Recently, I had the good fortune of having one of my cards - this 80's inspired 'Weirdo' slogan card - being featured on an Etsy email. This was a new experience for me, and very exciting as it lead to a little flurry of sales in the day or so after!
The card featured was made to order, so although I had designed the pattern and had it printed digitally as a greetings card already, I still had to make it into the design I sold. This was great to do in a batch and undoubtedly saved me time, but although I massively appreciated all the orders, I wondered if everyone out there fully realised how much of my time had gone into each £3.00 card that I sold.
It involved quite a few different stages, which is fine and this is the way I chose to make it, but I thought it was worth sharing the process. It serves as a reminder that if you buy from a small business or designer/maker on Etsy, you are really buying something that has been handmade, handcrafted and potentially although only 'Just A Card', has had a lot of time and love put into making it.
The starting process was of course designing the patterned card and getting it printed. This particular pattern I designed a while ago, based on cherry blossom and a trip to Barbara Hepworth's house and garden in St Ives, Cornwall. The leaf shapes were made originally by cutting up tiny bits of paper and dropping them on the scanner, then colouring and laying the pattern in photoshop. All of that is the back story really, but it goes to show how much time ultimately I spent on this one design!
To cut out the text on the card, I use my Cricut Air cutting machine. I first drew out the text, then converted it into a png file on illustrator and uploaded it to the program. The machine then does the work. It is the only way to get the exact same cut every time, and although there's always a few mishaps, it really does save me a lot of cutting time and human error!
I then have to remove the little cut out pieces by hand and neaten up the edges with a scalpel.
Next, I use my glue pen to neatly glue behind the text, and stick on a strip of pink glitter card. This has to dry before I can stick in the pink paper insert (again with the glue pen) and then trim off the excess pink paper. The card is then complete!
It is then packaged in an eco-friendly card bag with an envelope, and popped in a hard backed, postal envelope, decorated with some autumnal stickers, addressed, stamped and then mailed. Phew!
After all this effort I am still so incredibly grateful that people have bought something from my little business. It makes me happy and keeps me busy on these cold winters days! I think it is important never to forget that shopping locally and with small businesses and makers really does make a difference to those businesses and also means that you get a hand-made, often one-of-a-kind item that has been made with the ultimate care and attention.
If you're passionate about small business and agree with the sentiment, check out www.justacard.org or on instagram or twitter. It's all about celebrating and encouraging small business sales and getting a community together to shout about shopping small and independent. Sign up to the mailing list, follow, share and join in with the small business revolution!