Greeting Card Entrepreneurs Take Advantage of Niche Marketing

By Carolyn Edlund

 

Swati Bhagat and Faith Featherstone

Greeting card designer Swati Bhagat and marketing director Faith Featherstone make a potent team of entrepreneurs in their home town of Toronto, Canada. Although the greeting cards are fairly new, they have used strategies to create a buzz around their Artistry Card line to build a reputation and sell wholesale to retail establishments.

Billed as a “Canadian stationery company that sells socially responsible, eco-friendly, superior quality greeting cards and stationery paper goods,” they have quite a few ways of expressing that commitment.

Some of the ways Artistry Cards is walking the walk:

  • Using post-consumer recycled paper to produce cards and envelopes
  • Biodegradable cellophane on each card
  • Orders shipped in 100% recycled cardboard boxes
  • 5% of sales donated to Kiva, a micro-loan project assisting entrepreneurs in developing countries
  • Recycle symbol incorporated into all designs in their Being Green line

What’s been accomplished? Noticed for her great designs and eco-conscious approach, Swati landed a front page interview in the Entrepreneur section of Canada’s National Post. A large Canadian retailer has expressed interest, and is working on orders with Artistry. They plan to bundle cards together with twine for a more natural look, and market them with men’s products.

Faith notes, “Artistry Cards is all about nature, from the paper we print to the ideas.” Their line incorporates Canadian themed cards such as wildlife charmingly depicted in plaid silhouettes, Woodland Creatures (in woodgrain, of course) and Flora and Fauna notebook sets.

 

 

Staying on topic in their chosen niche creates a tight, focused body of work which has become a signature look for the company. This focus, and their earth-friendly message, makes it easy to market their concept to like-minded vendors who embrace the popularity of recycled, reused and waste-free products.

 

 

Marketing is a top priority for the team, with Faith spending a lot of time producing press releases, approaching publications and blogs for publicity, and using social media. Her message promotes the line as a “guilt-free alternative to conventional paper products.”  She cross-promotes their wholesale clients by mentioning them in articles about the card line.

 

 

Having their own storefront has been a great way to test-market new products and control the printing process to get perfect colors and assure a quality product. This also helps drive local press exposure. Artistry Cards is owned by Pixel Print, which Swati established in 2006. The store is located at 1319 Dundas Street West in Toronto.

 

Artsy Shark founder Carolyn Edlund frequently works with artists and greeting card entrepreneurs. Looking for a strategy session to improve your own business? Learn more here.

Comments

  1. Are the cards are stacked against you?

    The ever increasing use of technology in the home environment and a comfort in using it must surely adversely affect the ‘greetings card’ business.

    Consumers are now making their own cards with their home computers, scanners and their own quality printers.

    It is very easy to capture and modify any digital photograph or other image. These images are easily e-mailed as e-cards. This is taking business away from the producers of ‘greeting cards’.

    The convenience of social networking websites as a means of marking a friend’s special event must also reduce the demand for those ‘greetings cards’.

    The birth rate is falling in most developed countries so the extended families are also smaller further reducing the demand for those ‘greetings’ cards’.

    The good news: more of us are expected to live to 100 years of age…

    • Actually, as someone who repped in this business for years, I have not found that people are making their own greeting cards at home to be a factor in falling sales. Greeting card entrepreneurs could do this, creating a small line to try to get into the business, which would provide competition, but not really consumers. What the public is doing is sending less mail – period. Only 40% of greeting cards are actually mailed, and some of that declined due to ecards (which I personally detest and will not open). You might have noticed that writing itself is on the decline, with recent stories in the press of how children aren’t being required to master penmanship in school.

  2. N. Gibson says:

    For years now, I have pondered on creating just the wording in greeting cards-not the design. How does one go about getting started on such a desire that can reach a level of self employed-contractor etc? I find I have a knack for words such as poetry and rhymes and know that this is not only an idea I’ve been having but more of a passion I’d like to move forward with. Thank you for your replies and/or any constructive criticism.

    • Actually, there are books on this subject that may help you in writing greeting cards and earn a living this way. One of them is “You Can Write Greeting Cards” by Karen Ann Moore, and should be available on Amazon. Good luck!

  3. Hi Carolyn! I’m an elementary school teacher and I teach next door to a class with a very “animated” teacher’s assistant (older lady probably late 60’s, early 70’s). She is hilarious and sometimes I don’t even know if she knows it. Anyway, she dresses up for every occasion you can think of and I take her picture everyday (even when she’s not dressed up!) We call her MaMa Swanson. Every morning, I started sending her pics with a caption I made up to my son, who is in medical school. He, in turn, sends them out to his med school classmates via text and they get passed around to everyone. Needless to say, they LOVE them! He gets very upset if I don’t send one each day! Mama Swanson gets upset when I forget to take her picture too! She hunts me down to take it! I have a very entrepreneurial spirit. This morning, I started thinking that these would make great greeting cards (along with other items too maybe one day) to share with people. She is very humorous and a big HAM! I’m not sure where to start. These would fit in the category of funny cards for sure. I know that my son’s friends’ ages range from 21 – 30 and they love these daily texts! I know most of your advice on here is for artists and not really photographic art. Is there anything special that I would need to do to pursue this or advice that you have for me? Do you think this is this even a plausible idea? Thank you in advance for any help!

    • Well, Holly, I believe that you do think like an entrepreneur! You would need written permission from Mama Swanson to use her photos, in a way that you would earn a profit from them. And, you would need to know that there actually would be a demand for these pics as cards, because they would have to fill a need for a birthday card, anniversary card, etc. I’m not sure if this fits the bill, or they are only funny photos. There is a lot more to a card line than an idea. But all card lines do start with an idea … so you may want to look into this a bit further.

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