Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not In The Cards

In 1979, in an effort to revive my ailing illustration business, I started a greeting card company called Bullfrog Press. Why hustle trying to sell one drawing for $500.00 when I could sell 250 cards at $2.00 each.

After researching the market, designing six Christmas cards, and convincing a printer friend to let me pay on the cuff, I had several thousand cards printed. My company of one was up and running.

Step Two of my Success Plan transformed me into what I considered a savvy sales rep. Samples in hand and chafing in coat and tie, I cold called gift shops in Atlanta's trendiest neighborhoods - Buckhead, Virginia-Highland, Midtown, and Little Five Points.

Step Three was supposed to be me writing up huge orders but my pen never left my pocket. Most shop owners would not even bother to talk. Others allowed they bought all their cards at the big spring wholesale show. One buyer suggested I add a dozen cards to my line and come back. So much for Step Three and the savvy sales rep.

Realizing my research was faulty, I visited the Atlanta Merchandise Mart and discovered several companies that offered greeting cards. The owners of the second showroom loved the drawings and irreverent humor. They agreed to handle my cards, but warned they would be up against major companies with lines for every occasion.

Their commissioned salesmen fanned out to all major Southeastern markets, but after four months, my cards always ended up on the bottom of their sample cases.

My excellent greeting card business folded after selling a dozen cards to one shop in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was, I assured myself, a great idea whose time had not yet come. Not wanting to dwell on "what ifs," and "maybes," I sought gainful employment and found it - designing brochures and trademarks in a corporate art department. Bullfrog Press still simmers on the back burner.


Augusta Scattergood said...

Well, shoot, Denis. I think your time has now come. That Santa's pretty funny...

JahDaHar i.e. said...

you still selling them cards Dennis? "ow much? p'haps you had 'em at your show? Post me some .I'll post you a check...