Greetings cards are so popular and such an easy way to network and market your work and still make a little profit.
By selling at Art in Action I had a good chance to see what the visitors there bought. Obviously, all the visitors had an interest in creative arts, or were with friends who like creative arts, but 22,ooo visitors over 4 days is a good chance for market research.
I thought this card was amusing and fun – but I never sold a single card! Why not? Well, I just never thought it through. Who exactly do you send a card of a fat lady to? A fat friend or a skinny friend?
This tractor card is my very best selling card ever. I did it by default for the child next door, having just learnt how to recognise the different tractors after moving to Oxfordshire. I’ve probably sold close to five hundred! People love tractors in the countryside and almost everyone who has bought it has smiled about the back and said “This is for my brother / uncle / grandson /friend – he loves tractors.” It fills a niche market – cards for men or boys and these are in short supply at art shows (although there are lots in card shops).
Here are some of the ‘rules’ I now apply to card making:
- Look at the card and think of yourself as the buyer and when you would buy it and for whom. This means you need to switch your thinking from ‘Is this a pleasing work of art’, to ‘Would I buy this for my mother, or my aunt / friend; for a thank you / sympathy card’ etc.
- When it comes to just words (in calligraphy), its really difficult to find words which are not copyrighted and that appeal to lots of people. Many of the ones with mass appeal are a bit ‘tired’; having graced too many fridge stickers. If you are an original wordsmith and funny, you are in a good place.
And by experience this is what does not sell well:
- Cards with a lot of black on them, e.g. linocuts etc.
- Pink flowers or cards with lots of pink on them
- Exotic flowers that you don’t get in the UK
- Snowdrops in summer
- Valentines cards at any stage (people only buy one or two (!) each and its hard to have them just in time for Valentine’s day)
- Cat cards mostly sell as a ‘thank you for looking after my cat’
- Anything written in Gothic.
- Anything that is even slightly hard to read.
- Cards limited to one occasion – Happy Mother’s day, New Home, It’s a Boy etc.
- And calligraphers, avoid alphabet cards or you’ll run out of E’s and be stuck with U’s and it is really tricky to get this one right.
- I’d like to apologise to my calligraphy friends for not having a larger range of calligraphy cards. My calligraphy cards don’t sell very well and my flower cards walk out the door! But I do have some understated cards with just ‘thank you’ on and these are very popular.