Last week I received a couple of wholesale greeting cards orders and decided to record some of the process to share with you here on my blog. I’ve also added a new Wholesale page on my website so it’s easier to get in touch if you’re looking to buy wholesale from me.
Processing Wholesale Orders
Printing the cards
When I get bulk orders I sometimes outsource the printing to a local printer, but also sometimes print them myself if I have enough time and the orders aren’t too big. The card stock quality is exactly the same either way – lovely thick 350 gsm card stock.
Here’s a clip of my printer working on a wholesale order. It’s speeded up so you don’t die of boredom watching it as it can take a while 😁
Folding greeting cards
Whether I print the cards myself or outsource the printing, every card is then hand folded by me using my bone folder tool. Here’s another speeded up clip to show you. If only I could really fold cards this quickly 🤣
By the way, if you like watching these types of process videos, come follow me on Instagram. I often post reels like these showing what goes on behind the scenes.
Packaging the cards
Once all the cards are folded each one needs to be paired with an envelope and put into a display bag.
I only use biodegradable/compostable display bags to keep my packaging as plastic free as possible. And for retailers who prefer not to have any bags at all I can package them in belly bands instead.
They’re then ready to be put into a box and shipped off to the retailer. I find it really exciting to think of my greeting cards finding their way into various shops and online stores that I might never even have seen before 😃
Interested in my wholesale greeting cards?
If you’re interested in stocking my greeting cards in your own shop, you can head to my Wholesale page to find out more or to get in touch.
Earlier this year I designed some custom postcards in one of my favourite projects so far. I drew custom illustrations to be used on the postcards for an amazing glamping site called Tin Can Camping. They have four Airstream and vintage caravans to stay in in a remote area in South Norfolk and it’s really worth checking out. We’ve now stayed there twice so I was incredibly excited when they asked me to do custom illustrations for a series of postcards featuring their gorgeous trailers.
It turned out that the owners really liked a thank you card I’d made for them the first time we stayed, so decided to ask me to work on the postcard designs for them. Here’s a screenshot of when they posted it on their Instagram account
The four caravans on the custom postcards
These are the four postcard designs I created together with photos of the original caravans.
This little one is the Bubble and is the first Airstream we stayed in – the same one pictured in the thank you card. It couldn’t be any cuter, could it?! That visit it rained a LOT (like torrentially) but we still had a great time snuggled up inside this cosy little trailer.
The next time we stayed we chose the Caravanner. The weather was kinder to us this time so we got to take advantage of the BBQ and fire pit more often. It was also fabulous!
This is the largest Airstream on the site, the Sovereign. I can’t even imagine towing something this size around, but I suppose roads are a bit roomier in the US!
And this is the Jewel, an aptly named vintage caravan that really stands out amongst the silver Airstreams.
Which one is your favourite? I honestly can’t decide…
It was such a fun project to work on. I love drawing, I love camping and I love these Airstreams. So I felt really lucky to have the opportunity to bring them all together to create these postcards.
If you have a custom illustration project you’d like me to work on, please get in touch 😃
I love running a greeting card business! There are so many different aspects to it, from drawing and creating the card designs to learning about SEO and marketing, and from managing a website and other selling platforms to getting the orders from each printed, packed and posted off as quickly as possible.
It’s not all fun and games though, so I thought I’d share a bit about the highs and lows of running a greeting card business, particularly a one man band business like mine.
The good, the bad and the ugly of running a greeting card business
It’s terrific to be able to do something creative and have other people like my creations enough to buy them. Coming up with new ideas, drawing the illustrations and then making them into card designs really is fun. I get to draw whatever I like, come up with silly puns to match and then see my cards in physical form when they’re printed.
And every single time I get an order I still feel that little buzz of excitement. Also, (insider info alert) both the WooCommerce and Etsy apps make a little cha-ching sound every time an order comes in – how fun is that?! It’s great when I’m sitting at the pub, out for a run or watching telly (not even working) and I hear that sound 😁
Another good thing is all the stationery, gadgets and tools I can justify buying for my business 🤣. Lovely card stock and sticker paper to drool over, my iPad and Apple pencil and my shipping label printer are just a few of the things I’ve been able to buy. They all make my business better and/or more efficient so I don’t have to feel guilty for splurging on them!
I also love it when I get great feedback from customers, whether it’s for existing cards or for custom cartoon designs. I often get to hear the back story when I’m creating cartoon portraits – who the card is for and why. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know that that so many people out there love each other enough to go to the trouble of ordering such a personal card or gift 🥰
And one of the best things about my greeting card business is the lovely people I’ve met through it. I have some very lovely loyal customers who come back again and again (you guys are the best!) And I’m also part of a group of greeting card businesses owners. We cheer each other on, celebrate each other’s successes and help each other through the tougher times. I’ve never met any of them face to face but now think of some of them as very real friends. After all, friendship is knowing that you’ll be there for each other through both good times and bad…
Although most of it is fun, there are still some aspects to running my greeting card business that aren’t. There are some very monotonous tasks involved in getting my products listed on my website, Etsy or wholesale platforms.
Trying to come up with an original description for each product (which has to be different on different platforms too), creating mockups of the card designs and uploading those, and filling in all the info for each card – ugh! These would be the first tasks I’d outsource if my business grew too big for me to manage on my own. But though these aren’t my favourite tasks, they’re a small price to pay for loving what I do overall!
