View Full Version : Am I crazy to try this?...

Lady Artist
09-15-2000, 05:05 PM
I make up packages of notecards for a local artisans gallery I belong to. I am able to get the cards complete with matching envelopes for .15 cents. I put 4 to a package.
I've been using my color copier to clone the watercolor images. Then I tear them with my art deckle ruler so they have a nice edge. I then glue them down with glue stick. I stamp my name and address on the backs, slip into a plastic baggie and top it off with my label folded over the top. I retail them for $3.00 a pack and the owner gets 20%.

Okay...here's the scoop. I cannot afford to have color printing done to have my own cards printed professionally. Would I be absolutely nuts (I'm busy already) to think I could wholesale these on a small scale, maybe beginning with one of my reps to check out the volume lst?

They are selling like hotcakes at the gallery.

My husband and I could do the production together, but I wonder if anyone could recommend any quick production methods to make this work.

If it worked, maybe I might risk the investment to have some printed.

Thanks in advance!!!

09-15-2000, 10:12 PM
Dear LA,

Here are a couple of thoughts for you to consider:

- Even though you're using your color copier, you are still paying for the raw materials of toner, paper, paper you are gluing onto, as well as the envelopes, and gluestick, retail.

- To print, cut, position, glue, fold, assemble, check, and bag the cards takes time. Gauge how many cards you can reasonably manufacture per hour along with the cost of actual materials, above.

- The print quality from a color copier as well as the paper is only ok at best. And if you are printing on a very absorbant paper, the colors will lay flatter than if printed on a press.

- Doing all the above is great for small quantities or testing the marketability of a particular painted image.

- You may be able to afford to have one card done at a time at a reasonable cost not outlay more $. In fact, you may save $ on production, and make more per card. (You may begin researching low cost, good quality mail order printers such as Post Script Press 800.511.2009 and there are many others.) They will score as well as fold the cards for a great finished look which will be more competitive with the zillions of cards out there.

- Don't forget that it took you time, effort and creativity to make the original image. The cost of that painting should be integrated into the price of each card as well.

- If the cards are selling that fast...it may already be time to raise the price a bit.

- The last issue is that of distribution. It will take time (which is valuable in terms of $) to find and maintain enough outlets to sell your cards at a profitable level. Another consideration; if your images are very popular, look into the possibility of working with a publisher who will pay for all production, is already set up nationally through hundreds of stores, and pay you a royalty.

Wishing you all the best with your enterprise!


LDianeJohnson.com (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com)

Lady Artist
09-16-2000, 08:21 AM
Hi, Diane! Thanks. I *Know* all that stuff already, that's why I wonder if I'm crazy to try it!

I already have cards being published by another publisher, a couple in fact, but they aren't the ones *I* want to produce myself. That's why I'd like to self-publish them. I already have a distribution system through my reps.

My problem has been the financial outlay. Big medical and educational bills have *sort* of set me back a bit! That's why I thought of trying the hands-on production method.

My own color copier is excellent, an HP150 and I highly recommend it. Many people tell me that they think the work is original.

Thanks for the phone number above. I will try them. My local printing company did a job for me last summer of one-color recipe cards which I wholesale and the price was outrageous. I was going to try Color Q. Ever heard of them? But I'd like to shop around. Still...the cost...

How can you have just *one* card printed? Color separations alone here are $150 for each color they've told me -- in fact, that's why they told me the initial outlay is so high, because of the separations.

Thanks, very much! But got all that covered! :-)

Lady Artist
09-16-2000, 08:27 AM
PS: My HP150 takes a beautiful quality paper with nice flecks in it. I would never use regular copier paper. I agree, the quality is questionable.

My HP150 is a fabulous machine. My printer can set me up with all kinds of paper, like you wouldn't believe! And the cards I buy are already folded and come with an envelope.
This production would kind of be similar to photography artists that paste their photos on ready-made cards.

If there is anyone else interested here in cards for their printers and/or color copiers here is the company:
Acid-Free, Recycled
Monroe, WA
Wholesale only
Fax: 360-805-5605

Great also for wood block printing, rubber stamping, collage...you-name-it!

Thanks again! You obviously are a well-organized person!


09-16-2000, 02:25 PM
Yes, among others, I'd try ColorQ. Get packages and estimates from as many as possible, but most importantly, look at the print quality.

As to printing "eaches". Printing one at a time is much more costly than in a run (as you know). With some of the mail order companies, you can do short runs (say 100 cards) and not have to print 10,000. The depth and quality of a card printed offset from a transparency is better than direct printing from the laser. Lasers are good, but still a totally different process/result.

Kinkos and other local-type printers can print your cards one at a time, but you already do so on your own laser which is about what they could do as well.

I would just continue to experiment, and ask around until you are in a position to print the cards in an optimum way. Also, if you currently have a listing with ArtistNation, you could try to sell your cards online using their shopping cart on your site.


P.S. Owned a graphic design co. for 20 yrs, and like yourself have printed several cards, testing every way possible to keep the costs down.

LDianeJohnson.com (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com)

09-24-2000, 03:51 PM
LA, I have printed my own cards also with my color desk jet printer by HP. I use the same cards that you do and my work comes out looking like original little watercolors also.
Color separation is very expensive indeed. I worked in print shops when I was young and know well the work that goes into it. Another cost is the color set up for the press. It has to be cleaned throughly between colors, and most shops don't have enough presses to dedicate to doing just one job at a time so usually one press is used for a complete job. I have done 4 color work, and it is a PITA. With the folded blank cards you can buy that include envelopes using your printer would be how I would go. I have found a few places online that sell wholesale cards $ envelopes. Just look under wholesale paper as you surf.


09-28-2000, 05:37 PM
Sass, found this great company -- really great prices -- called Create-Your-Own
They're acid-free
Might do some collage on them too.