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Old 07-10-2009, 06:52 AM   #1
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Default Paying Customers vs. Trendy Items

I'm doing market research of a sort and had some family and friends (all not crafty) look at stamping blogs and card magazines and catalogues with me.

I showed them a wide variety, from skinny to wide headed people, classic to cute, vintage, artsy, graphic, line items, clean and simple, to multiple layers, and asked them to let me know if they would buy the items.

Very interesting results!!!

Some of the most trendy and "popular" stampers do not make items that people (at least my peeps) would buy. Things that stampers may think are interesting and cool, such as crooked sewn ribbons were major turn offs. They were viewed as mistakes.

Multiple stripes of different types? No

Things that go beyond the edges of cards? Sometimes.

My friends also ALWAYS wanted to know what was in the inside of the cards! They do not want blank birthday, sympathy or other occasion cards.

They don't want cards with darker insides -- ever.

Simpler, cleaner designs seemed the most popular, as were beautifully colored images.

Some cute sentiments were very popular, but some more obscure ones were total turn offs.

No one wanted anything with heavy embellishments that would make it difficult to mail, like a hat pin.

Some of the intricate cut out designs produced by die cuts were very popular for sympathy cards.

Personlized things like monograms were generally popular.

Little scenes were popular especially if they had a cute coordinating sentiment.

Puns were popular.

Some of my friends had NO interest in spending $$ for an A2 size card -- too small. (Hmm).
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:56 AM   #2
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Hmmmm....very interesting!
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:57 AM   #3
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very interesting! Thanks for sharing this info. It definitely helps me personally!
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:15 AM   #4
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Interesting but sounds about "right".
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan B View Post
I'm doing market research of a sort and had some family and friends (all not crafty) look at stamping blogs and card magazines and catalogues with me.

I showed them a wide variety, from skinny to wide headed people, classic to cute, vintage, artsy, graphic, line items, clean and simple, to multiple layers, and asked them to let me know if they would buy the items.

Very interesting results!!!

Some of the most trendy and "popular" stampers do not make items that people (at least my peeps) would buy. Things that stampers may think are interesting and cool, such as crooked sewn ribbons were major turn offs. They were viewed as mistakes.

Multiple stripes of different types? No

Things that go beyond the edges of cards? Sometimes.

My friends also ALWAYS wanted to know what was in the inside of the cards! They do not want blank birthday, sympathy or other occasion cards.

They don't want cards with darker insides -- ever.

Simpler, cleaner designs seemed the most popular, as were beautifully colored images.

Some cute sentiments were very popular, but some more obscure ones were total turn offs.

No one wanted anything with heavy embellishments that would make it difficult to mail, like a hat pin.

Some of the intricate cut out designs produced by die cuts were very popular for sympathy cards.

Personlized things like monograms were generally popular.

Little scenes were popular especially if they had a cute coordinating sentiment.

Puns were popular.

Some of my friends had NO interest in spending $$ for an A2 size card -- too small. (Hmm).
Thanks for the info. Makes me want to do my own survey. I'm wondering about people. Were any particular type of people figures a turn off?

I also sometimes think about making larger cards. That sort of means a whole different type canvas. Lots of our stamps are sized for A2 cards.
Lots to think about.
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan B View Post


My friends also ALWAYS wanted to know what was in the inside of the cards! They do not want blank birthday, sympathy or other occasion cards.

They don't want cards with darker insides -- ever.

Simpler, cleaner designs seemed the most popular, as were beautifully colored images.

Some cute sentiments were very popular, but some more obscure ones were total turn offs.

Some of the intricate cut out designs produced by die cuts were very popular for sympathy cards.

Puns were popular.

(Hmm).
I find the above to be true for most of the cards I sell. I rarely, if ever, put sentiments inside my cards but the majority of customers look inside while choosing. I tend to keep my designs somewhat clean to reduce the production time. I sell mostly birthday, thank you and humorous cards.
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:52 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info Joan!! It's nice to learn what the "outside" world thinks!
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:59 AM   #8
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That is interesting- thanks for sharing!

