Business ideas
8 min read

How to Start a Profitable Greeting Card Business [11 Steps]

Learn how to start a profitable greeting card business with these 11+ steps. From designing to marketing, we cover it all. Start your card business today! #greetingcards #smallbusiness #entrepreneurship

By Nick Cotter
Updated Feb 02, 2024

image of a greeting card business
This page may feature products from our affiliate partners, which could influence the products we discuss due to potential compensation. Despite this, our evaluations are impartial, based solely on our independent analysis. The content here is intended for informational purposes and should not be seen as legal advice. For professional guidance, consulting with a legal expert is recommended.
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1. Perform market analysis.

Starting a greeting card business requires a thorough understanding of the market to identify opportunities and challenges. A comprehensive market analysis will help in shaping your business strategy, product offerings, and marketing efforts. Follow these steps to perform an effective market analysis:

  • Research the current market size and potential growth, considering factors such as consumer trends, occasion-specific demands, and purchasing behavior.
  • Identify your target audience by age, income, interests, and buying habits to tailor your designs and messages accordingly.
  • Analyze competitors by evaluating their product range, pricing, distribution channels, and marketing tactics to find gaps in the market.
  • Examine sales channels, whether it's brick-and-mortar stores, online platforms, or both, to determine the most viable options for your business.
  • Stay abreast of industry trends, such as the rise of digital cards or the preference for eco-friendly materials, to ensure your products remain relevant.
  • Collect feedback from potential customers to understand their needs and preferences, which can guide product development and marketing strategies.
image of a greeting card business

Are greeting card businesses profitable?

Yes, greeting card businesses can be profitable. Greeting cards can be sold both in physical stores and online, making them a profitable venture for entrepreneurs. To increase sales, companies often offer discounts and loyalty programs to customers. Additionally, many greeting card businesses diversify their product lines to include stationery, party supplies, and other related items.

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2. Draft a greeting card business plan.

A business plan for a greeting card company should focus on creative design, market positioning, and distribution strategies. It is essential to outline how your cards will meet the needs and preferences of your target audience. Key aspects to consider are:

  • Market Research: Identify your niche market, whether it's general consumers, businesses, or specialty cards.
  • Product Design: Plan your range of greeting card designs, themes, and messages.
  • Production Method: Decide whether to print in-house or outsource to a printing service.
  • Distribution: Determine the channels for selling your cards, such as online platforms, retail stores, or craft fairs.
  • Marketing Strategy: Develop promotional tactics to reach your target market, focusing on unique aspects of your cards.
  • Financial Overview: Include startup costs, pricing strategy, and projected revenue.

How does a greeting card business make money?

A greeting card business can make money by selling their products to retailers or directly to customers. This can be done both online and through physical stores. For example, a greeting card business may target young adults who are celebrating their anniversaries or birthdays as a potential audience for their range of cards. Additionally, they may also target businesses who are looking to have custom stationary cards made for corporate events or meetings. Similarly, the card business could pitch its products to churches, schools and other organizations that use greeting cards as a part of their daily operations.

3. Develop a greeting card brand.

Building a greeting card brand involves crafting a unique aesthetic and emotional appeal that resonates with consumers looking to express their sentiments. Your brand should reflect creativity, warmth, and personal connection. Essential branding steps include:

  • Brand Theme: Decide on a consistent theme or style for your cards, whether it's humorous, heartfelt, or artisanal.
  • Design Identity: Create distinctive designs and visuals that set your cards apart and appeal to your target market.
  • Brand Voice: Develop a brand voice that matches your card style, whether it's witty, sincere, or inspirational.
  • Marketing Approach: Use social media, online marketplaces, and local shops to showcase your cards and connect with customers.

How to come up with a name for your greeting card business?

Naming a greeting card business can be a daunting task. However, there are a few steps you can take to make it easier. First, consider what kind of cards your business will make: funny, heartfelt, celebratory? Depending on your style, you could draw inspiration from the type of cards you’ll create. Second, pick a name that fits the tone of your cards. If you’ll be catering to a specific demographic like college graduates or new parents, choose something that reflects the audience. Third, incorporate keywords that succinctly describe your business. Consider adjectives like creative, innovative and joyful to add an extra layer of meaning to the name. Lastly, do some research to make sure that no other businesses are using the same name or something similar. With this plan in mind, you'll be able to find the perfect name for your greeting card business!

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4. Formalize your business registration.

Once you've developed your greeting card business plan and have a clear idea of your brand, the next crucial step is to legally register your business. This will protect your personal assets, provide tax benefits, and help you establish credibility with customers. Here's how to formalize your business registration:

  • Decide on your business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation) based on your needs and consult with a legal expert if necessary.
  • Register your business name with the appropriate state authority, ensuring it's unique and not already in use.
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for tax purposes, particularly if you plan to have employees.
  • Register for state and local taxes, as required, to ensure you're in compliance with sales tax and state income tax laws.
  • Secure any necessary permits or licenses that may be required for your greeting card business, which can vary by location and business type.
  • Consider the need for copyright or trademark protection for your unique designs or company branding.

