Showing posts with label Submit to Companies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Submit to Companies. Show all posts

Getting into the Greeting Card Business: New Online Class

I have collaborated with to create an online course on Getting into the Greeting Card Business.  The content is based on my experience of working in the industry for over 20 years, and from publishing over 1,000 cards.

Anytime. Class is self-paced with student/teacher feedback on your final project in the skillshare gallery.

How to Register: 
Register here. 

Cost:  $20

In this class you will learn:
  • The fundamentals of professional card design.
  • Transforming art into a greeting card.
  • Writing sentiments.
  • Making designs "market-ready" according to industry standards.
  • Top selling occasions.
  • How to turn one card into a larger "collection".
  • How to make a card out of any image.
  • Handmade cards.
  • Where and how to sell cards (including online).
  • Licensing art on cards.
  • Manufacturing and distributing nationally.

The class includes:
  • 8 Units
  • 14 videos
  • 39 steps
  • Final project
  • Feedback
Register here.

Free class offers available periodically on my twitter feed, facebook, linkedin and google+ pages.


Venues for Selling Greeting Cards Online

As the greeting card industry changes, I've noticed a dramatic expansion of cards being sold online in a variety of ways: through apps, crowdsourcing, Print-on-demand, and eStores.

Some provide a venue for card designers to sell cards, and others seek out submissions from designers.


These companies usually curate what designs they promote.  They often have design challenges for artists and will feature, print and sell a design based on what their website fans vote for.

Cash award plus 6% royalty.

Type in "cards" in the search bar.

App Makers

These companies usually sell cards through apps on mobile devices. Designs are usually curated and selected by the app makers. Many companies allow the customer to write card text and pay to have it mailed, stamped and sent to the recipient. Many of the app makers also have a companion website for ordering.

Send an email to
Your email should include: 6 card designs and a short statement about why your creative genius and why Felt app is a good fit for you.

Some Cards


Social Cards App

Just Wink
Submit to American Greetings

Additional Card App Companies  (Guidelines Not Available At This Time):

Red Stamp
Ecard Express

Crowdsourcing Call-Outs

These companies post projects by clients who are looking for a designer. Theses companies have greeting card and stationery categories.

* Design Crowd
Has a stationery category.

* 99 Designs
Has a greeting card category.

Print on Demand Card Venues (POD)

These companies allow artists to post card designs on their website.  When a customer orders, the POD company makes and ships the cards.

Greeting Card Universe
Artist is paid percentage of units sold.

Cafe Press
Artist receives profit after manufacturing cost.  Some fees apply for premium memberships.

Artist receives royalty from sales.


eStores: Artist to Consumer Venues

These companies usually allow an artist to post their cards on their site and then when a customer orders, the artist makes and ships the cards.

Artist sets price and ships product. Artist pays fees for website usage and sales commission.

Artist sets price and ships product. Artist pays site a sales commission.

Artist sets price and ships product. Artist pays site a sales commission.

Written Cards
Submission Guidelines:

LOL Cards
10% Commission.

Do you know of additional online greeting card venues?  Send it to


New Business Looking for Card Designer

I received an email from a blog reader Felix Tarnarider, who is looking for someone to design greeting cards. Here is what he said:

I am launching a new e-commerce website and am looking for someone to design 4 distinct greeting cards with a creative and simplistic design of content and cover. Please email if you are interested in working on this design.

List of Greeting Card Companies

I added 5 more companies to the list of card companies who buy art and writing. Check out this page:
Artist & Writer Submission Guidelines for Card Companies
This list is different than the Art Licensing Directory, which includes companies that license art for multiple product categories.

Licensing Artist goes "high tech" in Surtex Booth

When a product director told me he'd seen Surtex artists using iPads in their booths for the buyers to use, I wanted to learn more.

I tracked down one such artist, Dona Gelsinger, whose son Jesse Gelsinger (right) put his skills to work to create a high tech booth, so I asked Jesse if I could interview him on the ways he uses technology in Art Licensing. Here is what he had to say:

How did you decide to use the iPad at Surtex, to promote Dona's art?

In the art licensing industry we’re all painfully familiar with the unwieldy, expanding binders that we lug around to trade shows across the country. They’re a pain to update, heavy to ship and tedious to browse through. When I first read of Apple’s rumored development of an iPad tablet, I was giddy just thinking about holding our entire library in the palm of my hand.

I was not without concern, however. What if the display quality wasn’t good enough sell art? Would the battery life last all day at a show? Above all else, would my customers approve of and benefit from this new method of viewing art?

