Small Production Runs


Today's topic is lesson learned, and that lesson is to make your first production run as small as you can.

It was 2002, I had been making greeting cards and magnets for a few years at a local printing shop. I'd print a few dozen at a time, sell a few, and make a few bucks.

I then met a greeting card distributor. I introduced myself to them, I sought out the relationship. I was encouraged to go big! They had more experience in the business than I. They met with me in what I considered to be a big office/warehouse. They were personable, helpful, and eager to have me create products for them to sell. They invited me to the year end party in a fancy hotel. I ate, danced and networked with their employees, customers, and other creators such as myself.

As they advised, I spent a lot of money on development and production. After all, this was going to be big! When the truck pulled up in front of our apartment, I stood back cradling my almost-ready-to-pop pregnant belly and watched as my husband schlepped box after box into the corners of our tiny home.

That was 16 years ago, and if you buy a bunch of little things from me at a craft show, and ask for a little bag to keep them neat, I'll place them into a hot pink envelope which are left over from one of those boxes. 

Anyway, lesson learned - test the market with a small production run. Even if it’s at a loss, it’s not as costly or annoying as storing old stock for 16 years.