Creative Printing for … the Graduate

Creative Printing for … the Graduate


Among life’s many milestones, a graduation is one that spans generations, from a kindergartener’s graduation to receiving a diploma from law school. It is one of those defining moments that clearly marks the passage from one life stage to the next. And it is almost always celebrated with a party and gifts. Personalizing everything in this celebration is easy and diverse—and as a creative printing retailer you should be able to offer your customers bountiful products for any graduation celebration, from party supplies to keepsakes. Here are some ideas you can use in your store.

Products that really grab attention are the personalized invitations and thank you cards available from For $25 you can purchase their entire collection of templates, which includes birth announcements, birthdays, weddings, holidays, christening, calendars and, yes, graduations! The licensing allows you to customize every product for your customer, and deliver the finished products. They include a link that allows you to add a QR code, so the tech-savvy recipients of these high-quality invitations can scan the code with their phone and have all the pertinent data instantly added to their calendars; this is really a step above the other printables on the market, and the price point couldn’t be better! has a variety of products suited to every kind of celebration and life event. They have beautiful custom invitations that are savvy and chic. Their customized blankets are offered in a variety of colors to match a school’s image, you can choose from a selection of images, and have the grad’s name and school embroidered as well. Their afghans offer an entirely different look and are perfect for cozying up in a dorm room. They offer quite a few customized items, and one that is of particular note is the personalized keepsake box. This good-looking engraved box is something that would especially appeal to the guys, but it would also appeal to many young women. It holds a photo that can be easily changed, and it retails at $26.95; an affordable gift solution.

Because offers an affiliate program, creative print retailers are able to offer the entire line, with absolutely no cash outlay, and make 15% or more on each item. Another opportunity presented by this company is to help local schools with a fundraiser, perhaps to finance “Grad Night,” the senior trip or the prom. Link up with your local schools to offer this possibility, with the requirement that all products ordered be picked up from your retail location, and you will have a huge increase in walk-in traffic.

If you take the time to train your staff on how to convert these “pickups” into sales, you can gain a whole new stream of customers, support your community and be a local hero. Make sure you issue press releases to the local papers and radio station about the program as well.

Looking for more photo book choices? offers beautiful templates, a tremendous variety of sizes and shapes, ease of use and great pricing. They too have an affiliate program offering many additional sales opportunities. The quality of their photo books is outstanding, their website is very easy to navigate, and they are wonderful to work with. Using their affiliate program in a partnership with a local school would allow the students to go online and design their own books, even non-techy parents could manage this easy-to-use software with stunning results.

This can be a great gift to grads, in the form of a gift certificate to create their own book, or to give the completed book. The book might be pictures from their school career, or it might be a life album, showing the grad achieving various milestones throughout his or her life, or it might be an album of just the senior year, senior trip, grad night, etc.

There are so many possibilities to present to your customer base about how to use this great option. Having a variety of samples on hand, excellent signage and a well-trained staff that knows how to sell this very personal memento will make all the difference.

For the traditional card makers and scrapbookers, two of the industry’s leaders have lines of graduation themed products that will thrill your DIY clientele. Karen Foster Designs ( offers a graduation themed kit, in addition to their full line of scrapbook supplies. These hang packs provide a variety of 12×12-inch papers, stickers, layered embellishments and journaling note cards in vibrant tones that will appeal to everyone. If you have a local scrapbooker design a few layouts and cards for you using these materials and display them well, they will fly off the shelves.

Creative Imaginations ( has an entire line of scrapbook and card-making materials as well. The soft neutrals of their line provide a backdrop that works for every photo, and the wide range of their line offers numerous design opportunities. Carrying these products creates yet another marketing avenue. If you have a local college, arrange with their sororities to come in for a scrapbook evening. A knowledgeable scrapbooker on staff can lead a fun-filled crop evening that will bring these students back for more. Or hire a local scrapbooker who has taught classes before. These students are crazy about documenting every aspect of their college careers and will flock to you to get what they need.

In addition to the colleges and junior colleges, reach out to the local high schools, particularly the booster clubs. Booster club moms know how to get the word out like nobody’s business, and they can work with you to put together some terrific events to bring the kids and moms into your store. Don’t forget the private schools in your area; these days they are working harder than ever to keep tuitions down, and fundraising is a big part of that effort.

Carrying products, or in some of these examples, making them available to your customers, is not enough. Your displays and samples are crucial! The up-sell can take a purchase of $30 up over $100.

Graduations are exciting for the families of these young people, and they are willing to spend money not only to celebrate the event but also memorialize it. Some examples of the up-sell are to remind parents coming in to order for their grad about all gifts they can give to other grads as well. One-stop shopping saves them time and gas. They may only be thinking about their child when they walk through your door, but any member of your team can help them remember the four other friends of their child who are celebrating as well. Suddenly that $30 just became $120. You can see how devoting the time and trouble to really training your team can change your profitability equation quickly.

Taking advantage of various “sales seasons” is nothing new, but offering unique and exciting personalized gifts sets your store apart. Prior planning, marketing and all the other components in the “Success Sidebar” will make the difference between a successful graduation campaign and just another day in retail. Get creative, be enthusiastic and reach out to your community to make this your hottest campaign ever!