Small Business Goals Update: Selling Handmade Greeting Cards

Valentine Ombré Hearts Block Printed Greeting Card
Sometimes in business, you have to make tough choices about cost vs. benefit. For example, greeting cards were one of my best sellers during the holidays, but I actually made very little profit on them.
So, in my post titled Small Business Goals for 2016, I resolved to find a more cost-effective way to make cards that still retained their handmade look. Well, after a little trial and error, I’ve found a solution.

My first choice was to letterpress the cards.  A letterpress printer can print using an original carved linocut block. The block creates an impression in the paper, giving it a really nice tactile quality. Learn more about letterpress printing here.
Carving a block for a Polish Folk Art flower print
Carving a block for a Polish Folk Art flower print


While I would still love to do this, after doing some research I found that it would actually INCREASE the cost of production to send them to a letterpress printer, even if I ordered the cards in bulk. So that option’s out for now.
I looked into a few other printing methods as well, including lithography, but with no luck. I also looked at other printmakers’ shops on Etsy and online to see how they’d handled this issue, and found that the majority of people sell the original print in a frameable size like 8×10, as well as cards that are digitally printed to make them affordable. Printing digitally would allow me to make cards using multiple colors for the same price as a one-color card. This would open the doors to all kinds of possibilities design-wise. After all my research, printing digitally seemed like the best solution.
So here’s what I’m going to do:
1. Hand-carve each block
2. Make one original print
3. Print the rest of the cards digitally
This will allow me to retain the hand-carved nature of the artwork by using an original print, but it will cut costs considerably in terms of both time and money, allowing me to lower my prices (yay!)  and save a TON of time on production… Time I can spend designing more prints!
Yay for checking things off the list! Now it’s on to my pesky second goal…ACCOUNTING.

Published by Alex Hughes

I am a graphic designer from Dallas who loves printmaking, travel, illustration, soccer, and psychology.

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