your business grows, you will begin to develop relationships with the vendors who supply your materials. When you are beginning, it's a good idea to search the local Yellow Pages or the Internet to learn about these vendors. Find out where they're located, what their pricing structure is, how reliable their deliveries are, and what kind of payment schedule you can work out with them. These are the people who are going to need your business and it's in their best interest to
satisfy you. Ask questions freely.
Professional Print Shops vary widely. Before you begin printing your cards, meet with their sales representative on their premises and receive as thorough an explanation as you can get regarding their pricing structures and their facilities. The quality of your print job can make or break your product.
There are those who aren't interested in doing anything other than tremendous runs. They may have state of the art equipment and they may be seeking out jobs so large that a modest run for a beginning card company might garner a very expensive price quote.
Some shops are completely computerized and as such they have their own large overhead, which will be passed along to you in higher prices. When you are starting out it will be crucial for you to find a happy medium between the level of high quality you are seeking and the reality of the pricing structure that the printer will be charging.
There are shops that still run older, non-computerized equipment with excellent results. Their pricing may be much more attractive. However, they may be slower to fill your order because their process is more laborious.
Then there's your local neighborhood copy
shop. Quality of work will vary wildly from one shop to the next. Be sure to steer clear of vendors who have bored, apathetic workers at the counter taking your order. Many of these places make their meat and potatoes by doing straight photocopying and word processing. They may accommodate you with a smaller run, but be sure that they can provide the high quality that you'll need.
You may consider handling the printing yourself, in house, when you're first starting out. If the investment in a printer seems steep to you, it may seem less so after you've priced printing runs. The prices on Commercial Grade Laser Printers and even on Inkjet Printers continue to plummet. Though the consumables are the real expense here, you may begin saving money on your very first runs because
you will only have to print on demand, after you've received your orders. You will not be stuck with slow moving inventory. Inkjets can provide you with stunning prints, but they run very slowly compared with commercial grade laser printers.
will be happy to provide you with samples. If you choose to hire a professional print shop, they will have their own selection of paper samples in house.
We handle all our own printing in house. The vast majority of our cards are printed on Glossy Coated 12 pt. Bright White card stock. If you are buying this type of paper in small runs,
your prices will be higher per sheet. Shop around before deciding where you will buy and how much you will buy. Shipping costs must be taken into account because paper is very heavy.
Computers and Scanners
have been a godsend. If you haven't already done so, it is well worth your while to learn programs such as Adobe Photoshop and PageMaker. They will save you tremendous amounts of time and money in lying out and rendering your artwork. They will enable you to quickly do dozens of variations on the same design. If you are a greeting card artist, you will have to be producing new designs constantly. Buyers will always ask to see what's new. Your productivity will be much higher if you take advantage of the technology available.
Envelopes are manufactured in standard sizes. Smaller note card envelopes are typically 4 3/8" x 5 3/4" (the A2 Style Envelope). Standard greeting card envelopes are 5 1/4" x 7 1/4" (the A7 Style Envelope).
Vinyl Boxes are great for packaging multiple cards, such as Packed Note Cards or Boxed Christmas Cards. Clear vinyl boxes, purchased in quantity, can showcase your card image and transform a handful of cards into a gift item.
We recommend that you purchase Shrink Wrap. When you deliver your individual or counter cards
to a store, they will not necessarily go directly into the racks, especially if the buyer has bought several dozen of a single style. Often, the extra dozens are salted away in a drawer or a storage closest. If you shrink wrap your cards, they will stay protected and clean while in storage.
You'll also need Shipping Supplies. You will need
corrugated cardboard cartons in an assortment of sizes. If you are shipping via UPS or the USPS, you will need to satisfy their shipping guidelines. It will be in your best interest to protect your products in transit. You will also need clear newsprint or another type of packing material, mailing labels, and packing tape. Again, all these items are cheaper if bought in quantity. I recommend that you do not skimp and buy off brands. The last thing you want is to
have your packages fall apart en route to their destination.
We also use soft mailers for small orders. The ones lined with bubble wrap are significantly more expensive and less biodegradable, so avoid these.