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Advice for local card makers seeking to place their cards in retail shops

I have noticed an increase over the last six months in approaches by local card makers seeking to get their cards placed in the shop. It’s a challenge with complexities.

  • Some local card makers have not considered the margin retailers need when pricing their cards for sale from their own website or at local markets.
  • Some have not thought though how to display the product.
  • Some have never considered whether they would accept product for return.
  • Some have not researched what sells and what does not sell.
  • Some have made poor choices on card stock.

Cards are premium margin products in our businesses. To deliver the value we need, they need to sell. At minimum, we need to sell at least 12 of each card each year to break even on space, labour and capital investment cost. This is the benchmark: a pocket turn of 2 times a year, or in the case of these indie maker cards, a turn of 12 of a design in a year. And that is at a minimum.

While many of us want to support local card makers, too many of these makers have not through their go-to market strategy in a way that connects with potential retail partners.

When we say no, some take it personally about their designs, while this is not the case. It makes for a complex conversation.

While I am all for supporting local designers and makers, the arrangement needs to be commercially viable for both sides and have a plan behind it that shows the relationship to be sustainable.  There is one card maker I supported years ago who did not have replacement stock when I needed. It took three months.

Here are some things we have done to make it easier for the business to support local card designers:

  • We have a good space in the shop dedicated to displaying their product full face.
  • We have a stand for the counter that pitches 2 or 3 designs, for impulse engagement.
  • We show customers the local connection.
  • We use social media.
  • We share performance data so they can consider this when developing product.

While there are complexities with local card markers, there are some out there that get it and work to ensure the relationship is mutually viable.

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