business associates. Pass the word. Many will think of you on trips
and will pick some up for you.
More expensive, but write
for them. As with anyone, explain the hobby and why you like to collect
business cards (variety, color, shapes, etc.). Compare business cards
collecting to collecting other items (stamps, coins, etc.).
Go to printing shops and
ask for overruns, errors, duplicates.
Ask janitors to be on the
lookout for closing businesses and go get business cards yourself. Ask
for duplicates. Explain how you trade with people across the country,
so you need extras business cards.
Go to area businesses and
ask for several business cards. Again, be prepared to explain your
hobby. It could be beneficial to bring along a sampling of your better
business cards. If requesting by mail, send along a Xerox copy of some
of your business cards.
people collect business cards indiscriminately. Others, like myself,
collect certain business cards categories, e.g. illustrations of sailing
ships; horse-drawn vehicles; business cards from exclusive restaurants,
collect business cards by states and have them stored in that manner.
decide what business cards is fun to collect. Donít be in a hurry to pick
too many categories. Collect general subjects business cards at first and
then decide what you want to specialize in. Donít be afraid to add and
delete business cards categories as your interests change.
Storing Of Business Cards
use business card boxes or other such containers. Personally, I use
plastic sheets (use only archival-type polypropylene sheets -- NOT vinyl)
specifically designed for 20 business cards (10 on each side). I put
business cards in loose-leaf binders. In this manner I can look through
my business cards collection easily and can add or subtract business cards
with ease. I buy these sheets at business supply stores.
trade off that oversized business card just because it doesnít fit in the
regular sheet. If you like it, mount it on heavy bond paper using photo
corners. The transparent ones are the best. Then, when you have both
sides of the page mounted, stick it inside a sheet protector (again,
archival quality with no PVCs) which can be bought at an office supply
Ė How To
business cards collectorsí groups and mailing lists (IBCC, BBCC, ABCC). Visit the IBCC Tradersí Page for a large list of traders and their preferences.
Write a potential trader and send a few business cards as samples, or post
a message to the IBCC mailing list to reach the maximum number of
potential traders. Ask if they want to trade business cards, and
specify the number you wish to trade and any other preferences (some only
want business cards with city and state, others want only logos, etc.).
You can mail 20 business cards with one first-class stamp. Look in CardTalk (ABCC newsletter) for ads in which collectors state their
desire to trade business cards.
Trading Business Cards Ė What To
Make sure that the
business cards are clean and undamaged.
Business cards should not
be plain black and white. An exception to this would be a black and
white from an exclusive establishment or from some famous, influential
person (celebrity, chairman of the board, etc.).
Try to send as many as
you can of the traderís business cards categories with whom youíre
Most traders want
business cards with towns and states. If a business card is in one of
my categories, I donít mind if it has no town/state or if it is somewhat
damaged. However, check with your trader for his/her business cards
preferences. Make your business cards preferences known also.
Conduct As A
Answer mail within 2-3
weeks, or sooner if possible.
Be courteous. Watch what
and how you state something. An innocent statement can be misconstrued
on paper if someone cannot hear your tone of voice or see your body
State your business cards
preferences, but realize that not all of a trade will be in your
categories (30-60% isnít bad).
Try to meet the other
personís business cards categories. If you cannot, at least send
business cards which can be traded in turn.
Donít make the assumption
that you can send just anything thinking that the other person can
always use them for trading business cards with others. Some traders
have enough business cards extras and they do not need ďjust extras.Ē
If you get a good idea
about any aspect of business cards collecting, share it with your other
Donít assume that people
in large cities are necessarily better business cards traders than those
in small cities.
If you donít like what is
being sent, let the other person know it and why.
Donít feel obligated to
keep trading business cards with someone if the trades arenít good, even
after youíve complained. However, you shouldnít stop if you owe the
other person a trade. You can just say you have run out of the other
personís business cards categories and that you will try someone else,
or that you want to try another part of the country.
Storing Business Cards for Trade
Zip-loc bags (qt. size). On them I write the traderís name and his/her
categories with a Marks-A-Lot pen.
have a pile of business cards Ė either from other traders or from
other sources Ė which I cannot use for my categories, I take all these
bags out. I put them side by side and begin to sort the pile of business
cards on the bags of each collector according to his/her categories. In
this manner, I have been able to keep each traderís bag filled with 50 or
more business cards. When it is time to trade with someone, I simply take
out their bag and remove the number of business cards I need.
A word of
caution is in order. If you do not sort out your business cards extras
immediately, tag those from the different collectors so that you donít
send theirs right back to them. This tagging can be accomplished by
wrapping and taping a small strip of paper around each stack of business
cards and putting the collectorís name on the paper. Also, Iíve kept the
business cards in the envelopes in which they came until Iím ready to sort
I store the bags of business cards, and the letters I must answer, in
separate plastic storage containers. I use the smaller containers for the
letter and the large sweater/shoe plastic boxes for the bags of business
Hint: This is the
most important hint of all. The above guidelines are simply hints, my
style. Develop your own style and enjoy the hobby.