Greeting cards businesses have not been rendered obsolete by emojis and e-cards. In fact, in an increasingly impersonal digital world, the meaning and value of each physically given greeting card have increased. For many would-be entrepreneurs, greeting card businesses have the benefit of being something you can start from your home for very little money. Here are a few tips on how to start a greeting card business using print folded cards.
Identify Potential Markets
If you’re running your own greeting card business, you need to find a niche that isn’t dominated by major chains. For example, you could create cards for occasions that are hard to find a card for in the store. Or you could market the product as supporting local artists. Another possibility is creating uniquely funny cards or groups that aren’t represented, whether it’s different religious denominations or greeting cards in less common languages.
Finalize Your Business Plan
One issue you face is finding who will buy your cards. You can try to connect with small gift shops looking for inventory that distinguishes them from the mass market. Network with people who make gift baskets and would like to be able to order greeting cards that fit with the special occasions they support.
One benefit of this approach is that you can find under-served vendors who would love to sell your product. Another benefit is the fact that you could drum up new customers, diversifying your customer base and protecting you against failure if one customer closes shop.
A second strategy is finding companies that would buy the products you want to produce. One benefit of this is that you could get your business going once you secure your first major customer. The downside is that if you rely on just one or two big customers, their decision to shift product mix could affect your business.
A third strategy is trying to sell your cards online. This allows you to sell products directly to your customers. This could be gratifying, and it may let your business grow via word of mouth referrals once a few people are happy. It could allow you to sell cards for specific occasions that there isn’t a major market for. The downside is that it requires you to increase your prices to cover the price of the product, shipping, and handling. In some cases, you could secure lower overall prices by arranging print folded cards online, where others order your designs printed by a third party and they are shipped to the customer. This eliminates your need for inventory.
One option is buying greeting cards from wholesalers and printers. Another option is using your own artwork and having custom folded cards printed through websites like print24; now you own the intellectual property rights to the artwork and can profit from it. Or, you could sign a licensing agreement to use the designs of your friends, and then you can pay for cheap folded cards decorated with their designs. If you’re working with a printer that accepts orders online before sending you the profits (after their costs), you’ll need to finalise your business arrangement before you say you’re in business. If you’re going to hand-make cards, you need to make them before you can sell them.
Once you have some inventory, you’re ready to start selling. We suggest having an inventory before you start selling because you cannot afford to have people place orders for something they need as soon as possible when you don’t have it on hand. If you allow custom orders, advertise that on your website, business card, and social media profile. If you already have a few customers lined up, you can count the products as sold when your customers have paid you for them.
Start Planning for the Future
Suppose you’ve successfully sold a large part of your initial production run. Run the numbers across all of your product designs. The most popular designs could be ordered in larger quantities from a folded card printing shop while you can delay making more of the items you still have in stock. The benefit of this approach is that you don’t end up sinking money into inventory that doesn’t sell, much less the hassle of selling it at a discount and potentially undermining your brand.
If you’re making the cards at home, you can now plan on ordering cardstock, ink and other supplies based on your demonstrated “burn” rate or the speed at which you’re going through those items.
If you want your greeting card business to be successful, first identify your chosen niche and then pick a business plan to profit from it. Start making an inventory or secure the business contracts to have the stock made. Only then can you start selling and build a solid customer base.