It’s also hard not to take it personally when I go through a quiet patch. Greeting card sales can be quite seasonal and it’s easy to get paranoid when sales slow down during the summer. I sometimes think that it’s all falling apart 😆. But then Christmas comes along. And then Valentine’s Day. And I remember that as the business is growing overall there’s no point agonising over individual months being quieter. So I try to use these times to get ahead on stuff I won’t have time for when it gets busy.
And the Ugly…
There’s only one truly awful part of running a small business. It’s when you do everything you can to make a customer happy and they still assume you’re out to scam them… This week I had a bad review from someone in the US. They didn’t realise I was shipping from the UK and thought I was a scammer when the card didn’t arrive within a few days. And I’ve had a bad review from someone who was disappointed in the size of the card. This was despite the dimensions being listed in the item description and in the photos. There was also being a video of me holding the card (though perhaps they thought I had enormous hands 🤣).
I do sometimes make mistakes. But whether it’s my fault or not I’ll always do everything I can to sort things out and make my customer happy. So it is hard when people leave a bad review without getting in touch first to see if I’ll make things right. Especially when it was something out of my control or a mistake on their part! But I’m learning to just have a good cry and move on…
Luckily these customers are very few and far between. The overwhelming majority of my customers are really wonderful and their lovely feedback makes everything worthwhile 😇.
Running a greeting card business is 99.99% wonderful
So although there are a few lows to what I do, the highs are very much in the majority. I love running a greeting card business and feel very lucky to be able to do it. I’m so grateful to both my terrific customers and my ‘Cardies’ group for helping me get to where I am. I can’t wait to see where we’re headed in the future. Love you all!!!
These dog themed cards, a Shih Tzu card and a Labrador card are two brand new birthday designs just added to my shop. I’m going to be working on a range of pet themed cards and these are the first . What do you think?
As with most of my designs, I drew them using Procreate on my iPad. Here’s a little replay video of each one to show you the process. I use layers a lot so when things disappear and reappear that’s me hiding and showing different layers 🙂
This is the Shih Tzu drawing…
And here’s the Lab illustration.
You can see that it often takes me several attempts to get something right 😆. For example I kept adjusted the Labrador’s head as it just didn’t quite look right. I feel like it’s important to show the real process though, rather than an edited one that looks perfect but isn’t real! It’s a good job I’m an illustrator and not a sculptor using marble or some expensive medium as there would be a lot of waste 🤣
In my last blog post I wrote about my two favourite card design tools, and this week I’m going behind the scenes again to tell you about the two little workhorses I use for printing greeting cards and getting them to my lovely customers.
Printing greeting cards at home
When I first started selling greeting cards I got them printed at a local print shop. I’d get a whole lot printed out but then find that some didn’t sell and others ran out before I was ready to order more. And for custom orders I started feeling bad that I kept sending one card at a time to be printed out. Not to mention it was also quite expensive to do it this way… So, after I’d made a bit of money with my cards during Christmas 2018, I decided to invest in a printer so I could print most of my cards myself.
It took quite a lot of research, as not many home printers will take the thick 350gsm card stock that I like to use. I wasn’t ready for a giant commercial printer yet and I really didn’t want to start creating flimsy cards… Also, I didn’t want the quality of printing to suffer – the print quality needed to be as good as the paper quality!
My Canon Pixma
I eventually settled on my Canon Pixma and it’s served me really well. It handles my lovely thick card stock with no problems, prints beautifully and is still nice and compact. I still use my local printer for larger orders but it’s made life so much easier to be able to print individual card designs based on how popular they are, with no guesswork up front. And my custom orders now have a much shorter turnaround time.
Are you surprised to hear I print my own greeting cards? You might assume that the cards will look a bit ‘homemade’ but that’s really not the case. My cards are thicker than most that you’d buy in a shop so if anything they look more premium. A lot of the reviews I get on Etsy mention the high quality of my cards. This makes me very happy!
Here’s a video of my terrific Canon printing out an A6 size card… It’s pretty great for such a small printer 😍
It’s now two and a half years old so I’m considering investing in a new (faster) model. I’d keep this one as a back up – I live in constant fear that one day it’ll stop working 😱
Processing orders for my card business
The other piece of office equipment I’ve recently invested in for my card business is a thermal label printer. I’ve been umming and ahhing about getting one for ages. Everyone who has one says it’s life changing when you get regular orders.
My Munbyn Thermal Label Printer
I finally gave in when the one I had my eye on went on special and was in a gorgeous teal colour. I LOVE teal! And now I LOVE my Munbyn thermal printer too 😁
It’s just so incredibly quick! And I don’t have to keep changing the settings on my printer or swapping card stock for labels. I just choose the Munbyn and it spits the labels out instantly. It also doesn’t use any ink (hence ‘thermal’) which is a big cost saving, and the labels are waterproof. I did sometimes worry before that if my orders got rained on after I’d posted them, the ink on the address would smear and they’d go missing. (Yes, I do worry about silly stuff…)
Do you want to see my little Munbyn in action? Here you go…
Pretty speedy, huh?!
So now you’ve met my two greeting card business assistants – aren’t they terrific? 😃
Let me know whether you like these behind the scenes posts or not – are they interesting or yawn inducing? You can message me on Instagram or Facebook, or contact me here.