These Rebels Definitely Make the Paper Cut
While everyone else still zigs, these artists zag. They are renegades who defy the "people-only-buy-based-on-price" theory and produce stunning, handmade wares. And their business cards zag right along with them.
Rounded corners, eye letting, triple laminated, hangtag style…I have always had a soft spot for great business cards—which sometimes seem like an exotic animal everyone has heard of but rarely sees in real life. Well, this weekend the makers and shakers of the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco just made my little paper heart sing.
I have to admit that it took me a moment to realize what I was seeing. Yes, these people were designers and makers in their own right, but we are not talking graphic designers here, but crafters of jewelry, pottery, pots and pans.
The merchandise was exquisite, but about 30 minutes into meandering the show floor I started collecting business cards...for the cards’ sake. It felt like I had stepped right into a real-life edition of PaperSpecs’ Cool Cards of the Week.
Granted, there might have been the odd flimsy card that could have used some help, but overall I was more than impressed.
So thanks to all of you fabulous print service providers who have helped these amazing artists to create what I know will be the first step in their first-class marketing materials.
Yes, you read that right. Business cards—if done right, and especially for product-based businesses—are mini-marketing brochures. The next step, which some of the more savvy makers had already taken, is creating brochures for the wholesalers that had exclusive access to the show on Friday night.
Will they need quantities in the tens of thousands? Of course not. But we know that small quantities are currently king. And business cards and small-run brochures are your keys to this kingdom. Show them you understand their business and how to best express their style and urge for quality. Show them possibilities beyond business cards. And as the makers’ respective businesses grow, you can grow right along with them and help them with larger quantities, banners, postcards, hangtags and mailings...
In the end, this will make all of us makers: of quality paper pieces, long-lasting business relationships, and do we even need to say it— a nice living.
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.