When I finally received the iPad, one by one, my worries melted away. The display is bright and absolutely gorgeous. Artwork looks as if it were sitting on a lightbox. The battery life is fantastic at around 10 hours of use. Finally, when my two year old son picked it up and casually flipped through pages of Toy Story as if it were any other book, I was totally sold.

Can you give examples of what kind of response you got at Surtex?

My customers were excited to play with the new technology, but more importantly, it allowed them to review artwork quickly and efficiently. The ability to zoom in on artwork and show potential cropping layouts also proved beneficial.

The overwhelming response was “good riddance to the big binders”.

What other technologies did you use in your booth?

In addition to its uses as a digital binder, we displayed slide shows of art, as you would with a digital picture frame. Licensees used the web browser to show us their catalogs and websites. It was perfect for staying on top of emails and taking notes.

What did you do, to make potential art buyers more comfortable with your technology?

Most professionals nowadays have experience with a blackberry, Iphone, laptop and so forth. Using an iPad is naturally intuitive for even the most novice of computer users. Those without smartphone and computer expertise caught on very quickly with the natural interface of using a finger to flip through images.

Can you describe other ways you think technology has changed art licensing?

Technology, once a luxury in our business, now plays a vital role in nearly every aspect, from the creation of art, right down to the final delivery to the client.

Software & Hardware
While some artists are very traditional in their creation on canvas and paper, others are gravitating towards digitally creation with a tablet, stylus and drawing software like Photoshop and Illustrator. Digital creation provides a whole new level of flexibility that you would never have with physical medium.

Editing & Fast Turn Around
Frequently clients will review art and ask for changes that would have been impossible without computers.

Enlarging the size of a figure or animal on canvas for example would mean painting over the figure, on the computer we select the figure, resize and clean up the edges.

The end result is a much faster turnaround. Of course it can be a double-edged sword as well. With the ability comes demand for more frequent changes and art direction.

Transparencies are a Thing of the Past
Aside from art creation, there are dozens of other impacts new technology has had on our business.

Anyone in the business just 10 years ago is familiar with the costs and headaches associated with photographing and making transparencies of original artwork. For us, that’s now a thing of the past.

Making Banners & Marketing Materials
Where we once hired large print shops to handle all of our jobs, we now have our own wide format printer to print our 8’ tradeshow banners, huge client presentations, color proofs, marketing materials and so forth.

Digital File Libraries and Remote Servers
We now use digital file delivery services to send high resolution artwork from our image library to our customers, thereby meeting our deadlines earlier while avoiding costly overnight shipping.

We host a secure, password protected, online library of artwork for our customers to browse. This protects the art from the public domain while still providing our customers with convenience. There are a multitude of web solutions for securing and cataloging images online, we are using an open source solution called Gallery.

The image library, which is our collection of digital assets, is backed up daily to redundant remote servers at Carbonite. This creates an offsite copy of your files every night. They allow you to download any backed up file from any computer. Knowing that your entire art collection won’t be wiped out by a single fire is nice peace of mind.

Also, let’s say you are on vacation and a client needs a high res file ASAP. You can use your laptop or the hotel lobby computer to access your carbonite account, download the necessary file, then use yousendit to send to the client.

Yousendit allows us to digitally transfer high resolution files up to 2 Gigs in size. FTP can do the same thing, but this is much easier for clients. I upload the art and my customer receives an email with a link to download the file. You can track to see how many times your file has been downloaded. This tool has saved us thousands of dollars in overnight shipping costs.

Just-in-time Marketing
Our marketing toolbox has grown exponentially as well. In a matter of days we were able to shoot a digital film of Dona in her studio, edit, mix it and have it digitally transferred to a client for a live television spot. It’s just amazing what we can now accomplish.

What new idea do you want to try at your next show, that you haven't tried yet?

I would like to bring multiple iPads so a team of people can review multiple categories simultaneously. Time is a precious commodity at the shows and if you can speed up the process, you’ll have a shot at more business. I’m also looking forward to using the ipad for shows like AmericasMart where I’ll now be able to carry all of our art in a rolling briefcase!

iPad-Displaying Art in hand held device
Cabonite-Offsite Backup Storage
Yousendit-(ftp) digital transfers for large files
Adobe Suite-Digital image production
Gallery-Create a password-protected online digital Library

After over 15 years of licensing Dona Gelsinger’s artwork exclusively, just last year they expanded the business by offering our services to outside artists. They recognized that having a world class artist as a principle owner of your agency is a tremendously valuable asset. They now represent a small, select group of exceptionally talented artists, designers and cartoonists. Their philosophy is to promote and build the brand of our artists, just as they did with for Dona Gelsinger.

