It Takes More Than Just Pictures to Make a Great CalendarDanny Ferretti
Any graphics designer worth the cost of his software should be able to lay out a decent calendar for you. After all, we’re talking about 12 to 15 neatly cropped photos plus a few date grids. On the surface, that seems pretty simple — but what makes a calendar above average? Let’s talk about skipping the bad ideas and steering yourself to the right ones that will help make your calendar successful.
Just because a calendar is full of color and well laid out, with nice photos of an attractive model, doesn’t mean it’s going to be popular or sell more than a few pieces. Sure, your current loyal fans will love it, but you have to think about expanding your brand and drawing new fans into the fold. A calendar can be the perfect catalyst, but a successful calendar takes a lot more than pretty pictures. It takes planning and marketing and goes well beyond the aesthetics.
If you take the plunge and create a calendar, please don’t do it just so you can have a calendar, unless you feel like wasting a few hundred dollars. Create your calendar with a purpose. For instance:
- Income: The most obvious reason for doing a calendar is the money you can earn from sales.
- Fan engagement: Your fans want to feel close to you, and a calendar will help keep you in their hearts, minds and line of sight every day.
- Giveaways and prizes: A calendar is a great giveaway. A good many models hold contests with a calendar as the main prize.
- Credibility: A calendar will cement your credibility as a “real” model.
THINK ABOUT THE OUTLYING FACTORS
The design cost of your calendar is going to vary, and you need to understand the ancillary costs as well, such as location, makeup, photographer, wardrobe — they all factor in. Later in this article, I’ll share some hints for shrinking those expenses.
The major cost is going to be printing. This is where it gets a bit dicey. Most printers are going to have a minimum order of 250 pieces. That’s a lot of calendars. Even if you can find a printer with a smaller minimum order, the fewer calendars you print, the more expensive each piece is going to be. I’ve seen sites where you can order 100 calendars but the per-piece price is $24-plus. And what do you get for that exorbitant price? Average paper quality at best, which doesn’t reflect well on you to your fans.
Once you have decided to create a calendar and navigated your way through all the printing issues, you also have to figure out where and how you’re going to sell it. You can start with your own website if you have one, and you can certainly post on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. That will get you some traffic for sure. If you don’t have your own website, it should only take you two hours to put up a free Wix site to sell your calendar.
Then there’s the almighty Amazon. Anybody can sell on Amazon. You’ll just need to buy a UPC code ($75), pay the initial Amazon seller fees ($49) and then get someone to help you list the product ($50). Now you’re into Amazon for about $175 and you haven’t sold diddly yet. Oh, and when you finally do sell a calendar on Amazon, you’re going to cringe at how much they charge you in fees. Trust me, it’s not nearly worth it, and finding your calendar listing is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR CREATING A SUCCESSFUL CALENDAR
- Theme or no theme? Creating a themed calendar is going to cost you three times as much for wardrobe, location and photographer.
- New content: Again, with new content comes photo shoots, makeup, wardrobe and locations.
- Social media photos: You’re posting all over social media, but odds are you are only using 60% of the photos you actually shot. Choose unused photos from your most popular sets and let your designer put together a highlights calendar. This is a very popular strategy.
- Marketing made easy: Go where you can be found. Some art, poster and merch sites can add you to their product listings and put you in a position to be discovered by fans who may not know who you are. This can be a huge plus in expanding your brand. Just be sure to check the selling fees before signing on.
Creating a calendar doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be fun and very rewarding if you’re with the right company and people. Ask other models who have created successful calendars and pick their brains about the costs and their experience. Find out who they worked with and how much time and effort was involved. You can have a successful calendar; you just have to know how to get there.