My latest greeting card collection is now live on my website! It’s called Thirsty Business and as you can probably figure out it’s a beverage themed collection. I’ve included hot, cold and alcoholic drinks, so there should be something for everyone 😃
Drinks seem to get us through so many different situations in life. I always have a cup of coffee to kickstart me at the beginning of the day (or to revive me mid-morning). If I want a bit of liquid comfort then a cup of tea or hot chocolate does the trick. A glass of wine unwinds us after a stressful day. We celebrate with a bottle of fizz. We enjoy cocktails, wine or beer on a night out with our friends. And we refresh ourselves with a cold drink on hot days. Pretty much everything we do is accompanied by a nice drink! So this card collection is a celebration of all of that.
All sorts of occasions
A wide range of occasions is covered too – birthdays, anniversaries, friendship, missing you and of course Father’s Day. I offer bundle deals where you can save if you buy 3 or 5 cards at a time, so go ahead and stock up.
Here’s a selection from the range but you can view the full Thirsty Business collection here. Why not sign up for my newsletter while you’re there? My VIP subscribers are the first to hear about a new collection and they also get a special offer each time. Plus you’ll get a discount code for 15% off your first order from my greeting card shop when you subscribe.
What do you think? Have I missed out your favourite drink? If so, let me know and you might soon see it added to the range. You can either use my contact form or send me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I’d really love to hear from you!
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that I launched my own online card shop in April last year. Before that I’d been selling my cards on Etsy, but wanted my own space as well. The shop has been great, but I really wanted to have everything in one place, so am now in the process of moving my shop. Soon it’ll be right here on LouLongworth.com together with my blog – woohoo!
Why am I moving my online card shop?
The main reason is so that if you’re here on my blog it’s much easier to stay and shop the cards in the same place you read about them! I think it was a little confusing for visitors when they clicked on my ‘Shop’ link and ended up on a completely different website.
It also means less jumping around for me as I’ll be able to manage everything in one place. Hopefully this will translate to more time to work on creating terrific new card designs!
I’m also hoping that it will encourage Google to send more people to my shop, as I’ve already built up a bit of trust and traffic with my blog.
What will change?
The new shop will look a little bit different, but still be recognisable with my same branding. I’m working closely with a terrific developer to create a home page that makes it easy to get where you want to go. It’ll be one click to get to the shop, the blog, my Instagram or to get in touch with me. It’ll also be easy to see at a glance what’s new in each space, as there will be feeds to show the latest blog and Instagram posts as well as a space for me to highlight my latest greeting card collections.
I’ll be using Stripe to process payments, so you’ll know that your payment info is secure when checking out. Overall the website and shop should be quicker and easier to use than it is currently, so I hope you’ll love it!
A special offer for you
If you get in touch with me before I relaunch, you can get a free card with your first purchase in the new online shop! All I ask is that you give me some feedback on how you found the new checkout process, so I can make sure it’s as user friendly as possible. Fancy that? If so, just use the contact form or click here to email me directly and let me know.
You can also sign up as one of my VIP subscribers to make sure you always get the best offers available going forward too!
I’ve been thinking a lot about learning to run a more sustainable card business. There’s so much waste in the world and as far as is practical I’d prefer not to be adding to it with my greeting cards! I’m still figuring it all out, and nowhere near there yet, but I wanted to share some of the ways I’m trying to produce less waste and make what waste I do produce reusable or recyclable.
Going plastic free
When I first started selling my cards my very first Etsy customer mentioned to me that she thought my presentation was unprofessional and that I should be using cello bags rather than wrapping the cards in tissue paper. Being the terrible people pleaser that I am, I was horrified and immediately went out and bought a pack of cellophane bags to put my cards in. It didn’t sit well with me though as I knew those bits of plastic would just end up in landfill.
I investigated buying compostable cello bags, but these didn’t seem like an ideal solution either. I knew that the majority still wouldn’t end up being composted! Either through lack of composting facilities, ignorance or apathy, they would still end up in landfill taking ages to decompose. And they were a lot more expensive to buy. I considered returning to my original tissue paper wrapping idea but then realised that I really didn’t need to do anything at all…
My cards are all supplied with an envelope, so I decided that the best solution was to simply put the card inside the envelope before placing it in the shipping envelope. It seems so obvious now, but for some reason I hadn’t thought of it before. The card is protected by the envelope, the envelope is safe inside the shipping envelope, so anything more was superfluous! I’ve noticed that even in some shops the cards are bare now too, which makes me very happy. I’ve now made over 800 sales on Etsy alone and never had a single complaint about my cards arriving damaged or marked in any way.
I still have the majority of those original cello bags I bought (even though there weren’t very many). By the time I’d started to sell a reasonable number of cards I’d already shifted away from using them.
My shipping envelopes are also made from paper, with no plastic windows or padding. I’ve also recently found some really cute blue recycled cardboard boxes that I can sell packs of cards in. I want to start offering multi-packs!
