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Gypsy chic issue 2


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A window on the world of greeting card publishing by Lorraine Stylianou

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Gypsy chic issue 2

  1. 1. Gypsy Chic magazine INSIDE!!! Interviews with Hannah Dale of Wrendale Designs, Marina Brook of Marina B & Rose Hill of Rose Hill Designs .... Issue 2 - 2015 THE MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO GREETING CARD PUBLISHING WHAT ISYOUR WHY? WHY HAVING A CLEAR VISION OR GOAL IN YOUR BUSINESS ISVITAL TO SURVIVE. IGNITE YOUR INNER AUTHOR Why you should write a book. WIN!BIRTHDAY CARDS PAGE 7 SEASON’SGREETINGS TIMEMANAGEMENT How managing time is probably the biggest challenge card publishers face in business.
  3. 3. from the Editorfrom the Editor L E T T E R  What a pleasure it is to share the second edition of Gypsy Chic with you. Sharing these business themed articles is a way for me to connect with like-minded, hardworking card publishers and get close to what’s going on in our industry through interviews and articles.You all keep the cogs of the UK card industry turning and for that you deserve a big pat on the back. Even if you are only turning a small profit you’ve succeeded where many more have failed. And for those who dream of breaking even, keep going – nobody can point fingers and say you aren’t trying. I attended a rather disappointing export event this month, meeting representatives from a government body. My expectations may have been set too high, since I found the American trade advisors particularly unhelpful. The beleaguered receptionists had worked hard to get me a last minute slot with the US representatives all morning and they finally found me a 2.40pm appointment. I had to leave a very interesting seminar to meet them. It could have been a combination of post-lunch fatigue, (that graveyard session on a Friday afternoon when everyone is thinking of the weekend) or the fact that a civil servant who has no direct experience of running their own business will never really have the same interest in the challenges that face entrepreneurs like ourselves, regardless of how well they pretend to. Whatever it was, I should have only expected them to nod interestedly and possibly offer me some market advice by email, produce some research material, or send me some event information once I’d gotten home. I had rather hoped I’d leave the event feeling energised, and full of great ideas on how to grow my brand abroad, ultimately aiding the British economy. When the two advisors I spoke to suggested that the competition I would face trying to break into the American card market was hardly worth the effort, I felt like knocking their two heads together. What irked me most was the way they pretended to know something about the card industry at all. I’m certain a tadpole would have had more market knowledge than these two put together. I saw lots of other delegates had left samples of their products on the desk but I decided I’d rather bin mine than leave these two ingrates anything! Moving swiftly on…. I have three great interviews to share with you in this issue: Hannah Dale from Wrendale Designs, Marina Brook from Marina B and Rose Hill from Rose Hill Designs and want to thank my willing contributors for answering all my questions, without which this issue would be much less interesting, and significantly slimmer. This is the last issue before 2016 so I’d like to wish you Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and a great New Year. Lorraine Stylianou Editor 3
  4. 4. 4 WHAT WHY? WHAT WHY? is your
  5. 5. 5 H aving a clear vision or goal in your business is vital to survive. Without knowing what we are working for means we can become disillusioned quicker and distracted from our future plans. On days when crises strike – and believe me,I’ve had a few of these in the past fortnight – we can easily feel crushed and despondent,ready to throw the towel in,about to say“to hell with this lark”. Having a“why”helps to give us courage so we don’feel like a buoy floating aimlessly at sea. As an enthusiastic leader in our respective businesses we have to be able to take risks without forever looking over our shoulders in doubt. Your“why” is your purpose,and as a card publisher will be made up of your creative talents,your passion for evocative imagery and meaningful sentiments, and your love of painting – let’s say – animals, flowers,or other uplifting subjects. Your skill in being able to paint,draw,design something that make customers laugh,or go “Awh”will be fine-tuned over the months and years you practice but your ultimate goal,I would argue,is to inspire, encourage, humour, connect, and influence. As designers we want to create a product that captivates,restores,and brings joy. To do that we have to allow our talents, values,and passions to meet as that is when we are most productive.I know many card publishers who are passionate about horses,dogs,or typography for example,and have niched in – concentrating on only these things within their design remit.To stay in business we have to dovetail our customers’ needs with our ability to capture the sentiments they are looking to share with their loved ones at special occasions, and significant moments of their life. Customers buy cards as a way of expressing their affection for other people and to mark an occasion such as an office retirement, success at exams, or turning 18. This card giving tradition continues through to younger generations too as they take ownership for the people and relationships in their lives. Sensitivity, compassion and love transcends generations. Of course, big, hairy, scary goals like wanting to be England’s No. 1 greeting card publisher within 3 years generating £10million in sales (purely hypothetical), will need a lot of planning and will need to be SMART. • Specific • Measurable • Achievable • Realistic • Timebound You’ll have to keep a keen eye on your sales funnel, (note to self: Lorraine – make those sales appointments!) and work out your conversion rates. This will involve working out how many appointments you make, and follow up, that convert into sales. If you meet 10 buyers, and only one places an order, then you’ll have to work much harder that if you’re conversion rate was 50% - gaining a sale for every two buyers a HH
