"Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?"
I would like your thoughts on my (in-progress) custom wedding invitation business, which I've named elle Z designs. The idea is to offer upscale, custom designed wedding invitations that are available in a DIY kit so the brides can have a very unique piece and save $$ by doing some of the work themselves (maybe printing, scoring, folding and assembling.) I will have some stock designs (at a lower end of the price spectrum), and offer fully assembled pieces too (on the higher end) for those who aren't crafty or don't want to do any work.
I will market online as well as in person at bridal shows. At some point I think it would be great to have bridal shops carry my line of invitations. I will likely offer other wedding related products too, but my main focus right now is on the invitations.
I've started a website & blog that still needs work, but what are your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions at this point? Do you think it has potential?
#2. "RE: Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?" In response to Reply # 1
I don't have any formal design training per se, but a lot of real-world experience - practicing for fun and I have/had an engraving business since 2004. (Also, as far as business training, I'm working on my Masters in Business right now.) That plus I've always been artsy/crafty and into "making things."
I was so busy doing a million different things with the engraving business and I realized I needed to narrow my focus and find a niche. I've been planning my own wedding since November of last year and the whole invitation idea just sort of came together. I've been having so much fun and have lots of ideas, but only one wedding to apply them to.
#3. "RE: Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?" In response to Reply # 0
I think it's a great idea. Might I suggest a few things though
a) Forget a blog unless you intend to really (and I mean really) commit to it. An outdated blog that is never updated is nothing more than an eye sore on a business site.
b) I think you're on the right track with having bridal shops help promote you, except I would suggest targetting wedding planners, photographers and banquet halls since they seem to have their finger on the pulse of weddings as well.
Having a selection of stock designs as well as the option for custom designs is an excellent idea.
If you're based in Canada or are interested in doing some business in the great white north let me know. I've got quite a network of people who work with weddings and may be interested in promoting/selling your products
#4. "RE: Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?" In response to Reply # 3
I appreciate your comments. Yes, I think working with others in the wedding industry is a great idea. I have a few contacts already that I'm sure would be open to working with me. Do you (or anyone else) have suggestions about the acceptable commission rate or other arrangement when working with retailers? I do have some experience in working with resellers, but not in this particular industry and I haven't had time to look into it yet.
I also agree with the statement about blogs. When I get this going full force (and have time and content) I do intend to post frequently. I have a couple personal blogs that I've been able to maintain regularly so I don't see that as being too much of a problem, when the time comes. Right now my time is limited but as I said, I'm in the very early stages. Also, I plan to use the blog to keep people updated on any upcoming bridal shows or expos we'll be at. But probably more of important in the readers' eyes, there will be DIY templates, ideas, and other wedding related stuff they can access to for free.
I am located in the midwest but would certainly be open to working with Canadian businesses & brides. In fact, I'm working on a design for one bride in Ontario already. So, I guess the world is my oyster as long as we consider shipping implications.
#5. "RE: Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?" In response to Reply # 4
I don't know about what would be considered acceptable in terms of commission rate for what you're looking to do in particular but my suggestions would be first to determine your hard costs, figure out a basic reasonable markup (not what you really want, just what you could live with). Then when you approach the retailers be prepared to offer them a commission up to the point you hit your bottom price point.
So say for example a box of DIY cards costs you $5 to manufacture. We'll say a basic profit margin for you should be about $2.50 per box (it's a small margin but remember...this is just what you could accept at a bare minimum). So say $7.50 is your minimum sellable price.
Now if MSRP for a box of these cards is $19.95 then your max % commission to the retailer should be about 60%. Whether that's a fair number or too high/low will depend on you and the stores you approach.
Of course if the MSRP is even higher or your margins are better than you have a lot more flexibility with the commission structures you can offer.
The important thing before you start negotiating is know your absolutely bottom rate and then negotiate in your favour above that. You don't want to be trying to do calculations on the fly during a negotiation.
I'm positive I can give you a hand finding some business up here. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk further.
#7. "RE: Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?" In response to Reply # 6
Yeah, I hadn't thought about the "Zed" part in Canada (shame on me for forgetting my 3 years of French!) but I suppose as long as it's not offensive it's not a big deal to me.
The more people I tell the more they say the same as you - they wished I was doing this when they got married! I have another friend who is graduating college next year and she wants me to do her invitations/announcements. So there are a lot of avenues I can venture down when I can find about 8 more hours in the day.
I guess the plan now is to work on things as I have time, then hit it hard in 2009 once my own wedding is over and I finish my MBA. THEN I should have more free time. Once that happens, maybe I can get this going enough to quit my FT career as a commercial banker.
#8. "RE: Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?" In response to Reply # 0
I think it's a great idea.. the business do have a potential be it either online or in person.. i support you all the way.. hehe..
Just one thing though, I checked your site, you should put some more sample designs on the site, and other photos that may say it was customized by one customer(like a picture of a girl making customizing her own invitation).
#9. "RE: Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?" In response to Reply # 8
Thanks so much for your comments!
Yeah, the site is VERY MUCH under construction. I just put something up so people that I talk to can see at least one example. I've got several more that need to be photographed and uploaded to the site.
Maybe I should not even have the site active until it's complete? I thought it might be nice to have at least something and continue to build it as I go. Any thoughts from anyone on that???
(I am still looking for another 8 hours in my day, with little success.)
#10. "RE: Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?" In response to Reply # 9
I would wait to officially launch the site until you have more information and more designs on there. Otherwise you may turn people away because there's not much on there at the moment. I know it turns me off if I go to a website that isn't complete and I'm trying to get more information on them. I usually then move on to another website to find what I need. I would at least have a good starting gallery of pictures and information on prices, etc so that when people go to your site, they'll wanna stick with you
#11. "RE: Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?" In response to Reply # 10
Points well taken Mindy, and I do agree. The site has not "officially launched," but I got so excited with people asking for more information, photos, etc. that I just put up what I had to show SOMETHING. Guess I'll have to tell them to be patient, it's coming!
#13. "RE: Thoughts on Custom Designed/DIY Wedding Invitation Business?" In response to Reply # 0
DIY invitations sounds very good. My wife di all of our invitations from scratch. She is very artsy/crafty. They were awesome, but a ton of work.. if she could have started with a bit of a package, then just put it together and play with it, it might have been way easier and saved a ton of time. I think you have a great idea. I hope it goes well for you. Online marketing will definitely work for this. You could sell and ship these packages worldwide.