Sustainable card stock
My cards are all printed on plain 350gsm card stock without any glitter or glossy coatings that prevent them from being recyclable. They’re lovely and sturdy but completely recyclable. I also feel strongly about purchasing my card stock from an FSC certified supplier. The FSC helps take care of forests as well as the people and wildlife living in them, so that way I know that the card I buy comes from well-managed and sustainable forests. You can find out more about the FSC here. I get my shipping envelopes from the same FSC certified supplier.
The kraft envelopes I’m currently using are recyclable but aren’t FSC certified. I’m not sure whether the paper used to make them is sustainably sourced or not. I’m planning to switch to recycled kraft cards when I next need to order more in (I have about 540 in stock!) Ultimately I’d like all the various materials I use to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Next steps: Running my card business sustainably
I’ve just recently started thinking about how to run my business in a more eco-friendly way in general. I work from home, so no transport is required luckily! I know that there are lots of things in my business that could be changed to be more conscious of the environment though. For example practices I engage in and suppliers I use for things other than materials. I think there’s quite a bit of research ahead of me!
Let me know if you have any ideas or thoughts that could help me run a more sustainable card business. You can get hold of me via my contact form, email me directly at contactme @ loulongworth.com or DM me on Instagram. I know I’m nowhere near perfect in this regard, so happy to get all the help I can!
I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas despite the restrictions. This is my last post of 2020 so I thought chat to you about what this past year meant for my greeting card business and for me personally. This post is a bit more personal and serious than usual, but you’ll get to know me a bit better by seeing that side of me 🙂
We all faced challenges of one type or another during this weird year. I was lucky enough not to lose anyone to the pandemic. I did worry a lot about my parents though, particularly my Dad’s health which makes him especially vulnerable even if he just gets a cold, never mind something as serious as the coronavirus. He’s now been one of the first to get the vaccine so that’s a bit of comfort to me.
There have been some things that turned out well for me though, so it wasn’t all bad. So rather than focus on all the negatives I’m going to tell you about some of the good stuff, especially as it relates to my greeting card business!
Working from home
I work part time at my day job and the first big change was that I started working from home during the first lockdown. My boss was actually brilliant as he’d already decided we’d both work from home a week before the lockdown was even announced, so we’d been taking stuff home and were more prepared than some.
This has actually worked out really well for both of us. Instead of working three full days a week in London, I now work every afternoon. This helps my boss as he has the support he needs everyday. And it’s great for me, as I now get every morning to work on my greeting card business! I’ve loved the consistency of this and I think it’s really helped me to take the business more seriously. It’s also meant I can get orders turned around and posted quicker, which is good for my customers too 🙂
Trying new things in my greeting card business
I’m really NOT a phone person, I’d never used FaceTime before this year and I’ve always tended to avoid cameras and video as much as possible. This year though, there was often no other way to stay in touch with the people most important to me. As a result I’ve gotten more comfortable with calling people and hopping on Zoom or FaceTime video calls. This has also made me slightly less terrified of being on camera or video which has been positive for my business as well as my social life… I even did an Instagram Live video where I was interviewed about my greeting card business! That would have been inconceivable to me a year ago 😱
Since then I’ve noticed that when I post a photo on Instagram with myself in it, I get a lot more people jumping in to comment. So I’m planning to be braver next year and get on camera more. That way I can get to know you and my other customers and followers a bit better as we chat more often.
This year I also decided to join a ‘mastermind group’ specifically for greeting card businesses. It’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done for my business. I’ve learned a ton, found some new online buddies who understand what it’s like, and really started to focus on growing my business and being much more professional.
Seeing the value in greeting cards
I always used to think that greeting cards were kind of frivolous. That designing them was a fun hobby for me, but not really contributing anything great to the world. This year has really changed my mind about that. People have really turned to greeting cards as a way of keeping in touch, sending love and celebrating with those closest to them when they couldn’t be there in person. I’ve had from customers who have said how amazing it was to be able to send a personal message to someone special. This has really reminded me that greeting cards play a key role in relationships when people can’t be together.
I’ve even found myself sending more greeting cards than usual. If you subscribe to my newsletter you’ll know that in the past I’ve tended to only give cards on the most special occasions, but this year has been different. It’s been a brilliant way of reminding someone that you’re still thinking about them even though you haven’t seen them for what feels like AGES!
So now I’m really proud to be creating a product that makes people feel terrific! I’ve been working on my next collection for the new year and have really tried to design cards that will cheer people up and make them smile (or perhaps even giggle), whatever is going on. I can’t wait for you to see it!
I really hope that this year also brought you a few positives as well as whatever challenges you had to face. Thank you for all your support throughout. Looking forward to chatting to you more in the new year. Let’s hope that 2021 will be a bit less crazy!
Happy New Year!!!