  6. 6. you speak to. Although much of this is really another article, knowing what each stockists’ individual requirements are is paramount. If you show buyers that you care about their revenue generation as much as your own, they will remember you. As we invest time and energy into our card business we’ve always got to remind ourselves that our purpose is to create a product that satisfies both the quality test,price test,and the aesthetic our customers are seeking. We’ve heard the CEO of Paperchase say we are in the fashion business – a trend-led industry that follows colour preferences, themes, styles, or the latest craze. I would argue that we are in the beauty business – one of pure appreciation of what brings us joy and awakens our senses. As card publishers we are the mouth piece for our consumer who buys our cleverly worded/ illustrated cards because somehow they express who they are and what they think. As Simon Sinek put it in his now famous Ted Talk, people do business with people who believe what they believe. A beautiful design takes someone’s thoughts away from what they are doing right now and allows them to pause, reflect, chuckle. We are helping to create connection through the medium of cards. So on days when inspiration ebbs away in our business remind yourself of these things: you are doing what you do for the betterment of humanity: to colour and brighten someone else’s world through the intersection of your art and your commercial products. That’s quite a responsibility! If you don’t give a fig for trends,then create your own – which I see many card publishers doing. Just be confident to break new ground. Luckily for us, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so there is room for all of us. Just BELIEVE that there is someone out there who will appreciate your vision, your designs, your wacky sense of humour and step into the limelight with courage. Leave the critics (most importantly your own inner critic) where they belong – in the shadows where they’ll wither and die. If you can combine all your special talents with a philanthropic goal then so much the better – big visions rock. Believe that someone out there is searching for what you do. If you have an online shop window, an Etsy shop, or blog remember the billion plus smartphone users in the world have every chance of stumbling across what you offer. Don’t try to appeal to everyone but concentrate on what motivates you and your potential audience. Become the best at what you do within your niche, and don’t be afraid to tell stories around what you do. Blog, tweet, Instagram, and share. You are in the communication business. You are selling a communication product. I’m certain you’ll soon be so clear on your “why” you’ll be unstoppable! 6
  7. 7. 2 l To win a six pack of my soon to be printed Happy Birthday Labrador design from my Curious Canines range please like my Facebook page (not just the post) and a name will be drawn from the hat on 1st January 2016. Visit my Facebook page here: lorrainestylianouart/ lllCOMPETITION l l l STAR, Leadership behaviours for Stellar SME growth, by John and Will McKee, is definitely worth a feature in this issue’s Book Nook. Although Ireland-centric in its case studies, and in need of an update (published 2008) this is an eloquently written business book that gets to the soul of what it is like to be a small business owner in a way few books achieve. The reader is drawn in right from the start with real life examples of stressed out executives who are in desperate need of strategic business help and one can’t help but identify with their struggles. Different leadership styles are covered in depth. Available on Amazon, this is a quality read primarily for the objectivity it gives you around your entrepreneurial operations, allowing you to see the wood for the trees through the various solutions it recommends. With no specific reference to the card industry, or the micro business in particular, the leadership styles it looks at are still completely relevant, giving business owners invaluable pointers for measured growth once expansion warrants putting a team of staff in place. The Book Nook 7 Curious Canines
  8. 8. 8 Hannah Dale of Wrendale Designs Interview with .....
  9. 9. 1. AFTER A HUGELY SUCCESSFUL FEW YEARS AS A CARD PUBLISHER AND ILLUSTRATOR HOW DO YOU COPE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE SIDE OF RUNNING A BUSINESS? ●●● One of the things you quickly realise when you start a business is that you have to be proficient at a whole array of things. It isn’t enough to come up with first class designs, you have to be an accountant, salesperson, administrator, marketeer and a whole host of other things. As soon as we were able, we hired people who are much better at all these things so that I can focus on what I enjoy. That said, it seems there is no way of escaping a burgeoning emails and if I’m not careful I can spend a whole day going through my inbox and sorting things out before I have picked up a paintbrush. Some of this is unavoidable but some days I just don’t switch the computer on- it’s the only way to not be distracted by it all! 2. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE FLEDGLING GREETING CARD PUBLISHERS TO HELP THEM BE AS SUCCESSFUL AS WRENDALE DESIGNS ? ●●● Be true to yourself and create designs that you believe in rather than trying to follow a trend. Listen to feedback but don’t be disheartened by isolated pieces of very negative feedback - you can’t possibly appeal to everyone’s taste. The key is what retailers are saying- you will see patterns emerge in the comments you get- that is the most valuable kind of feedback. Finally, delegate the tasks you don’t enjoy or are not good at as soon as you can- be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. F 9
  10. 10. 10 3. HOW DO YOU STAY INSPIRED? ●●● I spend a lot of time on each design because of the nature of creating an art card. It has to come from the heart or it just doesn’t work. If I’m not feeling it for some reason I take a few days away from the paintbrushes and something always seems to pop into my head and I can’t wait to start working again. There is a world full of inspiration wherever you look, as long as you keep your eyes open! 4. WRENDALE DESIGNS ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR AWARD WINNING DESIGNS, ACCOLADES, AND PRIZES - HAVE THEIR BEEN ANY LOWS IN YOUR JOURNEY THAT HAVE REALLY CHALLENGED YOU? ●●● Having your own business is a huge roller coaster of emotions and I don’t believe it is possible to have any kind of business without setbacks, disappointments and challenges. I remember one of the first agents I approached returning my samples to me with a letter saying that he didn’t think it would be a success and it wasn’t for him. I remember being totally gutted and could easily have taken that as gospel and given up. There are plenty of opportunities out there and if you find that a particular door doesn’t open for you, you just have to keep looking for others. 