March 22, 2010

OK! Wholesale manufacturing - when did you start doing it, what sort of scale are you cranking out these days, and do you only handle your own work, or others', too? And, yes, sorry...I know that was 3 questions and not one!

1) We started wholesale manufacturing in the summer of 2005, we needed products to sell for a street fair -- they did so well we decided to send samples to stores all over the U.S. and immediately picked up a rep group in Southern California, which created a snowball effect. The rest is history.

2)Most styles start out with a run between 300-800 on its first try-- 300 is a safe number for designs that we're not 100% sure will sell well (i.e. we find them amusing but we're not sure if they'd sell as a greeting card.) It allows us enough for samples for our reps and show plus at least a few months supply for orders if the card should do well. If I am certain a card will sell well we go ahead and bump that number between the 500-800 range. If the card is a 2 or 3 color card I try and keep the runs in the higher range as well- they require more intensive setup and I want to make sure that my labor costs are well spent.

As for reprints, we do much larger runs. If a card sells out within a few months we'll bump the reprints up between 800-1200 cards. If it doesn't sell out within a year then we usually discontinue it. We're trying a new formula for reprint runs for our older cards-- I look at Quickbooks to see how many cards were sold in the last 2 years, and then bump up that number by about 25%-- two years worth of stock is right where I like it-- we have so many styles that I'm trying to avoid getting crippled by reprints when a big show goes down- after our first gift show we were in reprint mode for nearly 3 months as style after style ran out--you'd think we'd be excited about that but it got old and expensive rather quickly.

Our largest client, Paper Source, skews the numbers quite a bit-- stuff we do for them we reprint between 2000 and 3000 per style.

3. We haven't printed other people's cards lines but that's only because we haven't been asked to.

Ask me anything about letterpress, wholesale manufacturing, trade shows, Blue Barnhouse, and/or our fucked-up greetings.

No comments:

Post a Comment