When my husband and I returned from a trip to Chicago last night, where we were visiting our son, an order for one of my handmade gratitude journals was waiting for me. The buyer purchased one of these mini books as a gift, and asked me if I could include a note card with a personalized message. Although this is not a service I have ever offered, it was an easy request to fulfill. Why, I asked myself, couldn’t I offer this as a standard (and free) courtesy to all of my customers?

The next thing I knew, I began exploring my mostly unused commercial clip art collection for images that might suit various occasions and audiences—the four seasons, baby, birthday, Valentine’s Day, anniversary and teacher. If you decide to do something similar, make sure you check the usage guidelines of the clip art designer. The images I selected were described as being “royalty free if not used for resale.” Since I am offering mini note cards to buyers as a free option, I determined that I was using the images within its guidelines.

I decided that I wanted six mini note cards per page, all of one type. Using Corel WordPerfect software, I generated a 4-column, 3-row table in a landscape orientation. Each row measured 2-3/8 inches tall, and each column measured 2-3/8 inches wide. I edited the table so that every other vertical line would not print; this represented the fold line of each note card. In the first cell of each note card, I inserted my shop logo, Web address, e-mail address and blog address. In the second cell of each card, I inserted a clip art image. After I printed the note cards on card stock, I simply used scissors to cut them apart, folded the cards  in half, and rounded the corners with a Crop-A-Dile Corner Chomper. You can use Microsoft Word software or any other word processing software to accomplish the same task.


I created a set of seasonal cards, as well as cards for special occasions or specific recipients. The images are pretty self-explanatory.



Today I began the process of adding a free option for mini note cards to the listings in MisterPenQuin. This involves using the Listing Variation feature that Etsy provides all shop sellers. When I am finished, I will offer this same option in JN Originals. If you look at the text immediately above the “Add to Cart” button, this is a dropdown menu that lists different images for  mini note cards. One of the options is “no card needed.”

Listing Variation for Inspiration Book

In addition to choosing the image they would like to have printed on a mini note card, buyers can request an image for any other occasion they desire by alerting me in the Notes to Seller section of their order. They can also ask me to print a personalized message on the inside of the card, similar to the way that a florist might print a message on a mini card that accompanies any order. I’ll print the message on white paper, cut it out and adhere it to the inside of the card.


After I decided to offer a mini note card option to my buyers, it occurred to me that this service can also provide some marketing insights about who my end users might be, what occasions yield the most buyers, and what items sell best at a particular time of year or for a particular type of customer. You can bet I’ll be tracking that information this coming year!

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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6 thoughts on “Personalizing the selling experience”

  1. Those card designs are beautiful. I love the heart!
    What a great idea to offer personalized messages in your note books 🙂
    The other day a customer bought one of my laundry bags and requested a matching heart ornament. I had never thought of this before, but it is a cute idea. Besides, I can use up the left over piece from cutting the laundry bag!

  2. That is a really nice idea. When people choose to buy handmade, I think they want to buy more than an item – they are looking for the entire handmade experience and the feeling that comes with knowing a real live person with a vested interest is on the other side of the internet connection. I’ve never had anyone ask for a personalized note, but I think using a listing variation option to include that choice is a great idea. Best of luck with modifying your listings!

  3. Wow! That’s so neat! I’ve had people ask this before, but it was easy enough for me since I already have a stash of cards that I’ve made. This is such a great idea though- to have seasonal ones:)

  4. This is a great idea! People love a little extra customer service 🙂 Your cards are perfect for all occasions and your customers will really appreciate this. Smart idea to add it to the Listing Variations.

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