5. DO YOU HAVE A BEST TIME OF THE DAY TO WORK, OR ARE THEIR TIMES WHEN BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL IS REQUIRED? ●●● I have never been productive late at night, my best time is first thing in the morning and I love getting up at 5am when the rest of the family are still in bed and enjoy the peace and quiet to crack on. That said, the demands on my time with a young family means that I have to start again once they are in bed and I often paint in the evening as well. 6. WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE WRENDALE DESIGNS BRAND? ●●● We’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline including some more books and we are launching a new children’s range in January and a home furnishings range in July which I am very excited about. We launched in the US last year as well so we have three trade shows across the Atlantic in January and February. HANNAH DALE, WRENDALE DESIGNS T: 01652 680253 W: Facebook: 10 when the rest of the family are still in bed and enjoy the peace and quiet to crack on. That said, the demands on my time with a young family means that I have to start again once they are in bed and I often paint in the evening as well. 6. WRENDALE DESIGNS BRAND? ●●● in the pipeline including some more books and we are launching a new children’s range in January and a home furnishings range in July which I am very excited about. We launched in the US last year as well so we have three trade shows across the Atlantic in January and February.
  11. 11. x Having attended a number of events at Hilton Hotels this month, Gypsy and Chic want to share some of Conrad Hilton’s inspiration with you. “I know when I have a problem and have done all I can: thinking, figuring, planning. I keep listening in a sort of inside silence until something clicks and I feel a right answer.” “DON’T ever quit” “Successful people keep moving.They make mistakes but they don’t quit.” “Enthusiasm is a vital element toward the individual success of every man or woman”
  12. 12. VIDEO M I really would have liked to have attended an Outsider Art Exhibition in New York recently but could neither afford the time nor the air fare. By going on Youtube I was able to watch a visitor’s video of her time at the show – her interviews with artists and all of the work on display. It was almost as good as being there. Through this sharing, I saved myself hundreds of £sterling! Through your videos you could be helping others as well. Since Youtube is the world’s second largest search engine it really is worth creating a Youtube Channel so people can subscribe to you. A short video on Youtube can generate lots of interest, and this can be embedded in your blog. You could do a “how-to” video of you painting something. If you properly keyword it, you can increase your visibility, and drive traffic to your website. The power of an online video cannot be quantified – it can catapult and accelerate your business in a way other methods fail. For starters it demonstrates your skills as a tutor which can be a lucrative stream of income. Any flip camera or smart phone will do and in time you can progress to better equipment. The formula for making a good marketing video consists of a number of things but can be broken into 4 main components: 1. THE “WHY” VIDEO (I give my example below) I paint for self-expression. I find it therapeutic, creative, and fun. By doing what I love, and following my passion, I have found I can make a living from it. I’m a self-taught artist with no formal training and by harnessing the expertise of my tiny team of graphic designers, I have been able to adapt my original paintings for greetings cards, and licensing. My work reflects the gorgeous retro images of my youth – folksy 60’s culture, hippyesque patterns, animals in bright landscapes. Not everyone has the means to buy original art but greeting cards allow you to buy an image that stops you in your tracks for a fraction of the cost of an original and inject some rainbow colour into your life. My cards are not 50 shades of grey! Why me: I’m a member of ABNA, I have exhibited in UK galleries, have self-published colouring books available from Amazon and run a card publishing business. 2. THE “CONTENT” VIDEO For each card range I could make a video showing the preparatory steps, the drawing of patterns, the application of paint on canvas, or my sketch. TOP TIP For free music to use on videos go to or For pictures visit FORYOURBUSINESS
  13. 13. MARKETING Then a few shots of myself using my computer, speaking to my team, receiving the boxes of cards from the printer, and their dispatch to stockists. 3. THE “PROOF” VIDEO l Show some” before” and “after” shots of the range in development. l Interview someone who has received one of your cards or get some referrals from stockists. l Include customer testimonials and positive comments. Perhaps visit a shop where your cards are displayed. l One clever tip is to include lots of different people (different genders) in different environments to provide testimonials (the office, outdoors, people around a board room table). It is far more engaging. 4. THE “URGENCY” VIDEO If you sign up for my special offer by midnight on Thursday, I will be offering an original limited edition print with every £100 order but numbers are limited. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. You will also need to create surprise, gratitude, trust, desire, anticipation and urgency as well. Write down, using 5 or 6 bullet points of the benefits a potential customer will get from buying your cards, prints, original art, or your extraordinary customer service. The things you really need to avoid when making a video is looking under-confident, not having jotted down a structure for your video, stopping and starting throughout the shoot, or looking anxious. Viewers can only forgive lack of technical ability up to a point, so try and think of the quality of production, lighting, sound and content before you start. Keep focussed when speaking to the camera and deliver your message as clearly as possible. Not everyone has perfect presentation skills and top of the range camera equipment. If you have a good product and people are interested in your artistic skill, the chances are, they will buy whatever you are offering, be it a custom painting or a spinner of cards. When adding a video to Youtube remember to mention that you would love viewers feedback or comments. This encourages viewer participation and community involvement. More video makers are including the “bloopers” at the end for humour and to build rapport. Remember to use consistent lighting that is no higher than your eyes and if necessary, put a diffuser over the lights. Daylight bulbs are recommended. If you are outdoors you could put a wind shield on your mike. Please do let me know if any of this encourages you to start your camera rolling by dropping me an email at 13
  14. 14. 14 Marina Brook of Marina B Interview with ..... Marina B is a small up and coming design led business based in the heart of Leicestershire specialising in innovative, unique and heart felt designs for greeting cards, stationery and gifts.
