Hallo, I'm Jasmine from the UK

I was employed by a software house in London for a few years but recently made the move to freelance. I now work mainly with PHP (specifically Laravel), which I love!

My main personal project at the moment is a greeting card website called Carddle. I’ve got a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation going on as I need artists to submit their designs before there are any cards for people to buy, but artists aren’t really interested in submitting designs to a site without any customers. I’d be very interested to hear how others have overcome similar chicken-and-egg hurdles with their businesses.

My other main side-project is OysterCalculator, a website that helps people work out how much public transport in London will cost them. I made it quite a few years ago and it’s steadily grown, now generating some nice pocket-money from ads.

Anywho, I’ve been lurking for a while so just thought it was about time I said “hi”! :slight_smile:

I was helping a designer friend to create a e-cards site some 5+ years ago (now defunct). What we found is that it is more important to have just a few interesting cards than to have a large portfolio of boring ones. He had only one card in one of the categories, but it was kinda cute and funny, and people was paying for it.

Another takeaway was to offer the cards in proper timeframe. Some people were paying $4(!!!) for a card for Christmas on the Christmas eve itself. I guess they forgot and remembered it at the very last moment, and it would cost them more to not send anything at all.

So I’d suggest a few things:

  1. Drop all the boring cards, and keep only a few cards per category, but the exceptional ones.
  2. Use the patio11 approach of snowflakes for SEO (he essentially had a separate page/sub-site per a holiday or occasion), so that users would land right into their target page, not into home.
  3. Vary price based on next holiday.

Having said that, the competition is much stronger nowadays than then… may be it is not a good niche to target?

Similar to what rfctr said, you can’t wait for artists to submit the first cards you have to go and get them yourself to seed the site. That might mean finding artistic friends to do some for you or even just getting some designed on spec by someone online for a fee.

Hi Jasmine - nice to see another Brit here :smile:

I had a look at your site and felt a bit as if going from the homepage to shop for cards was something of a letdown. The homepage is great but then clicking through takes me to a standard shopping cart type page with some not very inspiring cards to choose from. The “Birthday Carddles” link and the images below don’t look great. This seems at odds with the idea of encouraging artists to be part of the site.

I’d echo some of the advice of the others. I’d go for having a much smaller selection of really lovely cards - even if you have to go source those yourself to start with. I’d make sure that any artwork used as a feature image is really representative of the quality you want to show. I’d carefully curate - once you are getting submissions - what appears on the top level pages that people click through to.

Ultimately anyone can put up a site and ask people to upload images to it, the harder job is sourcing and encouraging really great quality stuff. To do that I think you have to start by setting the tone by having the right kind of things on there.

As you are selling printed cards, it would be nice to see some photos of the cards themselves after bring printed. Moo.com do that sort of thing well, and I think people like to see what the finished item will look like.

Hi all, thanks very much for your feedback :slight_smile:

I certainly take on board the idea that I should be focusing on quality rather than quantity. I’m reluctant to actually remove “bad” cards from the site as people have very different tastes; what I might find boring, someone else might think is great. However, I will definitely try and improve the look-and-feel of the main shop pages and curate the cards that appear there in order to set the tone for new artists.

Re: sourcing images, I have been approaching artists directly to see if they’d like to contribute, but with limited success. I guess it’s a bit of a number game. Unfortunately I’m not at all artistic, so I don’t really have the skills to seed the site myself with some great cards. Nor do I have a pre-existing network of artist friends I can reach out to. Getting a few designed on spec might be a good way to go, depending on how much it would cost!

Thanks again for taking the time to reply :slight_smile: