Making Their Mark in the Greeting Card Industry

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.