06 March 2020
Need to know how to sell handmade cards? MC&P cover all your need-to-knows on how to make cards to sell.
Most cardmakers have, at least once, dreamed of running a handmade cards business from home. Becoming self-employed is an exciting challenge and the chance to do something you love as a career is something none of us would pass up lightly.
There are a lot of elements to consider when learning how to sell handmade cards and you will find yourself asking yourself questions like:
"Where can I sell my handmade cards?"
"How do I make professional cards to sell?"
"Who do I sell my handmade cards to?"
There's a lot to think about when setting up your handmade cards business from home, but with our in-depth guidance and advice, you'll understand how to make cards to sell far more confidently in a jiffy.
How to make professional cards to sell
So you think you're a pretty good papercrafter? Do you know your way around an embossing folder? Perhaps you're an expert embellisher? It's one thing to be a top-notch card maker, but making cards to sell? That's a whole new business.
Not that we want you to be afraid, of course, there's a lot to love about making professional cards to sell. It's just best to go into the arena prepared. You can do this by taking advice and inspiration from others who have been in your position.
Definitely make a business plan before getting started and consult others that have set up a handmade cards business from home. There are plenty of video tutorials on business starting and management on platforms like YouTube if you're a visual learner and interviews with crafty professionals give a fascinating insight into how other cardmakers have made their hobby into a successful profession.
Make sure you have a solid base of equipment and supplies as well and keep track of what you use most to make sure you never run out or overstock any materials. You may need to consider upgrading or buying new equipment too, such as a die-cutting machine or special printer, however these are elements you can consider once you've established your business and get to know your customers' demands.
When we say brand, we mean what about you and your business is unique? In other words, what is your unique selling point, or USP? (Get used to hearing that one in the business!). The really great thing about handmade cards is that it's not difficult to establish yourself as unique for one reason or another. Commercial card selling businesses simply cannot compete with handmade businesses when it comes to personal touches and customer engagement, so using these as starting points for establishing your brand is an ideal way to set yourself apart from the big companies.
When it comes to establishing your brand in comparison to other homemade card businesses, you need to consider several elements, including:
- What type of cards do you plan to sell?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are your strengths?
- What do you offer that no one else can?
It's important to have a solid brand established, but always leave room to develop and change along the way. People's interests and trends are ever-changing, so it's best to be prepared to move with the times, at all times.
When creating and maintaining your business model, you need to always be aware of other businesses in your creative area. Competition in the handmade card business is fierce and it's not only in establishing your brand and style that you need to be ahead of the game. To keep up with the competition, it's important to offer your customers incentives and perks for buying from your business.
This can be small gestures - free shipping is a big plus for online buyers especially and the majority of customers shopping online nowadays will gravitate toward a business that doesn't charge for shipping. With cardmaking, your shipping costs should remain relatively low and if you price you products right, you won't harm your profits. Check your competitor's prices to help inform yours too and see what perks they offer to help inspire you and see where you can compete and beat the competition.
The most important thing to remember when starting a business at this stage is that 'starting' part. The only way is up, so don't be afraid to try some new tactics to beat your competition as you go along.
We understand discussing legalities is always dull and it can seem excessive, however we're afraid it's necessary! We won't bore your ear off about it, but we will direct you to check the T&Cs for the platform you're using to sell and also business legalities for the county and country you're in. You can generally find these with a quick Google search.
If you're using stamps, illustrations or any other third party elements on your cards, do check whether you have permission to use the artwork to sell. Some artists and companies may allow you to use their artwork for a limited time or number of sales - everyone's permissions are different, so be sure to check before use.
This is such an essential part of creating a successful handmade cards business from home and you really need to take the question 'where can I sell my handmade cards?' seriously. Most cardmaking companies now start up as purely online businesses, saving you on business renting costs and having to establish a physical presence, which comes with many of its own challenges.
Setting up an online business can be totally free, just find a website builder such as Wix or Google Business and use their free version to set up your website. Once you've established your business and money is coming in, you can look at upgrading your website to access features to boost your business reach even more.