  15. 15. 1. DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY BEHIND THE SCENES OF MARINA B. lll A typical day in Marina B’s world is always a busy one!!! No day is ever the same but that’s what I love! I will say that one of my favourite days would be a design day!! I have two young children Lilly who is 4 and Jack who has just turned 1 so the business has to fit around my family at the moment. An average working day would be dropping the children off at Nursey or Granny’s house, then I have to pack a lot into a small window I have. My 1st job of the day is to speak with stockists and see if they need anything, check how sales have gone and see if there is anything more I can do to help them. Next on the to-do list is check the stock I hold and ensure I have plenty to fulfil orders. If I haven’t then I place orders to replenish. Then comes the fun bit!! The design! All designs from Marina B are hand-drawn with classic yet chic themes with a generous sprinkling of love. I love creating new ideas and can’t wait to see the finished result in a card. I am currently looking into ways to extend my range of products by using designs on tea towels, ceramics and other items to creating some tea towels and other items as think they designs would sit perfectly on Textiles. Getting a great new design takes time, and lots of ideas are redrawn many times until I feel they are good enough to feature on a new card. 2. WHAT WAS THE FIRST CARD RANGE YOU DESIGNED AND ARE YOU STILL SELLING IT? l l l The Union Jack heart is one of my absolute favourites and was the first card that I originally designed when Marina B was formed. It is still a bestseller today with just a few slight tweaks to bring it in line with the rest of the range. 3. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE BUSINESS AND HOW HAS IT EVOLVED SINCE YOU LAUNCHED? l l l From an early age I have had an interest and felt passion for everything artistic and creative. I love the idea of creating a design that could add an extra sparkle to a special occasion or support someone through a difficult moment in their life. I have always had an artistic nature and a passion for design. Whilst at school I studied Textiles and Design and Technology. This led me to an Art Foundation course at Loughborough University. Loughborough’s Art and Design Foundation is a fast paced, fun and creative course that encouraged me to develop my artistic ability. The aim of it was to learn a broad range of skills before tailoring the course to what you enjoy and eventually choosing the specialist undergraduate course best suited to you and your ambitions. This led me to specialising in Textile Design which I studied for 3 years at Cardiff. This background combined with a strong focus on providing outstanding products, that genuinely please F 15
  16. 16. 16 customers and a determination to succeed hopefully put me in a good position to make Marina B a huge success. I started making cards 3 years ago for friends and family, all cards were made and personalised by hand but due to the popular demand I then designed a small range of 12 designs for Christmas which I sold in a local shop. I never dreamt this would lead to the birth of Marina B Designs. I didn’t really think they would sell but was delighted when they rang asking for some more. The designing then started from there. I created a small range for seasonal events such as Valentines and Mother’s Day to start with, which quickly lead into a range which now caters for all occasions. Now Marina B is supplying cards across the UK and online with lots of different ranges. At the start the whole manufacturing process was done by me at the kitchen table. Hand drawing every card, then painting, glittering and packing. As much as I enjoyed this I quickly realised that if this was ever going to be a proper business, we would need to outsource the manufacture so I could focus on the important part of designing and growing the business. 4. DO YOU HAVE AN ALL-TIME FAVOURITE CARD AND WHAT DOES IT LOOK THAT? l l l My ultimate favourite card is part of the Pretty Lilly Range, and was inspired by my late Granny. I was very sad when she passed away and I felt I wanted to create a design that I could remember her by. She loved the outdoors and gardening, so it had to be pretty and colourful. It is one of those special cards you would send to someone you care and love who you want to know you are thinking of them. 5. WHERE DO YOUR DESIGNS COME FROM AND HOW DO YOU DECIDE YOUR NEXT RANGE. l l l My true inspiration comes from a love of a beautiful design and its impact on the customer. I’m hugely inspired by the shape of the heart which features in nearly all of Marina B’s designs. I love anything with a heart and experimenting trying to fit it into new designs. The new ranges tend to come from ideas that have popped into my head when I am about and about. I always have a sketch book to hand so I can capture any treasures on paper when ideas spring themselves on me. Usually these end up being the best ones! 6. MARINA B’S BIG DREAM l l l We hope to be in a position where we are selling cards and giftware nationwide through a number of high profile National chains as well as a large number of independent card and gift shops. My ultimate dream would be to produce a high end range of ceramics, textiles and tin ware items featuring our own designs, and along with our stationery. In addition we aim to have our own web store which we are currently working on. MARINA BROOK Facebook:
