes
by Helen Waters

This is some general advice based on my experience
marketing greeting cards.

I started out in 2009, creating 24 card designs and printing them professionally with a local company.  My intention was to market them as a way to get my work some exposure.

One of the first things I found was that the market is currently dominated by several of the largest greeting card companies--Hallmark, American, etc.  And many stores, even smaller ones, contract with either these companies or with card and gift representative companies, that can offer many products on consignment, which is low risk for the store.  In speaking to one of the rep companies, I was told that to be competitive I needed to have many more than just 24 designs.  That's a lot of images! Plus they have to be refreshed at least once a year.

It's important also to note that the paper greeting card market has become much smaller since the advent of e-cards.  People simply don't buy greeting cards the way they once did, although holiday and birthday cards will likely always be in demand.

Small independent stores in your area are usually the best bet for retail, since they often look for local products.  Being able to offer them on consignment with a display option makes it more attractive to them.  This is a labor-intensive route however as the cards need to be refreshed regularly.

You can market them directly, either through email or social media, and invoice through an online source such as PayPal, or just accept checks.  This has worked well for me for one-off holiday card designs.

One area that can work for those just starting out with greeting cards is the print-on-demand area, with websites such as Zazzle and CafePress.  Their print quality is usually good, although I would always suggest ordering a test product to make sure that the result is what you want.

Summarizing, I'd say that the small card business is really a tough one.  If you truly believe you have something unique...and hot, then set up some time to pursue it.  You may regret it if you don't try.  Be aware though that it will probably take a lot of time before you see a return on your investment, so be sure you want to put in the work!

That's my experience to date!  Good luck with yours,

Helen Waters
hmw@itsavisual.com

Copyright 2014 by Helen Waters.  All Rights Reserved.