You've made all your cards, and now you're raring to get selling. So let's take a look at the business side of things. [[image:p31i.jpg|centre]] ===Where to Sell There are lots of avenues for selling your cards, and ideally you want to try as many as possible. Friends and family will likely be your first customers, but you'll soon want to broaden your horizons. **Shops** An easy way to start is by asking relevant local shops if they'll take a few - newsagents, gift shops, florists, etc. Offering to supply them on a sale or return basis - so the shopkeeper only pays for those cards that sell, and returns any unsold ones to you - should be enough to persuade them! Don't forget, you'll need to price your cards more cheaply if you're selling to shops, so they can make their profit - 50% of your usual retail price is a good rule of thumb. If you don't have any suitable shops locally, go a bit further afield and keep an eye out for shops that would make a great home for your cards. Anywhere with an independent, handmade ethic is a good place to try. Ideally, however, you'll want to sell most of your cards directly to customers yourself. With no middleman taking a cut, it's by far the most profitable approach. **Craft fairs and card parties** [[image:Craftmarket.jpg|centre]] Renting a stall at a craft fair is a great place to showcase your cards. Even if you don't sell many on the day, the exposure can be invaluable. If you go along to one, get some business cards made up and take plenty along. There may be lots of competition to get a stall, since many fairs have quotas for particular crafts to ensure an even spread. Persistence will pay off here. If you keep trying and keep applying, eventually you will get a place. Another good way to sell direct to customers is by organising card parties with friends, and asking them to bring their friends along. Lay on some snacks and drinks, offer discounts when people buy a few cards and you could do very nicely. If you have young children, you could consider taking some of your cards along to their toddler groups too. Busy mums may appreciate the chance to multi-task and do their card shopping at the same time! **Websites** And of course online is a fantastic place to sell. As well as the ever-popular eBay, there are a number of specialist sites where you can sell your handmade crafts - you may be familiar with Etsy (US based), and Folksy (UK based), but there are lots more lesser-known sites if you look around - Dawanda and MyOwnCreation being two examples. Perhaps you'd prefer to take the plunge with your own dedicated website. The huge numbers of template sites available now make this quicker, easier and more affordable than ever before. It's perfectly possible to have a basic site up and running in a matter of hours. If you've a bit more to spend, you can splash out on a bespoke custom-designed website. This will set you back a couple of hundred pounds as a minimum, so it's not for everybody. You know what will suit your budget and match your ambitions. In any online selling, one of the most important things to get right (which often means the difference between making a sale and not) is your photographs. You must have great quality images that do your cards justice. Whether you are selling on your own site, eBay or wherever, the website is your shop window. So if you don't have a good digital camera, either invest in one or borrow one. Take simple photos with a white background to really showcase your cards. ===Marketing/Advertising [[image:Cardsforsale2.jpg|centre]] The idea of "marketing" can be daunting if you've never done it before, but when you consider that it's just business speak for "letting people know about your cards", it becomes a lot less intimidating. Word of mouth is a great way of attracting new sales. People trust recommendations from friends and family, and you'll probably rely on this initially. But if you want to reach more people, you'll need to get a bit more creative. You can have lots of fun coming up with novel marketing ideas - the more unique, the better. Here's a couple of ideas to get the ball rolling: * Find out when your local radio station or newspaper celebrates their anniversary and send them a handmade card with a note - they may be feeling generous and give you a mention. * Trade magazines, for example Progressive Greetings, Greetings Today and Greetings Magazine, often include details of new card ranges, so it's worth telling them about yours. Write a paragraph about your cards - including information about the designs, an idea of price and a contact telephone number - and take a few photos (or better still gather up a few samples). Phone the magazine to find out who's in charge of the New Products section, and send your cards and information directly to them. Include a short cover letter explaining that this is a brand new range. Repeat with all the greeting card magazines you can find! You can also market yourself online - there are so many ways to publicise yourself for free on the Internet. Set up a Facebook page, get a profile on Twitter, start your own blog, post in craft and card making forums - all of these cost nothing and can help to build interest in your cards. If you have one, use your business name wherever possible. But of course, your cards themselves are your biggest marketing opportunity - every card doubles up as a business card. Don't forget to brand the back of every card you make with 'Made by (your name/business name)', and some contact details (a personalised stamp or something like [[p4474|this stamp set]] is a great way to do this). People put their cards up in their homes, and if they're receiving cards it usually means there's a special occasion, so they're probably getting visitors too. Make it as easy as possible for these visitors to find out that //you// made the card they're holding. ===The Boring But Necessary Bits... **Insurance** Since you are making your cards yourself, you are considered the manufacturer, and will need to take out **product liability insurance**. This covers you in case of any incident involving your cards - for example, if small parts detach and cause injury. Though this sounds like quite an investment, it should actually only cost you around £50 per year if you shop around - a small price to pay for peace of mind. If you plan on selling your cards at craft fairs, you'll also need **public liability insurance**. For the period that you are running your stall, it is essentially your "premises" and you are liable for any incident that happens in it - for example, if your table collapses and injures somebody - unlikely, but you still need to be covered for it! There are companies that offer combined public and product liability insurance specifically for crafters, which works out cheaper than buying both separately. A quick search online found one offering cover of up to a million pounds for just £69.95 per year. **Registering for Self-Employment** [[image:Selfemployedcardmaker.jpg|centre]] As soon as you start selling, even if it's just one card, you need to tell the Inland Revenue you are self-employed. No matter if you're doing it alongside your job - any time you sell goods for profit, this counts as being self-employed. But don't be daunted - registering is completely free, quick and easy, and you can do it by phone, by post or online. Visit the [[http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/ HMRC website]] to find out everything you need to know. You will need to keep a basic set of accounts, so keep a record of your incomings and outgoings - make sure you hold on to all relevant receipts and invoices to make this as painless as possible! You'll also need to submit a self-assessment tax return at the end of the financial year. Though this is compulsory, your self-employed earnings won't be taxed if they are below £6475*. Likewise, you won't need to pay any National Insurance on your card making earnings if they are below £5075* a year, but you will need to fill out a small earnings exemption form from HMRC (available on the HMRC website). ===A Final Thought Expect things to start slowly at first. It may take a long time to make your first sale, but don't get disheartened. As soon as you sell that first card, you have a customer, who will potentially recommend you to their friends - and that snowball may just grow bigger... Enjoy the process, treat it as the hobby you love, and if people want to buy your cards, even better. It's a new year, and there's no time like the present to give it a go. So get cracking! _______________________________________________________________ //(Continued from [[http://www.handyhippo.co.uk/articles/62/making-cards-to-sell-part-1-creating-your Making Cards to Sell Part 1: Creating Your Cards]])// //*All figures correct at time of writing//