From the day she was able to grasp a pencil, Dona has had a love for art. Inspired by her Grandfather at an early age, she would sit for hours watching him paint. After graduating from Cal State, Long Beach, with a Bachelor's Degree in Art, Gelsinger's first major commission was to paint the Stations of the Cross for St. Denis Church in Diamond Bar, Calif. This project, the creation of 14 near life-size paintings, consumed her artistic energies for nearly two years and won her widespread acclaim.

Demand for Dona's artwork grew at a rapid pace and in 1994, Dona, her husband, Brian and son, Jesse, began publishing and licensing artwork full time. Not long after, Dona created her first collection of inspirational little angels which became an international sensation. Dona's artwork is now branded with top names in entertainment, sports, retail and charity. Her art can be found on prints, greeting cards, gift bags, fabric, home decor and more. Dona is represented by family owned and operated agency, Gelsinger Licensing Group, Inc.

As the son of an artist and an entrepreneur, he was surrounded by business and art from the day he was born. As a small child he remembers going to work with his dad to the family owned business, learning sales, customer service and work ethic and return home to see what the fruits of mom’s labors were after a day at the easel. She treated art as a full time job, a serious business, and it grew to become just that.

After graduating from Southern Oregon University with a degree in Computer Science, Jesse joined the company officially and made the decision to grow beyond a print publisher to license artwork full time. His background is technology has paid dividends in keeping the business ahead of the curve in many areas, being one of the fastest in the industry to deliver artwork, contracts, mockups, and staying ahead deadlines, delivering quality commercial art.

...More Articles on Technology and Art Licensing:


Kate's Greeting Card Designer Booklets on Amazon

You can support this blog by ordering e-Booklets that are a compilation of different articles on this blog starting at only .99 cents! They can be read on your kindle, ipad, ipod, cellphone, or your computer. Free samples and lending options available.


Booklet on 20 Steps to Art Licensing that is a list of suggested steps to to take for getting into art licensing. How to license your art to companies that publish greeting cards, and manufacture coffee mugs, magnets, wall hangings, kitchen items, and dozens of other gift items. This booklet covers 20 basic steps from how to prepare your art, to what companies to contact. It includes topics on: How to find agents, classes and what trade shows to attend. There are extensive resources on social media, licensing community groups, and lists of interviews with professional designers (5,200 words).


Booklet on Unusual Ways To Market Greeting Cards, and 22 places to get your designs featured. A 20 page 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 special features in national publications. 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: Submissions guidelines and contacts for 22 Gift Industry publications and professional gift industry blogs that seek out new greeting card designs to feature for free. (5,000 Words and 17 greeting card images included)


Booklet on 7 Mistakes Greeting Card Writers Make A list of 7 things to avoid when submitting greeting card verse to publishers.

Includes a list of card publishers and their guidelines, links to writer interviews, articles, card samples and other current resources. 20-page booklet and 2,300 words and 8 Pages of Card Samples.

Thanks for helping to support this Blog

Artists or Agents? Tips by Susan January

Susan January
is the Vice President of Product Management at Leanin' Tree, a greeting card publisher that represents over 750 artists.

I asked her if I could share her views from the "manufacturer's view point" whether she prefers to work with agents, or with artists directly.

Here is what she said:

We select art artwork primarily because it's good, fills a creative need we have, and because we believe it's going to make for a great product that will sell-in, and sell-through, at retail. Every art submission that is sent to us is reviewed and considered for publication.

There are wonderful artists who are licensing very successfully on their own. And there are some fantastic agents who are earning every penny. The great thing is -- there's room for both, and manufacturers know that, and will continue to use both as valuable resources!

While the digital shift is changing the way, and the amount of artwork that can be reviewed, all manufacturers have limited staff and resources for reviewing artwork. It's difficult to find and review websites, and the artwork by licensing artists. On our Product Development staff, we don't have anyone whose time can be fully committed to reviewing websites everyday.

From that perspective, it can be easy and convenient to reach out to a licensing agency, give them my "shopping list," and let them respond with lots of possible images from a number of artists.

On the other hand, there is an artist that has great work, is easy and fun to work with, and handles their "art business" professionally and efficiently, I am happy to work directly with them on any project.


Remember, it's all about the Art.
I'm mostly interested in the artwork, and less about whether or not I'm working with an agent or artist.

Timing is important.
I've had meetings with artists at shows, or received submissions from artists or agents, for 3 or more years in a row, before just the right project opened up for us and a particular artist's work!

Manufacturers like Trade shows.
I can't say enough about how valuable shows like Surtex, the Licensing Show, the Atlanta Gift Show, and CHA have become and continue to be for me. I attend every one, and often make it a personal goal to stop at every booth. As long as artists are attending the shows, I'll be there shopping for artwork.

