Producing Hand-Made Greeting Cards - what I've learned so far

So I've been thinking for a while about printing some of my images as greeting cards. 

However, I've found out that their's a lot more to it than just putting some paper in a printer, pressing the "print" button and selling a card!

The Paper

Perhaps the most important consideration when I decided to start printing cards was what paper I was going to use.

I spent literally hours scrawling the internet looking for suitable papers and I tried several different brands of papers - some good, some excellent, some terrible and, after a lot of trial and error, I settled on a company called Paper Spectrum (this is not an affiliate link and I have no financial interest in Paper Spectrum, I am just genuinely very happy with their papers). 

One of the things that immediately struck me about the Paper Spectrum papers was their quality. I've found that I have managed to achieve a consistently nice tonal range when printing my cards, with nice transitions between shades and colours. A slightly cheaper brand of greeting card paper that I tried just didn't get the same results, with the images on those cards looking soft and blotchy. If I was just printing cards for myself, this would probably be ok. But because I want to sell my cards, the quality of my images on the front of the card has to be completely spot on - which is why I spent so long choosing the right paper!

Another feature I like about Paper Specrum was that I was able to order a sample pack of all their different card making papers - and there is a fairly large selection of papers to choose from! I really liked that I could buy a sample pack, as it allows me to try the papers and see if I like them before I commit to buying a larger amount.

And lastly, I love their range of landscape greeting card paper - with the fold along the left hand edge. As many of the images I intend to use for my cards have been taken in a landscape format, I love that I can print them in landscape, without the crease running along the top - which I've found tends to make the cards sag after a while. With a side crease, they stand really well for a long time.

Postage and Packing

It took a while to source a method of packing the cards and again, some trial and error. But I settled in the end with using a clear Cellophane wrapper to put the card and envelope in, and using a bubble bag to keep the cards safe - this seemed to be the safest and most cost effective way of sending the cards out to my customers - I've also bought some "fragile" stickers for added protection through the postal system.

Setting up my Etsy Shop

So the final part of my journey to sell my cards was to set up a shop

After a lot of research, I decided to sell through Etsy, which is an online shop for crafters, photographers, hand-made items etc. Their selling fee's seem fairly reasonable and I like some of their features, such as being able to "pause" selling if I go away - as I'm often away shooting on location, it is a nice feature so I don't fall behind with my orders!

I can't comment on how selling works as I haven't sold anything yet (I've only put 4 cards up and they've not been up for very long), but I'll make sure I post an up-date once I've had some experience.

It also became apparent that I would need some nice photography of the cards, which strangely I hadn't even thought about!

So I set up my studio to photograph the cards and brought some nice props I could use next to the cards to give a sense of scale.

Up and Running

So my shop is now up and running and you can find it here, or though the "shop" page. I'm afraid that it still looks a bit bare at the moment, but I will be increasing my product range over the next few weeks to include A6 cards and a limited supply of A4 prints.

So please go over and have a look and let me know what you think in the comments below - I'd love to hear your thoughts!