Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Wedding Card Box Meets a Niche Need in a Niche Market!

Name of your company and URL?

www.theperfectcardbox.com My company name is Kelly Marie Collections, LLC we sell a patented and trademarked product for the wedding industry called THE PERFECT CARD BOX ®

Date started?

I got the idea in May 2007 while planning my daughter’s wedding and looking for a wedding card box to hold the money filled greeting cards for her wedding, only to find very out-dated over-priced options many that were available 25 years ago when I got married. I began investigating the market in late 2007 and launched at a local bridal show in early 2008.

What is your product or service?

Wedding Card Box Meets a Niche Need in a Niche Market!Our product is a wedding card box that is used at weddings to hold the money filled greeting cards brought by wedding guests. Our card box is unique in that it locks, rotates on a base and displays photos too. It is not a typical wedding item as it can also be used in the home after the wedding. The use of this card box after the wedding is a unique feature for a wedding product, as often wedding products have a one-time use.

Why did you start your company?

I started my company out of need for an up to date, practical wedding card box option to be available for brides and grooms. Wedding statistics tell us that 75-80% of wedding guests now bring a card with money instead of a wrapped gift to a wedding reception. In addition, displaying photos at a wedding reception has become a big wedding trend as well. I was in the market for a product like this when planning my daughter’s wedding and when all we could find were out-dated options, many that were the same options that were available to me over 25 years ago when I got married. I decided the timing was perfect for THE PERFECT CARD BOX.

How was it financed?

My company was completely financed with our savings. It felt a bit like a jump off a bridge when I placed my first order for a container load of 1,300 wedding card boxes and knew that I had to put our life savings at risk.

Date officially launched?

January 1, 2008 would be the “official” launch although much work went into it before this date.

What free online or offline tools do you use?

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) has been helpful, although I only found this site in the last 6 months; wish I would have found it sooner.

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or?

Social media has been big for us. Particularly Pinterest and Facebook. Brides and Grooms are on line and interacting with them, other wedding planners, wedding blogs and other wedding vendors has been huge for us. Pinterest has been really big for us as a picture of our product sometimes says more than words can.

Pin us on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/perfectcardbox/

Like us on Facebook:

www.facebook.com/pages/The-Perfect-Card-Box/108044499225471

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/perfectcardbox

Get inspired on our blog: www.motherdaughterweddingchatter.com

How many people are currently working, including employees?

I currently work full time and have a part timebook-keeper, 2 bloggers and 2 young guns who are building our newest card boxes out of barn wood from torn down barns in Liberty, OH.

What is the best advice you never got?

Wedding Card Box Meets a Niche Need in a Niche Market!

Kelly Marie Albert

Keep your office in your home as long as you can. We currently warehouse our product off site but I have kept my office in my home. I never got this advice…but would give it in a heartbeat!

What almost killed your business in the start?

A poor supplier in China that sent me poor quality product in my first shipment almost killed my business while I was only beginning. I had no idea that the product I would get in a container load was not exactly what I had received from them in the prototypes they sent. I was not happy when I got my first shipment and opened the first boxes. I immediately hired some inspectors to do inspections of each and every box (1,300 boxes with 6 parts in each) It was a huge task that had to be done. I then began to sell the less than perfect boxes at a discounted price as “scratch and dent” products. In the end this discounted product actually filled a need for the “DIY” budget bride. I always see the silver lining in everythingJ

What is the one thing that you did right?

Got a patent and trademark.

What was the biggest transition you had to make?

Everything was new to me. As a mother of 4 who had been busy for the last 20 years raising my kids, I had to learn it all. At first I learned all about patents and trademarks and then got busy in the world of manufacturing. As a Michigander, I was hoping to find a US manufacture and attempted to do so for 4 months to no avail. I could not get a US supplier to take me seriously and had a hard time even getting them to quote the job. So onto China via the web I went and learned all about manufacturing in China and importing, found a supplier, placed and order and imported it. Once I had the product manufacturing secure, I then had to figure out how to sell them and learned about website design, advertising and UPS shipping to my customers.

Are you currently in the black or red?

We are currently in the blackJ

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

Early on we did some bridal shows locally and nationally. It was a great way to learn the business and meet people, but was not the best use of our time and money. Since then, we have done some magazine ads in bridal magazines, such as The Knot and Get Married. We have done some ads with some popular wedding blogs such as Wedding Chicks, Broke Ass Bride and Bravo Bride. We also spend some money on SEO to stay on page one Google for our keywords; Wedding Card Box, Wedding Card Boxes, Card Boxes for Weddings, Wedding Card Holder, Wedding Box and Card Box.

What would make your business more “Successful”?

Wedding Card Box Meets a Niche Need in a Niche Market!National exposure! The wedding industry is an interesting one to offer a product for sale in as for the most part the wedding industry is a “service” industry, think florist, photographer, church and hall rental, etc…and not as much of a “product” driven industry. We actually think this is good for us offering a “niche product” in a very “niche market” much like a wedding dress!

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

Once I have substantially grown the business I would like to be acquired by a bigger company or sell it and let someone take it to the next level for the next 30 years. I believe our product really is timeless as pictures never go out of style and people will always give money as a gift to brides and grooms.

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