Books rock. Yesterday, I received Sandra Miller Louden's book, Write Well & Sell. It's the only greeting card book that I could find and while it's not about the retail side of greeting cards, it gives a peek into the greeting card world. Surrounded by books like hers, it's like having seasoned, best-of-breed experts here to teach me what they know. I have about 30 business books that span marketing to accounting to project management. I don't understand how a person can't like reading books...
In Ms. Louden's self-published book, I learned that 95% of the buyers of greeting cards are women. The industry sells over 8 billion cards a year. Birthday cards are the number one market. Louden specializes in writing verse/text for greeting cards and the book is mostly about that. Good stuff. She says:
My own theory on new card companies is that they are often started by people who have the idea it would be fun to make cards; these people often being frustrated writers, artists, or photographers. Once they start the company, they quickly find out the challenge isn't creating a line of cards, it's marketing them in an already crowded arena and selling them to the consumer who has thousands of other cards from which to choose. There are still many "niches" out there waiting for an innovative card company to fill; unfortunately, many new companies run out of money, time, and patience before they find that niche.She gives categories and sub-categories of cards. Here are the categories: birthday, friendship, anniversary, life transitions, seasonal, get well, and then miscellaneous, such invitations, thank you, and supportive, and so on. It's a big market.
I've been doing some research on my own by going into stores. I'll need to come up with a display stand of my own to make it easier for retailers, as Hallmark (of whatever company is featured) owns the card stands that you see in stores. Enter the engineering aspect of this. Will mine be end cap? Point of sale? Should the display be engineered to allow for both? Probably.
Cards are an impulse buy, so the location of the cards in the store don't really matter so long as it is a trafficked area.
Should the cards be blank? Have some generic text in them? The outside of my cards won't have writing, so I can't go for the hook on the outside and then the punch line on the inside.
Lots to consider, but I'm surrounded by the wisdom of others who can give me great advice in the form of their books. Between the inventions of the press and the Internet, there's a lot of smarts for me to tap, right at my fingertips. Entrepreneurs never had it so good.
And if you like, you can see the "look" of the Art by Brett web site, which is done, though none of the links work. Just go to the site and take a peek.