Just over a year ago we started a greeting card company.
At the time, we didn’t know very much about greeting cards, other than that being funny helps, that birthdays are more popular than break-ups, and that Hallmark is not really our style.
We also quickly figured out that selling said greeting cards helps with the back end.
And, sometimes that involves packing up your Toyota Tundra, putting the dog in the front seat, and driving west to stores yet undiscovered.
Danielle had sick patients to tend to, Kerry had kid soccer practices and a dentist appointment, and Andrea had a yearning for the ocean and some friends who were willing to put her up in spare rooms.
So she pointed the Tundra towards the Pacific, let Bella ride shotgun, and hit the road.
Here’s what Andrea learned…
Be yourself (it’s less confusing).
(This includes dog, sporting goods, cameras, foraging basket, 10 jackets for every change in weather or social function, a cooler, an adjustable wrench, some silk, a kettle bell, sleeping bag etc). It should be noted I brought all of these things on my trip and used most of them (particularly the cooler and the wrench).
Find a nice box which you will enjoy carrying…
House your cards in something sensible and reflective of its contents. I have selected a red retro box from the 60s and in about 25 per cent of the stores I go into people normally ask me first about what’s in my box. I, of course, love both a naturally forming segue and people inquiring about my box.
Look people in the eyes (but not in a creepy way).
Tell your story!
People who generally like greeting cards and works of passion are thirsty to hear all about you and how your product came to be, especially when referencing wine consumption and how there was a real lack of greeting cards that tackled hot button topics like garbage day, breaking up or your obsession with both Ryan Gosling and Kanye West (for very opposite reasons).
Reinforce the love at first sight…
After the initial love of the cards and subsequent shrieks of laughter, it is good to reinforce people’s opinions with random truths like how the cards are printed in B.C. by your best friend’s sister’s husband, that they are recycled from trees, that Kerry can emboss 250 envelopes in 10 minutes and 46 seconds, etc. Ticking all the boxes is always a good thing (again with the box reference).
Love your product and stand behind it (obviously - so they can read the cards).
Be open. Be generous.
This includes random acts like giving a greeting card to a woman because her dog looks like yours. Or giving a card to a woman whose mom is dying, then crying with her for a little bit. Accept offers for Thanksgiving Dinner or opportunities for adventure (you won’t regret either).
Use hanger management…
Bring a cooler and fill it. Maybe put some food in there as well. Don’t let that blood sugar level dip below _______________ (Danielle, please insert a number to make this sound medical and legit).
Listen to the locals…
If George tells you there is a lot of police presence on a certain highway… you best be watching your speed. If Meredith tells you to check out a boutique on the outlying areas of the city … you check that shit out.
Go to stores you would shop in…
It’s nice to have your product alongside other quality goods. But, the downside of your love of multi-tasking will be felt when your credit card rolls in and you now have the complete works of Oh She Glows, a new rolling pin and some new form fitting tops that you won’t want to wear until a week or two after your sales trip (staying on top of fitness is hard when you’re on the road).
Find time to enjoy the small things, including the road less traveled..
Shuck oysters on the rocks; let the dog swim in the ocean from time to time; catch some waves, even if it's not your sport; go with the flow; fit in a little down-hill mountain bike action (to counteract your surfing performance); hike to the top of a mountain in the rain; jump in a lake in your bikini even if it’s fall; make a bed in the back of your truck (and people will give your their spare rooms - it's the strangest phenomenon); take lots of photos; don't stress on cancelled ferries; give out lots of cards; share lots of moments; have second helpings; soak it all up and always say 'yes' to propositions of adventure. Oh and go into a lot of stores. Hit that PAVEMENT !