Consider Exhibiting.
Even in this digital age, I truly hope that artists will continue attending and exhibiting at the shows. And I say exhibiting for a reason: my goal at a show is to see as much artwork as possible, and to meet as many artists as possible. I believe I can do that most effectively and efficiently within the exhibit hall, and not trying to run from one end of a convention center to the other to meet with artists who are in the building but not exhibiting.

I've made it a new practice that I am only meeting with artists at a show who are in a booth! It's what the show is for, and I want to support it.

To submit art Leanin' Tree, See guidelines. To learn more about art agents, see a list of U.S. Agents and Agents outside the United States on Joan Beiriger's Blog.

Susan January is the Vice President of Product Management for Leanin’ Tree, Inc., a 60-year old greeting card and gift manufacturer located in Boulder, Colorado. In her current role, Susan provides direction for the company’s long-term product strategy, which includes product planning, allocation and assignment of design and editorial product-related duties, and management of the company’s internal creative staff. In addition, she secures, develops and manages all existing and future external creative resources, which currently numbers more than 750 artists and licensing agents, across all greeting card and gift product categories. Prior to joining Leanin’ Tree in 1998, Susan spent 10 years in product development and art licensing at Barton-Cotton, Inc., in Baltimore, MD, developing greeting card and social expressions products for fundraising programs for national non-profit organizations.

Card Publisher Talks about the Digital Shift

Mike Rhoda is the product director at Leanin' Tree and I first met him through linkedin. I thought this was a perfect example of how social media is becoming the new way people do business together. I asked him to answer questions about new media, the digital shift and how it affects the card industry.

When one pulls back the curtain and talks to someone who works for a card publisher, often you will find a very creative person behind the desk. This is also the case with Mike Rhoda. He entered the greeting card industry as a sentiment writer, became a product director, and now also illustrates cards for Leanin' Tree. I've included some of his art in this interview.

What is your role at Leanin Tree?

As product director at Leanin’ Tree, I am charged with overseeing the product development of our card and gift lines, working with teams of product managers, writers, and in-house designers in the process.

Generally speaking, Susan January, our vice president of product management is usually the first contact an outside artist will have with Leanin’ Tree. If she believes that an artist’s work might be a good fit with our product lines, she will get with me and a few others in the creative department to gauge our interest level. Once it has been established that we would like to work with the artist and contractual matters are settled, I enter the artist’s world in a larger way, becoming the primary contact with him or her regarding the specifics and execution of the project planned.

I am also a part of the Leanin’ Tree writing team, and more recently, I have been allowed to do a little illustration work for our western humor line.

We first met on linkedin. Tell me your story of how this came to be.

I met you, Kate, through linkedin shortly after I became a member of that network. My motivation for signing up was to keep up with what was going on in the greeting card industry in general rather than using it to source art content. Nevertheless, I quickly became absorbed in all of the conversations that were taking place in the various groups in which I became a member.

Whenever someone said something of note, I would then click on their profile to see what their background and experience level was—sort of as a way to gauge how much weight to give to what that person was saying. Your name popped up frequently as you are actively involved in many conversations. When I drilled a little deeper to find out who you were, I landed on your website, recognized that I was already familiar with your work in the marketplace, and decided to make an introduction. And the rest is history.

I tend to be a bit of a “lurker” on websites like these because, as mentioned earlier, I’m not really the first contact artists should have for working with Leanin’ Tree. And, besides, I would probably be turned off a bit if I got a hard pitch/request to review someone’s art on that site because, unlike the Surtex show and other venues, I’m not really there for that purpose. Most of the interaction I have had with artists on linkedin has not been visible to the general audience. Instead, I have communicated through private messages as I did with you. In fact, as I recall, my initial message to you was a simple compliment on your work and not a business proposition.

If I were an artist hoping to “shop my wares,” I would tread carefully on linkedin. I think an artist is better served by participating in conversations and being helpful to others. Make sure your personal profile has links to your website or to places where your work can be seen.
Having said that, I try not to be too much of a snob, so if a fellow member of a group I have joined sends me the linkedin connection request, I tend to accept it and will generally review that person’s profile to see where they fit in the social expressions world.

Can you tell me any other stories, about things you discovered on linkedin, that really surprised you?

What has surprised me the most about linkedin is the simply the number of little groups that have been formed that have relevance to the social expressions and licensing industry. I am particularly pleased to see the amount of support groups, blogs, etc., for artists of varying experience levels that are open and available to all.

