A co-worker suggested I go to the store she had visited and see if the owner would be interested in selling my cards. She convinced me the cards the owner currently had for sale were not as good as mine. Here are the steps I took. I think they will work for you too!
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Make Photo Greeting Cards - Steps to Selling

Do you make photo greeting cards? Have your friends and family given you glowing compliments on your cards and suggested that you sell them?

I had been making cards for years before a co-worker mentioned that she had been looking for cards the previous day and could find nothing interesting or suitable. Having seen my work, she suggested I go to the store she had visited and see if the owner would be interested in selling my cards. I was doubtful, but she convinced me the cards the owner currently had for sale were not as good as mine. Here are the steps I took. I think they will work for you too!

Essential steps to get started:

• The first thing I did was to research what kind of cards were selling. Luckily, I live in a touristy area and there is a big demand for local color; i.e. scenery, architecture, flora and fauna, etc. I concentrated on photographs that were unique to my particular environment and something people couldn't buy back home. Your first step should be the same. Find what is unique about your area and make photo greeting cards that reflect that uniqueness. Something that brings a smile to their face and makes them want to send it to others.

• Secondly, I checked out how the cards were presented. I found that the classier, more professional looking cards were protected in crystal clear bags. This not only made them look good, but the store owners appreciated the protection the bags provided from constant handling by customers.

• Next, I looked at pricing. Find out what comparable greeting cards are selling for in your area so you know what to ask for your cards. And when I say comparable, I don't mean mass marketed bargain cards. Your customers will be looking for unique works of art, so compare your cards to other quality photo greeting cards.

• As far as pricing your cards, you should consider two scenarios. The first and preferred method is to sell your cards directly to the retailer. They usually mark them up 100 percent to cover their overhead and to make a profit. Don't sell yourself short. If you take half of the price you are seeing in the stores, determine if it will cover the cost of your materials and still give you a decent profit worthy of your artwork.

• The second method is to sell your cards on consignment. When you are just starting out and your work is unknown, this may be the only way a shop owner will agree to take your work. If your cards don't sell, they're not out any money and this, obviously, is less risky for them. The percentage each receives is negotiable. Maybe 60% for you and 40% for the owner, but you might have to settle for 50/50 to get your foot in the door and get some sales under your belt.

• Now that you have made your cards, made them presentable and researched your pricing, it's time to find a retailer. Think of obvious local Gift Stores and Card Shops, but don't forget Bookstores, Coffee Shops, Florists, Galleries, and Visitor Centers. Call ahead for an appointment by asking for the owner, manager or buyer. Tell them you have a unique product that you feel will fit in well with their business. They will schedule you for a time that is typically slow for them and therefore, will have more time to look over your photo greeting cards. Present yourself in a confident, professional, business-like manner and you will be treated accordingly. You can show up like a ditsy, starving artist type, but if you do, don't quit your day job yet! You've decided to sell your work, so you'll need to wear two hats. One of an artist and one of a business person.

Good luck selling your greeting cards, but leave time to photograph and create new images. It's all good and it's all fun.

Jan Loveland is a photographer specializing in the unique scenery and wildlife of the Florida Keys. Make Photo Greeting Cards

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