  17. 17. 2 TOPIC: ART LICENSING Having 15 minutes of research time on line is a great way to relax and educate ourselves. Here are a few sites you may wish to visit for art licensing information. 17 Fancy a browse…. l I swap business cards at events all over the country and the ones that really inspire me are not necessarily the flashy, glossy better quality cards but ones with inspiring wording that call you to action. I’ve seen a few that I really liked at a designer maker craft event recently and what made them stand out above the others (besides the usual name, company name and contact details) were words like: Adobe Creative suite 6 tuition in your home, Exclusive Arts Parties. When you turn the card over, you are reminded of a free downloadable e-book if you visit their website (an opportunity to build their sales list) or what their clients say through positive testimonials. This way, you’re advertising what you do and reinforcing your credibility. Spending lots of money on fancy business cards is not a priority initially. It is probably more important that you have a customer’s details so you can phone them to follow up a potential sales lead. CHECK OUT: Business cards
  18. 18. 18 TIME M ANAGE M ENT TIME M ANAGE M ENT M anaging time is probably the biggest challenge card publishers face in business. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. If you do a little bit of everything in terms of painting/design, responding to emails, packaging, dispatching your work, and marketing yourself, you’ll establish a pattern of tasks that becomes easy to follow. Having a “To Do” list is crucial, but all the more so if you are working from home where the separation between family and work life becomes blurred. I strongly advise keeping lists for everything you need to do as they keep you focussed. Simply cross off the tasks as you’ve done them. Otherwise you are relying on memory, which will fade when something else distracts you.There is always some phone call or knock on the door that eats into your time, or a phantom hunger pang that entices you into the kitchen. Procrastination is a real issue for homeworkers. One way round it is to block out your working day just as you would in the office and try and stick to set lunchtimes and coffee breaks. Don’t look at the chores that
  19. 19. need doing. The tumble dryer will just have to wait. Knowing that a lot of tasks take twice as long as you’d planned it is also worth building in a bit of extra time in the day to deal with unexpected issues (that bothersome person who keeps texting you just as you are in the middle of putting the finer finishes to your latest masterpiece). By getting out of bed half an hour earlier is one solution. Being your own boss means you can, in effect, work whatever hours you like. The reality involves long hours and hard graft. There isn’t much time for one’s “self” in self-employment at the start up stage of your business. The main difference between a hobby and a business is that the latter is so much more work. There is an added level of seriousness that has to be applied to business – the finances, your time and meeting orders. The one third of the day working parents lose to the school run, making packed lunches, and picking kids up from sports events is a bit of a silent scream. We just have to be that much more focussed to get anything done. Tasks like video creation, writing a business plan, or getting a social media strategy going also has to be factored in. I’m currently building a list of stockists in the area I’ve moved to, arranging for my cards to be professionally photographed, registering for lots of free business related courses with business networks, getting copy together for my digital magazine, and getting to grips with Etsy. The networking side is probably the most important, and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet an ex-Hallmark saleman in the last few days who has passed on the name and phone number of the buyer in one of Ireland’s biggest chain of card stores at an event one of my friends said I shouldn’t bother attending.That’s another factor in life – luck! … BEAR IN MIND One of the biggest hurdles designers can experience is creative block – which often comes from worrying about money. Money worries damage your creativity. Creative block is often caused by forgetting to nourish your creative mind. By identifying what it is that helps inspire you to create, you can recreate the triggers that will get your creative juices flowing – the music we like, vision boards, even the smell of homeopathic oils. By blocking out specific times to nurture our creative soul it is easier to stay ahead of our game. If we simply work nonstop without taking time out to reflect it won’t be long before you get that feeling common to creatives suffering burnout – a feeling of being undervalued,under recognised,and under paid,not knowing what the bigger picture is. So as the Stay Calm posters recommend, Just create and carry on. 19 CREATIVITY vs BUSINESS DREAMS IDEAS NEW DESIGN STYLES THERAPY RELAXATION PRODUCTS SALES & MARKETING BUSINESS PLANNING DEADLINES MONEY
  20. 20. 20 ... Rose Hill of Rose Hill Designs Interview with .....
