Looking for a new hobby that will generate some money, too? Why not take a look at card making – it is a gentle, relaxing hobby that allows you to get creative without having to invest loads of money at the outset. For entry level card making hobbyists, a few pounds can buy you some card making supplies so you can see how you like it.
Think about how many times you splash cash per year on greeting cards. The commercialisation of the greetings and gift card business has exploded in recent years and there doesn’t seem to be a single life event or occasion that doesn’t merit celebrating with the appropriate card. Let’s just tot up on our fingers…how many can we think of? New Year, Mother’s and Father’s Days, St Valentines, Mardi Gras, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas – and those are just the regular marketing hotspots pushed by commercial card makers. Add to that other life events we mark such as graduation and exams, driving test and new job. Then of course there are all the birthdays (significant and normal), the special anniversaries, births, deaths, marriages and thank-yous to consider. When you view the variety of cards you could actually make and sell, the scope is quite inspirational.
And whilst we are talking inspiration, make sure you head online to Pinterest and Etsy where you will see a kaleidoscope of card making ideas to get your creative juices flowing. It is on such sites you can pick up early on new trends, techniques and materials being used and re-work ideas you see in your own personal style. Youtube is another great online resource for ideas, tutorials and information on card making supplies and equipment to expand your repertoire. A new-ish trend in the card making world are money cards or cash wallets, cards specifically made for gifting cash or tokens. The Americans have long had a tradition of scrap booking, paper craft and card making so when you are looking for ideas and information, look across the pond.
Don’t under-estimate the power of the niche market. Making bespoke cards you are perfectly positioned to exploit such concepts. Let me explain. The big card manufacturers are unlikely to see the commercial potential in cards that say ‘Good luck with the vasectomy Trevor!’ – but if you are privately commissioned to make such a card, Trevor will receive a perfect, personalised greeting to wish him well and hopefully make him feel cherished and appreciated. Your card creations carry the added weight of being personal, thoughtful and unique, more than just a casual gesture with a cheap, supermarket effort.
Let it be known that you will create bespoke, individually tailored cards for special events. Word of mouth is a powerful thing and if your cards are stylish, professional and unique, soon people will start asking for your contact details.
Marketing and selling cards has become a lot easier now that e-commerce is thriving. Set up a website with as many examples of your cards as you can gather together. Make the site clear, attractive and easy to navigate. Keep the text simple and allow the photographs to speak for themselves – make sure any images are of a professional standard and do not undermine the integrity of your product. Sign up for an Etsy account as this is the place many people begin their search for handmade cards that are out of the ordinary. In addition to this open Facebook, Twitter, Google+,Pinterest and Instagram accounts to create a social media presence that is promoting your goods 24/7. The trick with any online promotion is to keep it fresh, interesting and engaging. Ensure your website is updated regularly with news and articles relevant to greeting cards and use Twitter and Facebook to run promotions and special offers. If it doesn’t compromise the design, include contact info on cards you make so that repeat business is encouraged. Try and build up an email list of people who might regularly be looking for special cards – for example, HR and personnel professionals who frequently buy staff greeting cards that need to be large (so everyone in the office can sign them) and personal – are they leaving, been promoted, engaged,pregnant?
Other fruitful angles might be restaurants that regularly organise parties and celebrations and wedding planners who arrange marital events that include invitations, order of service, menu cards, place name cards etc. Always keep your eyes open to the opportunities around you and have a business card with your contact details to thrust into people’s hands.
Card making is a fun and creatively satisfying hobby. However, if you are an irrepressible entrepreneur and want to transform craft into cash, why not give it a try? There could be big money to be made in handmade card designs that make the recipient feel a million dollars..