Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are shopping online now more than ever. For enterprising teenagers with artistic and creative abilities, one business that will allow you to exercise your creativity for a good cause is an online greeting card business. If this interests you, keep reading to see how you can launch your own brand of greeting cards.
- No boss. You control your own destiny.
- You can utilize your natural-born creative skills.
- It’s easy work that is also fun.
- It’s inexpensive to get started.
- You are responsible for marketing and selling your greeting cards. If you don’t do it, no one else will.
- You must have internet connectivity — and a little savvy.
- Greeting cards are inexpensive items with low markup, so you’ve got to sell a lot to make any real money.
How to get started:
NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.
First, assess your skills. You’ll need to be good at writing or graphics, but preferably both. If you’re not good at one, you can partner with someone who is or hire others who are good at the skills you are not good at. Here’s how to get started.
Decide whether you want to create and sell digital greeting cards or print greeting cards. You may do both, but you’ll need to make this decision early on.
Set up your business entity. In some locations, a DBA (Doing Business As) is all you need, but you may find it more rewarding to establish an LLC (Limited Liability Company) or corporation. In any case, you’ll need a business name and you’ll need to file the proper paperwork with your state (your local county in the case of a DBA). If you need assistance, ask your parents to help you find a lawyer to assist with the paperwork.
A website allows you to reach potential customers all over the world. Fortunately, building a website is easier than ever these days due to services that cater to nonexperts like Squarespace and Wix. These sites supply website templates, they’re low-cost, and they’re easy to update.
You don’t need a website if you sell through Etsy. That’s a quick, easy and free (if you don’t choose any of their services) way to get started. The only catch is that they take a cut of your sales.
Once you create a few greeting card designs and write the content, upload the images to your website, add a shopping cart, and start selling.
Note: If you are selling print greeting cards, you’ll need to partner with a print-on-demand (POD) printer to print the cards as customers order them. Sites like Zazzle and CafePress make this simple with templates and a marketplace for selling the items you create.
How much to charge:
Sell single greeting cards from $1.50 per card to $4.00. You can also upscale your cards by adding unique features like gold and silver foil, magnetic, horizontal or vertical, and tri-fold. Some formats allow you to sell your greeting cards for more. Box sets of greeting cards on CafePress go for $10 to $15 per box or $15 to $20 for a box of 20.
Taking it to the next level
Email, social media, and online advertising are three ways to expand your business after your initial launch.
For e-mail, set up a free account at MailChimp or similar service where newsletter templates are simple and easy to use. Add a sign-up form to your website to collect email addresses. Offer something for free, such as a digital greeting card download, to encourage website visitors to sign up for your list.
Think about which social media platforms your customers are most likely to use; most likely, your friends tend to hang out on platforms that have a lot of younger users like Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat. But keep in mind that you may have older customers, too. You should not ignore Facebook, where you can set up a business page and share images of your greeting card designs. Pinterest is a visual site where graphic images are very popular. And Instagram makes sharing graphic images easy, too.
Advertising requires spending money, which you will have to do at some point if you want to grow your business. But you should start slow — experiment with Facebook ads and Google paid ads to see which works best for driving traffic to your greeting card business. After that, you can move to other platforms.