You’ve decided to open your own business and are interested in custom stationery. However, you’re unsure how to get started and want to check if the sector is still profitable in this digital era.
Despite the decline of some stationery products, there’s an adapting and booming industry to take advantage of.
This article will explain how to start a stationery business, from fulfillment to marketing. You’ll also learn which stationery areas are trending and how to make the most of them with the help of Printify and Print on Demand.
Overview of the Stationery Industry
The industry sells paper-related goods such as greeting cards, thank you notes, invitations, gift wrapping paper, wedding planners, or calendars. Stationery shops may also offer office supplies like paper, envelopes, and gifts.
This kind of business usually specializes in one or more of these areas:
- Weddings-related stationery, including invites, menus, or place cards.
- A broad range of commercial-related items, from notebooks and calendars to art prints.
- Designing personal branded items, including greeting cards.
Understand if It’s Right for You
Although the stationery industry has strong digital competitors, there’s been a shift inside the market.
Digital stationery grew in popularity during the pandemic. Some areas, like the wedding industry, have a comeback and are projected to reach a whopping $103.5b by 2033.
You can outsource your printing and work with POD partners or set up your own printing equipment. Acquiring high-quality printers, computers, and specialty paper will have considerable costs. Outsourcing has a low startup cost and provides you time to focus on the design and marketing processes.
These are the main pros and cons of starting a stationery business in 2024:
Using Print-On-Demand for Fulfillment
Before running a successful stationery business in 2024, it’s essential to note that many cons are solved if you use a POD partner.
- POD allows you to design and produce custom merch and sell directly to customers without holding inventory.
- You can create a graphic design, apply it to products, and offer them in an online store or marketplace. After a customer places an order, the POD partner applies the design to a blank product and ships it on your behalf.
- POD requires little startup costs, while platforms like Printify offer a complete solution for free.
The Printify Catalog offers a dedicated section for stationery accessories and other suitable products, from cards to journals and notebooks – we’ll cover more on this later.
Start Your Stationery Business With Printify Today. No Upfront Costs.
Start Your Stationery Business With 7 Easy-to-Follow Steps
Now that you understand more about the stationery industry, it’s time to break down the entire process.
1. Start With Selecting a Niche
A niche includes your specialty and target audience. It’s impossible to reach everybody and deliver all kinds of stationery with the same perfection, so focusing on a niche is fundamental to success.
Define if you want to specialize in wedding, personal, or commercial stationery according to your preferences and skills. Weddings or personal stationery could be your best choice if you prefer working directly with clients.
Once you’ve defined this, start looking for your ideal customer. Ask yourself what they enjoy, which social network they frequent, and what motivates them to spend money.
Also, consider where they live and how broad your geographical reach will be.
Use every available tool to refine your niche – like Google Trends, marketplace analytics, Amazon, Google, Bing, and all social networks.
If you discover your intended niche is too competitive, analyze if you can outrun the competition or if it’s best to change your approach.
2. Create a Business Plan
A business plan is a guideline featuring goals, strategies, and timelines. Writing one helps small businesses succeed by clarifying the approach for gaining customers and gathering actionable data.
During planning, you’ll establish the need for special business licenses, documents, additional funding, or bank loans.
Write a traditional financial plan if you intend to receive funding. Describe the business in detail and include financial projections and needs.
Go for a lean business plan if you’re developing a small and flexible business while learning on the go. Include only critical data like unique selling propositions, revenue streams, and partners.
All business plans require factoring in ongoing costs, such as renting office space and daily operational expenses. Include one-time and variable business expenses like hiring a designer.
3. Register Your Business
Registering a business varies depending on the country and state. Consider your objectives and what kind of liability exposure you’re willing to take. Usually, a new business would apply as an individual entrepreneur under a sole proprietorship.
Other models may suit those intending to grow considerably or seeking more protection. These are the business types in the US:
- Sole proprietorship.
The easiest and simplest type to register. There’s no personal liability protection.
