New Tabletop products by Kate Harper


On Friday I like to I like to post something I recently designed. Here's a set of tabletop products released by Thirstystone.

Some of these items can be purchased retail, on Amazon.com such as the placemats.


Sign up on my business facebook page to see other releases.

Advantages of a Handmade Card Business Part 3: Take Advantage of Trends

by Kate Harper


The third advantage of a handmade card business is that you can take advantage of market trends.


Handmade cards can take advantage of popular market trends faster then printed card companies. If you see a trend in the marketplace, you can respond to it in a month or two. In comparison, large companies can take over a year to publish a design. At large companies, writers, artists and editors work to develop cards that may take as long as 18 months to reach the consumer.


During the early days of German reunification, when the Berlin wall was coming down and spirits were high, I designed and marketed a Christmas card with a quote from Gorbachev that read "For all that separates us, we have one planet." It was an immediate hit, largely because of my ability to get it on the market at the right moment.


Since handmade cards can be put on the market quickly, political humor, new trends in the market, changing attitudes in the buyer, elections, musical hits or any subtle societal change are good opportunities for a hand-crafted card maker.




See Other Advantages of a Handmade Card Business:


Handmade Card Business Part 1: Financial Investment

Handmade Card Business Part 2: You Change Designs Quickly

Handmade Card Business Part 3: Take Advantage of Trends

Handmade Card Business Part 4: More Designs & High Quality

Handmade Card Business Part 5: Higher Retail Price

Handmade Card Business Part 6: Homebased

Handmade Card Business Part 7: Easier for Beginners

Handmade Card Business Part 8: Card & Gift in one

Advantages of a Handmade Card Business Part 2: You Change Designs Quickly

by Kate Harper

Advantage #2 You can change designs quickly.


I know that every card I put on the market is a risk.


Sometimes I feel so confident that a card is going to do well but later on I find out it was a flop. On some occasions the opposite happens. Over the years I have come to narrow down the options of what I think will work, but ultimately, I never know.


At times I have had reps tell me to change the color or materials of the card, because they think it will sell better. It is easy to do this quickly and get the card back into the market, which is an advantage over larger companies who commercially printcards. Their changes are going to incur more time, more risk and more expense.


Having to change your original idea one or more times is a normal part of any business, but especially in the card business which is a fashion industry. The most often asked question by store buyers is "What's new?"


The card industry constantly demands new ideas and designs. It's not like selling tools, where once a hammer sells, the store just reorders the same hammer to restock the shelf. You can expect greeting card store shelves to change every three months, with new items, new designs and new card makers, (and possibly, to your advantage, one of them might be you).


It's hard to go back to the drawing board and redo the design, but as a hand-crafted card maker, you really do have an advantage. You can try many ideas, readjust them quickly and then get back in the market quickly.



See Other Advantages of a Handmade Card Business:


Handmade Card Business Part 1: Financial Investment

Handmade Card Business Part 2: You Change Designs Quickly

Handmade Card Business Part 3: Take Advantage of Trends

Handmade Card Business Part 4: More Designs & High Quality

Handmade Card Business Part 5: Higher Retail Price

Handmade Card Business Part 6: Homebased

Handmade Card Business Part 7: Easier for Beginners

Handmade Card Business Part 8: Card & Gift in one

Advantages of a Handmade Card Business Part 1: Financial Investment

by Kate Harper


For the home-based business, the handmade card has several advantages. The first advantage is they require a small financial investment.


Handmade greeting cards are low risk. You can easily and cheaply buy enough supplies to actually try out your ideas in the marketplace. For example, If you came up with 20 designs and you wanted to make a dozen of each design to show to stores for feedback, you don't have to print up a 1000 of each card design. You can easily handmake 12 copies of each card without incurring major expenses.


Many supplies can be bought at the local art store or outlets. For example, here are some example costs for creating 20 new cards, a dozen of each card (total 240):

1 box of envelopes (250) an outlet store $10-$15

1 package of cardstock (250 sheets) $10-$15

Cellophane bags (250) $10-$13

Glue (1 small bottle) $3

Assortment of papers/materials $20-$50

Pens, pencils, markers or paints $10-$20

Total $73-$120



If you tried print the same amount of cards professionally, you could easily spend $1000. On the other hand, if you create a line of handmade cards and they don't sell, you aren't stuck with lots of expensively created, unsold cards.


Of course, after you start a full blown card business you're going to incur many other expenses, such as marketing costs, labor, sales representatives and others. But the point I make here is that before you actually invest a lot into the details of starting your business, you will be able to "test out" your ideas first, and possibly adjust them before you make any major financial leap.


Starting a home-based card business does not require a large amount of money, rather it requires "sweat-equity," time and energy. If you have the money to blow, then go ahead. But if you can't take the financial risk, don't go overboard by being tempted to buy things you think you are "supposed to" have. I am an avid believer in keeping things cheap and simple. I am always ask myself "Do I really need this to run the business or am I just giving myself a perk?"


I was so frugal when I first started my business, that I didn't even have professional business cards. I used store bought invoices and hand-stamped my name on them. I collected used shipping boxes from local stores and then slapped a "RECYCLED PAPER" sticker on it.


The one thing I did not skimp on though, was the actual product: the card. I used high quality materials, and was willing to spend what was necessary to make the product the best it could be. Over time, I was able to hire contract labor, buy real invoices, buy business cards, get promotional materials, and pay reps.





See Other Advantages of a Handmade Card Business:


Handmade Card Business Part 1: Financial Investment

Handmade Card Business Part 2: You Change Designs Quickly

Handmade Card Business Part 3: Financial Investment

Handmade Card Business Part 4: More Designs & High Quality

Handmade Card Business Part 5: Higher Retail Price

Handmade Card Business Part 6: Homebased

Handmade Card Business Part 7: Easier for Beginners

Handmade Card Business Part 8: Card & Gift in one

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