Anyone willing to do a little reading and research can find pretty much everything needed to jump start his or her career. This is only possible due to the kindness and generosity that exists in the artist community.
I think new artists should search thoroughly through these sites to find answers before asking a question that’s been asked and answered a thousand times before…kind of like asking how to spell a word when you have a dictionary on your desk. Just because the art community is benevolent, that doesn’t mean you should test its patience.

Do you ever go to other online sites to look for art? Where do you think licensing artists should publicize their work?

There are a number of individual artist and art agency websites we go to that serve the various niches covered by our product lines. Stock photo sites are places we review from time to time.

Whether or not an artist needs an agent is a totally separate topic worthy of its own discussion, but one of the advantages of having an agent is that it provides a degree of one-stop shopping. If I’m looking for wildlife images, for example, an agency site that reps a number of wildlife artists will be an efficient way for me to review art by animal type or theme—if the site is set up to do that.

If I’m representing myself and I were a new artist wanting to submit to Leanin’ Tree or another manufacturer, I would do my homework and make sure that my work fit into their lines, both in terms of the quality level of the art and the subject matter covered.

It’s disappointing to receive art samples from someone who clearly didn’t do any research whatsoever. But if your research shows that your work may be a good fit, then you should send your best dozen or so designs with a cover letter pointing to a website where more of your work can be seen. If your samples are good, there will be sufficient motivation to get the art reviewer to click through to your website.

While I don’t think we have discovered anyone through Zazzle, Etsy, and similar websites, I don't see a major downside to having exposure there. There may be other manufacturers who do review those types of websites for art content, so those sites should be considered.

In this new digital age, what are some things you wished all artists knew? And how might they go about learning it?

Digital may be greener, but it’s not always faster or friendlier. Think about this: If you were charged with reviewing fifty pieces of unsolicited art, would you rather have fifty tear sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper to flip through at your fingertips, or would you prefer to get five disks containing ten illustrations each that load at varying speeds depending on file size?

And with each file that loads, remember that you have to print the illustration and then document the artist’s name and illustration title on each sheet before you can share it with anyone else involved in the art selection process. (Which basically brings you back to where you’d be if the illustrations had just come to you on the tear sheets to begin with.)

Now up that fifty pieces of art awaiting review to a few thousand and you have a typical week of submissions we might be faced with here. I’m not saying we all shouldn’t be green or that digital is bad, I just think the artists need to consider how user-friendly their submissions are.

Update since the original publication of this article:
As part of a plan to concentrate more time and focus on his own art licensing, Mike will be transitioning from his present position as product director to working as a home-based, full-time writer for Leanin’ Tree. Therefore, all future inquiries regarding licensing opportunities with Leanin’ Tree should be directed to Susan January.


File Formats
Keep your submissions low-res and make it so that the artist name and title prints with the image so the review doesn’t have to do that work. Of course, you don’t have to do any of those things—only if you want to be considered easy to work with. So whether you’re sending in disks, emailing with jpeg attachments, or whatever the digital form your submission might take, just think about the person at the other end of the line.

You still need to invest in a scanner. Many manufacturers no longer have designers on staff or they’ve cut that staff dramatically, so anything you can do to make your art production-ready is a good thing. Scanning your art and saving it into a digital format will help you in that effort.

If you’re a traditional artist, you still need to know a little Photoshop. You’ll also find that Photoshop layers are a wonderful thing for artists who want to reformat and resell their work. Information on this is already out there in great detail on sites you can access through the linkedin artist community.

Submitting to Leanin' Tree
We don't need art submissions at the moment, but as the economy changes, our needs will likely change, so please check back with us via our website. Having said that, if we come across an artist who happens to fill a perceived need that our current network of art sources cannot provide, then we would consider bringing on a new art partner.


Unusual website you like: I’ve never met this artist/animator, but I came across his website one evening and got quite a chuckle out of it.

Last book you read: The TV Writer's Workbook: A Creative Approach To Television Scripts (Paperback) by Ellen Sandler. It doesn’t pertain exactly to what I’m doing now, but I think it will help me as a writer.

Your favorite Trade Show: I love the New York Stationery/Surtex show because I get to see what the competition is doing, I get to review updated artist portfolios, and I get to reunite with friends I haven’t seen in a year. I have one artist friend who lives in the same small Colorado town as I do, but I only see him in New York.

The last thing you laughed about: The great thing about my job is that there are so many opportunities to laugh. More often than not, I’m laughing at something one of the writers wrote that will never see the light of day—at least on any card or gift product we produce!

Last podcast you listened to: Last night I listened to and watched a podcast explaining a surfing technique that I am not able to do.

Best event you ever attended: My son’s birth.

The next thing you want to learn: The surfboard podcast technique and Flash Animation.

