A thortful Success Story

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As one of thortful’s biggest success stories over the last 6 months, Kasia has had quite the journey with us! From a few odd sales here and there to one of our top selling creators for Valentine’s this year, she’s grown her thortful sales and become almost an overnight success. But how did she do it? Below, she shares her story and gives you some of her top tips for raking in those royalties!

My journey with thortful started off as an experiment, and I must admit I didn’t have any particular idea what I was doing at the beginning! I simply created my profile, uploaded a few designs with funny little monsters and that was about it! I didn’t really worry about making my cards suitable for any specific occasions, or about drawing them in any particular style. If I’m honest, looking at it now, I think that my approach was a bit soulless and mechanical. Without giving the whole process much thought, I just took the path of least resistance, and as a result, saw very few sales.

It all changed in December last year. As huge movie geeks, my friends and I often spend time discussing films, TV series, and documentaries. During one of these conversations an idea came to my mind: what about drawing something I’m really, truly, passionate about?

This was how my Star Wars themed card series came to life! The whole creation process was great fun. It seemed so natural and easy to draw my favourite movie characters, to make them speak their funny language and to play with their unique features.

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I quickly found that tapping into particular trends is a key step that will take you further on your way to becoming a successful thortful designer. Finding a new trend and predicting the next big thing is never a simple task, but keeping your finger on the pulse will make it easier.

Read popular design magazines, sign up to art newsletters, follow famous art bloggers, pay attention to the issues your friends and colleagues are buzzing about, observe which are the most popular topics on social media. What are people interested in? What is getting them talking and capturing the collective imagination? These are the questions that you should be asking. Paying attention on what’s going on around you will give you a broader picture of what people want and what trends are hot!

I also decided that this time round my cards should target specific, card-sending occasions, and as Christmas was coming up I took this as my inspiration. Playing a bit with the characters, I adapted them specifically around this theme, and managed to secure a good few more sales than usual!

This just goes to show that when designing your cards, it’s important to remember what occasion they are for. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, a Wedding Anniversary or Birthday, creating your designs to target specific events will always help you to produce a more customer-orientated product, and as a result it will drive more sales.

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As my Christmas collection did well, I decided to stick with the movie theme. I extended my collection of characters but this time they were equipped with Cupid’s arrows and heart-melting declarations of love, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The whole collection was an instant hit! 

I soon learned that once you’ve established a design which is popular, you can always create new versions to fit other occasions by changing captions or references, which will give you more opportunities to sell your cards. And if you need some ideas of different events and occasions? Just head to the thortful website!

Once you find your niche, remember your bestsellers and grow your collection around them. Making what you know consumers want yields far more sales than making whatever you feel like and hoping there’s a market for it! It is much smarter to find where your passions and skills intersect with what customers seek.

I discovered that humour was key for me, too. I use it all the time in my cards: it is basically at the centre of every design I do, and the simpler the joke the better. By making my cards funny, I found that I was giving customers more reason to choose my designs, and my sales reflected this.

If it fits with your design then why not try implementing some humour in your cards? From a humorous caption to a clever pun, anything you can do to give a little laugh can help your designs stand out. It will make them feel good, and most importantly it will really help customers to remember your cards: a perfect recipe for a success!

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It’s been quite a journey we’ve been on together with thortful for the last few months, and I couldn’t ask for a better team to work with. They’ve watched me grow and been very supportive along the way, patiently replying to all my questions, and solving any arising issues at the speed of light! They’ve advised me on my designs, suggested ideas that worked really well and have been even kind enough to let me takeover their Instagram account for a weekend! You can be sure when starting your thortful profile that you’ve got a whole brilliant team behind you, who will always be there for you to answer any questions you might have.

It took some time for me to realise which ways to take and which paths to avoid in order to succeed, but today I get lots of joy of being able to do what I love and to share it with others. Hopefully my story will inspire you to pursue your own thortful adventure! 

Thanks for reading,
May the force be with you !

Kasia

 

 

Find Kasia’s thortful profile here.

 

 

COMING SOON: Sock Cards!

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We’ve been looking at ways we can give customers an extra reason to buy your thortful cards, and we’ve come up with a quirky little addition: Sock cards! And what better time to launch than Father’s Day?

