Are you an illustrator or designer looking to make money through your art?
This post will walk you through the basics of launching your own stationery business, from finding inspirations, creating your own collections to finding manufactures and printers!
Aside from working at Yes, I have also recently launched my own greeting card business (about 1 year ago),
I started my own stationery business as a way to help me learn and improve my drawing skills!
I have put together some important factors to consider when launching your own greeting card and stationery business! Please note this is from my own personal experience and as with everything there is no right or wrong way to do things! I am still new to this industry and continuously learning!
What are stationery?
Stationery products can vary but typically it includes greeting cards, bespoke invitations, art-prints, patches, pins, notebooks and calendars! Brands such as Paperchase, Caroline Gardener and Rifle Paper Co are great examples of successful stationery business! One thing most have in common is that they all first start out with creating greeting cards! This is post will focus on mainly on the business of greeting cards!
What are Greeting Cards?
Greeting cards are essentially folded card paper with graphics, illustrations or typography on it, greeting cards need to be sentimental and mostly given to someone on a special occasions! The most popular occasions include but not limited too:
How to create sellable Greeting Cards!
Greeting cards is the cheapest and quickest way for designers and artist to see their illustration on tangible products! however standing out from a saturated industry can be extremely challenging! Below are some of my recommended tips on getting started!
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1. Trend Research
Before launching your career as a greeting cards designer, My top advice is to attend trade shows in your area, this will help to understand more about the market trends.
2. Work in ranges/collections
Avoid doing individual cards instead try to design at least 6 to max 12 card for each collection! Work in ranges also known as collections. Have a set of 6 - 12 card range/collection which when displayed along side each other on a shop display are unified, consistent in style, and look good together. For example if you are creating floral wedding cards, then design at least 6 or maximum 12 different wedding cards using a floral theme.
3. Create for multiple occasions
Before approaching any shops or publishers and trade fairs, create at least a minimum 50 designs for multiple occasions. Buyers want to be able to have the choice of selecting cards that appeal to their audience! Please try to enjoy the process, take your time to build up your collections!
4. Print in small quantity
Avoid printing in large quantities, instead work with local printers or online print services to test the quality (most provide sample prints so you can learn more on paper stock and quality)!
For greeting cards , wrapping paper and art print I use Printed.com ! To print your illustrations on products such as pocket mirrors, notebooks and stickers I recommend Awesome Merchandise!
5. Local art fairs and markets
Once you have enough designs, try to take part in local art fairs and markets to get an idea on what sells. It is a lot cheaper than attending big trade fairs! Best way to find local markets is probably through instagram or facebook!
I also follow organisations such as Just A Card and Greeting Card Association that provides useful resources for greeting card designers!
6. Sell online
If you are starting out and don't want to deal with printing and posting costs! or perhaps you are not confident yet to do trade fairs and markets then I highly recommend to use your designs on POD sites such as Thorful, Redbubble and Society6, again this is a good way to test your designs and see which ones are most sellable before printing them yourself or approaching card Publishers!!
7. Show your work
Always share your designs on platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest as it will help you to find out which designs are popular before deciding to print them as greetings cards.
Launching any business is difficult and there is no such thing as overnight success, It's easy to feel overwhelmed or doubt yourself! as with anything, it takes years of trail, error and tons of patience in order to reach your goals!
I am still working full-time and giving myself time develop various collections for my greeting card business!
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