Resources to help get you started:

Explore the must-have resources for greeting card entrepreneurs to gain insights on market trends, operational efficiencies, and business growth strategies:

  • Greeting Card Association (GCA): Offers industry data, networking opportunities, and advocacy for members. Visit
  • Mintel - Greeting Cards Reports: Provides market research reports with consumer trends and competitive analysis. Check out for the latest updates.
  • Stationery Trends Magazine: Focuses on the latest designs and business strategies in the stationery sector, including greeting cards. Access at
  • Paper Chronicles Newsletter: Delivers curated news, interviews, and insights directly from the greeting card industry. Sign up via
  • Etsy - Seller Handbook: Offers guidance for small scale entrepreneurs on how to effectively sell handmade and unique items, including greeting cards. Available at
  • How to Write for Greeting Cards by Greeting Card Expert: A book filled with advice on crafting compelling content for cards, perfect for anyone looking to understand the creative side of the business. Check online bookstores.

5. Acquire necessary licenses and permits for greeting card.

To ensure that your greeting card business operates legally, you must acquire all necessary licenses and permits, which can vary based on your location and the specifics of your business. Here's a guide to help you through this crucial step:

  • Research local business licensing requirements by contacting your city or county clerk's office or visiting their website.
  • If selling online, check if you need a home business license or permits for home-based businesses.
  • Apply for a sales tax permit through your state's department of revenue if your state requires sales tax to be collected on physical goods.
  • Consider whether you need a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes, especially if you plan to hire employees.
  • Look into any special permits that might be required for operating your business in certain zones or areas, especially if you have a physical storefront.
  • Check with your local government about any other specific permits you might need, such as a sign permit if you plan to advertise at a physical location.
  • Keep all licenses and permits up to date, and be aware of any renewals or inspections that may be required on a regular basis.

What licenses and permits are needed to run a greeting card business?

To run a greeting card business, you may need a variety of licenses and permits depending on your location. Generally speaking, you will need both a business license from your local government and a seller's permit from the state. You may also need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS and any necessary zoning permits. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need to register with state and local sales tax agencies and acquire any necessary health permits.

6. Open a business bank account and secure funding as needed.

Securing your financial foundation is a pivotal step in establishing a successful greeting card business. Opening a business bank account keeps your finances organized and professional, while securing funding ensures you have the capital to grow and sustain your venture. Follow these steps to navigate the financial setup:

  • Choose the Right Bank: Research banks to find one that offers favorable terms for small businesses, such as low fees and good customer service.
  • Prepare Necessary Documents: Gather required documentation, which may include your business license, EIN, and articles of incorporation, to open your account.
  • Understand Your Funding Needs: Calculate startup costs and ongoing expenses to determine how much funding you need to launch and operate your greeting card business.
  • Explore Funding Options: Consider small business loans, credit lines, investor capital, or crowdfunding platforms as potential sources of funding.
  • Develop a Solid Business Plan: A well-prepared business plan is crucial for securing funding, as it shows potential lenders or investors how you intend to make your greeting card business profitable.
  • Maintain Good Credit: Ensure your personal and business credit scores are in good standing to improve your chances of obtaining favorable funding terms.

7. Set pricing for greeting card services.

When establishing pricing for your greeting card services, it's crucial to balance affordability for customers with a profitable margin that supports the growth of your business. Consider the following points to create a competitive and fair pricing strategy:

  • Cost Analysis: Calculate the total cost of production, including materials, labor, and overhead expenses. This will help you determine the minimum price to cover costs and ensure profitability.
  • Market Research: Investigate the pricing of competitors to gauge where your services stand in the market. Offering competitive rates while providing unique value will attract customers.
  • Value-Based Pricing: If your cards offer unique features, such as personalized designs or eco-friendly materials, consider value-based pricing to reflect their added worth.
  • Volume Discounts: Encourage larger orders by offering discounts on bulk purchases, which can increase sales while optimizing production efficiency.
  • Tiered Pricing: Create different price tiers based on card quality, customization levels, and order quantities to cater to a diverse customer base.
  • Shipping and Handling: Determine if shipping costs will be included in the price or charged separately, ensuring customers are aware of the total cost upfront.

What does it cost to start a greeting card business?

Initiating a greeting card business can involve substantial financial commitment, the scale of which is significantly influenced by factors such as geographical location, market dynamics, and operational expenses, among others. Nonetheless, our extensive research and hands-on experience have revealed an estimated starting cost of approximately $6500 for launching such an business. Please note, not all of these costs may be necessary to start up your greeting card business.

