A card making business is a great outlet for artistic teens looking to make money on their own. There is a wide variety of natural materials that can be added to your cards to decorate them and create interest such as leaves, twigs, cotton and other natural fibers, in addition to markers, paints, glitter, die-cuts, stickers and more that add creativity. Making greeting cards is a an exciting form of self expression so anything goes!
You can come up with your own ideas or look through magazines and on scrapbooking Websites to get design ideas and turn them into your own creation without copying others. You can copy the basic shape layout, without copying every aspect of the design.
To start with, you’ll want to create a wide variety of cards – note cards, greeting cards, even postcards and book marks for your customers to choose from. You can rubber stamps, and decorative scissors, frames, trims, mounting squares and much more to add variety. If you’re already a scrapbooker, you probably already have a selection of cardmaking ideas and embellishments, and may already be adept at making your own cards and papercraft items.
Print some nice business cards with your name, a way to reach you such as an email address or a telephone number, and a list of your services. You can use rubber stamps and make these yourself for more impact, or you can buy some readymade cards to print on the computer, thought they will cost more and you’ll have to wait for them to be printed.
Once you have several cards ready to sell, you can begin by showing your cards to local business owners who may be interested in selling them in their stores. Take a few of your favorite cards and put them inside plastic sheet protectors and place those a three-ring binder. This will create your portfolio that you can continue to add to as your business builds.
Create a simple price sheet that you can hand out to customers and place a few copies in the front of your portfolio. To find prices, determine what it costs to make each card based on the supplies used, and price similar cards and items in a stationery store, then set your prices accordingly. You probably want to offer bulk discounts for stores or even individuals such as “buy three, get one free” or 25 cards for the price of 20, etc.
Dress nicely (remember, you’re a business person now and you want to portray this, so look your best). Stop by a prospective store (not at lunch time or during a rush) and ask to speak to the store owner or manager. Local drug stores, craft shops, resale stores and other businesses are a great place to start.
Once you’ve asked to speak to the manager, wait politely. Quietly look around your surroundings and notice how they have their store set up. You want to portray yourself as professional, so don’t fidget, look impatient, or bother the employees with questions or purchases at this time.
When the manager or buyer arrives tell them something along the lines of, “Hi, my name is Sara and I wanted to ask you if you would be interested in displaying a few of my handcrafted cards in your store.” Hand the manager your portfolio binder and encourage him or her to browse and look over your cards. Remain calm and quiet, giving the prospective buyer a chance to see your work.
If the manager likes your cards, they will sometimes be happy to display a few for sale right then. If they only want to start with a few that’s okay. You have your foot in the door, so to speak, so be flexible and work with them.
Ideally, it would be best if the store owner bought the cards outright, but if they are unwilling to do that, ask if they can take them on consignment. That means they would pay you only if the cards sell. Offer the store owner or manager a commission on all cards that sell through consignment.
If they choose not to display your cards, thank them politely for their time and ask them if you can leave a business card with them in case they change their mind. And ask if they know of other stores in the area who might be interested.
Other options you can use to market your cards is to show them to friends and family and offer to make custom cards for them if they’re interested.
Or set up a booth at a fair or community event such as a Christmas bazaar, or flea market. Set some out at a yard sale. Or post flyers around town offering them for sale. Be sure to have plenty of business cards on hand and be ready to take orders in case someone wants something you don’t currently have made up. You can also set out cards that are all ready to go and sell them right there.
Design your own website, or have a friend do it for you, and take orders over the Internet. Just be sure to mail your cards out quickly as soon as you receive payment. PayPal is the best way to receive payment online and it’s free for personal use.
One teen created a set of wedding invitations for her older sister and made quite a tidy sum with them. She included small return cards for RSVPs as well as Thank You cards for the bride and groom, and place setting cards for the wedding reception. Her sister bride was thrilled with the sentiment of the items, and the cardmaker was pleased with her profit.
This young entrepreneur event went one step further and copied her sister’s wedding vows onto some lovely paper and had it framed as a special gift that tied in with the theme of all her other cards and invitations.
The sky is the limit when you enjoy making cards and continue to look for unique and fun cardmaking ideas. You can truly go as far as your ideas will take you with this endeavor!