This is an excerpt from Get Your Greeting Cards Into Stores: How to Find and Work With Sales Reps (Updated 2017 paperback) If you like to make greeting cards, this book explains how to get your cards into stores and sell them nationwide. Learn about changing trends in the indie card market and niche opportunities available for artists. Book includes detailed guidelines on pricing cards for a profit, getting professional feedback on your designs, finding sales representatives, pitching your card line to them, approaching stores, and the industry standards you should follow. Information is also applicable to gift items, such as magnets, journals and calendars.
Why Artists Like to Work With RepsBesides generating orders, there are many benefits to working with reps. Here are just a few:
Quick Access to Stores.
Reps offer quick access into the marketplace. Once a rep has a sample set of your card line, they can start showing it to stores immediately.
Reps Sell More Than Artists.
Reps usually have years of sales experience and personal relationships with hundreds of stores. Therefore, a rep is able to sell more cards than an artist could.
Reps Know What Stores Want.
Reps know store owner’s personalities, what kind of products they like, and what types of customers visit each store. Reps build bridges between the artist, the store and the customer.
Reps Are Industry Experts.
Sales reps have valuable information on buying trends and can advise an artist on how to explore new directions.
Easier to Distribute Risk.
An artist can avoid financial risk if they have several independent reps throughout the country. For example, if you put your entire card line in the hands of one middleman, store chain or distributor, and later they drop you, your business will end overnight. On the other hand, if you lose one sales rep, it is only a temporary setback until you find a replacement.
One of the biggest advantages of working with sales reps is the artist pays a commission to them instead of a salary (usually 15-20 percent of the wholesale price). Therefore, reps have an incentive to sell more of your cards, because the more they sell, the more money they also make.
Another benefit of working with reps is that since they are not employees, the artist does not have to deal with state and federal employee regulations such workman’s compensation, disability and social security taxes.
Reps are Invested in the Artist’s Success
When a rep decides to carry a card line, they have made a personal investment in the artist’s success and has confidence the cards will sell. It is a win–win for everyone.