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Author Topic: printing greeting cards  (Read 4665 times)

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« on: November 10, 2011, 17:35 »
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Being quite discouraged with microstock, I've been thinking that I have a lot of images that would sell as greeting cards.  Yes I hear you all laughing already.  But I'm totally serious, I have a lot of things that I am pretty sure would sell given the right venue, and I now have an opportunity to get into a couple of local artsy/craftsy sales.

I obviously don't want to order cards in quantities like 25.  I want to start with a lot of images and just a couple prints of each, and find out what sells.  But I am sure there must be printing services that will do this.

Has anyone hear done greeting cards for sale, and if so where are you getting them printed?


« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 20:09 »
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I print my cards at Red Bubble.  The cards are made out of heavy duty photo paper and can be framed as a print.  Excellent quality.  Plus there's the added bonus that folks can buy more cards on Red Bubble's website.  I've only sold cards at a small art gallery, and never needed more than 30-40 on hand at any given time. 

JamesJackson

  • I am a frank person.
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2011, 05:22 »
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Yes this is the nice idea. I am also following the same process. Well, but I am not using a Red Bubble. I am generally use Photoshop and I really don't know to use it. Thou, I also use to sold my cards in shopping malls and small shops and I am getting a sufficient return form it.

Caz

« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2011, 06:28 »
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I used to do this but stopped a couple of years ago as it just wasn't worth the time/money spent on it. I had the option to purchase images as greetings cards on my website and I also sold them at craft/art fairs and galleries.

Selling at craft/art fairs was entirely pointless. The cost of having a stall at these events is very high where I live, I  needed to sell an awful lots of cards and prints just to break even. Added to that is the cost of spoilage, a remarkable number of cards get damaged even though I packaged and sealed them in individual polythene wrapper wallets and they were all kept in sturdy boxes that people could flip through without needing to pull the card out. In addition, there's your time for sitting there all day to be costed in. 

Local galleries and card shops would take them, but only for a fairly large volume, and on a sale or return basis. So it meant quite a high initial outlay without a guarenteed sale. And the spoilage and theft rate was unbelievable (and something that galleries shrug off as not chargable to them)

« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2011, 07:43 »
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interesting, any guys to share more? i am also thinking of getting print some photos as postcards, and sell in some tourist place which i travel to..

but one thing i found is printing on some kind of postcard paper will cost like $1 US, i saw most of the postcards are less than that price..

OM

« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2011, 07:47 »
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Getting cards printed is not a problem with companies like Vistaprint. I got some cards printed to use as flyers/leave-behinds to direct potential clients to my site/albums. Only cost 25 incl. postage and VAT for 100 and if you order 500 it's even cheaper. They were A6 full-colour and printed on one side. For zero extra, they'll also do you a black text on the back. My design was entirely mine and done in PS.

But selling 'em is an entirely different matter. My bro-in-law made around 20 panoramic cards of a local tourist attraction (windmills etc) and had 1,000 of each card printed to cut down on the cost/card. He did, with difficulty, find a retailer at that same tourist spot to take a selection of his cards (he had to provide the card rack). After 3 seasons, he just about broke even and still has thousands of cards left over!

The major card producers tend to provide the retailer with the racks and return to check that you haven't got someone else's cards in them. They replenish sold cards and return your money for unsold cards at the end of a year. Used to be a good business to be in until everyone started sending cards via internet and using social media. Definitely not worth the effort any more. IMHO that is.

« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2011, 08:35 »
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Have you checked into Zazzle? You can purchase your own products and then resell, but I haven't researched the costs. I have gotten samples of a few of the products that I have offered and the quality was good.

« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2011, 08:58 »
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To actually make any money doing this will take some time, a lot of leg work and a lot of experience. It's a tough market especially in a high traffic, high turnover location (which is where you want to be). Most everything is printed in China, so to be competitive you will need to keep your printing costs low and quality high. We print in the USA with different companies, but lose out on some money doing so, oh well. We sell cards, calendars, prints. Wouldn't even consider selling cards only, waste of time, too little money for the work involved. It also makes sense that once you have an account it's easy to supply them with other products, so why not. A lot of the cards are supplied by multi-artist distributors, especially postcards and at the prices they sell them for, you'll need to sell a truck loads to make money. It's taken 3 of us working at this for 5 years to get our level of income up to a respectable level. I think we barely made beer money the first couple of years. The good news is, it's growing every year and we have some control, unlike the stock.

It can be done, but it's a lot of work and many growing pains along the way. Take good care of your accounts, and hopefully they give you good store placement and push your products...The PR end is huge!!

« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 10:19 »
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Thanks all for the helpful replies. 

I have no plans to pay for booths, I know that would never fly.  The angle is that my wife already makes and sells things (soaps and knitted scarves) at a few local craft shows, gets good traffic, and I could add a card rack to her table at no cost.  I have a whole bunch of images that I think would sell to that crowd.

My expectations are entirely realistic - maybe just make a few bucks now and then. 

RacePhoto

« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 13:23 »
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interesting, any guys to share more? i am also thinking of getting print some photos as postcards, and sell in some tourist place which i travel to..

but one thing i found is printing on some kind of postcard paper will cost like $1 US, i saw most of the postcards are less than that price..


I don't understand where you looked or what the problem is. People have listed a number of sites that will print your cards, coated on both sides... for less than $1 each? Unless of course you are only getting a small number of cards.

Example:  500   $50.44  Coated both sides, printed both sides. That's about 10c a card?

Did you try a search for "Postcard Printing" you will get about 35 pages of people competing for your business.  :)

Here's the most obvious one I could find. http://www.postcardprinting.com/ 

As for the rest of the thread, yes, fairs are allot of work, expensive to rent the space, spoilage will kill you. Retail outlets, getting someplace to sell you cards, including the price of a rack, theft from stores is a problem. And last of all, what people have pointed out, mailing things has become very old. The USA post office is in trouble. I just read where schools are considering dropping printed yearbooks because of expense and demand. (that's sad!) Everything is becoming disposable and electronic.

Darn I like old photos, postcards, books and things that are printed. I'm also an old fart. But honest, what's going to happen in another ten years when everything in the world is available on the internet, in our pocket and nothing is physically solid anymore? No more libraries, magazines, newspapers, books, and people will just email photos, no more prints except make a fer on the wall, be we have electronic picture frames already.

That also means postcards which are almost dead already, will be nothing but a memory or something to take home and file. Not a great market to be trying to enter when it's dwindling, not growing.

I'd suggest find something that is growing and try to break into that. (and trust me, sports photography is about the same as postcards. The print media market is almost dead.)

« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2011, 14:04 »
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As mentioned previously, Zazzle is a great place.  I sell a lot of cards on Zazzle.  I don't have to do any marketing, I don't have to store or print anything, and everything is shipped and taken care of by them.  Win/win for me.
Here's my store: http://www.zazzle.com/shroudedlake

RacePhoto

« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2011, 14:20 »
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As mentioned previously, Zazzle is a great place.  I sell a lot of cards on Zazzle.  I don't have to do any marketing, I don't have to store or print anything, and everything is shipped and taken care of by them.  Win/win for me.
Here's my store: http://www.zazzle.com/shroudedlake


Yes, the other side of "Mr. Negative" is that Zazzle and places like that are potentially a good place to sell. It's the electronic alternative.

I was responding to individually printed and self-marketing, postcards and greeting cards that are sold in shops and tourist traps. Sorry about that if I sounded negative on all possibilities.

Roadrunner

  • Roadrunner
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2011, 14:29 »
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Considering that print media is dying out (i.e. postcards, calendars an posters), wouldn't that indicate that even Microstock is in danger?  I hope not! :o

I do know that photography is tough to sell at art & craft shows.  Some of the ones I was in cost me between $250 and $400 US D.  That was over 10 years ago, and I usually lost money since most buyers preferred water-color or Acrylic/oil painted art over photographs.  Especially wth digital cameras on the scene with Photoshop Elements in their homes.

We all need a little help from the Lord for this one!

EmberMike

« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2013, 08:16 »
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...But honest, what's going to happen in another ten years when everything in the world is available on the internet, in our pocket and nothing is physically solid anymore? No more libraries, magazines, newspapers, books, and people will just email photos, no more prints except make a fer on the wall, be we have electronic picture frames already.

That also means postcards which are almost dead already, will be nothing but a memory or something to take home and file. Not a great market to be trying to enter when it's dwindling, not growing.

I'd suggest find something that is growing and try to break into that. (and trust me, sports photography is about the same as postcards. The print media market is almost dead.)

People have been saying that for more than a decade, but it still hasn't really happened in the apocalyptic way we were led to believe it would. I graduated from college in 2002 and even then, there were two groups of graduates in the design department: print designers and computer graphics designers. And the joke was that all of the print designers would never find work. I was in the computer graphics group, but honestly I've made more money over the years doing print work.

Sure print will die in some businesses. Print media is suffering, with people turning to digital replacements for newspapers and magazines. I don't think printed books are going anywhere, there are plenty of people who really dislike reading books on digital devices (I'm one of them).