  21. 21. 1. WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR PASSION FOR GRAPHIC DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION AND WHY DID YOU FOCUS ON THE CARD INDUSTRY IN PARTICULAR? ● ● ● I’ve always been creative. In fact the first competition I won for my drawing was when I was four years old of an owl which was exhibited in the National History Museum for six months. My brother still teases me and says it’s my best drawing. The card industry is such a lovely and fun industry to be in with endless opportunities – it means I can work on multiple designs and I love the connection people have with my designs. 2. YOU USE BRIGHT PRIMARY COLOURS IN MANY DESIGNS - DO YOU THINK YOU WILL PRODUCE A MONOCHROME RANGE AT SOME POINT? ● ● ● I don’t think so as colour and pattern is so important to me but I never say never! 3. GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF GREETING CARD PUBLISHING. ● ● ● Oooh there are so many amazing things working for yourself (and some not so great things). My favourites are that I can create a business in the way I want to live my life; I’m a very sociable person and have become great friends with all of my stockists and suppliers. Trade shows are so much fun although very tiring, but so wonderful to meet lots of likeminded people and chatting about creative processes is brilliant!! The card industry is such a lovely industry; truly it’s unlike any other. 4. WHAT IS YOUR BIG VISION FOR YOUR BUSINESS? ● ● ● I have so many plans just waiting to be actioned!… I would like to expand my product range to include other items such as ceramics and cushions. Also add to my growing stockists. I am currently entering the American market. My favourite plan is to curate a really cool art exhibition. 5. ANIMALS FEATURE A LOT IN YOUR DESIGNS. DO YOU PLAN ON DOING DIFFERENT DESIGNS THAT MAY, FOR INSTANCE, INCLUDE AQUATIC OR BIRD DESIGNS, OR EVEN LANDSCAPES? ● ● ● I love animals and do have a lot of animal designs, but I also have a lot of figurative, iconic items, patterns, typographic designs, but yes, I think birds will be a great idea. Possibly I will do aquatic and landscape designs. Because my work is hand-drawn the possibilities are endless… it’s just finding the time to focus on one thing at a time. But the sky is the limit. 6. WHAT PAIN DO YOU THINK CARD PUBLISHERS SOLVE? ● ● ● Knowing that someone cares about you enough to give you a card, and having that hand written message inside from a loved one is the best feeling you can have. It’s an emotional connection and ultimately makes us happy which is amazing!! ROSE HILL DESIGNS T: 07742347603 W: Instagram: @rosehilldesigns Facebook: 21
  22. 22. 22 Q uestion: why would you write a book? Answer: Because you can and it’s probably the best business card you’ll ever have. You will have knowledge, wisdom, passion and a message that only you can tell the world. You’ll have gained this experience from your career, your hobbies, your family, your life. Once you know how to put your message out through a book you can learn to monetize it. You need faith in yourself and belief that others want to hear your story. The results that come from publishing a book (if properly produced and marketed) can be: be a steady stream of royalties, a publisher’s advance, direct sales, notoriety for you, life changing experiences for you and your readers, further business in terms of coaching opportunities, workshops, speaking events, and ability to develop audio and digital products on your chosen subject. Your will get noticed for your thought leadership and the value you bring to others. Your book can act as your business card when speaking to other’s in your industry. The main reason for publishing a book is that it positions you as a big name in your niche and is the ultimate business card at networking events. There is help all around to assist you in structuring your book.There are endless resources in libraries, book stores and online as well as distance learning and college courses. There are workshops and book coaches in their multitudes to help you get started. At no time in history has there been so many opportunities to write a book and have it published as today. Self-publishing has come such a long way in the last decade. It has shaken off its amateur image and is viewed as a perfectly acceptable way of entering the hallowed corridors of publishing at a cost most people can afford. It is a way of fulfilling a personal desire to see your hobby, or business idea in print, a way of leveraging the experience you have of your niche, and a way of making money. It saves you a lot of the pressures many authors’ face seeking publishers to accept their manuscripts, and coping with rejection when the editors turn down their hard work. One downside of self-publishing, however, is that the marketing and distribution of your book is your responsibility if you haven’t used a cooperative book publisher to help you or commercial publishing houses that have a self-publishing arm. The latter can help arrange printing if you need their assistance although no one can guarantee your book will sell. The aim, IGNITE YOUR INNER AUTHOR.