Involves collaboration and may offer some personal liability protection.
- Limited liability company.
Gives flexibility in the business operation and provides additional protection for investors regarding liability exposure.
Run by a board of shareholders.
Check the tax requirements – there are two different types in the US:
- Federal taxes.
Businesses need an Employer Identification Number to accept payments and pay taxes.
- State taxes.
Vary according to the state. Check your local website.
Remember to create a business credit card and bank account for your stationery entrepreneurship, separate from your personal assets.
In the US, a business bank account requires the following:
- An EIN or a social security number – only for sole proprietorships.
- A business license and other registration documents.
- Ownership agreements – applicable for partnerships and similar arrangements.
Acquiring business or general liability insurance is highly recommended, especially if you need to keep flammable inventory. For companies with employees, business insurance is mandatory by law.
Most banks provide insurance plans, so you may find this at the same institution as your business bank account. Or look into other insurance companies, including Hiscox, Liberty Mutual, or State Farm.
Check with your local council if any additional license or permit is required to operate in the city or state.
4. Create a Brand Identity
It’s time to think about how to brand your company. Consider your new stationery business name, logo, visual identity, and tone of voice – all these elements should be cohesive. Remember that your name and identity must reflect the type of stationery you offer.
Start with some market research and see how other brands position themselves. Look for similar services, check where your competitors sell, which language and tone of voice they use, their visual identity, and prices.
Observe customer reviews and check what they like, dislike, and what they’re searching for. Position your brand favorably, considering these factors.
Pick a business name reflecting your brand. Ideally, it should be short, easy to spell and remember, but unique – use a name generator if necessary. Apply the same name when purchasing an internet domain and creating your own website – check the availability on DomainWheel or GoDaddy.
Consider hiring a designer to develop your visual identity and create a logo. Programs like Printify Experts provide a broad range of professionals for various budgets. Trademark your stationery business name and other elements you want to protect.
5. Choose Products to Design
Once you’ve chosen your product, select a Print Provider, then click Start Designing to customize it using the beginner-friendly Mockup Generator.
Store images in your Printify account to reuse them on other products, keeping consistency and speeding up the creation process.
Preview your custom stationery product and make adjustments if necessary, then click Save product.
Check and adjust profit margins and prices. Edit the descriptions and apply keywords related to your target market if possible.
Click Publish, and the product will synchronize with your integrated online store.
Starting a Stationery Business With Printify
6. Decide on Your Setup and Where to Sell
There are three ways to run your stationery company – work from a physical location, hybrid, or manage the business online.
- Holding facilities for printing and managing the business comes with hefty costs relating to rent, hiring a management team, and business insurance. However, if managed productively, owning the appropriate equipment could save on printing costs in the long run.
This approach has stiff competition since digital and third-party services replace many production methods. Note that a traditionally-run stationery company can quickly become obsolete and lose money in the face of the perks offered by POD.
- A hybrid approach means keeping a small office to run the business with minimal staff or alone while executing most of the work online. Still, ongoing expenses with rent, office equipment, and human resources may apply, making the business less competitive and profitable.
- Running your stationery businesses online is less expensive than holding physical facilities. It can be managed from anywhere and has a broader reach, where client meetings can occur online or in person.
This online approach works best with POD. Most costs involve creating and managing your website, along with additional software and plugins.
Printify offers integrations with several platforms suitable for different business needs – let’s check the advantages they offer.
- Marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, Walmart, and Amazon already have traffic and could be good options for a new business owner. Etsy doesn’t charge monthly subscriptions and has a following interested in craft services – ideal for a wedding invitation business.
Note that customization is limited on marketplaces, and sellers must comply with internal policies.
- Shopify and BigCommerce are specialized eCommerce website builders. They provide a complete and professional experience, including a standalone website. New business owners can create functional and beautiful websites full of features with no coding knowledge.
Be aware of subscription costs, which increase as advanced functions and plugins are added. They also risk a low search engine ranking due to less options for SEO optimization, so gaining traffic might be challenging.
