This is the most important initial stage of starting your business. Immerse yourself in the industry, find out about the best specialist trade suppliers to publishers. Visit trade fairs, card and gift shops, read Progressive Greetings magazine.
The standard of the UK industry is very high and the greeting card market is very competitive. But it is also a friendly industry and people will generally be happy to talk to you.
First off, research the specialist suppliers to the trade and how to make best use of them. Many of these are listed in the Associate Members’ Directory.
The most imporant ones for you as a new publisher are the printers, who will be able to source the board, envelopes and cello wrap for you.
The Trade Source Book is the greeting card publisher’s guide to services and trade suppliers. GCA Members receive a hard copy of this useful publication in their GCA joining pack. Here’s a link to the Trade Source Book online.
Feedback On Your Designs
Do not ask friends and family for feedback on your designs if you want an objective opinion! The best feedback comes from consumers and retail buyers.
Take a stall at a local craft market and visit as many shops as possible with digitally printed card samples and a simple brochure. See if the shops will buy your cards. If not ask their honest opinion of how commercial your designs are. Different shops will go for different styles, but you will be able to get an idea of which are the most popular and which to go ahead with in terms of a card range.
While you are there, find out from whom they already buy their cards, if they use agents (who they are for future reference - good agents are hard to find) or if they order direct.
If they like the cards, find out which they would buy and how many. Not many shops will take your whole range. If they like the designs, retailers usually start off buying in sixes, but may consider buying in 12s when they are more comfortable with the range.