I was showing my newest notecards to a longtime friend (and a strong supporter of my efforts) and I thought his comment was interesting.
He said, “You sure are bucking the trend [with handwritten notecards].” I asked him what he meant and he replied, “You know, with email, cell phones with unlimited long distance calling and all the new ways to communicate, there doesn’t seem like there would be alot of people who would be handwriting a note card.”
I was a bit taken aback by the comment since I figured he knew the benefits of handwritten notes, but I reiterated them anyways. “Do you send greeting cards? Of course you do, and a handwritten note is much more effective way of making someone feel special. A handwritten card is an expression of who you are and when compared to a mass-produced cartoon the winner is obvious.”
However, his question got me thinking about notecards as a business. Why would someone want to get into a business where … ?
1) the general population does not care about it.
2) it is perceived as old fashioned or something your grandmother might do
3) alternative products can be purchased (in bulk) for 2-3 times less.
The more that I thought about, the more I liked the idea of a notecard business. I know that sounds strange or at least “counterintuitive” (which is a nice way of saying “stupid”), but there are a number of good reasons to like notecards and the associated business.
a) The greeting card business is worth billions.
b) There are many ways to offer something much better than a greeting card (in particular, notecards).
c) Notecards are definitely a niche (small) market. The market for art-based notecards is smaller still. The market for high-end, limited-edition notecards might be really small too, but I really like the product. Plus if it is only 0.1% of the billion dollar greeting card market, then it could be worth $1million dollars. The problem with that logic is the same as someone trying to sell soda in China…. there are BILLIONS of people there (all potential customers) and if we only get a small percentage, we will be rich! Everyone with even a little experience knows that it is not as simple as that. All people are different. A niche of one.
I should also add that my friend’s other question was “Who would I send it to?” And the associated, unspoken question, of course, is, “Why would I send it?”.
I will save those questions for my next blog entry.