Making Their Mark in the Greeting Card Industry

Entrepreneurs give insights on etching a nitch

carolejoygreetings

Carole Joy Creations greeting cards (Source: Carolejoy.com)

The greeting card industry is a multi-billion dollar business, but for entrepreneurs looking to establish themselves, it can still be a hard sell. A great idea, sound business plan, and financing alone will not guarantee success.

Here are some additional tips from greeting card industry insiders who have made their dreams reality:

Finding a good partner

“Art and the marketplace don’t always coincide,” says Victor Gellineau, co-founder of Brookfield, Connecticut-based Carole Joy Creations Inc. Gellineau founded the company with his wife, Carole, in 1985. The couple began with a line of six Christmas cards that Carole, a stay-at-home-mom, designed and Victor, a product manager for various brands, marketed and sold. “We do try to blend the two, but there are times when we have to make tough decisions between artistically pleasing and what the consumer would buy.”

Gaining attention of retailers

“We really look for something socially conscious, totally unique and that offers local support. It should be something you can’t find anywhere else,” says Marva Allen, managing partner and CEO of Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe in Harlem, New York. He also advises that prospective entrepreneurs have “a great penetration plan and work it until you get results.”

Handling your business

“It was easy to get into the stores, but the one thing I wasn’t talking about was the money,” said Alton Weekes, 32, owner of the Harlem-based hand-made greeting card line, Alton Weekes. He recommends establishing the terms up front. Heather A. Kollar, founder and CEO of the New Jersey-based greeting card company Blueknight Greetings suggests configuring a package of products between $100 and $300.

ACROSS THE WEB
  • Pingback: Making Their Mark in the Greeting Card Industry | BlackNewsTribune.com

  • http://www.hurlsart.com frank Hurley

    I don’t think that all black greeting cards have to have an image of a black person on it to make it a black greeting card ,Black people love planes boats & trains too. to get my drift visit my website;www.hurlsart.com.

  • N.P. Andrews

    Thank you for publishing this timely article. I’ve always considered starting my own line of greeting cards and this helps with my planning and research.

  • Ken Washington

    I have created a unique articulating recumbent bike with software. How do I submit my idea for funds?

  • http://yahoo vickibujold

    To all this May Concern,
    I feel that all Americans need to get past color and race don’t you? The obvious in your face Black Enterprise name defeats this Ideal. What if White Enterprises or names that seem to exclude other races and skin colrs Black Enterprise from even being interested in the information the site has to offer? Clearly you would have alot to offer every race and color
    on your site don’t you agree?
    Good Luck I hope you can get past Americans with
    skin color differances.
    Vicki

  • Irene

    Vicki,

    We (blacks, non-whites) will “get past color” when the world does the same and shows equal reprsentation of all races. Many race specific companies are created out of the lack of exposure or attention to our needs desires and wants. So, instead of begging for someone else to shed light on us, we’ve provided it for ourselves. Why don’t you take your time and opinion and offer it to those companies who are clearly lacking in anyone of color as they are the ones that need to “get past race”.

    • Shana

      @Irene,

      Very well put!

  • http://www.jusayit.com Tawanda

    I think it’s AWESOME that the greeting card industry is being recognized and highlighted! This comes at a perfect time for me as I am grinding to get my greeting card line off the ground…..BE you have done it again!

  • http://faithfilledgreetings.com Treena Mann

    I currently have a line of greeting cards,prayer pillows and Christian novelties. I find it very difficult to find someone to do the illustrations to go along with the text. Is it okay to use clipart?

  • Kris

    I’m in the beginning stages of starting my own GC line and was wondering about the laws of copyrighting and at what point do you do it? Once you apply, should you also apply for TM certification as well? Lastly, do you need to have your work copywritten before presenting it to potential clients and if they’re willing to sell my cards in their stores, how do I protect my product? Where do you find a good printing company, I live in IL?

  • vicgolds

    I believe that each race has its own difficulties in the business world. I would agree that the non – black grieve and love differently but there is a God that loves all races just the same. I think that we are recognized as powerful money making race compared to yesterday. I remember reading in the bible about the Tower of Babble that God was wroth with the race that thought itself superior and God Himself knock the tower down and made just the principality stronger. He made sure that each language had its own meaning but one language is superior and that is His word. If we all show ourselves approved rightly dividing the word of truth as is one of God’s principles then none of us would be still babbling greater. Now I do believe that God wanted us to prove our own race as equal to none but only to Himself. I believe that we do have to come together at one point or another because Caesar has laws that we must obey and God requires that we obey them. Caesar had made some laws just for the minority and if I was a minority I would want to know about those life saving laws especially for Blacks, Black Women and of color. Why not Black Enterprise analyze and allow others to discover your real knowledge to your power and give the minorities the blue print of actual law and how to penetrate as likewise yourself. Hoard nothing my black man.

