With a tagline like ‘not yo’ grandma’s greeting cards’, you just KNOW that Anita Bezanson will be just as awesome (and hilarious) as her greeting card and gift company, Rhubarb Paper Co.
Anita is a (Canadian) East-Coaster who, from a young age, loved all things stationery. From scratch-and-sniff stickers to valentine cards, that love followed her into adulthood. So when her passion for designing greeting cards began to outweigh the feeling she got from her work as a freelance graphic designer, she decided to do something about it.
Rhubarb Paper Co. is definitely NOT your grandma’s greeting card and gift company. From tongue and cheek quotes to straight up LOL-worthy vulgarity, Anita’s cards and gifts are sure to make the recipient giggle and blush.
Now, assuming you’re done scrolling her instagram account and literally ROTFL, let’s get to the main reason you’re here: learning the ins and outs on what it’s like to start and run your own greeting card company.
Check out the replay here, or read on for a recap of our Q&A style convo!
(Keep in mind that the majority of the answers below are mega paraphrased! If you want Anita’s full answers, be sure to watch the full interview!)
Q: How and where were you selling your cards before you set up your website?
A: Etsy! To get an idea if your product is sellable, Etsy is a really great place to start.
Side Note: Anita is still on Etsy! Check her store out here!
Bonus Side Note: If you’re interested in learning more about running an Etsy store, check out this past interview with Jami King!
Q: How did you first get retailers to carry your product when you started out?
A: I reached out to my dream stores through email! Now, most store contact me. If you do research and find a store that your product will fit in with, send them an email! Include photos, mention why you think you would be a good fit, and sell yourself!
Fun Fact: Rhubarb Paper Co. is in nearly 300 retail stores WORLDWIDE! WOAH!
LET’S TALK WHOLESALE!
What is wholesale?
Wholesale is when a store buys your products at a wholesale price (more on that below), and then sell it for a profit.
Things to know about wholesale:
- Determine your costs: You need a wholesale price. To figure this out, you need to know your price per unit then double it for wholesale and then double that to get the suggested retail price!
1 UNIT X 2 = WHOLESALE PRICE
WHOLESALE PRICE X 2 = SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
$1.25 PER UNIT X 2 = $2.50 WHOLESALE PRICE
$2.50 WHOLESALE PRICE X 2 = $5.00 SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
- Be clear about your terms
- Keep in mind what others are charging for their cards. If you find a card company you like, see how much they sell at retail to gauge how much they are making per card.
Fun Fact: Greeting cards are sold in groups of 6! So if you are selling wholesale to a store, each design they purchase comes in a pack of 6.
Q: How did you build followers and your customer base when you first started out?
A: Initially, it grew locally! I found local businesses and they found me and we followed each other. Then I started to put more effort into my feed and use of hashtags, which got me more followers, but that came with more anxiety.
Pro Tip: Like the shops you want to get in! Comment and like their photos and engaged with them! Many shops reached out to Anita thanks to these tactics *winky face*
“The biggest take away for me has been sharing part of your life and your story. That’s the number 1 way I’ve grown a following. Share your day to day life. Share your struggles.” – Anita Bezanson
Q: Any tips on lowering shipping/fulfillment costs for a small startup business?
A: If you send your cards in a flat mailer and it fits in the slot, you can save yourself from the small packages fee and use a regular stamp. That’s pretty much the only tip I have used consistently.
Q: At what point would you recommend smaller startup stationery companies do big shows like NSS, ect.? (National Stationery Show)
A: With the way the industry works now, so many more buyers are coming to you by social media. I do not think that NSS is make or break for a business. I’ve talked to many big lines who have said that they will not do NSS again, and that it’s gone down. If you think it will be beneficial, do it, but I don’t think it’s needed anymore.
Now, that’s just a glimpse of some of the questions Anita answered and there is sooo much more awesome information.
Anita also covered her opinion on selling on a consignment basis, minimum order and reorder amounts, her experience with authenticity and how people can connect to that, and some really great social media tips.
Thanks so much to Anita for taking the time to answer all of our questions! Check her out on her website and give her a follow on Instagram!