But overall, print can't die off completely. Think about how many things will never be replaced by a digital counterpart. Product packaging, for instance. Can't go digital with that stuff. Advertising, direct mail marketing, signage, etc.

I'm not saying that postcards are a booming market, either. Just that print is no were near as close to the grave as many folks predicted it would be by now.

Print will always be here. Postcards might not be a big part of it, but they'll still be around.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2013, 09:12 »
-1
Don't get me wrong EmberMike. I like books. I have boxes of them and shelves full. I collect postcards and old real photo stereoviews. (not the Litho modern kind, just not the same)

Face the reality that for public consumption, Magazines, newspapers, and books are becoming obsolete. You might add CDs and DVDs to the list, as tapes are already dead and gone, along with records.

Hard media, is obsolete technology.

Nothing I like better than sitting down with a book or magazine. I have a Kindle Fire, it sits unused.

(funny that some spam, brought back a two year old topic?)  ???

Doomed I tell you, they are all DOOMED!

The Onion may be the country's most famous mock newspaper, but it's not immune to the tough realities of the print business.

The satirical newspaper will end its print edition in Chicago, Providence, R.I., and Milwaukee with the Dec. 12 issue, the company said Friday, ending a 25-year run started by two students at the University of Wisconsin. The Onion will continue to publish stories on its website.


Even The Onion? Oh No!

New York Post (now in the "Shitco" division) The Post, according to insiders, currently racks up losses of more than $50 million a year, significant even to a company with around $3 billion in annual profits.

http://nymag.com/news/features/new-york-post-2013-10/

ps I think the idea of self marketing cards to shops and store is something that could be done. Even if the offerings are only ten different unique designs to choose from. If they sell at the shop, the place will re-order. If not, you come pick them up. Consignment is the way to get them on the market. Almost no store owner is going to invest in inventory of an upstart and give you free space in their shop.

Consignment is a nice balance for the artist and the shop.

EmberMike

« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2013, 08:26 »
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Don't get me wrong EmberMike. I like books. I have boxes of them and shelves full. I collect postcards and old real photo stereoviews. (not the Litho modern kind, just not the same)

Face the reality that for public consumption, Magazines, newspapers, and books are becoming obsolete. You might add CDs and DVDs to the list, as tapes are already dead and gone, along with records...

Oh I'm sure it's nearing the end for print media (media in this case being news media). But other forms of print I don't think will ever die. We hear "print is dead" as a blanket statement across all industries, when the reality is simply that printed news media is dead. Print in other areas is alive and well, sometimes thriving.

Now I wouldn't say postcards or greeting cards are a thriving business, and I'm not heavily involved in those things enough to know. But I will say that I haven't gotten an "e-card" from anyone in years, but I get tons of printed cards in the mail for holidays, birthdays, etc. In the late 1990s it was new and fun to send e-cards to people instead of a good old printed birthday card or whatever. Today, I think it would be viewed as sort of lazy to send an e-card.

As much as digital replacements have infiltrated our lives, the old print standards are still preferable in a lot of ways. In some cases print is irreplaceable. We won't see printed packaging, signs, mail, etc., go away. Signs, maybe in a few decades will go fully digital. But even that will take a long time while everyone replaces the old printed billboards, storefront signs, bus stop ads, etc., with digital tech.

Printed news media is doomed, for sure. But outside of the news? I think print has a long and healthy life ahead of it in some areas.

« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2013, 23:10 »
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Postcards are dead.  People use Faceboook to show off their vacations to their envious friends.

The poor Post Office is losing all their sources of income.  I swear my local rural post office survives on Netflix DVDs and even that is going away with streaming.

That said, for some reason I've been selling a lot of cards on FAA lately.  Maybe people are just buying cards and framing them as a cheaper way to buy art.

« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2013, 19:14 »
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I do sell postcards in Zazzle. Sometimes just a single copy, sometimes several.

« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2014, 05:48 »
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Redbubble prints them beautifully with your user name on the back too - and there's the benefit of being able to sell any you upload there from the site too. You get a discount if you order 16 or more - any combination not just of one print. Great quality and much less expensive than Fine Art America. You can also order those nice glassine envelopes to put them in with the envelopes. I've sold some cards through them and have purchased some samples of my own.

Several printers also print greeting cards but the cost are generally higher and you need to order in quantities of at least 25-50 per image.   

Just made me realize I hadn't put up any Valentine's Day cards on redbubble - a tad late now but glad you made me think of it!

http://www.redbubble.com/people/campyphotos/works/11415899-true-love-valentines-day-heart-card?c=262454-valentines-day-cards-and-gifts




 

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