How to design and sell your own greeting cards online
You don’t have to be employed by Hallmark to make money from greeting cards. Indeed, if you have a smart mind and the ability to put together attractive or fun artwork, you might be able to tap into the $7 billion US greeting card market without ever investing in paper or printing.
This is largely because an array of online platforms can help you market and produce your designs. You just imagine the ideas and upload images. Online platforms will turn your design into cards and market them on your behalf.
How does it work and how can you get started?
Make money with greeting cards
There are five online platforms that encourage artists, designers, and wordsmiths to create greeting cards that they will produce for you. Four of the five work similarly, while one – Minted – is quite distinct.
If you would like to produce the cards yourself, you can also do this with Etsy. Thus, potential map designers have six possible choices.
Here are your options, starting with the four “print on demand” shops that SideHusl.com most recommends for card designers.
Zazzle lets you upload your art and make it available on everything from greeting cards to tote bags. Artists who work with the platform say one of the reasons it stands out from greeting card designers is that the site is one of the few that lets customers customize your design. This can boost sales for things like wedding announcements, bridal and baby showers, and other events that require personal details.
In particular, you do not take care of production or shipping. You simply provide the card design, artwork and text and earn a royalty each time one of your card designs is sold. How much do you earn? Generally 10% to 15% of the sale price. Your royalty rate is officially up to you. But Zazzle penalizes those who set their prices above 15% with an additional fee.
RedBubble and FineArtAmerica
Redbubble and FineArtAmerica work much the same way. However, where some print-on-demand operations limit how much you can earn from royalties, both of these sites have dynamic pricing formulas that allow you to set your own margin. Your margin determines the final cost of the product.
To clarify, each site has a “base price” for the products it sells. Artists can add their own margin to this base price. The sum of the base price, plus the artist’s margin, equals the sale price. For example, if a greeting card has a base price of $2, you can choose a standard markup of 20% to sell the card for $2.40. Or you can opt for a 50% markup, which would increase the price of the card to $3. You are in no way penalized for setting your royalties as high as you want.
Another good point: you are not limited to the sale of greeting cards. If you create a beautiful or smart design that would work well on a t-shirt or coffee mug, you can ask these sites to sell it on whatever you want. Both sites have the ability to sell your designs on a mind-boggling range of different products, from shower curtains to hoodies, from puzzles to prints.
It’s important to note that you retain the rights to your work, so you can sell your designs using competitors sites as well, including Zazzle and Society6.
Society6 is another popular print-on-demand operation that lets you download artwork that can be used to illustrate everything from greeting cards to phone cases. It works much like the other three, but Society6 sets the royalty rate for you on most products, usually at 10% of the selling price.
Like others, Minted will create products from your designs and sell them, paying you a royalty. However, other than that, the site is unique.
With the other sites, you join and upload your art. You do not need a special invitation or accreditation. With Minted, to sell greeting cards, you must enter and win a contest on the site. Minted’s greeting card contests offer prizes of up to $3,500 for first place. If you win a prize – not just the top prize – you also get a free store on Minted where you can sell that design and others.
If you happen to be a first or even second place winner, this can be a great deal. You get both a generous upfront payment and royalties of 3% to 6% on each future sale.
But you are not guaranteed a generous price. In fact, you could win as little as $100. And, your price comes with a big caveat: if you sell this design on Minted, you’re not allowed to sell it anywhere else.
If you would like to make your own greeting cards to sell, you can do so through Etsy. Etsy is one of the oldest and most established sites for selling anything handmade or vintage. Here, you’re essentially running your own business – figuring out what to make, how to make it, and how to price your wares.
Etsy only charges 20 cents per listing – 5 listings for $1. If you sell anything, you’ll also pay a 6.5% transaction fee, plus a 3% payment processing fee. The site has also added an “outdoor advertising” fee ranging from 12% to 15%, which applies to you if one of the site’s ads sends you a sale. (If your store sells less than $10,000 worth of goods per year, you can opt out of the program. It’s mandatory if your store earns more.) So if you sell here, be sure to give yourself a big profit margin to take into account potential contingencies. costs.
Kristof is the publisher of SideHusl.com, an independent website that reviews money-making opportunities in the gig economy.