Things to Consider When Building a Greeting Card Business
Posted on May 27 2020
Building a greeting card business is hard work, but ultimately it can be hugely rewarding. Afrotouch Design allows me to fill the gap in the market for African inspired cards, letting my creativity flow to create the products I sell. I have met so many inspirational and inspiring people through building a greeting card business, and there is an enormous sense of satisfaction when I hear excellent customer feedback from sales I make.
I couldn’t recommend starting your own greeting card business highly enough. If it is something that you have considered previously, then maybe now is the time to dive in and make it happen. Here are my tips for building a greeting card business and, although no two companies are the same, they should give you the structure you need to make your dreams come true too.
Get the Basics
Before you can build your empire, you need to have the basics in place. A computer and a design package are likely to be the first weapons in your arsenal.
If you are hand-making the cards from home, there are the raw materials, such as the card you will use and any other such items that will adorn your designs. I use West African print fabric in each of my Afrotouch Design cards, an essential resource for my greeting card company.
Sort Your Style
When building a greeting card business, you need to make sure that you offer something fresh, different and unique to you. The greeting card business may well be worth billions of pounds, but you won’t be able to claim your share of it if you simply provide an imitation of what is already out there.
Research the market and consider what it is that interests you and influences what you want to say with your designs. For me, I knew that I wanted something that resonates with people that a had a love of West African lifestyle and culture. I wanted to channel the vibrant colours and themes of the continent into the cards I create. Hence the print fabric that is so important to my range.
No one can tell you precisely what you should do with your greeting card business. However, ask your friends and family to give you a few words or phrases that come to mind when they think about you, and it may just spark an idea that will inform the designs you create.
The practical side of building a greeting card business begins in earnest once you have a better idea of what your products will look and feel like. You can start to put together a business plan and a strategy for marketing. Set up a company bank account, register the business officially and protect your branding and name for a start. Last month I mentioned a great business book that I used to help me work through the nuisances of starting a business, check out that blog here.
You need to know the types of cards you will sell, and how the process runs from design to selling to arriving in your customers’ hands. It’s a good time to start mapping that out and documenting workflows. What equipment will you need? How long is the production process? What suppliers will you use? All this will help when it comes to thinking about what price point you will likely set for your cards.
This is a good time to consult professionals who are well used to starting businesses and dealing with operations and logistics. Make sure you listen carefully; your business could rise or fall depending on whether or not you take the advice that is sent your way.
Once you are ready to go, it is time to sort out a website. Pick your domain name carefully and make sure you get the design right. This is the point of contact for your customers to see what you have to offer and, most importantly, part with their money. Make it clean and easy to navigate while being eye-catching. Initially, I started on Etsy, which is a good place to start if you are wanted to test the market, but I quickly realised that nothing beats the authenticity of your website. Your cards need to pop out and grab their attention as they browse.
If you have the relevant skills, you can sort this out yourself. However, this is too important to try and learn on the job. When building a greeting card business, you need to get the website right first time with seamless e-commerce integration, so deal with a professional if in any doubt. I used Shopify from the beginning and started with a free template for the first 3 years and then used a paid theme when I rebranded to Afrotouch Design.
Don’t forget to set up your social media channels. Instagram is particularly great for showing off designs. Having a presence on Facebook and Twitter too is also advisable if only for the free marketing opportunities that come with these platforms. They can be invaluable when starting your own greeting card business and raising brand awareness.
Network Network Network
Another way to get your brand out there is to network with your peers. I have attended the UK Black Business Show over the last two years, and that has proved invaluable in both helping spread the word about my business and allowing me to meet other people from all manner of industries with whom I can share ideas, problems and solutions.
When you run your own greeting card business, you are the driving force behind promoting the company, so don’t be shy. Ensure you talk to as many people about your business as possible.
Ready to Start Building a Greeting Card Business?
If you are now ready to start building a greeting card business, let me know how you get on. I’d love to hear. If you want to discuss anything else to do with the process, keep in contact through my website and I will help in any way I can.