New greeting cards

As photographers and artists, isn’t the ultimate thrill actually getting down to work on our art? Of course, running an arts and crafts business involves so many less-fun tasks. Among other things, we need to figure out how we want to use our artwork and how best to sell it.

One way I sell my artwork is as greeting cards. The margin on cards isn’t large, but there’s an established market, and if you can tap into that the volume of sales adds up.

I sell some of my cards online directly on my Artfire Gallery and I also wholesale them to brick and mortar stores through my super greeting card sales-rep, Tamara Holland – who I must tell you just became the very first “Artist of the Month” at Calypso Cards, the company that distributes one of her lines of awesome cards.

As I take new photos and create designs from them, I select the ones I think are the best and most suited for cards. Then, when it’s time to re-order my best sellers from the printer, I add a few new ones. Without further ado, here are my five new greeting cards! First, my straight photo of a monarch butterfly sipping nectar from a zinnia flower.

Monarch on zinnia

Second is a photo of a Julia butterfly, also on a zinnia. I worked with drawing and other image tools for a vintage feeling.

Julia butterfly on zinnia

Next, two new hummingbird cards. I have several hummer cards in my line, but these are different, especially the one on the right, a hummingbird at an abutilon flower. I used several paint and other tools to emphasize the bright colors and the bird’s wings. I also worked to bring out the vivid, saturated colors of the image on the left, a hummingbird at Mexican salvia (sage).

Hummingbird at Sage and Hummingbird at abutilon cards

Finally, I included a painterly rendition of my photo of an egret soaring over a pond at the Oakland Museum.

Egret soaring

After the hard work of making the new designs, it’s such a thrill to open the box filled with the printed cards.  I’ve told you before about the local printer who I am so lucky to have printing my card line. Jayne and Bud at Cerrito Printing came through again, big time, for this latest order.

Do you sell your art as greeting cards? Many artists who sell at shows feel that offering cards cuts down on their sales of prints, although others think it’s worth it because a lot of people who would never buy a print will pay a few dollars for a card. What do you think?

Buy Local, Sell Local (part 1)

Don’t jump to conclusions — I’m not going to preach to you to do all your shopping and selling locally. After all, in my book Sell Your Artwork and Crafts Online and my workshops on that subject I teach people to reach way beyond their neighborhoods and cities to show and sell their art.

Etsy home page

But sometimes it just makes a whole lot more sense to do business locally. For years I’ve had my business cards and the postcards for my Open Studios printed by various online printers. Then last year I amped up my business to sell greeting cards to stores through my magnificent sales rep Tamara Holland of Bean Up The Nose Art (hey guess what, she’s also local, just over the bridge in Marin).

Bean Up The Nose Art

Logo courtesy of © Bean Up The Nose Art

Forget having the cards printed online — think of the shipping delays and costs. I also need to be able to meet in person with the printer to make sure the cards come out perfectly. I checked around – boy, there are a lot of printers in the Bay Area. But guess what, the best one by far that I found is less than two miles from my house!

Cerrito Printing

Logo courtesy of © Cerrito Printing, Inc.

Cerrito Printing is a full-service, family-owned and operated printing business at 1600 Kearney Street in El Cerrito. They offer offset and digital printing services to Bay Area (and beyond) companies of all sizes, and also provide layout and design services. Every contact I have with Jayne has been a complete pleasure. She’s so easy to work with, accommodates my requests, and answers my newbie greeting-card manufacturer questions. And most important, the quality of the cards is better than any other printer I’ve used.

Greeting cards

She worked with me to get to a price that was better than any other local or online printer I looked into. And what a relief not to have to deal with the complicated requirements of online printers, each one with its different rules and recommendations buried in various menus, forms, and links — and the tortuous upload procedures. I copied my files onto a flash drive and drove the 1.5 miles (getting the picture?) to Cerrito Printing, had a nice chat with Jayne and Bud, patted Rocky their pup, and that was that! When the cards were done – amazingly quickly – I got a phone call. Has Vistaprint called you lately? I think not.

Cerrito Printing

Photo courtesy of © Cerrito Printing

I just completed my third card order with Cerrito Printing, and I look forward to many more! If you’re wondering what’s happening with all of those greeting cards stay tuned for Part 2:Selling Local.