How To Start A Wedding Stationary Business – Over the years of running my stationery business, Crafty Pie, I have had many people tell me that they wanted to start their own wedding invitation business but didn’t know where to start. Before starting, I felt the same way. There really weren’t many resources online and I had no idea what I was doing. I had a web design background but not much of a print background. I had to learn everything when I went.
I was initially filled with uncertainty and fear. Do I print everything myself or outsource to a printer? Should I start on Etsy or build my own website? Square flap or Euro flap envelopes?? (The envelope flap struggle is real!) and many other questions.
How To Start A Wedding Stationary Business
Now four years later, I’ve learned a lot about running an online wedding invitation business. It was a lot of trial and error. So I thought why not put together a list of tips to help the budding stationery entrepreneur.
Invitations, Announcements, And Photo Cards
Like any design industry, weddings are very trendy. There are definitely some classic styles like black and white but it can be important to know what color palettes and design elements are trending to keep your design current for the modern bride.
For example, my first two years in business, my most popular designs were in a gray and yellow color scheme. It was a popular color palette at the time. But over the last few years in my business, brides were moving away from this color scheme. All things rustic and everything red and gold took over.
So when you’re planning your first collection, check out the latest wedding blogs, fashion magazines and Pinterest for inspiration.
If you’re selling anything online, having great photography is a must. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on gear to get good results. You’ll need a digital SLR (I personally have a Canon Rebel XTi from 10 years ago!), a tripod, lots of natural, diffused light (a window with a curtain) or a lighting kit and photo editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom. Software will be required. . There are many tutorials online such as this one and this one.
Diving Into The Wedding Stationery Business? Mistakes To Avoid!!!
If you don’t want to invest in gear or teach yourself photography, you have a few options. You can contact local wedding photographers and see if you can work out a deal to have them shoot your stationery. You can also work with them on styled shoots by offering your products for the shoot in exchange for permission to use the photos on your website.
Another option is to pay someone to style and photograph your items, but this can be a little expensive when you’re just starting out.
Starting any new business can take time to grow unless you have a lot of money to spend on advertising. It took me a few months to design my first invitation collection and then a month to get my first sale on Etsy. After that, the sales frequency increased from there.
When I launched the Crafty Pie website, I was able to get some initial traffic from building a customer base and network of sellers. But I needed to keep up the momentum with a shoestring budget. So I focused on optimizing my page’s SEO and blogging consistently. I tried to put together content that my readers would enjoy and find value in. Some of my most popular posts were free printables and wedding invitation resources. After a few months, I started seeing results in the traffic I was getting and converting that traffic into orders.
Elegant Wedding Invitations Ideas
I hear this all the time from other entrepreneurs. They wish they had started their email list sooner and I have to agree. Having an email list is the only marketing channel you have any control over. Google can change their algorithm and ruin your traffic overnight or Etsy can change its terms of service at any time. You don’t want to be at the mercy of another platform.
So even if you don’t have a website right now, you can still use an email marketing service like Mailchimp or Klaviyo, which have free plans up to a certain amount of subscribers, create a signup form and send your subscribers to it. Direct by including in A link in your email signature, a pop-up on your Etsy store, your website and social media pages.
I find this especially important in the wedding industry. I met so many great, talented vendors when I worked with them on styled photo shoots. I also reached out to wedding planners and put together affiliate programs for them if they refer my products to their clients.
Expanding this network has not only helped me get more clients, but I’ve also made some amazing friendships with some amazing people. And whenever my friends got engaged, I always knew some great vendors to refer them to!
Wedding Invitations And Stationery
What are you waiting for? Seriously, just do it! If you are just getting started with digital printing or selling digital printable files it doesn’t take much investment to get started. The first month I started expenses were about $500 for a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 printer, a paper cutter, supplies and a domain name. Eventually I switched from printing everything myself to outsourcing it. But I learned a lot from starting and printing everything myself.
So don’t fall into analysis paralysis. Just start and you can correct along the way. You can always add or change products later. Your business will grow and develop.
Do you have questions about running a stationery business or any tips you’d like to add? Leave them in the comments. I would love to hear them!
If you are interested in starting your own online shop like an online stationery business, sign up for my free 7 day mini course “How to start your own online shop in 7 days” If I am honest, I didn’t grow up thinking that. That I wanted to be a wedding stationery designer! My own wedding stationery business was originally born out of being sick on the couch, frustration with infertility and a failed Etsy shop. Not exactly a recipe for success, but that’s how it happened! Here’s the short version of how to start my wedding stationery business:
Fourteen Forty: Custom Wedding Invitations
I designed all of my girlfriend’s wedding invitations after graduating from college. It happened slowly over time but eventually I had a small collection going. In February of 2015, I was sick for a week and decided to whip up some of those old designs — just for fun! Later that night, I shared them with my best friend when I told her about the failure of my Etsy shop. I still had a few listings on Etsy but I was going to let them expire and not renew them. I was embarrassed and disappointed by the whole thing. We planned on it and I replaced the 5 lists I already had with 5 wedding invitation designs.
I didn’t tell anyone but my husband, best friend and mom. My last business was so messed up that I couldn’t stomach the exposure again. I started working under a different name (fun fact: it was actually “Evermore Design” 3 hours before I made the switch and stuck with Blushed!) I decided I’d give it a good solid try for 3 months and Then I’ll call it quits for good. And you know what? My wedding stationery business started.
It was a lot of work. One of the biggest things I learned to use was SEO (search engine optimization — we’ll talk about that in a later blog post), but after a few years in the business, there are definitely a few things I know for them. Will recommend. Those looking to start a wedding stationery business!
I’ve learned a lot over the past few years and there’s definitely something I’ve found a common thread between those who have “made it” and those who struggle. Here are my 5 tips for starting a wedding stationery business:
Your Complete Wedding Stationery Checklist
Before you start selling things online you need to make sure you are legit. I recommend an LLC, although I personally started with a sole proprietor. Contact your state and county for details on how to get started. There are small fees ($10 here, $20 there), but no need to worry at night. Stress is the worst.
And while you’re at it – get a contract! Especially if you are doing something custom or providing printing or assembly. Be safe, be wise. This is the template I use.
Open a separate banking account for your business. You don’t have to make it fancy, but keep a separate checking or savings account to keep everything straight. This will give you a lot of piece of mind when tax season rolls around. Keep everything separate until you can start paying yourself consistently every month.
Next, find out what style
Custom Wedding Invitations
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