This will be available as an add-on for all of our cards, giving Father’s Day customers the option to add a lovely Dad-style pair of socks to their card, and send their dad some love with something a little bit different!

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Your designs will still be featured on the front of the card, but it will take on a box-shape format to hold the socks safely inside. Your name will be printed on the spine of the card instead of on the back, and any message that the customer chooses to add will be printed on the inside left of the card box.

We’re really looking forward to setting ourselves apart from the competition this Father’s Day, and with your unique designs, and a clever add-on such as our sock cards, we’ll be giving customers all the more reason to shop with us. And of course, more customers for thortful means more royalties for you guys  🙂

 

Please note: photos are of prototype product. Final product is subject to change – we just wanted to give you an insider insight into what’s coming!

How to: Make Sales Outside of the Big Occasions!

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We all know that having designs for the big occasions is the most hard-and-fast way to ensure that you maximise your sales figures overall, but what about those times when there isn’t a big occasion on the horizon?

First of all it’s best to ensure that you’ve got at least one design for all of the non-seasonal occasion categories – people have babies and get sick all year round!

Next, make sure your Birthday cards are up to scratch. Birthdays are the one occasion which nearly everyone buys for at some point each year, even if it’s only for their nearest and dearest! Making sure your cards are on point for this occasion is key, as this will help to maintain your sales across the quieter periods.

Get sorted for the next big occasion, even if it’s still a way off. You should aim to have your cards uploaded around 2 months prior to an occasion date (earlier for Christmas!). Getting them up early means you’ll make more sales in that initial period before the collection grows, and have a better chance of allowing your designs to gain popularity.

Think about buying seasons for occasions such as Wedding and Anniversary. Whilst cards for these occasions are bought all year round, there is a marked increase in demand from May – October every year, as the summer months bring more weddings (and by default, more anniversaries!). Make sure you’re prepared well in advance by getting your designs uploaded by April at the latest, adding to your collection or refreshing some old designs by using the ‘Update’ button to change a small element on the artwork.

Another thing to try, particularly with Birthday designs, is tapping into trends in order to increase sales by targeting specific customers. By using your designs to play upon a popular theme (think Game Of Thrones, Star Wars or Gin), you’re more likely to catch a customer’s eye, and this will give your perennial designs more chance of being chosen and help to boost those sales. In addition, if you’ve had a good seller for a seasonal occasion, is there a way you could adapt this design or concept for a Birthday or Love card? This can be a great way to create cards around themes which you know customers are already interested in.

Finally, you can also use a slight lull in sales to spring clean your profile, to push out the older designs which don’t sell, and ensure you’re ready for the next occasion. This is the perfect time to make any changes, as you’ll be able to assess your profile with the experience of the previous occasion, and get it all prepped and primed in time for the next! Use this handy guide to find out our top tips for doing this.

 

 

Mother’s Day Sharing images

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We’re back with some handy sharing images for you to drop your card designs into and share away! Right-click or ctrl + click to download them, then use the programme of your choice to slot your own designs in. Make sure to link through to your profile when you share!

See below for ideas on how to caption them:

Make sure your mum knows how much you love her with one of my Mother’s Day designs from @thortful!

Give Mum a token of your appreciation with my card from @thortful 

Ralph Waldo Emerson got it right when he said that ‘men are what their mothers made them’! Show Mum some love with my card from @thortful

Mother’s Day is coming soon! Make sure Mum isn’t disappointed: get this design @thortful

They say home is where your Mum is! Remember to send her a card this Mother’s Day: get this one from my @thortful profile

 

Just right-click or cmd + click to save!

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Your Yearly Upload Schedule

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Just right-click or cmd + click to save!

 

Get organised and get ahead!

We’ve put together a handy little calendar to keep you on track. Check when you need to be uploading your occasion designs in order to stay ahead of the crowd, and make sure that your cards are right there in front of customers when they start searching.

We’ve given you the key dates to start uploading for each of the main seasonal occasions and the cut-off for having them ready to go.