8. Acquire greeting card equipment and supplies.

Starting a greeting card business requires the right tools and materials to produce high-quality products that resonate with your customers. Here's a list of essential equipment and supplies you'll need to begin crafting your unique greeting cards:

  • Printing Equipment: Invest in a high-quality printer that can handle card stock and produce vibrant colors. Consider the volume of cards you plan to print to choose between inkjet or laser printers.
  • Paper and Card Stock: Select various weights and finishes of card stock to offer a range of options. Include eco-friendly and recycled paper options to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
  • Cutting Tools: Acquire a precision paper cutter for clean edges and a die-cut machine if you plan to create custom shapes.
  • Design Software: Use professional design software like Adobe Illustrator or InDesign to create your card layouts and graphics.
  • Art Supplies: Stock up on drawing materials, paints, or specialty pens if you're adding handcrafted elements to your cards.
  • Embellishments: Consider purchasing ribbons, stickers, stamps, and other decorative items to give your cards a unique touch.
  • Packaging Supplies: Protect your cards with clear cellophane sleeves and have sturdy shipping materials on hand for orders.

List of software, tools and supplies needed to start a greeting card business:

  • Computer ($500-$1500)
  • Printer ($50-$300)
  • Greeting Card Paper and Envelopes ($10-$50)
  • Label Maker ($20-$50)
  • Graphics Design Software ($50-600)
  • Labeling Software ($20-$100)
  • Printing Software ($50-$200)
  • Greeting Card Design Software ($25-$150)
  • Shipping Supplies (Varies - $0 and up)
  • Website Hosting Service ($100-350/year)

9. Obtain business insurance for greeting card, if required.

Protecting your greeting card business is crucial to safeguard against potential risks and liabilities. Business insurance can provide financial security and peace of mind as you grow your creative enterprise. Here are some key steps to obtain the appropriate insurance:

  • Assess your business risks: Consider the types of risks your greeting card business may face, such as property damage, theft, or liability for customer injuries.
  • Research insurance providers: Look for reputable insurance companies that offer policies tailored to small businesses. Compare quotes and coverage options.
  • Choose the right type of insurance: Common options include general liability insurance, product liability insurance, and business property insurance. You may also consider a business owner's policy (BOP), which bundles various insurance types.
  • Consult with an insurance agent: A professional can help you understand the specific needs of your business and recommend the best coverage options.
  • Review and understand your policy: Before finalizing, make sure you understand what is covered, policy limits, deductibles, and any exclusions.
  • Stay proactive: As your business evolves, periodically review and update your insurance coverage to ensure it remains adequate for your needs.

10. Begin marketing your greeting card services.

Embarking on the journey of marketing your greeting card services is crucial for reaching your audience and establishing your brand. Develop a strategy that showcases the uniqueness of your cards and taps into the needs and desires of potential customers. Here are some key steps to kickstart your marketing efforts:

  • Create a visually appealing website that highlights your card designs and includes an online store for easy purchasing.
  • Utilize social media platforms to share images of your cards, customer testimonials, and special promotions.
  • Build an email list to send out newsletters, discounts, and updates on new collections to keep your customers engaged.
  • Attend craft fairs, local markets, and industry trade shows to network and sell your cards in person.
  • Partner with local businesses such as gift shops or bookstores to sell your cards and expand your reach.
  • Invest in online advertising through platforms like Google Ads or social media to target specific demographics.
  • Reach out to influencers or bloggers in the lifestyle or gift-giving niche to review or feature your cards.
  • Offer a referral program to encourage current customers to spread the word about your greeting card services.

What licenses and permits are needed to run a greeting card business?

  • Computer ($500-$1500)
  • Printer ($50-$300)
  • Greeting Card Paper and Envelopes ($10-$50)
  • Label Maker ($20-$50)
  • Graphics Design Software ($50-600)
  • Labeling Software ($20-$100)
  • Printing Software ($50-$200)
  • Greeting Card Design Software ($25-$150)
  • Shipping Supplies (Varies - $0 and up)
  • Website Hosting Service ($100-350/year)

11. Expand your greeting card business.

Once your greeting card business takes off, it's time to scale up and reach new heights. Expanding your operations can open up a multitude of opportunities to grow your brand and increase sales. Here are some strategic steps to consider:

  • Introduce new designs and categories to cater to a wider audience and seasonal demands.
  • Partner with local stores and gift shops to sell your cards, increasing your market presence.
  • Invest in online marketing, utilizing social media and search engine optimization to drive traffic to your website.
  • Explore wholesale opportunities or collaborations with larger retailers for bulk orders.
  • Attend trade shows and craft fairs to network with industry professionals and gain exposure.
  • Expand your product line to include related items such as gift wrap, tags, and stationery.
  • Offer personalized and custom card services for special events to attract a niche market.
  • Implement a customer loyalty program to encourage repeat business and referrals.
  • Consider international shipping to tap into global markets and diversify your customer base.
  • Use customer feedback to refine your product offerings and improve customer satisfaction.