Thursday, 3 February 2011

Adventures in Selling Greeting Cards - Part 1

Time for an update on my card-selling endeavours and a warm welcome to all new followers!

Back in November I decided to see whether there was a local market for my Christmas cards and I’m pleased to say that it went better than expected - in spite of my mistakes!

The Art Shop & Gallery, Abergavenny

Our lovely little ‘Art Shop and Gallery’ sold out of my Reindeer and Snowballing collages completely. As you can see from the picture (right) it's a tiny shop but packed to the gills with all sorts of goodies for artists to drool over!

 And a nearby newsagent who also sells all things Welsh, (below) re-ordered the photos of the snow on the mountains, with ‘Season’s Greetings from Abergavenny’ twice!
Welsh items for sale in the B4A newsagent's, Abergavenny

Considering how many people buy their Christmas cards very cheaply in packs, often Charity cards, I felt I’d done well and succumbed to suggestions from friends and relatives that I should build on this little success by offering my other, non-Christmas greeting cards for sale in local shops on ‘Sale or Return’ (consignment).

It’s always nice to see one’s greeting cards on sale in the shops – even nicer to hear that they’re selling well! But if, like me, you have neither a lot of money or time to invest, it may be useful to know about the difficulties that arose that I wished I had anticipated. (In the following four problems I encountered, there were clear solutions but it was nevertheless hard work and time-consuming and approaching the shopkeepers for the first time took me way outside my comfort zone!)

1. In many cases, November was too late to be offering Christmas cards. Several of the shops I tried told me at once that they already had their Christmas stock and didn’t have room for any more.

2. If you are showing the shopkeepers a catalogue of your designs, it’s a good idea to have several copies. It took me several weeks to visit half a dozen shops because the shopkeepers wanted to browse through the catalogue at their leisure so kept it for several days, preventing me taking it to other shops.

3. Make sure you have samples to show to the shopkeeper. I found the following pattern kept repeating itself – when I introduced myself the shopkeepers looked doubtful, when I  showed them my catalogue, they looked mildly interested but when I took out a couple of samples, one of them packaged, the other open to inspection, their whole attitude changed, their eyes lit up and they were definitely interested!  (It may be worth buying a few of your cards through Greeting Card Universe or Zazzle to use as samples, if you can get them at a time when there’s a special offer going – which seems to be much of the time!)

4. Try, if at all possible, to make sure that your cards are displayed in a good position in the shop. In one shop I found my cards down on a low shelf  between the counter and the window, with baskets of buttons on top of them - twice! Eventually I got them moved to a shelf where they could just about be seen but to get at them to browse would have involved asking the shopkeeper to get up out of his seat behind the counter – so I wasn’t at all surprised that none of them were sold!

In spite of all this, I decided to go ahead with offering my non-Christmas cards locally in January, having learnt from my mistakes. But it’s not been completely plain sailing so I’ll continue with my ‘Adventures of a One-person Greeting Card Publisher’ in Part 2 tomorrow...


Jazzie Casas said...

Lovin this! A while back I was looking for a birthday card for a friend's son. I had zero luck finding what I was looking for. I told a group of friends about this problem one night while we were having a few drinks. We proceeded to get smashed and make up a bunch of greeting cards we found funny. I had been writing down the cards we made up and the next morning I read them. Much to my surprise the cards were still funny even when sober.

Betsy Grant said...

It's thoughtful of you to share your experience so that others trying to sell their items might benefit. Keep up your good work.

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Jazzie - welcome! I'm glad you find this interesting but my first recommendation would be to try greetingcarduniverse. It takes a little patience to build up sales and the commission isn't huge - but there's no financial outlay.

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Betsy - thank you very much for your comments. I had never realised that there were so many angles to cover when selling through shops so I've made mistakes and just hoping I can save others from some of the pitfalls!