Today, Entrepreneur Resources shines its small business spotlight on Moetleh Cards & Messages. Read on to see how this business got started and how you can take the leap.
Name: Winnie Burch
Business: Moetleh Cards & Messages
Type of Business: Art
Years in Business: 1
What does your company do? Located in New York City, Moetleh Cards & Messages provides frameable and non-frameable note cards with a personal touch. All items feature my exclusive designs. Each card is purposely left blank on the inside so that you can write your own words and personalize your message. The recipient of your card can then frame your card and hang it as artwork.
What made you want to be an entrepreneur? I was tired of working for somebody else. I’ve been a victim of down-sizing three different times, so being self-sufficient and having something no one can take from you feels great. I always wanted to have a business but didn’t know what to do.
Why did you choose your business? The artwork was there, and I was trying to figure out a way to put it out there. The frameable note cards seemed like the perfect way. It was a great way to give people art for a reasonable price.
What prepared you for entrepreneurship? I’m a member of Project Enterprise, http://www.projectenterprise.org, a non-profit that helps people turn their dreams of making their small businesses stable and viable into reality. The conversations with Project Enterprise were the most helpful. I also attended networking events to learn from others.
What has been your greatest achievement so far? Making Christmas cards for the Time Warner accounting department made me feel good.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur? At the Stanley Morgan Children’s Hospital, I made over 300 angels that were put on incubators in the NICU for the 7 months my granddaughter was there. Doctors, nurses and parents said that it made the floor feel different. It’s usually a very negative place, but the angels and guardians helped brighten it up.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur? Finding the market for my product has been difficult. I consider my frameable note cards art and price them accordingly. Some people do not realize that they are getting a note card they can personalize and a piece of art in one. My marketing coach (http://www.inspiredmedia.net) and I are working on that.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently? I wish I would have done more art events than craft events in the beginning. The craft market, which expects products for $2 and $3 each, is not my market, and I could’ve used my time better looking for cultural fairs, silent auctions, etc.
How can others get started in this business? If you’re an artist, figure out how you’d like to showcase your artwork – cards, calendars, etc. – and then figure out your costs. Will you print them at home or with a print vendor, for example? You are a small business and not yet able to compete with the Hallmarks and American Greetings of the world, but you can still make it. Do not be afraid to build relationships with the companies that supply your raw materials, such as printers or paper cutters. Because I committed to using the same paper company for all my cards, I was able to lower my costs even when I could not purchase large quantities at a time. You do not know the help you’ll receive until you ask for it.
Do you have any advice for future entrepreneurs? Learn as much as you can about all aspects of business. Take classes. Not only will you learn, but you will also meet other like-minded people. This will be another network that you can rely on.