I think people may look for certain things when they are buying cards to send on their own, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't enjoy receiving cards that don't fit that mold.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan B View Post
Some of my friends had NO interest in spending $$ for an A2 size card -- too small. (Hmm).
My two friends and I saw our card sales at craft shows nearly TRIPLE when we changed from A2 to roughly A6-size cards -- not a huge change (only 1/2" longer and 1/4" wider), but visually it made a big difference and made the cards look more like those available in stores. Stinks to think that those cards are still such huge competition, but they are! We may see $2-$3 for a handcrafted card as a great "deal" but if they're way smaller than the $5 Hallmark cards folks won't care, KWIM?

Thanks for the validation, Joan!
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:06 AM   #10
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Wow, VERY interesting Joan! I've noticed my hubby will often remark if I put an image on crooked on purpose thinking that it needs to be fixed. They DO sell A2 sized cards in the store- for almost the same price as the larger. How strange people wouldn't pay for them.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:22 AM   #11
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Very interesting! Strange that they don't want to pay for A2 sizes... The funny thing is that people I know want heavily embellished cards and most don't care how much to send them. Most love cutsey....
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:28 AM   #12
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This is fascinating to me and very interesting, Joan! Thanks for taking the time to share your results .

If I ever make cards to sell, I'll definitely look into some larger-sized envelopes and try going bigger.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:44 AM   #13
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Very interesting. Thank you for sharing. I've often wondered if when I have distress a card and used tearing or have wrinkled it if people got that it was supposed to be that way and not just messed up. I'd have to say that you are right about what we stampers think is cool (what is trendy) vs what regular peoplen like. There are several things I did not like at first and now that I have been exposed to them so much I like now and want to use. Good to stay tuned into what the people we are making the cards for actually like. Of course us stamping gals love it all.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:44 AM   #14
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Hmm....very interesting. I've often thought about the "small" size of A2 cards and have taken to making more square cards (mostly to fit more stuff on them).

My DH doesn't like blank insides, either, because he never knows what to say, he just wants to sign his name.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:44 AM   #15
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These are helpful ideas. I have already gone through my stamps and got rid of the stamps that I just had to have because I though it was the in thing to get. When I am buying stamps now I go for what is versatile and can be used for different occassions, ages and genders. I do still get some of the cute stamps like Whiff of Joy and Sugar Nellie but there images are versatile in my opinion. I never thought about the size of the cards though, I will make some of the A6 up and see if anyone notices the difference. Thanks for duing the survey and sharing your findings with us.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:55 AM   #16
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Great thread, Joan! Of course, I would say that since it agrees with my theories anyway, lol!

I am ALWAYS on the prowl for inside-the-card sentiments. My most favorite are sets that have outside-inside companion sets.

I've always felt the same way about distressing as your friends, lol. When I send a card to someone who is not a stamper, I NEVER use "weird" stuff like staples, paper clips, edge tearing, etc. Clean, straight cards and layers. OK, except cards for teens...lol! They get crooked stuff!

I have to agree about the larger cards, too...many folks just don't see smaller cards as "real" cards for some reason...gotta be A6 at least! I tend to make the A2 cards more as notecards, and go bigger with occasion cards.

Of course, with all that said...not all card making is with selling in mind, or necessarily even sending to "neophytes." Anything goes when it comes to sending stuff to stamping friends...
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:08 AM   #17
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Thanks for sharing your research, Joan. It really is all in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

I completely understand the reactions to the artsy techniques - crooked sewing, torn edges, etc. Lots of people don't "get" it and think they are mistakes.

I was shopping for a dining room table at an Ethan Allen furniture store years ago. I was looking at a very pricey table with a "distressed" finish, I think it was called "Pecky Pecan" wood. I guess part of the charm was that birds had pecked the wood.

Another customer, a sweet older lady, pulled me aside and whispered, "Oh honey, you don't want that table. It has holes and scratches all over it."

