Is Card Publishing a Serious Business?!

I often get asked of what is needed to start a greeting card business and in fact whether it is a serious business at all. It is a shame that often people assume that greeting card business is simply a hobby and hardly earns any cash. I think it all depends on what is your product and how you run your business.

It is true that many new greeting card businesses (in fact many start ups) begin on the kitchen table. The sheer abundance of craft materials in the hobby market alongside the fantastic quality of digital print available nowadays makes a greeting card a very easy product to make and bring to market. This, alongside the fact that retailers like cards as a relatively low risk product (because consumers often buy a gift accompanied by a card) makes the greeting card market an extremely saturated and fiercely competitive market. The card designs are trend-driven and usually the life-cycle for a card is 6 to 12 months, unless you hit the right button then your bestselling design may sell for years.

So, if you are serious about turning your card hobby into business then this is another matter. To decide what type of card business is right for you, you would have to consider your skills, experience, the amount of capital you have and your personal preference.

Generally, card publishers publish two types of cards, printed cards and handmade cards. All card designs based on stamping, assembling, individually hand-painting etc. will be very difficult to product in large quantities for the trade and are considered suitable for personal use or hobby.

Printed cards are produced in large numbers and command lower trade and retail prices. They face fierce competition from cheaper printed cards in the Far East and tend to sell better in card shops than gift shops. Printed cards could be artists reproductions, collages or handmade designs and then photographed shots, photos of landscapes, flower arrangements, toys displays etc. They could also be commissions you have done for a private client who has let you use their work or elements of it for commercial use.

You could print the cards digitally to start with and once you have proven record of sales you can go and do litho printing (the difference between these two printing techniques will be highlighted in another blog post). I often hear stories of publishers just starting out doing large litho printing runs only to discover that they may never shift the cards. Tip: if you are starting out, make sure you have proven track record of selling your cards to the trade, not to your closest friends and family. It is very tempting to do litho print, where the cost per card costs a fraction of the cost for digitally printed card. However, the litho print runs tend to be in the thousands (usually a minimum of 1000 per design) and as such a litho print run is more expensive than a digital print run. Remember if you fail to sell those cards it is only a false economy and at the end of the day the cards may cost you more than having been printed digitally. You need to have large enough database of stockists who re-order regularly to make this venture viable. It would be good if your printer lets you experiment with different boards as the design can look quite different on different boards, which will also set your card aside and above the cheaper ones flooding the market in discount cards shops.

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Handmade cards are more special than printed cards as they offer a different shopping experience – something done by hand will always be more special and valued than something mass produced. They also tell the recipient that somebody had carefully chosen a special card for them. Hand-finished cards face the same concerns about printed cards but they have the added embellishments like jewels, bows, dried flowers, embroidery bits and any other trinket you could think of. Handmade cards are more trend driven than printed cards and often the add-ons can be the decisive factor of their uniqueness. When you make handmade cards, make sure you make them in batches or enlist the help of family and friends when making or outsource the embellishment process if you could afford it. It is tempting to buy cheap embellishments as they are widely available from craft shops. However, as the handmade cards command higher retail price (£3 to £6 per card depending on the size) and consumers nowadays are very savvy make sure you choose good quality embellishments. The board you choose is also very important and often textured, pearlescent or lightly tinted boards are used for hand-crafted cards as they not only are better quality, they often give a more luxurious feel to the cards.

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There is a common misunderstanding of what is a handmade card. I have heard publishers claim their cards are handmade just because they assemble and pack them by hand or they have drawn them by hand. I would have to say that handmade card will qualify as a handmade when components to the design are added by hand. Any other packaging process does not make them handmade. They are simply hand-wrapped, hand-packed etc. as are many other products in business. The drawn designs would then have to be called hand-drawn, hand-illustrated, hand-painted etc.

So, here we are. If you are thinking about a card publishing venture choose what are you going to do wisely and remember you could always switch and fine tune when you go along. The importance is to start.

Best of luck!

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See you at Autumn Fair

Autumn Fair is another ‘first time’ trade show for us this year. We will be at NEC, Birmingham from 04-07 September 2016.

For those who have never visited the show, it is a show to mark ‘near end’ of the trade buying season. It is a great opportunity for retailers to do last minute stock up on gifts and cards before the all important Christmas season.

We will be launching new seasonal ranges with never seen before designs, all based on the ever popular everyday range Bijoux. If you have not had the chance to view the range in person, please come along, you won’t be disappointed.  Selected best-selling designs from other successful everyday ranges will be on show too.

Bijoux Christmas is not your average ‘red and glitter’ greeting card. It is elegant, glamorous and understated as it’s illustrations are monochrome and accentuated with gold paint, pink neon love hearts, unique cup floral jewels and organza bows.

Christmas Handmade Greeting Card SABIVO Design SM

Due to the success of the everyday Bijoux range we have added Bijoux Spring. With abundance of flowers, birds and lots Spring Season symbols, there’s surely something for everybody at Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter.

Mothers Day Handmade Greeting Card SABIVO Design

We proudly hand-illustrate, print and hand-finish our cards in England. Our FSC approved boards are from England and Italy and we pack our cards with envelopes from Yorkshire.

We would like to invite you to visit us on stand 4D26 to view the new ranges and take advantage of our show offer, which free delivery on all orders placed at the show. If you can’t make it, please get in touch for your trade catalogue and complimentary card .

See you at the show.

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Dreaming Of A White Christmas….

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Let’s admit it, unless you are a retailer Christmas doesn’t really enter your mind until you realise you have some bulk gift shopping to do. So, for you to be able to complete that exciting exercise, retailers generally start planning their new Christmas offering as soon as the….previous Christmas finishes. We, as a publishing house, have to be even further ahead of retailers, therefore Christmas for us all year round design job.

For Winter 2016 we have expanded our best-selling range Bijoux with 40 open and occasion captions for Christmas.

Christmas Tree Handmade Greeting Card SABIVO Design SM

The contemporary range features delicate line work with pops of red and gold dots and on-trend hand-lettering. The designs are hand-illustrated and hand-finished with cup flower jewels and red festive bows. We proudly design and finish our cards here in England. They are competitively priced, 145 mm square, wrapped in gold envelopes and cello bags.

Christmas Handmade Greeting Card SABIVO Design SM

Retailers can benefit from complementary change of captions to suit their customer profile. If you are a gift retailer reading this blog post and feel our cards would be loved by your customers, simply get in touch and we will send a catalogue and a sample card along. Alternatively, if you wish to see the while range in the flesh, we will be showcasing it for the first time at Autumn Fair in September 2016. Find us on stand 4D26.

Best wishes,

SSK Signature

 

Last Minute Ideas for Dads

I tend to buy gifts very last minute and I admit, this blog might not be helpful in the foreseeable future. Thing is, Father’s Day is on 19th of June (in the UK), so not much time left for shopping and this blog might not help you at all.  But I’m sure that you’ll agree that when it comes to gifts, Dads are always overlooked plus finding a gift for a man is always unmistakably trickier than finding a gift for a woman and in this scenario any help is welcome. This year I decided to browse the net and see what is on offer that I liked.  I’ve made a little list of precious finds that will inspire you to go out there and get him something personal and really special….even if it is very last minute.

Jolly Drink

Let’s be honest, you could never go wrong with a drink and it’s one of the few gifts that would surely leave him on a jolly good note. If beer is his thing then this beer bouquet is simply a great idea.  Or if you are after something more special I could not help noticing that a couple of more pound notes and zeros would get him truly spectacular bubbles.

Mens Skincare

A little pampering will go a long way and whatever Dad says (‘lotions and potions are for women’…), I’m sure he loves it. Why not get him something from Temple Spa. With so much attention from the press, they are surely getting something right?!

Experience

Dad has got everything on the planet?! Don’t despair. Virgin are offering experience gifts, which in my opinion is much more exciting than any other gift. Choose anything from driving, riding, jumping, short breaks etc, there will surely be something your Dad would love to experience.

DIY Gifts

There are things that money could never buy and possibly are the things you made as a gift. I know it sounds like going back to nursery or school and I am sure you’ll say you never have the time for such matters. But if you are going to find 15min to make something then why not look at this wonderful list of 101 things to make.  Most of them are easy to make and I am sure whatever you make will be the most precious gift he’ll ever receive.

Socks

Ok, if it has to be socks, let them be this ones. I think I might get a pair for myself 🙂

Your Perfect Card

Slip a card with your perfect gift and write it by hand if you can. Your sentiment on paper will be a sweet reminder for your love for him.

X63 Rock Dad Greeting Card Sabivo Design

Because Dads are special…

Happy Shopping!

Best wishes,

SSK Signature

 

 

PGLive London – Here We Come!

We are excited to be exhibiting for the first time at PG Live, London, 10-11 May 2016.

Earlier in the year we launched 2 NEW ranges Cockatoo and Bijoux as well as expanded the popular Garden range. All ranges have distinctive looks to entice customers curiosity and delight their design senses.  The sales performance of all new designs surpassed all our expectations, so if you have not had the chance to view them in person, please come along.

Cockatoo is inspired by lush tropical foliage and flowers, exotic birds and colourful cocktails, which together with bronze and red neon paint dots keeps the range hugely on trend.

Bijoux is elegant, glamorous and understated as it’s illustrations are monochrome and accentuated with gold paint, pink neon hearts, unique cup floral jewels and organza bows. We have been delighted to see the range appear in the latest issue of Progressive Greetings magazine.

Garden is what we all love – a good time in our beloved gardens, so think of chicken, sheds, deck chairs and lots of blooms on the cards. To elevate the celebratory look we have hand-finished the cards with polka dot bows and cup flower jewels.

We will naturally have all best-sellers on show as well as our Christmas ranges. We proudly hand-illustrate, print and hand-finish our cards in England. Our FSC approved boards are from England and Italy and we pack with envelopes from Yorkshire.

We would like to invite you to visit us on stand 756 to view the new ranges and take advantage of our show offers. If you can’t make it, all ranges are downloadable from our website and available directly from us.

There is an extra reason to visit the show – you can meet me in person and you can also read what I have been up to before the cards in the interview I gave for the latest issue of Progressive Greetings Magazine.

See you at the show.

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