Last week I announced my upcoming launch of
The Relationship guru of the
Instant Printable & EDITABLE download
for the Savvy Entrepreneur on a tight budget
What a mouthful!
I thought this week I'd give you a pictorial overview of how a business-theme Forever Card comes into being.
I usually get ideas on my next greeting card collection after I've meet an entrepreneur who is passionate about what they do.
One such Savvy Entrepreneur is Neil. Neil and his biz partner/fiance Kaisa, own Manscape Hair and Body for Men in Christchurch New Zealand. We met and became friends while attending the same networking group. The particularly cool thing I admired about Neil was that he was just so excited about everything he was doing! He'd turn up to breakfast in his florescent tradie-gear, commonly worn by a majority of guys and gals working outside in the elements around the city. He was still transitioning from his day job into entrepreneurship as the new manager of his and Kaisa's salon. Kaisa and her girls are the hair stylists and groomers, while Neil had vision and drive for it's future. He was totally taken with the industry and gave a new lease of life into the grooming habits of the average Kiwi bloke, some of whom, would normally not be seen dead in such a place.
In getting to know Neil, he invited me to visit him at Manscape to see what it was all about. He was proud of the achievements they were making with his girls; with the service they provided, and in particular, with the Man Cave he set up for the blokes that ventured into his establishment. It was easy for me to climb into his enthusiasm, I caught his vision, I believed along with him and I knew he'd do amazing things. As he escorted me around the premises I couldn't help see him as one 'smooth cat'. Yeah a little 70's, but he was positively preening with exuberance in what he was now fully invested into doing.
It was during this particular encounter that sparked the idea of a Smooth Cat collection.
Triggered thusly, I'm like a dog with a bone, or that guy off Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. I don't let it go till I've produced what I see in my head on paper, or onto the screen in front of me. I often squirrel through past illustrations as well, as a shape might of stood out for me that I knew I've drawn before. This is what happened here...
Why cats? Well, like cats, men each have a different and distinct character and often take great pride in facial hair display from as early as downy hair emerges on the top lip of adolescence.
The lighthearted quirkiness of my Smooth Cat icons begin to speak of a story that amuses and empathises with the reader. Illustrations do that more effectively than photos, I read that somewhere, so it must be true as I'm an illustrator and not a photographer. Can you imagine what fun a business with a predominantly male clientele could have in using these to get their message across?
Back to male grooming. Some guys/smooth cats are surprised at the thought they can get (shhh.... WHAT!!) waxed, while others are just plain NOT IMPRESSED with the idea, either way, male grooming is here/hair to stay.
Satisfied with each of the icons as their own individual pieces of the collection puzzle, I'm ready to create a pattern or two from them. I like variety and wanted something fun as well as something subtle.
You know, I find myself chuckling at the possible usage of these cards.
Happy with how the patterns turned out I begin to think about the possible salutations that could be used on the front.
Even though I didn't create this collection for Neil, as such, I had his business in mind. So when I started writing, I aimed my words at his male clientele, using, as best as a woman can, the male vernacular. But I soon realised that what I thought Neil would say, vs, what he'd actually say would be two different things.
Then it hit me, why not just let Neil write it himself! It'll be the best solution for his business to use the language he most commonly uses, so I decided in making the greeting card totally editable! Queue lights from heaven and a chorus of angels singing hallelujah!
Really, the world's your oyster when it comes to this stuff, and although I've come to realise not everyone is a creative writer, that flash of inspiration meant that whatever I wrote would now be used as a creative springboard for Neil to use when writing to his clients.
Imagine all the terse words you could write!
I didn't get overly male-groomy in my place holder wording here, I started branching out thinking of other businesses and how they might like to also use these images. But you get the drift.
Now, no business-related greeting card would be complete without the ol' logo printed on the back. If it was me, just saying, I'd kind of expect it. So I also added the ability to do just that on the reverse.
Remember in the 80's when we got all excited that our printers could print in colour and it'd spend 4 minutes printing back and forth over a single A4 sheet of paper until it finished the page or ran out of magenta and the bottom half turned out yellow? Fun times.
I created cards back then as well, Folded the photocopy paper in half and half again, after using up Mum's precious and costly ink till restrictions were placed on me. 'Walaa - Happy Birthday Mum!' as I handed her a limp folded piece of paper, 'Oh that's nice dear ...'
Thankfully our printers, paper stock and our savvy skills in using them have changed over the years. So I'd be inclined to encourage Neil to use a firmer paper stock when printing out his cards and a nice sharpy instrument to cut it out and another to score it for a fold.
Then Neil told me he had 5000
clients in his database.
I get cramp in my hand after writing out several Christmas cards in one sitting! Neils's database would stretch the sanity of anyone printing, cutting, scoring and writing out THAT many cards from the office or home printer.
The answer to this was adding a business license to enlist the services of a local printing business. I want to make sure Neil knows that he not only has my permission to get his cards professionally printed, but he also has my blessing to do so. Whether that means printing 100 cards a month at work or 5000 in bulk four times a year, or even once a month over the next 10!
The beauty of his new Forever Card is that it's his forever to use how he sees fit for Manscape, and as a bonus, he'd feel that I had his back.
Usually with printables there is a stipulation that it's for 'personal use only' - think birthday party invitations for your 6 year old.
However with a business license, Neil now has the choice of either printing on demand at work or emailing the edited version of his Forever Card through to his mate who owns a printing business for his next marketing promotion.
There you have it. From spark to client, you now have an idea of what possesses me to create imagery for my collections, my inspiration is the savvy entrepreneur!
Would you like to have a collection created with YOUR business in mind, with a value of over $2000? Sign up for the Forever Card launch and go into the draw to win on Launch Week - here. Details coming soon on when that'll be, suspenseful huh?
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