I’ve had the honor of covering the stationery market since the late 1990s — which means I’ve been around long enough to be able to differentiate the trajectory of an enduring designer or company — as well as those who tend to burn out and move on after a while. Quite often, triumphing in our tricky environment is simply a matter of adjusting your attitude and approach, so I’ve outlined four quick ways you can start writing your success story today.
Nice Guys Finish First
It’s well known that ours is an industry distinguished by its warmth and supportive nature — so those who don’t share those traits quickly differentiate themselves, but not in a very positive way. As kind and open as our peeps tend to be, word does get around about those who don’t share those qualities. In my experience, they don’t tend to stick around very long.
Promote What You Preach
All of us sit at the same table and want the same thing — for the art of letter-writing, invitation-using and card-sending to endure. So the next time someone does something kind for you, step away from your email and mail an actual note. If we can’t continue this practice, how can we legitimately hope consumers will?
Keep Your Eye on the (Design) Prize.
What every designer has to offer the world is completely unique to them: their own personal vision. While macro design trends tend to be simultaneously reflected in the work of many lines, the most lasting perspectives make sure their output doesn’t look like that of anything else — and even better, can be instantly recognized as completely their own.
Take Your Time
Once you have experienced the sweet taste of success, it’s tempting to expand into more gifty product categories, e.g., mugs and T-shirts. While this may be lucrative in the short term, extending into several categories quickly can undercut the value of your brand and the quality of your product. You’ve had your whole life up until now to envision that greeting card or invitation line — make sure your next release is equally well thought out.