  23. 23. 23 therefore, is to produce the best work possible and to use every method to get it to your readers. There are numerous self-publishing courses, both online and off, to help you succeed in addition to books and magazines on the subject. These will give you essential information on the pros and cons of publishing your own work. Reading as much as you can about self-publishing will give you a better understanding of what is involved in creating a book in terms of its design and print processes. Material will cover book launches, online retailers and other advice. Writer’s services companies can help with editorial work and feedback on your masterpiece. I’ve met several authors who self-published without using an editor and regret it. Just contact me for my list of writers’ services. My first three books were self-published but as they were colouring books I could dispense with editorial. I outsourced the template production via Given that the publisher/graphic designer who responded to my bid on Elance was based in Mexico may have been cause for concern but it didn’t delay the projects in any way. I was able to liaise by email on most things and used Skype to clarify others. Payment for work was done by PayPal. I was walked through the process of setting up a contract with a self- publishing house in the UK, had advice on opening a merchant account on Amazon and the publisher also listed my books there. COPY EDITING l A copy editor will check your manuscript for mistakes such as spelling, that pictures are in the right place, that sentences hang together in the right paragraph, repetition and punctuation. This process helps ensure that your book is the best it can be and you can agree all of the recommendations before going to print. TYPESETTING l Another aspect of publishing your book is the typesetting phase. For me the term typesetter conjures up images of busy newspaper staff furiously working to assemble print blocks in the right order for the next edition of the news.What it involves today is someone taking your text from a document and converting it into a professionally presented book with typographical design. They will have an eye for the type of book your material suits, the paper quality to use, page size and colours and graphics. Once you are happy with the look, the fonts used, and the book’s size you can then think about cover design. After typesetting comes the proof reading stage. Proof reading allows you a final chance to check that everything is correct and to amend overlooked spelling mistakes. JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER l It is so important to get the design of a cover right. Unless you have experience of Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator,it is best to hire the services of graphic designers who know how to do this properly. Covers are what sell books and it is vital that good cover artwork is used. If you have written your book to showcase your art or card ranges you should use full colour throughout. Using black and white images of art today is so 1950s – visualise those old books with colour plate inserts where one side was blank and the other showed a colour image. Printing techniques have come a long way since then as well as our expectations and we need to be as visually attractive and eye catching as we can possibly be. PRINTING. l Finding a suitable printer at a price you can afford is another challenge the self publisher needs to consider. Personal referrals are very helpful but if you don’t have any recommendations, it will involve phoning around, reading websites, and checking prices. For me, the customer service element is crucial at this stage – I simply cannot operate with a printer who doesn’t respond to my emails, leaves the phone off the hook for ages while they check details and never return calls. Don’t take a list of industry credentials to signify excellent customer service – it doesn’t. I won’t name names, but I’ve had appalling service from some of the UK’s biggest
  24. 24. 24 printers, and found smaller privately owned companies treat their customers properly. There is nothing as frustrating as trying to navigate your way through the uploading of final artwork to the printer to discover their computer systems haven’t accepted it, and there is nobody to speak to for advice by telephone. Even worse – you’ve paid for the order upfront and realise there was something you wanted to clarify and can’t get hold of anybody for days. Nightmare. You will have to familiarise yourself with some printing jargon such as the different print processes of lithographic or digital printing, paper weights, etc. The number of copies you want printed will normally determine whether you opt for digital (smaller print runs) or lithographic printing (larger print runs). My recommendation would always be to pay for a sample copy of your book before authorising the final printing so you can hold a mock-up of your work and feel the paper quality. Once you have delivery of your blockbuster you have to consider publicity and marketing. You may have already thought about this and drafted press releases for your book in a flurry of excitement. Measuring which publicity types get the best results is difficult. I’ve sold books on Etsy, Amazon, Ebay and have no way of telling how the buyer became aware of them in the first place – from my FB pages, from search ads, direct searches, from my blog? All I know is that without word of mouth, social media, blogs and FB pages nobody would have known of their existence. The marketing of your book is probably the hardest aspect of self-publishing. Without effective marketing your beautifully bound copies will remain in the boxes the printer sent you, representing a huge waste of your time and hard earned cash. Cooperative publishers with marketing and distribution arms can save you a lot of grief and lost sales. They will help you produce information sheets, market your book through online book stores, assist you in advertising your book on their web pages, provide you will a web shop, distribute your book through their network , give help with book orders and give you a sales report with breakdown of royalties due to you. Bear in mind that the more advanced the marketing assistance you require, the more you will pay for it. Things you should do yourself to advertise include networking, carrying press releases and a copy of your book with you, throw a book party, ask your local library if you could do a book signing there, and drop off your business card and book fliers in offices and shops that offer services related to the material in your book. If you have friends who are members of a local book club why not ask them to review your book and blog about it. If you want to see your book distributed internationally, there are many translation companies who will assist you with this. The hurdle of marketing these in the countries you intend them to be read will require some thought as well as a use of social media and other tactics. Elance is a good place to start to find publishers with translation departments. Hopefully these suggestions will help you to achieve your goal of being a published author. Weigh up all the options, keep comparisons of costs, services, and customer service before making any decision. GETYOURSELF ON AMAZON! ● This is one of the simplest things to accomplish today. I’m assuming here that you have chosen the self-published route. Once you have the contents of your book, you can either arrange to have a small print run of your book done with a local publisher or you can choose a print-on- demand facility using self-publishers such as or Amazon itself (Createspace). For self-published books you will need a barcode readable ISBN number. Please note that some UK publishers insist that the ISBN registration is made with the UK ISBN Agency rather than having American ISBNs. Armed with your ISBN number printer to discover their computer in advertising your book on their web pages, provide you will a web shop, distribute your book through their network , give help with book orders and give you a sales report with Gypsy Chic magazine INSIDE!!! Interviews with Zin Craig Matthews of PoiZIN Pen, Janna Cossettini of Deckled Edge Design and JO SCOTT of Scott & Robson Designs Issue 1 - 2015 ROSES FOR ROSES SAKE Floral elegance on card WIN!! FREE CARD SAMPLES IN OUR COMPETITION See page 23 Hoarders! Who needs ‘em? Bold & BRIGHT THE TREND FOR AUTUMN/WINTER 2015 THE MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO GREETING CARD PUBLISHING Meet the expert LYNN TAIT PAGE 9 Pinboards Do they have supernatural powers? book orders and give you a sales report with breakdown of royalties due to you. Bear in mind that the more advanced the marketing assistance you require, the more you will pay for it. Things you should do yourself to advertise include networking, carrying press releases and a copy of your book with you, throw a book party, ask your book orders and give you a sales report with Zin Craig Matthews of Zin Craig Matthews of Zin Craig Matthews Pof Pof oiZIN of Deckled Edge Design and JO SCOTT of Scott & Robson Designs WIN!! FREE CARD SAMPLES IN OUR Gypsy Chicmagazine Gypsy INSIDE!!! Interviews with Hannah Dale of Wrendale Designs, Marina Brook of Marina B & Rose Hill of Rose Hill Designs .... Issue 2 - 2015 THE MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO GREETING CARD PUBLISHING WHATISYOURWHY?WHY HAVING A CLEAR VISION OR GOAL INYOUR BUSINESS ISVITAL TO SURVIVE. IGNITE YOURINNER AUTHORWhy you shouldwrite a book. WIN!BIRTHDAYCARDS PAGE 7 WHATISYOURWHY? IGNITE YOURINNER AUTHORWhy you shouldwrite a book. SEASON’SGREETINGS TIMEMANAGEMENTHow managing time is probably the biggestchallenge card publishers face in business.
