Opening a postcard - shop?

I’ve looked through other threads but I’m still quite unsure. I feel like I want to design some postcards and I already have some paper samples from the printing house here. I plan on drawing postcards (and posters), sometimes more realistic, sometimes more comic-like and I also want to sell my photographies.

So my questions for you:

  1. Do you think the drawing/photography theme doesn’t really matter as there’s always someone who might buy it (a la every Jack has his Jill)?
  2. What payment methods do you prefer?
  3. How much would you pay (max.)? Or how much do you usually pay for postcards? Does it depend on the motive/theme?
  4. What about shipping? Any thoughts on that?

I’m kinda unsure if anyone would like my postcards. I personally would buy them but I mean, it’s my own creation so I should like it.

Thanks a lot for your answers! :slight_smile:

  1. Personally I like postcards with photos. But I think that in these times, when we’re all just a couple of mouseclicks away from seeing photographs of just about any place in the world, it can be much more interesting to see an artistic interpretation of a place. A lot of postcrossers cartainly love them. For some time, Warsaw post offices sold a series of watercolour cards that I sent around the world via postcrossing, and they were very well received - ranking high in my wall of “popular” cards.
  2. Cash on receival :slight_smile: Or direct bank transfer - without PayPal or other in-betweens.
  3. My upper limit is that I won’t pay more for a postcard than for the postage to send it - which now means about 2 Euros. Usually, though, I buy my cards at about 1 Euro or below. Common prices for regular tourist postcards at Polish shops range between 25 and 50 Cents.
  4. I’d say just use the mail. And please NO plastic in the packaging! :slight_smile:
  1. Yes! There is always somebody who wants exactly that card :slight_smile: But knowing what sells the best is possible only after testing and seeing what happens, so it is good idea to throw in few different styles first to figure out what is the type that works for you and your potential customers the best.
  2. I prefer card payment or mobile payment, but in your case the best payment method depends on where you are going to sell.
    Worldwide: paypal might be the best and cheapest option (but I am not an expert on worldwide trade)
    Europe/EU: SEPA-bank transfer, possibly mobile payment if the countries have shared system.
    Domestically: cash, bank transfer or mobile payment, depending on what is available in your country
  3. I pay 2-10 SEK per card so 1 € sounds reasonable for me. However, if you are just starting, it would be good idea to browse around other small card shops to see what prices they have set on their cards. The price you are asking should always be at least slightly higher than the cost of producing the card (if you want to make profit) so calculate carefully how much making the each card is going to cost you.
  4. I would just use the normal post, at least for first. If your business grows then it can be good idea to check deals from other shipping companies. Remember to check the customs if you are sending worldwide, and use bit sturdier envelope (or stuck a sturdy piece of cardboard inside) to keep the cards from bending during the travel.

And the rest is up to how you market your products. The trick is to make your shop known, so people can find you. I am not sure what would work for you the best, but one possibility is to join a trading site (like Etsy) where you can set the shop and the site will also take care of part of the marketing and the payment transfer. Or maybe the more traditional way and sell cards in person at events.

I have never had a shop myself so these are just ideas thrown in for you to think about and check.

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  1. I like both, photo and illustration - depending on the style.

  2. I strongly prefer PayPal. If I really want something specific I might accept bank transfer, but than it must be something that I can’t get anywhere else. I don’t use mobile payments and (which is in general very common in Germany) don’t have a credit card.

  3. I may pay up to 2 Euro for a special postcard (handmade, special material), but I don’t buy those online. My average for postcards is 50 cents. The more expensive, the more special it should be.

  4. Well, that’s the hardest question, because as a business you’re responsible for the customer to receive it. Using cheap (unregistered) mail is a risk of people cheating you (saying that they haven’t received it, but actually did receive it). But higher rates might result in less customers.

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Thanks for your reply! I have some more questions, if you want to answer:

  1. I think that too but I have to say I’m a little bit scared as printing in the printing house is only worth it, if it’s a high number of pieces (>100). I’m afraid if no one wants it and I end up with 1000 postcards… I guess, I have to risk it?
  2. Do you mean by card payment: Credit card (more common in the US) or debit card (more common in Germany)?

Thanks for your reply too!

  1. I’ve thought about that too but the shipping company (Deutsche Post/DHL) provides a service to find out if the order has been lost, even if it’s unregistered mail.

I know, but most often they won’t find it and it takes some time. You need to proof (as a business) that it was received by your customer. It doesn’t matter if it got lost (then you have to resend the goods or refund the payment), that’s always your risk in a B2C relation in Germany.

