Starting a Card Line on Your own

Lines can be as small as a few dozen cards or as large as a hundred cards, but for a beginner, it s best to start with two dozen cards, and then develop a theme around them. Eventually you want to aim for at least 50-100 designs before you start looking for sales reps.

-Set a specific deadline for yourself, which is a starting point for getting feedback, and this will help clarify who your market is.

-When you show your cards to someone for feedback, if only have 3 or 4 cards, it s hard for someone to get a sense of your skills or identity. Stores and publishers will take you more seriously if they see you have attempted to develop a full concept.

-Over time, you can add specialized lines to your card line. For example, you may have a line of animal cards, a funny quotes cards, and a line of Valentine's cards.

-Don t be afraid to toss out a dozen ideas and start over. Most buyers want to see new cards every four to six months. Even if they reject your line once, they often want to see your new ideas again.

16 comments :

Darlene said...

I found your blog through the Greeting Card Professionals Yahoo Group.

You have some great tips on your blog. Thanks for sharing!!!

Drew said...

Would the initial set of cards contain the most popular giving occasions, such as Christmas, Mothers Day, Birthdays and Anniversaries? and then working into smaller occasions for support?

Kate Harper said...

Drew-it's good to start with Birthday, Thank you and Anniversary. For holidays, Valentines, Christmas and Mother's day are good.

Melissa said...

Do you think it's best if all your cards follow a theme or similar look so they're considered a group or series? Or, do you think it's ok to simply start off with a handful of cards that don't specifically 'go' together?

Kate Harper said...

Melissa, it's best to have a them and overall look that seems like they go together. But it's also OK to do a whole bunch of different things and then get feedback from a store or professional about which one's they like the best, then you can expand those into a larger line.

Nikki said...

I have always been good with poems, writing, etc., and would love to create and sell greeting cards--but I am no artist. Any advice for someone who can write but not draw?
I have been searching for clip art and/or images that I could purchase, but it seems even those classified as "royalty-free" really are not available for commercial use.
I see from your work that if the words have a big enough impact, pictures aren't necessary. This gives me hope! Do you draw the art on your cards yourself (even the border designs)? And what about fonts? I have always used print shop programs to design personal cards for friends and family, using my own poems and phrases. People always tell me I should be selling these cards, but I know I can't use print shop to design cards to sell. Are there programs available to professionals, or must everything I put on the card be from scratch?
Any advice you can give me is greatly appreciated! Also, can greeting card phrases and verses be copyrighted?
Thanks!

Kate Harper said...

Nikki,

Yes, I do all my own artwork. You might consider pairing up with an artist who needs a writer by posting it on the greeting card guru group on linkedin or other professional greeting card social networks http://kateharperblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/social-networking-resources-for.html

kscott said...

Kate,
I would like to purchase your e-book on "Unusual Ways to Market..." but I don't have a Kindle and the link, which takes me to Amazon, won't allow me to download it via my iPhone. Please advise.

Kindra

Kate Harper said...

Kindra,

You can also buy it on the apple ibookstore. Regarding Amazon, since Apple changed it's policy with Amazon, you now have to go to the Amazon site to order the book and then download it. Before you could just order it through the app.

Jake Gariepy said...

Hi Kate,

I just found your site and it's answering many of the questions I've been asking myself as well as some I hadn't thought to ask! Most of my designs have seemed to focus on the bottom third of the card... boy was that wrong!

Here is a question for you... I work mostly in marker (Copic, Prismacolor, etc.). When I scan it seems that the color comes of a bit uneven is some areas. Would a card manufacturer see this as a drawback, or would they be able to correct this?

Thanks for your help. I'm so excited to get started.

Take care,

Jake

Kate Harper said...

Jake,

A card company would be able to correct this since they have on staff design teams. Also, sometimes the things we, as artists, think are problems other people don't even notice.

Kate

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate you sharing with us. I design custom greetings and I get a lot of people asking me to create invites for them. Do you think I should cross over in that area?

Anonymous said...

Kate,

I have an idea for a card line that involves a specific occasion. Do you think it's plausible to start a card line with a dozen cards concerning this occasion? I have been considering this for a while now, and would love your input?

Thanks,
Molly

Lara Gale said...

Dear Kate - I love love LOVE your site - wow! I have ordered 2 of the recommended books and can't WAIT to dig into them! i do have a question - I have designed about 40 cards and initially i really want to be "small" and sell them myself at local markets (farmers markets and arts and crafts fairs) - I have everything ready but the only thing i am stuck on is how many cards to initially print. I have plenty of space to store them - I have a number of cards that I think will sell better than some of the others and plan to have more of those printed than some of the others - just not sure what a good starting number would be if I am working a booth every Saturday! Thanks for your help and for the fantastic site - it has really helped me in shaping my designs etc :)

Kate Harper said...

Try to print so that the cost of the card materials (envelope, etc) is about 1/6 of the retail price.

Lara Gale said...

Thank you!

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