Your path into the card business: Regarding my art, I am self-taught. In a previous life, I daydreamed of getting into the greeting card business. I naively thought that one person did everything—the art, the lettering, and the writing. So I approached it that way.

Years ago, I was fortunate enough to develop a friendship with an artist at Current in Colorado Springs, and I showed him my card concepts. He kindly told me that my art showed promise, but that I needed to polish it up a bit. But then he asked me who did the writing, because he thought it was good. He then introduced me to the editorial manager at Current, and I managed to enter the business as a writer. I have just recently started to illustrate cards for Leanin’ Tree.
(Sample card illustrations included in this interview. Photo of horse: Leanin' Tree Sculpture Garden)

LIcensing to the Greeting Card Industry

Joan Beiriger has written an article called "Licensing Art to the Greeting Card Industry." and makes 4 points about what manufacturers look for:

1. Generates the "ah" response,
2. is unique,
3. the style does not compete with another artist(s) style that the manufacturer is already licensing,* and
4. the artist has a body of work that can be put together into a cohesive collection.

Read entire article...

Nobleworks Looking for New Character

Noble Works Inc. is sponsoring a contest to develop and design an iconic, simply illustrated character, for consideration to be incorporated into the design of Noble Works' greeting cards. The winner will receive $500.

Entries should be sent to


Deadline for all contest submissions is Monday, March 8, 2010. The “What a Character!” contest winner will be announced by March 31, 2010, and will receive a $500 check.

Each contestant may submit up to 3 separate entries. All entries should be e-mailed to Ron Kanfi at with the words “What a Character! Contest” in the subject line of the e-mail, or by mail to Ron Kanfi c/o NobleWorks, 123 Grand street Hoboken, New Jersey 07030. Each submission must also include your full name, business name if any, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address. Failure to include this information will disqualify the contestant’s entry.

For more details, see contest webpage.

Writer Submissions Wanted for Calypso Cards

I wanted to pass along this posting:

Calypso Cards publishes sophisticated and innovative greeting cards and other products. We work with a handful of ghost writers who provide fresh, original copy that approaches the greeting card from a new angle. Generally the artwork is done after the text has been selected.
We are currently looking for writers for our Selfish Kitty line. This line has a loyal following and is contemporary, clever and edgy, although never mean, cruel or degrading – please keep the card sender and recipient in mind when writing. Selfish Kitty buyers tend to be college-educated, college-town or urban dwellers, women and men aged between 20 and 50. Please see our website to get an idea of what sells:

Calypso cards pays a flat fee of $50.00 for full copyright on complete, well-written card copy (both inside and outside text) with no editing necessary. After work is accepted for publication, a writer must sign a Calypso Cards Copyright Assignment Agreement.

We are looking for submissions for the following occasions: Birthday, Anniversary, Friendship/Love/Thinking of You, Get Well, Sorry, Baby, Thank You, Belated Birthday, New Home, Congratulations, Wedding, Retirement. We also publish some blank cards and other products such as refrigerator magnets and notebooks.

Interview with Wall Art Manufacturer

Copyright © 2010 GCDesigner

Bob Koehler, of Koehler Companies, Inc is a special person to me because he was the first company I licensed with. I attribute all my subsequent success to the opportunity he gave me.

It was because of Bob that I took my first steps into licensing, and left a hectic, 12 hours a day manufacturing business. After receiving one of my first checks from him, I remember calling him, and apologizing for having been so reluctant to license.

At the time I didn't know what licensing was. Bob convinced me that licensing was worth trying, since there was no risk involved, and it wouldn't compete with my other products. He was right.

Without his prodding and encouragement, I don't think I would be where I am today. It was truly a life changing experience. Now I can actually spend my days making new designs, rather than meeting with the UPS man everyday.

I asked Bob if I could interview him about art licensing, to get the "manufacturer's viewpoint," and he was kind enough to offer his knowledge and experience.

QUESTION: For my readers who know nothing about Koehler Companies, can you describe exactly what your business does?

BOB: Koehler Companies has been in business since he mid 80’s. While the products have evolved over time its sole mission has been to design products for (giftware oriented) mail order catalog industry. We work with writers and artists to create affordable wall d├ęcor (decorative plaques and framed prints) with a message and then sub-contract out the manufacture.

How did you end up getting into this business?

I moved to Minneapolis from a small Northern Wisconsin town in 1975 to attend Northwestern College of Chiropractic. A friend got me a job making candles. By the end of Summer I was intrigued with the whole “business thing’ so I put off school and became a partner in the candle company.

Three years later I decided I liked the sales side of the business so I started a manufacturer’s rep agency in the wholesale giftware business. After 19 years of owning that I sold the company and moved full time into what is now Koehler Companies.

