Where should i sell my cards?
May 15, 2008 2:55 AM   Subscribe

Whats the best way to get my home designed cards for sale in shops?

Hi, I am a young student who's been designing gift cards succesfully for friends and family. I am now interested in seeking advice as to how to get my cards into shops. Can anybody help?
posted by donbing to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't mind doing the selling yourself and are open to using the Internet, why not open a shop of your own on somewhere like Etsy?
posted by esilenna at 3:55 AM on May 15, 2008

we have a small gift shop and we get people who just walk in and show us their stuff all the time.

The biggest problem is most of them are not organized and when we ask them how much they cost most of them begin to him-and-haw like they never even thought about that before.

If you are going to simply start cold calling area shops, I would suggest you get organized first.

Print up a little catalog, or at least a price sheet.

list shipping charges, minimum orders, qty pricing, etc

Source some display racks, even if they are just carboard things that sit on a counter. you don't have to purchase any right away, but find someone who sells these, and get an idea of what they cost (with shipping included).

Are you willing to put product in on a consignment basis? If so, i would make 2 seperate price lists, one for shops who are buying the stuff outright, and a seperate HIGHER price list for shops that want to go consignment. With consignment YOU are taking most of the risk, so it's expected that you can charge more money ( no a LOT more, but you should charge an extra 20-25%)

Follow-up a week or two after your initial contact. Like i said, we get people all the time just stop in, but almost none of them ever follow-up, sometimes, "We'll think about it" really means " We'll think about it".

Good luck
posted by Mr_Chips at 4:25 AM on May 15, 2008 [3 favorites]

I work in a bookstore & we sell a good deal of cards. We have a great card buyer so we have a pretty unique & diverse selection. Many of the cards we carry have come from folks like you walking into our store with a handful of samples.

Here's some tips, if you decide to do this

- Scope out the store. Do they carry cards? Are the cards they carry anything like yours?
- Print up some business cards you can offer.
- Organize a pricelist, with wholesale & suggested retail prices. If you're not local to the store you're pitching to, remember to think about shipping costs.
- Don't expect to make alot of $$$ off your cards at first. Cover your costs & go for exposure first.
- Samples mean samples. Don't expect to get them back or be paid for them. And by samples, I mean the actual card. A color photocopy of images is nice, but folks buy cards for more than just the image. Same goes for a website. Good to have but it's not the same as the real thing.
- Don't treat the person at the counter as "the help." They're the most important person in the store as they will be the one that will direct people to your cards. Treat them like crap & they will do the same.
- Ask for the right person. Most medium-to-large bookstores that carry anything other than books have what's called a "sidelines" buyer.
- It can't hurt to be a customer at the store you're hitting up to carry your stuff. Buy a card or whathaveyou yourself. Nothing big, just some little thing.
- And (upon preview), what Mr_Chips said: Follow up. But don't be a pest. Just a friendly visit a week or two after you first stop by.
- Lastly, regardless of the outcome of your visit, remember those amazing two words: "Thank you." It may seem obvious or trite but, believe me, with the amount of crap that folks in retail have to deal with every day simple cordiality & gratitude end up meaning quite alot.

Best of luck to you!
posted by jammy at 4:53 AM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

I don't know if you are in a position to do this or not, but here is an almost can't miss way to get some placement in smaller indepentant "mom and pop" type stores

Buy some racks, the standup spinning kind, or at least the counter top kind.

figure out how many card will fill it. ( let's say it's 20 pockets, each holds 10 cards = 200 total cards)

figure out how much you want to charge for the cards (let's say 1.50 each)

what does the rack cost including shipping ( let's say $100)

Calculate your sell price for a fully stocked display ( 200 x 1.50) + 100 = $ 400.00

Walk into my shop with a couple card samples, and a sheet showing other available cards, as well as a picture of the filled diplay. Tell me to pick the 20 styles/themes i want, and next week you will come back and set up a rack with those 200 cards and all i have to do is sign a contract stating i recieved the items on this date and that you will come back in three months at which time I agree to chose 1 of the following options

Option 1: I write you a check for $400 and we are square
Option 2: I write you a check for the number of cards that are missing from the rack, at a price of $2.00 each, and you will take the check, rack and remaining inventory with you when you leave

I can't speak for anyone else, but i would take you up on this offer without thinking twice as long as I physically had the space to put it
posted by Mr_Chips at 11:25 AM on May 15, 2008

Mary Engelbreit got her start by licensing her card designs to greeting card companies. She is really a savvy businesswoman - you may want to look at her early strategies.

If you want to start out on a small scale, just go in and ask. I sold cards in a coffee shop in college. Later, we started a candle business and were successful in selling the candles in several local stores.

A couple of tips:
- Develop a price list w/ product descriptions
- Develop a handout with your card designs and sales spiel - keep it to one page. What sets YOUR cards apart from others?
- Be polite and respectful of the owner's time. Don't go in on a really busy day and expect to get his/her attention.
- Offer to sell the cards wholesale. If they seem reluctant, offer them on consignment. Many of our initial consignment customers turned into real wholesale customers.
- Charge slightly more to the consignment customers to cover cards that are damaged and can't be sold.
- Once you do get your product in the store, a quick call once in a while to see if they need any more stock, or to find out how they're selling, is always appreciated. People really like the extra attention.
- Develop a web presence. An etsy store, perhaps?
- Know your copyright laws. Any artist/designer needs a working knowledge of copyright law.
- Look into school fundraising sales. Schools these days are always looking for ways to raise extra money, and many of them make their decisions on fundraising opportunities over the summer. Parents get tired of having to buy frozen cookie dough or pizzas over and over and over again. Cards might be something different.
posted by Ostara at 1:52 PM on May 15, 2008

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