How to make a living in the Handmade Card Business

One of the smartest pieces of advice I ever got from someone in the handmade card business was "You should never be making the cards."

This doesn't mean you are forever banned from making cards. It means that if you want to make a living in the handmade card business, make it scalable. You cannot grow if you are the only one making your cards.

There are many great business plan classes out there, but most are service oriented instead of manufacturing oriented. If you plan on entering the card business professionally, and hope to work with sales reps and sell nationwide, here are some basic questions you will need ask youself. Think of this as your one page business plan:

Profit Quiz

Can you physically make and ship 5,000 cards a month by yourself_____?

How much profit will you make on those 5,000 cards (subtract all materials, commission, labor expenses) _____?

If your material expenses are too high, can you lower them with these strategies _____?

How many hours does it take you to make 5,000 cards_____ ? Is it worth the pay per hour_____?

Can you afford to hire other people to make the cards _____?

How much will you pay them to make each card _____?

After you pay them, what will your profit be per month for 5,000 cards_____?

CONCLUSION: You want to aim for at least a 20% profit per card for yourself. If you are shipping approximately 5,000-10,000 cards per month, and your profit is 20% or more per card, it is possible to make a full time income in this business.

Have any advice, opinions, views on this from your own experience?
Leave a comment below:

Handmade Card Business Articles by Kate Harper

Backcopy:What to print on the back of your cards

The Handmade Card Business: Card Codes

The Handmade Card Business: All About Envelopes

Starting a Handmade Card Business: Manufacturing

How to Make a Living in the Handmade Card Business

Making Cards: Questions to Ask

Simplify Card Making for a Profit

How to Set Up a Handmade Card Factory

Paying People to Make Your Cards

Ebooks by Kate Harper

You can support this blog by ordering Kate's e-Booklets starting at only .99 cents! They can be read on your kindle, ipad, ipod, cellphone, or your computer. Free samples and lending options available. You can also view the list of all recommended greeting card books by a variety of authors.


Get Your Greeting Cards into Stores explains how to sell cards nationwide. Included are detailed guidelines on: How to price cards for a profit, get professional feedback, find sales representatives and follow industry standards. Information is also applicable to gift items, magnets, journals, calendars, collectibles, etc.

20 Steps to Art Licensing is a book about how to license your art to companies that publish greeting cards, or manufacture coffee mugs, magnets, wall hangings, kitchen items, and dozens of other gift items. Learn how to prepare your art, what companies to contact, how to find agents, and what trade shows to attend. Includes extensive resources on social media, copyrights, licensing community groups, and lists of interviews with professional designers.

7 Mistakes Greeting Card Writers is a booklet that explains what to avoid when submitting greeting card verse to publishers. Learn how to create a trendy card that reflects the contemporary world we live in, and how to use your own personal experience to create card verse. Topics include: how to avoid limiting your market, when to use adjectives, not creating card for enemies, write like people talk and a list of why card sentiment submissions are often rejected. You can increase your odds of success by 60% just by doing a few simple things. Includes a list of card publishers and their guidelines, links to writer interviews, and writing exercises for how to create good verse.

Unusual Ways To Market Greeting Cards, and 22 places to get your designs featured is a booklet on how to get your cards noticed in non-traditional ways. Everything from why you should send cards to your dentist, to how to get a special feature in national publication. Great tips for designers who are starting out and want to get their cards into the hands of people beyond friends and family. Special Section: 22 Gift Industry Trade Publications who seek out new greeting card designs and feature artists for free.

How to Make an EBook Cover for Non-Designers is an illustrated book will show you how to make your own e-book cover, even if you are not a designer. It is intended to help the indie writer who is on a budget and wants to publish and sell their own book in online stores such and the Apple ibookstore. Selling your book in these stores will allow readers to purchase your book and read it on multiple devices such as the Kindle, iPad, iPhone and many other electronic devices.

Greeting Card Advice from a Sales Rep perspective

What You Didn’t Know About Starting a Greeting Card Line is a great 3 part article by Carolyn Edlund blog that all new card businesses should read. Here are the topics covered from the perspective of a sales rep.

Click on Part 1 Part 2 or Part 3 to see explanations of topics.

PART 1: Topics

Forget about selling a line of blank cards

Greeted card lines must be in the proper proportions.

Start with “Everyday Cards”.

The 80/20 rule applies. . .

Start small and find out what sells.

Cards are usually sold wholesale in packs of six.

Part 2: Topics

How big of a line do you need?

You can have what is called a “pre-select”.

Where do you find display racks?

What size should your cards be?

What size should your cards NOT be?

Indicator Cards.

Define your market.

You are not Hallmark.

Part 3: Topics

How should you price your cards?

What about minimums?

What about returns?

Should you have sales reps selling your line?

Where do you find a sales rep?

Treat your reps well.

What about niche markets?

Should you exhibit at a trade show?

Why shouldn’t you just use CafePress or Zazzle to print your cards?

What other alternatives are there?

Read Articles 1,2 &3 What You Didn’t Know About Starting a Greeting Card Line

Card Publisher Looking for Writers

JQ Greetings is a new company looking for humor copy with that extra spark of wit and originality. What kind of card humor makes you laugh out loud? That's what they're looking for in the following everyday captions:

Friendship (especially woman to woman)
Thinking of You
Just for Fun (thought for the day/ joke to share)
Get Well
Baby Congrats
Missing You
Thank You
Hang in There/Cope


1. If Mailing: Text should be on 3” x 5” index cards, one piece of copy per card. Please number your cards so we can refer to a specific sentiment easily. We prefer typed sentiments unless you have really excellent handwriting anyone can decipher. Include your name, address, phone number and email on the back of each card.

2. If Emailing: Number each idea/verse and include name and contact info. Email to

3. Send us only your best ideas, and no more than 12 at a time. We are not interested in receiving copy that is already out there.

4. Avoid anything too raunchy, but naughty or slightly suggestive is okay.

5. If Mailing: Send a SASE with your submission or we will not be able to return it.

6. Rhymes are okay as long as they are fresh, funny and original.

7. Response time is 1 to 4 weeks.

8. If Mailing: Please send your submissions to: JQ Greetings, P.O. Box 1498, Walker, MN 56484

Compensation is a flat fee for all greeting card publication rights.

To familiarize yourself with the line, go to

Need Card Designer in L.A. area

Urgent need for card designer to do a project:

They are seeking a designer to create charity based greeting cards to be purchased by mothers as gifts for children in two age groups, 7 to 12 and 13 to 18.

The cards need to be unique in that the charity element is special but cannot be seen as religious.

They are in Los Angeles and will be seeking various design themes. Prefer L.A. artist.

Contact Russ WerdinRuss Werdin (949) 474-8600 Ext 111