From the Heart is a greeting card company that makes homemade cards for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and any other special occasions. Our cards are crafted individually with care and detail. The motivation and inspiration of the company is the legacy of the late Eva Tolliver, who was the pillar of love, care, and home in our family. The goal of our company is to promote those values through the cards we make. From the Heart will be a mobile business that takes the orders for the cards and delivers them to the customers. This is a sole proprietorship because it makes it easier to keep track of everything and to know what exactly is going on in my business.
Industry description. From the Heart falls under the greeting card industry which consists of holiday cards, and everyday cards.
Key trends. Although the greeting card industry has declined since the technology era started, they have constant revenue that at the moment is neither increasing nor decreasing. Their main target is older people, because they are the pre-technology generation which makes them least likely to switch over to the digital means of greeting cards. They also target women. 80% of greeting cards are purchased by women, which mean 4 out of every 5 cards that are sold are sold to women. The best places for business are Small towns, churches, active adult communities, anywhere that isn’t consumed with technology. Overall, 7 billion greeting cards are purchased every year. 9/10 households buy greeting cards each year and on average, a household buys 30 individual greeting cards a year. As of 07-12, the annual growth of the industry is -6.0%. Typically greeting cards cost between 2 to 4 dollars each depending on the type of greeting card it is. The top 5 businesses in the greeting card industry are Hallmark Cards, American Greeting, Taylor Corporation, CSS Industries, and Russ Berrie & Company.
SWOT analysis. Some strengths that From the Heart has is that we have people within the company that have great creative and design skills for the cards, we also have an ex-business owner and a business school graduate advising us through the process. Along with the skills I have acquired through intro to business and basic business services we will have a well-organized business and a great well put together product. Some of our weaknesses are the fact that this is the first time that I will be running a business. Another weakness is the fact that members of my family will be working with me. That might cause some conflict within the business. One way to fix this weakness is to establish that we are running a business and that we have to be professional. As for the lack of experience, through this project, I will be acquiring the skills that I need to run a business. Some great opportunities that are available to my company are the fact that the church I attend is about 60% women that range from their 20’s to their 80’s. Also, the people my mom works with are mostly women with families. Another good opportunity is the location of my business. Buckeye has its own active adult community, which is for adults over the age of 50 years old. That is good for my business because people over the age of 50 are more likely to purchase a handmade card than to use digital means of greeting cards. Also, the holidays are coming up so people will be looking for quality Christmas and seasonal cards. Some threats that my company has is that Wal*Mart, Fry’s, Walgreens, Dollar Tree, and other stores in Buckeye sell greeting cards from major businesses such as Hallmark, and since I am a new business I may have a hard time getting sales when I start.
From the Heart’s major demographic are mostly women between the ages of 25 and 70 that are working and middle class, with a household size of two to six, and has close family ties and good friendships. Studies have shown that about 80% of all greeting card sales are to women, even male themed cards are generally purchased by women. Also, older people, 50+, are more likely to purchase a tangible card than to send an e-card.
Locally, my major competitions are Wal*Mart, Walgreens, Dollar Tree, and Fry’s. Some strengths that all of these places have are that they are all credible. They have been in business for a while and all of these stores are household names. Also, they have a very wide variety of professionally made greeting cards available to their customers. Some of their weaknesses are they don’t offer homemade cards nor do they offer custom made cards. Also, greeting cards isn’t their main product. Some barriers I may come across are the fact that people may prefer to purchase greeting cards from local stores.
Product. The product that I will be selling is custom, homemade greeting cards, such as birthday, anniversary, and holiday cards. Based on the surveys that I took, my company will have a delivery service where the customer puts in an order and they will be dropped off to them. There will be an option to pick up their order, but mainly delivery is what my company will do.
Price. According to my surveys, most people will pay anywhere from two to eight dollars for a card depending on the quality of the card. From that I have concluded that for smaller cards, cards to put gift cards in, would be $1.00 if they are print, and $1.75 if they are handmade. Regular sized handmade cards will be $3.00 if they want it plain with nothing on the inside and $4.00 – $4.75 if they want a message on the inside of their card. The price will vary for the length of the message.
Promotion. I plan to promote my company through social media, flyers, a commercial that will be posted on different social media websites as well as on the company website, and most importantly through word of mouth.
Price. The location of my company will be my home. That is where all of the production of the product will take place as well as where cards will be picked up from if a customer chooses to pick up cards instead of having them delivered.
Since my business provides custom made cards, the amount of orders I have will affect how much time is spent on the production of the product. The process of producing the cards will consist of designing the paper that the card will be made from and forming it into a card. It also consists of creating the envelope that the card comes with. I will have a whole room dedicated to my business where I would be able produce the cards, organize orders, and keep everything together in one place. The technologies that will be used in my business are cell phones, so that customers can and contact me, the internet so that I can manage my company’s website and so that I can utilize social media and computers so that I can create the print cards from publisher. The process that will take place so that my product is delivered is discussing a time frame that they need the cards by so that I will be able to mail the cards to them in a timely manner. They will have the option to either have the cards sent to them, or to have the card sent directly to the person that they will be giving the card to.
Management and Organization
In this business, I will be the key participant because I am a sole proprietorship. As of right now the human resources that are available to me are Kazeem Balogun, who has artistic skills and ability to create hand drawn designs, and Asanti Behe, who has skills in digital design as well as being able to create hand drawn designs. These two will be a part of my employee pool and will be helping me in the card production process. A couple of other human resources that are available to me is Ivy Balogun, with her degree in business science, she will be my marketing advisor, advising me in my decision making when it comes to my business and what will benefit me and the customers, and Luqman Balogun, who has owned his own businesses in the past, will be able to give insightful advice on money matters as my financial advisor. As discussed with the employee pool, they each get 10% of all sales. Through discussion we all concluded that both of them decided to donate their portion of their earnings to Mount Pleasant Church’s youth group G-Next.
Long Term Development
During the first three years of my business, I see us developing a strong clientele and projecting our business to other cities outside of buckeye such as Tonopah, Avondale and Goodyear. Five years from now I see us with more employees, a website where people can put their orders in for their cards, more commercials that can be put on the website and other social media sites, more profits and smoother production process. The strategy I have to have a strong clientele is to provide great service and product so that people will keep coming back for more. To have a better website and more commercials I will get feedback from the customers so that we can know what is and isn’t effective so that we can make improvements to them. As our company grows we will need to have more employees so that we can keep up with the demands of the customers.
One of my expected investors is Ivy Balogun. We discussed that she would fund the startup cost, therefore the expected amount to be invested is $20.00. For from the Heart to get started the estimated cost is $20.00. That will be for supplies, and materials that will be needed to make the cards.