  • http://www.CowrieCards.com Henry Rock

    Another twist on this topic is the use of eCards, such as those we offer at CowrieCards.com ~ Social Expressions in Black. We’re new to the game, but wanted to take advantage of the move to the web for all forms of social engagement. We offer an array of cards, including post and flash, as well as invitation too (a great departure from evites).

    Having spent years in Black media and marketing and coming to grips with a dearth of images and sentiments that reflect our richness as a people, I felt it was a great time to make this play.

    Come check us out, try a free ecard, leave a comment, tell a friend. See both our humorous and business notes lines.

  • http://clwppdnsnyiu.com/ vndhfahx

    UBqXIG rvvqzanpcxde, [url=http://tcixthxaobja.com/]tcixthxaobja[/url], [link=http://srhzvryskzjv.com/]srhzvryskzjv[/link], http://dqivjlmgmtfh.com/

  • http://www.cardsbydrsharon.com Sharon Allison-Ottey, MD

    I started a greeting card line which is totally unique and different. I appreciate this article because it gave insight into this world. Cards by Dr. Sharon is a line that mixes great writing, graphics and “pizazz” together for a card that is a winner. However, the “extra” is found on the back page with a moment of health and wellness. They are the cards that keep on giving– when you love or care enough to send both a card and some “nuggets” for good health. I am so honored and proud to admit that our team has done a tremendous job and that the cards are selling themselves.

  • http://www.cardsbydrsharon.com Sharon Allison-Ottey, MD

    oops find the “Card by Dr. Sharon” at http://www.cardsbydrsharon.com and ask your retailers about them!

  • Suki Glenn

    Empathy can not be felt by one who has not experienced the issues or struggles of another. They speak only from their own platform which happens to be totally different from people of color. Bless her heart!

  • Mary

    You are obviously not a person of color, and if you are you’re one who sees the world as you wish it to be, rather than as it is. If the past, couple hundred years of this country’s history has taught us anything, its taught us inequality and persons of color (Blacks in particular)go hand in hand. While ‘some’ progress has been made, there’s certainly not been enough to start celebrating over!

    Walk into any grocery or convenience store in a predominately White neighborhood and look at the books and magazines on the shelves; scarcely a dark, pigmented face to be had. The reverse in a predominately Black neighborhood will yield books and magazines with all color hues and subject matter, gracing the covers and discussed between the pages.

    Excepting BET, HBO and pimp and hoe representations, count the number of white faces vs. color faces in television commercials and in the television programs that you see every day. Does it never occur to you that Angela Basset, Lynn Whitfield, Taraji P. Henson, Tyler Perry, Boris Kodjoe and a whole host of other mega talents, are rarely, RARELY featured in prime time movies? Has it never occurred to you that most of the criminal and welfare profiles shown on TV depict people of color, yet you get a completely different picture from a trip to your county courthouse, jail or welfare office?

    Count the number of white vs. color faces in direct proportion to the number of billboards you see daily, on local highways. Research cases of law and search for equality in the ways and terms of sentencing for Whites vs. Blacks, for the same or equal crimes. Search the history books and see how many times a Black, public official has publicly disrespected a sitting President. Search again and see how many instances you find of Black elected officials, publicly expressing their desire to see a White President fail. Search one more time and see how many times a Black person has threatened the life of a White Presidential candidate, simply because he or she dared to become a contender for the White House seat.

    I believe the reply that says it best is from Shana: Blacks and other non-Whites will “get past” the color issue when the rest of the world makes an earnest endeavor to do the same! Until then, we’ll celebrate, herald and trumpet our own!

    I can promise that if you haven’t met the cruel, hatred of racism in this country yet, you will! You obviously need to just open your eyes and mind, and start ‘gettin around’ a lil bit more!

  • http://www.biotinsideeffects.info Biotin Dosage :

    greeting cards from the hear would always be the best thing to give someone special:-”

  • http://www.metalbrake.net Metal Brake

    there are many greeting card options that you can see in online stores but i love those that generate cute sounds ~~`

  • clarence

    Great article!

  • Cyru

    I have bought some really unique and innovative pop up greeting cards with lights and melody at http://www.Missgirliegirl.com These cards are so amazing! They even have these 3D lenticular greeting cards that are life-like. Spectacular!