Continuing on my previous post, I wanted to share my idea with you. To refresh your memory, my recent domain purchase was Fridgeworthycards.com. Allow me to elaborate/bounce this idea off of you. Constructive feedback and comments are always appreciated.
As I look around my office, I have several cards displayed. Some are several years old. I love what’s inside them, but I keep them around because the beautiful images on the outside inspire me. With electronic communication so prevalent in everyone’s lives, when you recieve a nice card with someone’s personal thoughts written in their own hand, it stands out and sends a powerful message. Somebody cares about you. And that always feels good.
So I really enjoy receiving beautiful cards. And I enjoy sending beautiful cards. In fact, like most people, over the past couple months I have had several occasions to send people cards. There was a sympathy card for my aunt when her dog died. Congratulations cards for my sister Nora and my friends Jenn, Brian, and Norbou, all of whom added a new member to their families recently. I have thought about these people many times and I’ve meant to send them a card to let them know I care about them.
And yet to date, I have sent exactly none. Zero. Zippo. Zilch.
Without beating myself up with shame, I will just say that this is not the person I wish to be. My actions do not meet my intentions. So while I like to send cards and sharing my feelings with the people I care about, I usually do not. Allow me to explain what I perceive to be the problem. Of course this will sound like an excuse — which it most certainly is — but my larger point is to express the genesis of my idea.
While I enjoy sending cards, I do not enjoy any part of shopping for them. First, I do not like shopping for cards in the usual places they are sold (i.e., supermarkets, drug stores, department stores). In fact, I spend most of my waking hours trying to avoid these places. Right behind Wal-Mart, I find drug stores are among the most depressing places on earth. And don’t some Wal-Mart have pharmacies right in them? If you ever find me standing in line at one of these places, you have my permission to take me out. In fact, I beg of you to be so kind. But I digress…
Anyhow, when I manage to purchase cards, I tend to do so at my local bookstore. They have a better selection of high quality cards that I like — cards with beautiful photos on nice paper. However, the creators of these cards — usually Vermont artisans — do not offer their cards in bulk. This is very important to me as I love to have a reserve of things I know I will use (e.g., visit my basement and you’ll find a twenty pack of toilet paper). Just as I do not wish to spend any time thinking about various tissue products, I do not want to spend any time poring through cards each time an occasion arises. My aversion to shopping is greater than my desire to send cards. That’s pretty much what it boils down to, I suppose.
Another issue I have is that on a rack of hundreds of cards, I am lucky to find one that I want to represent my feelings. Most cards try to be funny, but fail. Others are too sentimental. Few of them seem to capture my sense of me or the tone I wish to express. More often that not, I gravitate to blank cards with striking images. The picture grabs me, makes me feel something, and I wish to share this feeling with the card’s recipient. So I prefer beautiful images (pictures covey a thousand words, yes?) and a personal note in the cards I send and receive. And I am a big boy. I can write what I mean to say. I do not need a writer for Hallmark to express my feelings.
An example of a fridgeworthy card: Karin gave me this a couple years ago. I love the image (and what’s inside) and so it remains on display in my office
In my personal experience, I often find less is more. After the death of my father, I received many wonderful cards, some from people I’d never met but whom read my newsletter. I still remember two of them. One from the aforementioned Norbou was a black and white photo of a man carrying a canoe. My dad loved to take black and white photos and was an outdoorsy type of guy. The image evoked memories of him. The inside was free of any writing other than Norbou’s.
The other card, sent to me by my grad school advisor, was a photo of the moon rising over Denali. On the inside, he simply wrote, "Dear Drew… My sympathies… Brian" In my mind, he said it all with that beautiful image and those five words. Of course, I appreciate ALL of the cards I received — I still have them all, but after seven years, I still remember two of them for their vivid images and their simplicity.
Christmas just passed, and like you, I received many cards. Again, each card sends a message. A few of these touched me. On the other hand, some companies I do business with me sent me cards. To be honest, the energy I felt from the card was that receiving the cards felt like someone was doing their duty, fulfilling a job requirement. The energy the card conveyed was "I am feeling rushed and pressured and I need to get this stack of cards out so you continue to think well of me and use my service." They were sending the card because of a business obligation — there was no joy in the giving from my side of things. To my way of thinking, if there’s no joy (or empathy) in sending a card, why bother?
So somewhere in my guilt for not sending friends cards and the Christmas crush, an idea popped into my head. Why not create cards that would stand out? Why not create cards that I would be proud to send? Why not create cards that are mini works of art, that are so beautiful that they are "fridge worthy"? While I hope this is self-explanatory, the name means that the recipient would find the card so beautiful that they would be inclined to post the card on their refrigerator.
The name gives the business a thesis, a controlling idea, if you will. All the cards would be images — things of natural beauty — animals, sunrises, Vermont farms in winter. You get the idea. The cards would be printed on lovely recycled paper and they would be suitable for framing. Figure around four bucks a card. Most important? You can buy these high quality cards — cards you will feel PROUD to give — in bulk so that you always have the perfect card on hand, ready to send to express your feelings to a friend.
"Fridge-Worthy Cards? How does that sound?" I asked Karin.
A true connoisseur of beautiful cards, she like the idea. Excited to get some confirmation, I searched to see if the domain was taken. To my delight, it was not. Like I said, I get LOTS of ideas like this. So before registering the name, I waited a week to see if I still had any juice. The answer was yes and so I plunked down my 10 bucks for the rights for a year.
Will I do anything with this idea? I cannot say for certain.
But my interest is still there. I have enthusiasm for the idea. And at the very least, I am interested in creating this product for my personal use. Again, I want these cards on hand to send to people when I feel the inspiration. So I will start there.
I talked to my accountant today. He told me he had unexpected spine surgery. Yikes. I don’t know the man well, but we speak once a quarter. I cannot help but thinking… wouldn’t it be cool to send him a beautiful card? A fridge worthy card? That would feel great to do.
And wouldn’t he dig the blast of positive energy when he opened his mail?