- Wix and Squarespace are all-in-one solutions capable of creating online stores with content management features and search engine optimization. Like eCommerce website builders, the subscription costs may add up.
- WordPress+WooCommerce or PrestaShop are natural choices for tech-savvy or experienced entrepreneurs. These platforms have no limits on customization and functionality.
You’d have complete ownership of the website, but it comes with a steep learning curve. Startup costs include purchasing a domain name and hosting, plus plugins. These costs are small compared to subscriptions from other platforms.
Even if you start with other user-friendly platforms, consider eventually switching to a WordPress+WooCommerce-based website. Its professionalism, consistency, and ownership could benefit your stationery business in the long run.
7. Develop a Marketing Plan
Plan your marketing strategy carefully to achieve visibility and attract customers. Start off by knowing your audience and the channels they use. Invest in an omnichannel marketing strategy to provide your customers a smooth journey.
Pay special attention to these modern marketing strategies to take your stationery business to the next level:
Content marketing and SEO.
To drive traffic to your page, invest in optimized, quality content – whether a standalone website or a page in marketplaces for increased visibility.
SEO starts with keyword research. Using tools like Google Trends, search for terms connected to your target market – for instance, wedding stationery business vs wedding invitations.
Observe the results, frequency of searches, locations, and related terms. This example shows low searches for wedding stationery business – wedding invitations attract more queries, so these keywords should be prominent on your website.
Social media platforms.
Use the social media platform frequented by potential customers for free marketing. For example, to reach an art-oriented audience, Etsy has an affinity with Pinterest. Or, to reach a younger demographic, try Instagram.
Use your online presence to nurture relationships and promote your brand. Combine educational and promotional materials, publish consistently, and maintain your brand’s tone of voice.
Interact with users, answer queries, and create interest groups related to your products to deepen your brand relationship with customers and benefit from feedback.
Create targeted advertisements with networks like Google AdSense or Media.net. These ads showcase your products and services in search engines and social media.
The fee structure works either per click, bid amount, cost-per-thousand, or per action.
Find platform advertising inspiration and Etsy marketing on our blog.
Affiliate and influencer marketing.
This strategy leverages the reach of well-succeeded individuals on the internet.
The affiliate will insert a unique link that directs users to your website. When someone clicks on that link, hires your services or buy your products, you’ll pay a percentage back to them.
This method lets you send marketing materials, promotions, and seasonal campaigns to educate customers about your products and services.
Obtain email addresses from social media, websites, and traditional paper lists. Always ask for consent when adding customers to the list and provide subscriber benefits, such as eBooks and coupon codes.
Focus On Growth While Printify Works
Sourcing custom products with Printify lets you focus on stationery design, creation, and marketing.
Forget the hassle of managing inventory, shipping, and looking for fair prices – Printify is committed to providing the best profit margins and prices among other POD companies. Our quality promise guarantees your stationery company will shine.
Plus, our super-friendly Merchant Support Team is devoted to solving any issues 24/7.
Stationery Business FAQs
- Do a competitive analysis and select a niche – wedding, personal, or commercial, to mention a few.
- Create a business plan – traditional/detailed or lean.
- Register your business as a legal entity.
- Create a brand identity – that includes name, logo, visual identity, and tone of voice.
- Pick and design products.
- Decide on your setup and where to sell – physical location, hybrid, or online.
- Develop and implement a marketing plan with social media accounts and other channels.
Yes. Stationery businesses can return high-profit margins and cash flow while giving low expenses if you outsource printing services and innovate digitally.
Yes. You can create a profitable stationery business by innovating, benefitting from online resources, and sourcing products. Avoid the over-saturated niches – creating a local print shop, for example.
You’ve now learned how to make your own stationery business from scratch, including fulfilling products with no startup costs, adapting the business to the digital area, and marketing your brand.
Now, it’s up to you to create your own business and enjoy the freedom of being in control of your time. Count on Printify to assist and support you throughout the journey while making it profitable.
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