  25. 25. ensure it is put in a barcode format, for example: Simply send your artwork/ book content to your publisher. This is usually done on-line by uploading a pdf version to the publisher’s website, indicating the size and quantity of books required, type of paper you want the book to be printed on, hard or soft covers and whether or not this is full colour, or black and white. Then pay your fee and await delivery. Don’t forget: If you have a website built to support your book remember to use your QR code. These are codes generated online that are readable by apps on peoples’ smart phones. The code takes people directly to your website. Once delivered (copies of your shiny new books stacked high in the middle of your living room) you then need to think of getting the books listed on Amazon. To do this, first create a merchant account. Amazon’s guidelines are perfectly straightforward. If uploading the artwork for your new book seems too daunting then you can approach some of the smaller publishers or outsource sites to do this for you but it really isn’t difficult. Decide on the price you want to charge (allowing for Amazon’s eye-watering 60% commission) and once the listing is live,ask your friends to write encouraging reviews. There is nothing like a good referral to secure further business. Market your book on all your social media sites,in your blog and online shop (which can be a blog page that links back to the Amazon listing you have set up). With strategic keywords and traffic you can achieve substantial sales online. Reviews: Get your friends and business associates to review your book – I see books on Amazon that were published years ago without a single review. Had these authors no friends? E-BOOKS l Like hard copy books, e-books allow you to do the hard work of compiling your content once and then making money for this over and over again through the continued sale of the book. Again, a website or squeeze page should be set up that promotes your book and can accept payments through PayPal. The simplest format is to write your content in a rich text editor and saving it as a PDF file. By including an advertisement within your e-book giving your contact details, your web and blog url, you are people another opportunity to do business with you. E-books can be given away free of charge as a way of building your customer list. Known as an ethical bribe, customers get access to a link where they can immediately download the e-book in exchange for their name and email address. Once you have these, you can market directly to them though regular newsletters and emails.The idea would then be to create another art-related e-book – this time for which you charge- and promote it to your earlier customers. The chances of a sale are increased since they have shown interest in the topic before. Once you have written your e-book and sold some you can consider making it work harder for you by producing an audio version via CD. Videos could also be produced showing you completing an art work that can be uploaded to yourYoutube channel. By giving a short demo of “how to” art techniques, subtitling your website address and directing viewers and subscribers to your online shop, you are further increasing your potential to make sales. KINDLE l A colouring book, like the ones I published, is not really suitable for Kindle but books in word format are. Once you have set them up on Amazon the marketing is done for you.Think of writing about your art and business journey. There are already artists out there doing this.
  26. 26. 26 I t’s still Autumn and an opportunity for me to reveal my woodland creatures, a new range that developed over the months of September and October with the help of my team. The designs were all pdf ready when I decided to change the background to a much subtler style with a pretty white leaf silhouette. The colours used are earthy, woody, and neutral which work really well with their accompanying buff coloured envelopes. My personal favourite is Mr Squirrel, followed by Miss Doe (a deer, a female deer!), with Harry Hare a close third. I hope you like them. Woodland Wonders ORDER FORM WOODLAND WONDERS CARD RANGE CODE PRICE AMOUNT TOTAL WOW1 Stag 5.70 WOW2 Squirrel 5.70 WOW3 Raccoon 5.70 WOW4 Hedgehog 5.70 WOW5 Bear 5.70 WOW6 Pheasant 5.70 WOW7 Fox 5.70 WOW8 Owl 5.70 WOW9 Rabbit 5.70 WOW10 Blackbird 5.70 WOW11 Baby Deer 5.70 WOW12 Hare 5.70 WOW13 New Forest Pony 5.70 WOW14 Badger 5.70 WOW15 Polecat 5.70 WOW16 Field Mouse 5.70
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  28. 28. Gypsy Chic magazine A window on the world of a greeting card publisher