And about the larger sizes, I have noticed that most of the time when I receive a card from the opposite sex (which is admittedly not often, lol), guys tend to buy larger cards.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:57 AM   #18
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Very fascinating, Joan!! I know that when I took a bunch of cards to a local salon to sell, the cards I loved were the ones left after they'd been picked through. HMPH. I guess we keep those and send them to other crafters! LOL

I know when I am looking at sentiment stamps to purchase, I ALWAYS think to myself, "Would I buy a card that said that? Who would I send it to and why?" That helps me weed out the strange sentiments or ones that just don't make sense. I do have some kind of rude ones, but my family kind of has a quirky sense of humor. (Shock, I know. )

The insides of my cards are something I need to work on. I did it for a while, and just got out of the habit of decorating them. When I finish a card, my hubby always comes to praise/inspect it and ALWAYS looks inside, even though he knows there's nothing inside. I guess I'll have to get back into the habit of doing it...I'm sending some cards up to the hospital where he works to sell, so they better have something inside them! LOL
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:11 AM   #19
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I just started selling some cards in a shop and they ones that went right away were perfect examples of exactly what you're survey reveled. Funny. Need to add larger envelope to my next order!
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:17 AM   #20
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My family has never commented on the A2 size as being small, but they have asked me if it was "dirty" when I had inked the edges. :
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:18 AM   #21
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I have never put anything inside but got me thinking now, I'm gonna have to do it.
I always sell A2 size cards. Never tried making bigger ones, but will give it a try and see how people react.

But yea when selling my cards I make them as simple as possible.

I do a lot of cards for the card ministry at my church and do a lot of A2, that way its easier and faster to make and send them out right away
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:27 AM   #22
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I don't sell cards but I do make up sets of cards for my family to use. One thing my grandmother likes are really pretty cards (outside) with slightly matching envelopes and then I give her a stack of asst. inside sayings that are stamped on cs. She just finds the right outside and inside for the occassion and person and uses double stick tape to "finish" the card. Needless to say most sayings are Thank you, get well, and sympathy. I do some more definate designs but she likes the versatile ones as well.
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:31 AM   #23
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Thanks for sharing your discoveries with us, Joan. I don't make cards to sell, heck, I can barely make a card, LoL. But the information certainly is eye opening, and if one day I do start to sell my cards, I will keep all of this in mind.

Have a happy stamping day!
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:35 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steubner View Post
Very fascinating, Joan!! I know that when I took a bunch of cards to a local salon to sell, the cards I loved were the ones left after they'd been picked through. HMPH. I guess we keep those and send them to other crafters! LOL

I know when I am looking at sentiment stamps to purchase, I ALWAYS think to myself, "Would I buy a card that said that? Who would I send it to and why?" That helps me weed out the strange sentiments or ones that just don't make sense. I do have some kind of rude ones, but my family kind of has a quirky sense of humor. (Shock, I know. )

The insides of my cards are something I need to work on. I did it for a while, and just got out of the habit of decorating them. When I finish a card, my hubby always comes to praise/inspect it and ALWAYS looks inside, even though he knows there's nothing inside. I guess I'll have to get back into the habit of doing it...I'm sending some cards up to the hospital where he works to sell, so they better have something inside them! LOL
Does your hubby have a twin in Oklahoma? My dh does the exact same thing.
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:57 PM   #25
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Thanks for sharing this, Joan! It's interesting to me that size matters so much to people.
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:13 PM   #26
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Thank you for sharing your research. I will definitely keep this in mind for our church's card sale.
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:28 PM   #27
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Your survey is exactly what my family has been telling me for years.

I stopped doing card swaps, as I found it was just an excuse to have
something to do with all the A2 cards I was making.

As you pointed out, things like staples are considered cheap and/or mistakes.

Now, I make all my cards A7 (5" x 7") size. They're the same size as the ones in the stores, and "civilians" regard them much more highly than A2 cards.

