Getting into the stationery business

Mother's Day Stationery
Mother's Day Stationery | Perideau Designs

Have you ever thought about opening up a stationery business? Don’t know where to start? As a successful stationery designer I have been through the ups and downs and have noted 4 key items you want to think about before opening up your doors to customers.

What type of stationery do you want to design?
This will probably be the toughest as you will be so excited you will want to offer everything. But let me tell you that it can be overwhelming trying to cater to so many different clients. Narrow down your interests and who your ideal client would be. Do you want to just design custom work for wedding and baby announcements? Do you also want to have a wholesale line of every day cards, such as thank you cards? Once you narrow down your focus, everything will begin to fall into place.

Now that I have my designs and my target market, how do I begin to sell?
If you’re able to launch your own website, I’d say do it. If that is not in the cards, start off on Etsy or Big Cartel and tweak as you go. Then re-assess after a year and decide to sell your products on your own site.

If you choose to go wholesale, a great place to get in front of thousands of retailers at once is at the National Stationery Show that happens every year in New York City. It is a pricey investment but the payoff can be huge! If you want more information on exhibiting at the NSS, you should sign up for  Tradeshow Boot Camp classes run by Kelp Designs. They are chock full of speakers and information from seasoned NSS veterans.

Printing
There are so many different ways to print your products. You can purchase a really good printer and print from home or outsource your designs. You also need to choose if you want to print offset (flat) printing or letterpress. This decision must take into account your target market. In my shop, for example, I cater to mothers who have young children at home or in their lives. My target market does not want letterpress. However, if you have a wedding stationery line, having both offset and letterpress options might be a good idea.

Expand
You must always look at ways to expand your shop. Being stagnant will not get you noticed in press or propel your business forward. Slow growth is key, so start with a solid foundation and build off that and soon you’ll be living the life you always dreamed.

Hopefully this insight has helped. If you have any other questions feel free to leave them in the comments section or contact me directly.

Editors Note: You can also bring your questions and ideas along to our #omhg chat today on Twitter from 1-2EST. Bridgett is co-hosting our chat focused on starting and running a stationery/paper goods business! For more info on our twitter chats visit here

If you missed Bridgett’s Stationery Business 101 chat be sure to read the transcript here or check out the preview below:

 

11 comments

  1. Denise says:

    OMG!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you Bridgett! I’ve been working on my line of stationery and trying to figure things out like what to expand on, more offline promotion and more. I didn’t know about the NSS in NY, pretty cool! My next big project is adding new items – which I’m working on right now. Thanks again 😀

  2. Dondrea says:

    Just want to say that I truly enjoyed today’s chat and article. I’ve realized that I still have quite a bit of behind the scenes work and questions to answer before I’m ready to launch my stationery. Thanks so much for all of the insight!

  3. Jay Rudman says:

    Here’s another perspective. Please appreciate that not everyone that wants to open a stationery business is a designer. Some simply love paper. For those individuals, they’re looking for a turnkey stationery business. That’s what my company, Paperly (www.Paperly.com) offers.

    Thanks for listening.

    – Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

  4. Emma says:

    Hi Bridgett,

    Thanks for a great article. I am completely just starting out, have just had my cards printed and plan to initially start selling on Etsy as well as a couple of other similar sites. How do you recommend bringing traffic to your site/blog and advertising your products?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Emma

  5. Nicole Ortega says:

    Hello Bridgett,

    Thank you for all the great information you have posted! I’m in the very beginning phase of my greeting card business. So, I am doing a lot of research on suppliers.
    Do you recommend a Stationery Supplier in the L.A. area?
    Also, what type of adhesive do you like to use? I’m using my photos for some greeting cards.

    Thanks again!!
    Nicole

  6. Kerryn Newton-Edwards says:

    Hi Bridgett, I want to start doing stationery / cards/ reward charts perhaps personalised for preschool young child I illustrate and want to create a brand image. What I’m really worried about it the printing. I live in the UK but don’t know where to start. My husband doesn’t think you van buy a good enough printer but how where do I start looking

  7. U Street Studio says:

    Great article!! I appreciate how it gets down to the key points. I honestly feel as though your notes were some of my personal notes from the 3-4 sessions at NSS 2015! Thank you!
    It would be great to hear more of your advice and to get updates on what you are doing now!
    You’re great!
    – Stewart
    ( http://www.ustreetstudio.com )

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