And pssst…! Those early uploads are MUCH more likely to get chosen for a press feature too 🙂

 

Introducing Keepsake Cards

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We’ve had some fantastic, funny (and a tad cheeky!) cards added to our catalogue lately, and this sparked an idea from our CEO Andy… Why send a card to a friend for them to throw away after a matter of days? With so many brilliant designs, wouldn’t it be great if you could give them something to carry around with them, spreading the word about thortful and building your brand awareness wherever they go?

thortful are launching a new add-on to cards, to make them last that little bit longer and mean that little bit more: Keepsake Cards will give customers the option to make their card into a handy notebook for the recipient to keep!

The Keepsake Cards will contain around 50 sheets of premium 120gsm paper, which can be lined or plain, and will feature any message which the sender chooses to add on the inside cover. The same high-quality card stock will be used for the printed design and the same information will be featured on the back, highlighting your brand name and bio (just like on your cards!).

Keepsake Cards Victoria Black Hate Least no text smallWhat’s the idea behind Keepsake Cards?

We think that it’s a real shame that beautifully designed, carefully printed cards are left to sit on a mantelpiece for just a week or so before they’re usually thrown away. We believe that your designs are so great that they are worth keeping – and we think our customers will agree!

Why is this great for you?

This is a unique product which isn’t available anywhere else! We think this will be a great way to give thortful another unique selling point and give buyers all the more reason to choose thortful over other brands out there! More customers for us means more people admiring and buying your designs, and of course this means more of those industry-leading royalties for you 🙂 And what’s more, when customers choose your Keepsake Card they’ll be giving you valuable brand exposure wherever they take it!

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Things to note:

  • We will be launching Keepsake Cards in time for Valentine’s 2017, so expect to see your cards being bought as a Keepsake version early next year.
  • We are still working on the envelopes for these special cards, but we are hoping to offer thortful grey ones which are slightly larger and sturdier.
  • Whilst we will only offer the Keepsake option for both portrait and landscape oriented cards, we will only be offering lined paper for portrait designs, as we can currently only support it in this format.
  • You won’t need to change your design templates, as we will simply copy the ~5mm along the left-hand side of the image file, and print this along the spine (see our mock-up below!).
  • This means that your current designs will be printed exactly the same as your cards on the front and the back, but with beautiful notebook paper inside!

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See your design as a Keepsake Card!

As one of our valued creators, we’re going to be giving you the opportunity to purchase one of your designs as a Keepsake Card for a discounted price ahead of our launch (and you’ll still get your 50p royalty on this purchase – think of it as an EXTRA discount!).. We’ll let you know when the systems are in place to produce Keepsake Cards, and give you the full details on how to get your hands on one early next year.

Got Questions?

If you can’t find the answer here then drop us an email on team@thortful.com.


The Small print:

Have a licensing agreement which will interfere with offering your design as a Keepsake Card? Not to worry: you can choose to opt any design out of the Keepsake Card option – just drop us an email. We’ll also be building in a button below each card on your profile, so soon you’ll be able to control this yourself.

Collections: How to Use Them to Market Your Cards!

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Our thortful collections are a handy tool for customers to create lists of cards and share them with their friends. However, not only are they a fun feature for customers, but they can be useful for you as a creator too! Read on for some top tips on using collections to market your cards…

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First things first, here’s how you create a collection and add cards to it:

Log in and click on the heart icon at the top of the page.

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Here you’ll see any collections you already have, including your Favourites.

Note: your Favourites will always be a private list, only available for you to see. You’ll need to create some new collections to share with customers! 

Click the Icon to create a new collection:

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Name your collection – something clear, catchy and appealing – and add a short description of its purpose or theme.

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Next, add to your collection. Find a card you want to add to a collection, then click the small heart icon below the card.

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Simply click on the collection you want to add the card to.

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You also have the option to add a card to a new collection at this point. Just click the option to ‘Create new collection’.

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Go through the steps above to create a new collection.

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Make sure you make your collection public, so that people can find it! Once you’re done, click ‘Create collection’ and get adding more cards 🙂

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Now that you’ve got the basics, have a think about different collections you could create to market your cards: how can you group them together? We suggest that you create collections based around:

  • Occasions (e.g. Birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day)
  • Specific recipients (e.g. Girlfriend, Husband, Dad)
  • Themes (e.g. Humour, Dogs, Cats)

The most important thing is to make your collections relevant to both your customers and the style of your cards.

Finally, once you’re happy with your collections don’t forget to start sharing!