Thursday 20 May 2010

Trade Secrets - business cards & my favorite shops

Hello there from swannandsmerlin

I have always loved sending snail mails as much as receiving them, since grade school in fact. I love the handwritten notes, the stationery specially picked for me, and the enclosed little surprises like an odd sticker, an old postcard, a bookmark with a beautiful quote, a comic strip torn from the paper, a photograph. I know the feeling of receiving something unexpected, and how it makes a simple letter even more meaningful. From these feelings so vividly tucked in my memory I have sent out every package from my shop. Regardless of the amount of the item purchased, packages big and small were all carefully and lovingly wrapped from my home. The reason I do it is simply because I love doing it. Packaging is definitely my most favorite part of shop-keeping.

Which brings me to my trade secret #1 : Business Cards

I always enclose a Thank You card in all of my packages in the form of these postcards. There's a pretty space at the back where I can write my handwritten notes as well. These lovelies I got for free from Vistaprint. For free, yes. I can pick the design from hundreds in their library and customize the texts for my business and only pay for VAT and shipping. For a small fee, I can upload my own photos and designs and voila, my very own unique postcards. I also have return address stickers and rubber stamps availed for free from them!

The gift tag used here is from an old set of free business cards from Vistaprint which contained my mailing address. When we moved, I felt so stupid for having my address printed on the cards and I couldn't bring myself to throw them away because the material was very good and I love its design. Then a bright idea hit tag punch of course!

That little tag is still from the same business card with my shop name beautifully printed on the upper corner. A scissor and a hole punch transformed it into a cute gift tag. I love it when nothing gets wasted.

Handmade cards and notes for shop customers are still the best way to do it, but as your shop gets busier, it's handy to have something cute and ready-made for you to grab and write on.

Trade Secret #2: my favorite shops

This is definitely my favorite online shop here in Ireland. Cara Craft Supplies is my source for punches, cutters, and other crafting tools. The delivery is super fast too, and their prices are very competitive. I always shop around for good deals, and all things considered - shipping fee, customer service - they're my best choice.

And finally, my favorite brick and mortar shop in all of Dublin. Ritzy Rags is a charity shop of the Friends of the Elderly and they stock beautiful vintage clothes, linens, shoes and bric-a-bracs, and unlike the rest of the charity shops around Dublin, theirs are mostly, if not all, from France. The items you'll randomly find are very unique and it's one of the secret jaunts of costume designers and young design students. Thing is, you'll have to drop by week after week because you just never know when's a good thing coming in the racks and shelves. Check here on how to get there.

Have a great Thursday!


  1. I never knew about Cara Craft Supplies and I thought I had sniffed out all of the good crafty supply shops in Dublin! Thanks, great to support local businesses!

  2. That's very useful. Must revisit vista print. Had thought they only did cards for free...thanks!!

  3. Great post! I've ordered from CCS before and I agree they have great service.
    I would love to visit Ritzy Rags!

  4. Love your packages Odette - they never fail to make me smile! :D

    You've also reminded me to do another digabout in Ritzy Rags - it is GOLD! Love that place! :D

  5. Thanks for sharing your trade secrets, 'dette. You've got one more trade secret that you can't give away: your creativity! ;)

  6. I got the same postcards(buttons) to use as gift cards printed with to..... and from.............for too. They are fab.

  7. Hi Odette. I admire your creativity and passion. Your creations are so lovely.

  8. aww, thank you guys for the nice comments! ♥

    @ Tanya, i'm thrilled to know you've been to Ritzy Rags before. I work as a volunteer for Friends of the Elderly. ^-^

  9. I've been using Cara Craft supplies for a while now, they are very good. They are also included in our 'Craft Suppliers' listings page here on the blog ... go to the link up the top of the page, just under the Etsy Ireland banner.

  10. I just want to say thanks for mentioning us!! Great to see the positive feedback on a grey Monday morning :) Aisling from Cara Craft Supplies

  11. That's very useful..i love your creativity and passion..that might help me when use for the design of Metal business cards.

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