NEW Trade Website Launched

We are delighted to announce that our NEW trade website is live now. To celebrate the launch we have an amazing launch offer and prize and a mailer was sent out last week.

The website allows our lovely trade customers to browse and order from all collections available. They can also download the e-catalogue in a magazine style fashion and the chat option gives an instant contact, should they need to discuss anything with us.

Some of the NEW designs we are launching at Spring Fair in February 2018 are available now in ranges Lucid and Fly.

Happy browsing,

 

Plan B Is Always Plan A

I know people always love the stories behind the names (well, I do), so I will try to give you a glimpse of how it all started.

For me, greeting cards were meant to get something out of my system. With enough retail experience to know that lacking design credentials and technical knowledge would give very limited legs to my venture I set plan A to go to the Ladder Club (I mentioned this Club back in one of my posts), so I would get design help, then do a trade show and put it all to bed. That plan massively failed as I’ve later learnt that the Ladder Club doesn’t actually help with design critique and was fully booked up when I did my query. So, I did that first trade show (Top Drawer) anyway, which surprisingly turned out brilliant. I had to quickly come up with plan B, which I am still working on. My husband keeps me sane and helps a lot with admin, IT and at trade shows. He passes expert opinion on new designs, so when he doesn’t like something I know it’ll sell well. 

Nowadays, I learn a lot about design from You Tube videos, reading online magazines like Moyo, from fellow publishers in the greeting card industry, the Ladder Club and spend reasonable time on visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest

My designs style has changed over the years and this year I am hitting the spot with what is closer to me. I have some contemporary birds with metallic, which proves to be very popular with buyers.

I keep the best bits from my previous life as a Business Mentor at The Prince’s Trust and occasionally have meetings/invited talks with entrepreneurs at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy at Leicester College. I say/fool to myself that all this keeps me young.

Last but not least, cheers to plan B. It often turns out to be plan A.

Hope this inspires you to go on and make your plan B a very successful one.

Best Wishes,

 

Birds, Charms and Boys Toys For Spring 2017

Hello,
I have been very busy designing and we have added more than 100 new designs for Spring 2017.

The new designs are across four new ranges, all with distinctive contemporary look. Fly is nature inspired, Charms is delicate and feminine, best-selling Bijoux has been expanded with over 50 new designs and last but not least, we now have a male range, Great Times. All typography is hand-lettered or trending brush-lettered.

The cards are across open birthdays, occasions and popular family relations. They are available to order now and most ranges can be ordered as a handmade or printed version. 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.

A small selection of the new designs is available via our retail website or if you are a trade customer please ask us for a catalogue and a sample card and we will be happy to send one. 

You could also view the new designs when visiting our stand 3W18 at our forthcoming exhibition, Spring Fair, 05-09 Feb 2017.

Best wishes,

 

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.

good-times-cars-handmade-sabivo-design-sm

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.

fly-birds-handmade-sabivo-design-sf

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!

SSK Signature

 

 

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.

SSK Signature