Monday, November 19, 2018

Black-Owned Startup Combines Greeting Cards With Technology and Automation

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Atlanta, GA  "How many times have you found yourself in this scenario: It’s a friend's or relative's birthday and you’re driving to the store at the last minute to buy a card. You also must go get stamps. "I've been there more times than I care to remember," shares Culture Greetings' founder, Dr. Dionne Mahaffey.

It's a problem Mahaffey has solved for the rest of us. Launched today, her Atlanta-based company, Culture Greetings, offers contemporary greeting cards specifically geared towards Black people and other people of color. 

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The cards can be personalized and queued for mailing - right from your desk. Making multiple trips to the store and post office to send a card isn't a viable option for most busy people Mahaffey learned from personal experience and extensive research. Social media, while a convenient way to say Happy Birthday or Congratulations, often fail at delivering a true personal connection. So Culture Greetings merges the best of both worlds by marrying the traditional social interaction of greeting cards with 21st century technology.

Through its custom-developed software, Custom Greetings makes marking important occasions and milestones easy. At the Culture Greetings' website, consumers can pick a card from a range of options for any important occasion plus include a personalized note using handwriting fonts as well as a gift card if they desire. Through automation, her commercial printing press then prints, addresses, stamps and mails the cards, via the U.S. Postal Service, directly to the customer's designated recipients. Customers can send the same card to one person - or to multiple recipients.

This is achieved through a technology platform consisting of a tool kit of custom modules that enhance the personalization experience. There is also a stand-alone web-to-print software application that relies on a proprietary API module for automated print and fulfillment. A state-of-the-art commercial printing fleet of Xerox ColorPress 1000i equipment, along with other finishing and cutting equipment additions, is used to print the greeting cards on FSC-certified recycled paper. Taking its environmental consciousness even further, Mahaffey adds that, "For every tree that is consumed in the production of our cards, another tree is planted."

While there are other automated greeting card services that offer the similar convenience of Culture Greetings, they either lack ethnic messaging completely or are dated when they do offer it. "Either their cards cost too much, or they didn't have enough content that spoke to my spirit," Mahaffey explains.

Even in this grand digital age, paper greeting cards are a multi-billion-dollar industry with more than 7 billion of them being sold annually. According to the American Greeting Card Association, the average American sends 25 to 30 cards a year, with the most popular being birthday cards followed by thank you, wedding, sympathy and seasonal cards. Research even shows that millennials also love paper greeting cards. As big as the industry is, however, there is still a huge diversity gap that extends beyond just race. So, after running away from the idea only to come back to it with each momentous occasion, Mahaffey put her business acumen and software development skills to work.

The growing collection of greeting cards are designed largely in-house by Mahaffey herself. Other offerings come from such esteemed artists as Steve R. Allen, whose work can be found in the permanent collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Tanzanian artist Abu Mwenve, as well as award-winning cartoonist Quinn McGowan. They range the gambit of occasions as well as incorporate many still invisible groups such as the Black woman professional and the LGBTQ community of color. Culture Greetings cards also incorporate popular colloquial expressions so the cards are especially timely. On top of that, consumers can create their own cards by uploading their own imagery.

"My goal was to design a culturally relevant greeting card platform that would become a leading destination for Black consumers. That's the beauty of being able to code. We programmers can build whatever we dream," Mahaffey says.

Watch the company's YouTube video below:

About Culture Greetings
Culture Greetings offers real, physical, greeting cards featuring diverse images and themes. Customers can select a card and personalize cards using handwriting fonts that mirror real penmanship. Through innovative technology, Culture Greetings will print, stamp and mail the cards directly to the recipient(s), the next business day. For more information, visit:

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