Exposure to the mail order catalog industry was the result of selling other people’s products to the catalogs when I had the rep agency. While doing that I realized that a more focused approach to meeting the catalog industries unique needs had merit. So far, so good.

How many artists do you work with and how do you discover them?

All things come in multiple ways. The truth is that I work with very few artists. The type of art we use is a support to the writing so it cannot overpower that aspect of the final product.

I work with a few local artists that can react quickly to needs that arise and several licensed artists.

On occasion I work with randomly submitted art. This is more challenging for most artists and my company as most are complete picture oriented rather than product oriented.

Admittedly, that’s hard for artists to consider when they have had little product use exposure. All total I may work with 4-6 artists a year.

What do you think is the biggest mistakes artists make when submitting designs?

Not doing their homework.

Most small companies simply do not have time to be approached on the basis of “I’ll throw this against the wall, to many companies, to see what sticks”. If you are able to do even a simple search of a company’s history and products you can target specific art to their potential needs. Even if you miss you will get a more sympathetic ear from the approach.

As an artist you will also begin a long term learning process of “learning the market”.

The most valuable and successful artists have gone through this learning curve and “get it” more often than not, regarding product use.

I personally know that you raise money for schools in Africa. Can you tell us how you got in involved in this and information on this group?

This is a personal passion that I’ve been involved in since the idea surfaced eight short years ago. A friend grew up the son of a missionary in Africa until the age of 12. He became quite successful and now devotes much of his time to building a school in Tanzania. Some unique things about this school;

  • All children have lost both parents to AIDS.
  • The kids live at the school year round
  • The best and brightest among them are selected to go to the school.
  • In addition to the three R’s there is a heavy focus on developing entrepreneurial skills.

In a country where no jobs exist it didn’t do much good to simply educate a child and set him or her free.

To accomplish this, the school has set up joint venture education programs with several university grad schools in the States (U of Michigan, U of Colorado, U of Minnesota). Their business grad students develop curriculum and, in some cases, teach on site.

Their bottom line goal is lofty: To educate the next leaders in industry in the country, perhaps the next president of the country. It’s now the largest project of its type in the country. It’s called Peach House Foundation. Check them out Currently more than 500 children are being educated there.


Message or quotation you have on your bulletin board:

I have three on my office door:

-Two things a man should never be angry at; what he cannot help and what he can help. -Thomas Fuller

-I’m looking forward to looking back on all of this.

-You’re not the boss of me. (still trying to keep the little boy alive)

Industry publication you like to read:

I occasionally peruse Gift and Decorative Accessories and walk local specialty stores. For the most part, though, I try not to be influenced by others work since I’m always trying to create something fresh.

Conference or show you like, and why:

Atlanta Gift Show is sensory overload but probably the best one stop shop for an overview of the gift/decorative accessory world. The stationary show is good for me to see as it runs alongside Surtex as well, though it’s been several years since I’ve attended.

Tip that saves you a lot time in your work:

Staying focused on areas that I understand best and will give the best return.

Technology you use:

I’m pretty low tech for the most part. I use a PC at my desk, a Mac Book for travel and recently bought a large format HP ink jet printer. This allows me to print up to 11 X 17 with quite good quality balanced with relative low cost per print.

On line/off site back ups have become a must now too. I used to have two hard drives in my computer that mirrored one another. If one went down the second would kick in with a little effort. The unthinkable happened last year when both went down within an hour of each other. I know have an external hard drive and a real time on line back up. I’m ready for Armageddon.

Website you visit for your business purposes:

Quote sites can sometimes be helpful. I use Google a lot for random searches based on subject matter. Recently some searches included Native American quotes and quotes of comfort after a personal loss.

Make sure you have a malware program and good anti-virus program though. Lot’s of junk out there with bugs attached.

Contact Info:

Bob Koehler

Koehler Companies, Inc

I have a rather old site that needs some updating at and a new retail site I recently launched called . I trademarked the name ROMEO which is an acronym for Retired Old Men Eating Out. There are ROMEO groups all over the country. Nothing formal or organized, just a word of mouth spread. I thought it would be fun to launch a retail site and then follow up with a wholesale program for retailers to promote. My e-mail is

Interview with Brush Dance Greeting Card Company

Check out this interview with Brush Dance on Artsyshark blog:


QUESTION: How do you go about finding artists you may want to use for your Brush Dance products?

Rumi Journals

BRUSHDANCE: Two basic ways. We regularly receive submissions from artists who have seen our products and feel that their work fits well with what we are doing. Increasingly, though, artists are finding us through Facebook and Twitter. At least a few times a week, I get questions about how to submit art. Second, we search for artists. Etsy and independent artist websites have been terrific resources for us, but we also keep an eye on design blogs and a variety of magazines and other publications.

Interview continued...

Nobleworks Looking for Card Submissions

I just ran across this! - Deadline December 10th. Here's a post from their Facebook Page:

As the Christmas season approaches and you find yourself in the spirit, please start collecting new material for your pals here at NobleWorks. We need humor, rough sketches and concepts by December 1st. Email them to me at whenever they are ready.
And please remember to keep it bright, funny and twisted. These days people really need a reminder of the fun and happy side of life.

How to Organize Greeting Card Submissions

Copyright © 2009 Greeting Card Designer

Why should artists keep their card submissions organized when they send them off to companies?

-To avoid resubmitting the same card twice.

-To keep track of which card was submitted to what company.

-To show the status of any given card at any point in time.

-To keep a record of rejected cards, so you can redesign or adjust them.

-Once you have 50-100 cards, you need some sort of system for organization.

Here's a simple, functional filing system.

Step 1.
Get a heavy shoe box or re-purpose an index card filing box.

(filing system)

Step 2. Cut Extra heavy duty 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 cardboard or mat board.
These will be used for dividers to separate major categories such as Birthday, Valentine's Day, a specific company, etc.

(mat board or heavy cardboard)

Step 3. Cut several 5x7 pieces of cardstock for each card sample.

(cardstock or heavy paper)

Step 4. Gather a copy of every card you have ever submitted.

(card assortment)

Step 5. Photocopy or Print out the front image and the inside text of each card.
Make light copies. (can be adjusted with photoshop opacity) This will allow you to write notes on top of the image, and it will also save ink.

You can put both parts of the card together on one page and print them on a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. print as a 5x7 folded card.

(sample front and inside of card)

Step 6. Glue the image of the card onto a piece of the 5x7 cardstock.
(glue inside text copy on backside of cardstock).

(inside text of card glued on cardstock, printed very light)

Step 7. Write any reference numbers or holiday code on the card.
It helps you know where it belongs in the file.

(card data)

Step 8. After submitting the card to a company, keep a running record of information. On this card sample (below) I have the following handwritten notes of things that happened time.
-The occasion category (Birthday-Juvenile)
-The 8 digit ID number the card company gave me.
-The date I sent the art.
-The date of the result. In this case, the company wants to hold the card because they might have a place for it later on. After 6 months, I will call the company, and write an additional note on the card about the phone call.

(card sample with handwritten information)

Step 9. Once the card has been accepted by the company, and they send back a sample, replace the cardstock copy with the "real" card.
Write all reference information on the front, such as what day it will be released on store shelves, along with the past history (when it was accepted, when you submitted art, etc)

All cards, no matter if they were rejected, accepted, or are in any stage of the process, should end up in the file, because you need to know the history of what happened with each design. Then, when Mother's Day submission time comes around, you can easily pull out all the mother's day cards and analyze what happened last year. What cards did you already submit? What succeeded? What failed? What was printed? What was held? This helps you decide what to submit this time around.

(finished card arrives from the company)

Step 10. Where do you submit?
Check out this list of company guidelines.

Want to see more articles like this? Then be brave! Share your organizing tip and leave a comment below. Your ideas help other artists. We all don't need to reinvent the wheel. -Kate

Kate's Greeting Card Designer Booklets on Amazon

You can support this blog by ordering e-Booklets that are a compilation of different articles on this blog starting at only .99 cents! They can be read on your kindle, ipad, ipod, cellphone, or your computer. Free samples and lending options available.


Booklet on 20 Steps to Art Licensing that is a list of suggested steps to to take for getting into art licensing. How to license your art to companies that publish greeting cards, and manufacture coffee mugs, magnets, wall hangings, kitchen items, and dozens of other gift items. This booklet covers 20 basic steps from how to prepare your art, to what companies to contact. It includes topics on: How to find agents, classes and what trade shows to attend. There are extensive resources on social media, licensing community groups, and lists of interviews with professional designers (5,200 words).


Booklet on Unusual Ways To Market Greeting Cards, and 22 places to get your designs featured. A 20 page 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 special features in national publications. 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: Submissions guidelines and contacts for 22 Gift Industry publications and professional gift industry blogs that seek out new greeting card designs to feature for free. (5,000 Words and 17 greeting card images included)


Booklet on 7 Mistakes Greeting Card Writers Make A list of 7 things to avoid when submitting greeting card verse to publishers.

Includes a list of card publishers and their guidelines, links to writer interviews, articles, card samples and other current resources. 20-page booklet and 2,300 words and 8 Pages of Card Samples.

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