Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Article: Envelope, Please!

I’ve been selling handcrafted cards for over 6 years now, first starting on eBay and later expanding to Etsy. I’ve loved giving and receiving cards all my life, so creating handmade cards has seemed like a natural progression for me. Even before I started making cards to sell, I had already been designing and creating handmade cards over the years to give friends and family on special occasions.

As I look back to when I first started making cards, I have to admit, I’ve come a long way! I think my fellow cardmakers can probably ALL say that about their work…’s an ever-evolving art and our techniques and styles change continually as we gain more skill, experience and knowledge, and as new materials become available.

When I first started buying handcrafted cards on eBay (before I was selling my own), it was not always a “given” that each card would come with an envelope. Those times are gone, as well they should be! As a card buyer (yes, I do still buy cards, both from Hallmark and from my fellow cardmakers!) AND as a card maker, I strongly believe that every handmade card should not only include an envelope, but one that fits the card. More than once in my handmade card buying experiences, I’ve noticed that the envelope included with the card is far too large, or (worse yet), too small to fit the card!

With the current trend among handmade cardmakers to embellish more and more, and to achieve a “dimensional” effect, it has become even MORE important to include an envelope that not only accommodates the increased thickness of the card, but one that will stand up under the (sometimes rough) handling of the postal service.

Like many of my fellow cardmakers, I’m making more dimensional cards myself these days. Thus far, I haven’t started making my own envelopes, but I HAVE learned to try out each completed card in the standard size acid-free envelopes that I provide with my cards, just to make sure it fits!

Another trend with cardmakers, especially those whose cards are very elaborate and highly embellished, is to make their own envelopes. That way, the handmade envelope can be custom sized to fit the card, AND it can be lined with matching paper or embellished to coordinate with the individual card design.

Since I have only made my own envelopes once or twice, I have very limited experience as to whether or not a handmade and embellished envelope is an important issue for buyers. From my own perspective (wearing my “card buyer” hat), I think what’s most important to me is that the envelope physically “fits” the handmade card, and that it is sturdy enough to hold up in the mail (should it need to be mailed)……Now, envelopes for hand-delivered cards may be a different story.

I’d LOVE to hear comments from my fellow cardmakers out there, and of course, from any card buyers who happen to read the Etsy Greeting Blog!

Article written by Jan, of Expressive Papers
Etsy Shop

NOTE: An original version of this article was originally posted in the THE CARD CHRONICLES Blog


Lisa said...

Excellent thoughts.! In my early days of cardmaking, I made that very mistake. Luckily it was a very good client of mine, and she took the time to email me, and let me know the mistake I had made. From now on, I always check my embellished cards to make sure they fit in the envelope that I provide. A nice reminder for all of us.!

silvercloud07 said...

I really enjoyed this article. You know, sometimes you think certain things are just "matter-of-fact", but sometimes it's not that way. I agree, envelopes are very important. I'm just beginning to sell cards. Like Jan, I've always just made them to give family and friends, but there have been times when I've tried to put the card into the envelope and it didn't fit! A good point to remember, especially if you're making the envelopes, is that the envelopes shouldn't be the exact size of the card, but slightly bigger, even if there are no embellishments.

PussDaddy said...

You have cute cards. Yes, it is very important to inlude an envelope with a card. I won't even buy a card that does not come with an envelope.


Adorebynat said...

Great article! It's a good reminder for us, fellow cardmakers.

Laurie said...

This is a great article and something I did not think about when creating cards. I do of course include an envelope with each card, but I do make some cards with ribbon which makes the envelope a "tight fit"! Thanks so much for the advise!