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
â€śArt and the marketplace donâ€™t always coincide,â€ť 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. â€śWe 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.â€ť
Gaining attention of retailers
â€śWe really look for something socially conscious, totally unique and that offers local support. It should be something you canâ€™t find anywhere else,â€ť says Marva Allen, managing partner and CEO of Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe in Harlem, New York. He also advises that prospective entrepreneurs have â€śa great penetration plan and work it until you get results.â€ť
Handling your business
â€śIt was easy to get into the stores, but the one thing I wasnâ€™t talking about was the money,â€ť 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.