Inside sentiments, either printed or stamped, are a must. Hand written notes alone are considered strange. Writing a personal note in addition to the stamped message is fine, of course.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:32 PM   #28
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I admit I am surprised by how much people seem to dislike cards where the inside is blank- I buy blank cards all the time when I actually buy cards!
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:37 PM   #29
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The blank inside thing is probably the main point where folks around here seem to differ from the "norm" -- I've had people tell me on more than one occasion that they prefer NOT to have a pre-stamped message because they don't want to find a card they like but then dislike what's printed inside. In fact, that's part of what got me started making my own cards!
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:40 PM   #30
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Neat! I think I'm on the right track. lol
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:01 PM   #31
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Well, there is no saying that my "not random survey group" is the norm for every community, especially since it isn't representative of the world! And, personally, I love blank cards. But, I'm just telling you what I heard over and over! I agreed with some of their observations, but not all, so I hope I was neutral in presenting.

About cards with people -- a lot of folks liked the skinny/stick figure types, but some didn't. Most did not like the kids/large head type kids at all. Almost everyone liked the elzybell/amuse type people. But, one person (a guy) thought all the people were weird! Whatever!
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:07 PM   #32
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The blank inside thing is probably the main point where folks around here seem to differ from the "norm" -- I've had people tell me on more than one occasion that they prefer NOT to have a pre-stamped message because they don't want to find a card they like but then dislike what's printed inside. In fact, that's part of what got me started making my own cards!
I find that here too...people tend to want the inside left blank! I don't sell at shops or shows though, I just make them for fun, and people who request a certain style(s) are usually keeping them 'on hand' so a sentiment limits the usefullness.
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:08 PM   #33
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Also- beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I stamped some outline stamps on WalMart cardstock cards for the kids to color. One day I was in the craft room with my nephew and realized a child's birthday was coming up. Instead of making a "nice" card with good cardstock, layering, etc, I took one of the kids cards and colored it. I found some die cut felt and stuck a flower on it to make it more interesting.
I gave the card to my Mom to put on the present (we had gone in together) only to realize when my niece opened the gift Mom had substituted a (much nicer) card off of my card rack. I asked her later what happened to the card I had made, and she said it was "so beautiful" she had sent it to her Goddaughter instead!!
I did email the Goddaughter, who is my cousin, the story so she wouldn't think it was an example of my usual work.

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Old 07-10-2009, 02:15 PM   #34
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I agree with your friends, Joan. I like pretty much the same stuff. Some of my cards are extra lumpy and bumpy and a little over-sized but they're usually hand-delivered. If I'm mailing, stuff is very simplified! As for "what's inside". . . I tend to make stuff and leave it blank, and then add something later. Since I'm not stamping to sell, it's what I want that matters, anyway! My husband always looks inside, thinking he'll see something stamped inside. He's always disappointed!
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:21 PM   #35
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Just read what Shannan posted - yep. That's a man thing, huh? They want generic sentiment that they can just scribble a name under. We want to write a book inside!
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:29 PM   #36
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Everyone I know looks inside. one of these days there is going to be a surprise!! HA
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:31 PM   #37
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That's an interesting study!

Honestly, I myself never like the crooked sewing - whenever I saw that I thought to myself that the creator probably had some problem doing it and covered it up by calling it "trendy". LOL! So I guess I can understand where the audience of the survey is coming from .
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:36 PM   #38
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I recently sold some cards in a craft show and the marjority were of the "thinking of you" variety. Blank inside didn't sell well, as Joan just pointed out, so I'll have to be putting more things inside mine. Thank you and birthday were about split. That said, my DD prefers to have hers blank on the inside so she can write a note. Chocolate and vanilla ;>)
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:41 PM   #39
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Hee, hee! I just posted a rebel card. My style is super clean and simple, linear, AR/OC. But I loosened up and used a lot of the techniques Joan's survey subjects didn't like to make a card...'cause I'm a rebel that way.

Dirty, Lumpy, Mistake-Filled Card, On Purpose

Go give it a try. It's lots of fun!
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:42 PM   #40
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What size are the A6 cards?
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