If you are into design and graphics and love to make your own greeting cards, starting a greeting card company could be a good way to supplement your income or start a full time business.There are ways to get started.The other is to make cards for companies that hire graphic designers.You can start your own greeting card company and sell products to companies or directly to customers.While they build their business, some designers do a combination of the two.
Step 1: Find companies that want to work with designers.
The GCA has a listing of members that accept submissions.Before sending in any samples or submissions, you need to contact them.There is only one contact information listed.Artists Market has opportunities for graphic designers who create greeting cards.
Step 2: Guidelines for submission.
Individual companies have their own guidelines for submitted artwork.They will have a specific address or person to send submissions to, which may be different than the person you contact for information.Before you submit something to them, make sure you know the company's guidelines.
Step 3: The company's guidelines require samples to meet them.
They ask for genre and themes in the creation of cards.You should include your name and contact information in your submissions.It's a good idea to include a copyrighted work in your artwork.If you would like to have your work returned, include a pre-addressed stamped envelope for the editor to use.Specific types of card designs are what some companies are looking for.These can be themes that the company promotes, or popular events that people like to purchase cards for.Stay on message.When designing, look at the type of cards they produce, and how those materials will affect the medium you are working with.Think about the type of company you are submitting to.You will face stiff competition if you have diverse demands.Smaller companies can have a tighter focus on what they want, but will be more likely to gain acceptance if they fit their niche.Some designers like to start with smaller companies so they can get some work accepted and build a reputation.
Step 4: Even when you are rejected, keep trying.
If you are denied by one greeting card company, move on to the next one.You can't take criticism personally because this is a business.You shouldn't be afraid to make changes that the editorial staff suggests.
Step 5: Negotiating payment.
Most of the time, cards are accepted on a flat fee basis.If you propose a line of cards, you may be able to negotiate royalties or an advance against future royalties.The company will purchase your work for a flat fee if you submit text.The price of jokes and other "punchline" work will be higher than poetry or verse.You will be able to license your work if you submit artwork.This will allow the company to reproduce your work for a limited period, and possibly in a restricted market.You can license the work to other companies if they don't conflict with your existing contracts.Licensing fees can range from a low of $275 to a high of $500.
Step 6: Define the market you're in.
Who are you trying to sell to?What audience do you want to target?You want designs and messages that appeal to those audiences when you design a line of cards.You can find your niche.Think about how you will differentiate yourself.Your brand is part of your niche.If you specialize in a certain type of message, it can be hard to branch out as your name becomes associated with that style.Decide what kind of cards you want to make.You can either create pre-produced cards that people buy, or you can design custom-made cards for specific clients.If you already have a customer locked in instead of hoping someone will buy your work, you can produce more guaranteed money, but you also lose some creative control as you must produce what the client wants.
Step 7: Current trends should be looked for.
Card stores, craft fairs, and companies that sell online are good places to keep track of new greeting cards.Reviewing submission guidelines and requests from major publishers is a good way to find out what sorts of cards people are looking for and looking at.You can use this research to define your niche.You will notice the groups that companies usually market to, and you may even notice underserved markets that you could break into.
Step 8: You can get feedback on your work.
Sample cards can be given to family and friends to get feedback.Don't tell them what you're looking for, that's up to them.You will need to modify your work if it is different than you expected.
Step 9: You can produce your cards.
Depending on the type of cards you are creating, the materials you use to make them will be variable.There are a variety of materials for making cards in craft stores.The type of paper you need depends on how many cards you intend to produce.You should keep in mind that higher material costs can mean higher prices.Ribbons or buttons can be used to create more elaborate cards, but they are only a good idea for custom-made cards.If you want to mass produce, stick to card designs that can be printed.You should include envelopes with your cards.You can buy them at most card stores.Make sure that your card fits in the envelope.If you want to add an extra design to your envelopes, don't be afraid to.There are some basic graphic design programs.Even if your artistic talents are not digital, being able to manipulate your work in a program like Photoshop can give you more design flexibility.You will need digital files in addition to the original pieces if you are going to mass-produce your work.A higher quality printer is what you will want if you intend to mass-produce.Some designers license their designs to a manufacturer in order to get higher quality prints, or use a shop such as Kinkos.
Step 10: Don't let your work go to waste.
People need to know that you are selling cards.The internet and face-to-face selling will be important for this kind of startup.Sell your cards online with a website.Customers should be offered samples or prototypes so that they can see the cards before committing to larger orders.It is possible to arrange for payment using an online store.Make sure you know the kind of users that populate these sites and whether or not they fit into your target audience.Advertising on social media can be a good way to get early advertising through friends and acquaintances.You can go directly to the stores.You can sell your cards directly to the stores.You can help your prospects here by giving them a display fixture, free shipping, or buying out their dead stock, which will open up space for your cards to go on display.
Step 11: Put your company together.
Discuss setting up and structuring your company with an attorney or accountant.You don't want to get in trouble if you missed something, because there are a lot of financial and legal considerations that go into a new business.There are additional licensing requirements for new businesses in local government.To learn the requirements, contact the local governments, and to make sure you have the proper forms.Make sure you are paying your taxes.If you apply to the IRS for a tax identification number, you will be able to use it on the many tax-filing forms your new business will need.Purchase financial software.Tracking your financial information will be the hardest part of your new business.Using pen and paper to track expenses and cash flow can be more effective than using a program.