There are always online platforms such as Etsy and NotOnTheHighStreet to consider too. As online platforms designed specifically for handmade and unique items, these type of sites are ideal for handmade cardmaking businesses.
One you've established your brand and you're ready to start selling, get your name out there in any way possible. Social media is key, so set up business pages on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Take time to familiarise yourself with each platform and how best to utilise each one. For example, if you're wanting people to go to your website, Instagram isn't the best platform to share links for people to follow. Save Instagram for showcasing your best photos of your work.
Don't be afraid to harass friends and family to 'like' and 'follow' your business on social media. One click can send an invitation to all of your friends to support your business without paying a penny. The more interest your pages get, the more sales you're likely to attract from outside your original remit.
Business cards are always a good idea. You can design them and have loads printed online for a decent price and then use any excuse to hand them out. Especially once you start going to craft fairs, it helps make sure people remember you after they get home, as we all know how much information there is to take in at a good craft fair.
Show season is 100% a thing in the world of cardmaking and it's definitely something you should embrace with open arms. We're not suggesting you get yourself a stall at the NEC in your first few weeks of opening business - you might find yourself a little overwhelmed! However, there are always craft shows running around the country in different forms, which you can easily find with a quick Google search in your area.
Make and take a batch of different cards to showcase your skills and pay attention to how people respond to your work. See if they're interested, ask for specific feedback on what they think of your cards and business in general from a first look around. Don't forget your business cards to make sure people remember you when they get home.
As we've said about craft shows, take every opportunity to get feedback. Ask for ratings on your Facebook page, share sneak peaks of your new designs and see what people think. Offer prizes for feedback - it doesn't have to be anything massive, but prizes always bring out lots of answers and many you will find helpful.
It's not enough just to ask for feedback, however. You need to take it on board. Now don't take any nasty comments, of course, but any constructive criticism will help you and your business learn and grow. Plus, if you do implement a change that was suggested by a customer or follower, share it with them! Post on your social media pages a 'we listened' and show people what you've done to improve. People really appreciate a business that listens, so you will gain more interest and more customers by really showing you care.
During your first year or more of being in the business, you will find that demand ebbs and flows and you will have loads on at one time and then a few weeks later have nothing. Don't feel put off by these variable periods of demand. Greeting cards rely heavily on the seasons, so your winter demand ready for Christmas will generally be higher than in the summer.
That being said, there are plenty of occasions and events to celebrate on cards that aren't season-dependent, so be sure to check out our types of greetings card list for inspiration on different events you can make cards for and keep business flowing all year around. Keep up with trends in papercraft design too and work with what's fashionable to keep your cards fresh and relevant, all within your own unique style remit of course!
Learning how to sell handmade cards isn't something you can do straight away. Knowing how to make cards to sell at the beginning of your journey is great, however you can never be too prepared or up-to-date. This isn't just about popular style and trends in cardmaking, but in business and finance as well. Keep an eye out for classes and courses on business management and finance control, keep yourself up-to-date with all of the latest developments in business management online or even enroll in a local college to keep your knowledge current.
It may sound daunting, but you will find that running a handmade cards business from home is not always as creative as you would hope. Around half of your time will need to be spent on the business and admin side of things, such as fulfilling orders in a timely manner, replying to queries and feedback, budgeting and forward-planning. What is your plan of action should you be unwell for a period of time? Have you planned for holiday time?
Don't feel put out by needing to put so much of your time into business admin, as this can be a really creative experience for you. Marketing your products requires a lot of creative imagination and you'd be amazed how much fun you can have putting together a bright, colourful and effective spreadsheet!
No matter what happens, when it comes to knowing how to make professional cards to sell, don't lose the love for the craft. It's why you're setting up a handmade cards business from home after all. Good luck!
You can find plenty more cardmaking and papercraft inspiration and information with MC&P, so why not keep your creative cogs whirring with our fascinating article on everything you need to know about complementary colours?