Yep…I just did some research and I think it’s the easiest way to orientate to other shops

  1. Yeah it is a risk, but then again storing the cards is not causing any costs (unless you have millions of them and need to rent storage) and they don’t have expiring date, so even if the business is slow, the cards will stay good for years to come. If it seems bad and you lost interest on selling, you can always use them for your own postcrossing or make give aways.
  2. I meant both actually :sweat_smile: Though, debit card is the winner if you are looking for European markets. I am not 100% sure about this, but I have heard dealing with card payments (both, debit and credit) is quite expensive for the shop and only good idea if it is a big shop with steady business, as you will need to make a deal with the a transfer company and they might have monthly fee. But that is something you will have to check. That’s why the trading platforms are good because they sometimes offer card payment option, but it is their own deal so you don’t need to pay monthly fee for it.
  1. That’s a good point. Thanks!
  2. But then again other platforms want setting (and selling) fees, no matter if the product is sold or not. Maybe I’ll go for both.
  1. i think it’s better to have both options, illustrations and photo’s. i personally like both and i send out both so i would like a webshop that also sells different kind of cards, so i can choose.
  2. if i buy from an international webshop i prefer paypal.
  3. for me it’s really different how much i pay for a cards. in the netherlands cards are usually somewhere between €0.70 and €1. if it’s some kind of specific brand it can be €1.20 or €1.50. and then sometimes i shop at other european webshops and cards there are about €0.40. wouldn’t pay more than 1 euro for a card if it isn’t very special, let’s keep it at that.
  4. i’m not sure what you’re thinking about but my first thought is, place make it a flat package so it fits through my mailbox :sweat_smile: recently i ordered only a bunch of stickers so i figured i would find it in my mailbox one day but no it was a square package with a bunch of paper in it because it was too big for just some stickers.
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I’m always looking for new (especially local) postcard shops to purchase from, so I would be interested at taking a look if you do open up a shop :slight_smile:

  1. I like both photos and illustrations/drawings. The most important thing to me is that the images look unique and not just a typical stockphoto. It’s nice to see someone’s genuine and unique photography and art on cards.
    I feel like the amount of members who like receiving photo vs. illustrated cards is 50/50 anyways.

  2. I usually pay through PayPal. Although Bank transfer (with IBAN) or entering in a credit card also are ok.

  3. Depending on the quality of the card (quality of paper*, quality of design), I am willing to pay up to around 2€, maybe more, if it is very special. I order a lot of my cards off of Etsy and most shops ask for around 1 - 2,50€/card.

  • thicker paper tend to be nicer and I’d be willing to pay more for thicker paper, but I also like to purchase recycled and unbleached paper which tends to be thinner. But in this case, I value the cards being environmentally friendlier.
  1. Plastic free, please! I don’t have any preferences on shipping company. I usually don’t worry about shipping details when ordering from online shops, I’m more interested in the price, haha.
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Thanks to you too!
I’ll let you know when I’m ready. The postcards need to be printed now and then my shop will be ready for opening :slight_smile:

  1. I thought about going with standard postcard paper thickness like the ones you get in touristic shops. Do you want something thicker than that? I must say, I was kinda overwhelmed with the variety of paper thicknesses.

  2. Noted. Many dislike plastic. What about pack silk? Or rather “naked” in the envelope?

I prefer plastic free options too.
The last ones I bought online were just held together with a paper band and sandwiched between card to stop them bending. Adequately protected, fitted through my letter box and I was delighted


Thanks for all answers! It helps me to visualize what to do and what not to do!

Another question:
Do you have a preference for the finish of the postcard surface? Like do you prefer frosted or glossy finish? Or doesn’t it matter?

  1. I think the paper thickness of typical postcards, like the ones you can get in the tourist shop, is just fine!
    Some cards I’ve purchased are very thick, which I also like, but it’s obviously not a must-have :slight_smile:

  2. I agree with roving, that a paper band would suffice. Or the cards wrapped in brown paper (I reuse the paper for crafts or packaging packages and gifts).

As for the finish of the card, I prefer matte/non-glossy. But of course, everyone is different.

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Have you considered using Kickstarter? It allows to to plan a project and get backers (people commiting to buy), however if your minimum isn’t met, then no one pays. You wouldn’t have to print and pay for printing the cards until you know you will have enough buyers.

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I really love when shops wrap their cards in craft paper with a nice ribbon or similar. So they’re hold together and it looks like a present :sweat_smile:

Fot photographs I mostly prefer glossy. For Illustrations I like both.

Thanks for your suggestions! However, it’s a little too late now. I already ordered some of my designs to be printed (700 copies to start with). I think they’re not too bad and the prices won’t be too crazy, so someone will buy them someday.
I’m also an active postcrosser so I might send some myself!

Thanks to you too for your thoughts. I already ordered 12 kg craft paper (the reusable aspect of @KolmeNoitaa is a nice idea!) and some stickers to hold it together. The stickers aren’t too fancy but I think they’re kinda cute.

Oh, that’s good. For the beginning the photographies will be printed glossy and illustrations will be printed both, depending on the theme. There’s also a very nice extra frosted finish available but it’s quite expensive if it’s a smaller edition. If there’s some kind of buying interest, I might reprint them like that.