325
9 min 5 sec

Engineer Makes $64,000 Selling Nerdy Playing Cards on Reddit

It started with a single Legend of Zelda playing card she drew for a friend and posted on Reddit—then it became a side hustle selling more than 6,400 full decks.
Arts & Crafts Creativity Niche Ideas Product Reddit

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What It's About

Customized playing cards for the gaming community!

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Gaming Knowledge & Creativity
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Reddit can be a fantastic platform to showcase your product or artwork, and something like this kind of fan art is exactly what tends to go over well there. But as with marketing on any network, it’s best to know a bit about it first. Lurk around and see what is successful on subreddits relative to your product or artwork (trust me, there are TONS) and get a feel for what makes a post successful (e.g. - how they are titled, the day of the week and time they are published in, is there a cat tax, etc.). After all, knowledge is power!

Fun Fact

Soren was featured on Kotaku and a few other gaming blogs a few years ago simply due to the success of her Reddit post. A friend even messaged her after seeing the cards on a blog—Soren didn’t even know it was there!

Notes from Chris

Episode 325

Today’s story comes from Soren Kalla in San Francisco. By day, she’s a software engineer at a startup. Her side hustle is designing and selling custom playing cards online and at conventions. She’s got a Legend of Zelda-themed deck, a Star Wars themed deck, and a Sailor Moon-themed deck.

Soren got the idea after a friend of hers bought her a Legend of Zelda concept art book for her birthday. She decided she’d make her friend a Zelda-themed thank you gift. This friend always had a deck of cards on him, so she decided to draw Link from the Legend of Zelda in the format of a playing card. Once she was done, she posted the image she’d drawn on Reddit, in the /r/gaming subreddit), and was surprised by the response. People loved the design and kept asking when she’d finish the full deck and whether she’d sell it to them. So that’s what she decided to do.

She spent some time looking for the best way to print the cards, and ultimately settled on printerstudio.com. They let her upload custom images for the front and back of each card, as well as the box the cards are later packaged in.

She spent some time looking for the best way to print the cards, and ultimately settled on printerstudio.com. They let her upload custom images for the front and back of each card, as well as the box the cards are later packaged in. She uploaded her artwork, gets it printed in batches of about 500 decks, and then waits for them to come in the mail.

When she first started selling cards, she made around $20,000 a year, but now that she devotes less time to it, it’s about $8,000 to $10,000. She makes around $10 per deck and has sold 6,432 decks to date. That adds up to $64,000 in nerdy playing cards.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • SorenKalla.com: Pick your poison over on Soren's website where she's got everything from Zelda to Sailor Moon!
  • Reddit | Gaming Subreddit: The subreddit that Soren first posted the Legend of Zelda deck that she made for her friend
  • Tumblr: The social media channel that Soren used to promote her designs and get more exposure
  • UPrinting: The online printer that Soren used to print her first batch of cards
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"The best part has definitely been the interaction with people who love Legend of Zelda, Star Wars and Sailor Moon, and seeing how my cards remind them of their favorite characters and let them reconnect with the stories they love."
—Soren Kalla #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau