Friday, October 29, 2010

Paperly is “Buy Later” Friendly

When it comes to buying gifts, I have found you are either a “Buy Now” or a “Buy Later” person.

Buy Now-ers are always on the prowl for the perfect gift – even when the occasion is months away – and probably already have half of their holiday shopping list completed. (I am certainly not a Buy Now person!) Suffice it to safe, buy Later-ers do not feel the same sense of urgency to complete their holiday purchases.

Historically, Buy Later-ers have faced significant challenges when they wished to purchase personalized products. Personalizing products takes time – often weeks – and Buy Later-ers simply didn’t have the luxury of time.

However, today’s world, with its high-end technologies, is a lot different. Whereas personalized stationery was rarely an option for Buy Later-ers, Paperly’s technical advancements and operational efficiencies now enable personalization in a matter of days, not weeks. In fact, some of Paperly’s products, such as its Color Collection, clipboards, wallets and tins, can be elegantly personalized within 2-3 business days.

So rest easy Buy Later-ers. I know firsthand your plight and I’m excited that Paperly can save our collective hides. As for you Buy Now-ers, feel free to finish your list at Paperly. That way, I can’t completely despise your timeliness.

Regards, Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Yearend Family Letter

You know by now that I am a very strong proponent of the handwritten note. Paperly was founded on the belief that the handwritten note is alive and well. Today, few things are more heartfelt and memorable as receiving a personal note on well-designed stationery.

Yet, how does the handwritten note fit-in with the tradition of including a yearend family letter alongside your holiday card. You know those letters… they typically include a brief summary of the year that just passed (e.g. “Sally went to overnight camp for the first time” or “Hard to believe Jimmy is now in first grade”) as well as pictures of the kids.

These letters are typically typed, rightfully so, to ease the process of including a copy of the note in each holiday card sent. So does the typed letter remove your obligation to include a handwritten note in your correspondence? In my opinion, absolutely not!

I completely appreciate the need to type the letter, but that should never inhibit your writing – perhaps in the margin or as an attachment – a note, no matter how small, sharing a personal thought with the recipient. It can be as simple as “Wish we could see you this holiday season!” Or as individualized as “I am so excited to hear about your new grandchild! I can’t wait to see pictures when we see you in a couple of weeks.”

Personally, I love the family letter. I receive holiday cards from friends who, because of time or distance, I hear from all-too-infrequently. Thus, the “Year in Review” lets me stay connected to their lives. However, I truly relish those notes that include a personal sentiment. I’m confident you feel the same.

So as the seasons change, and our thoughts turn towards the holidays and the annual rite of sending holiday cards, please take the extra minute per card to handwrite a note on each. (If you order your cards early enough, you can spread the task over weeks, rather than days. Paperly has already released its Holiday designs.) You’ll feel good, the recipient will feel good, and perhaps, it’ll rekindle the personal connections and warmth we all covet from the holidays.

Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly

Thursday, October 7, 2010

8 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make With Your Holiday Cards

Although the holidays are still a bit away, now is the time to jump on your holiday cards. Try to avoid the "Top 8 Mistakes" I list below, and you'll thank me later!

1. Waiting to place your order 

Paperly’s holiday designs are available now! Buying today means you receive the newest designs all-the-while avoiding any unforeseen delays that may occur later in the season. Plus, when you add together all the steps in the ordering process – proof, production and shipping – it can be a bit before you actually receive your personalized holiday card.

2. Hoping for the perfect family picture 

The kids are always going to be tired. The dog isn’t going to cooperate. And someone will close their eyes when the picture is being taken. Don’t fret; just keep trying. Digital cameras are great because you can simply delete the bad pictures and start afresh. Try to take the picture at a time of the day that you know your kids are going to be in a good mood. Line-up a neighbor or a friend if you plan to take a family photo. Although scheduling an appointment with a professional photographer can be daunting, it is often worth the additional stress and expense because the photos typically come out wonderful.

3. Portrait card, landscape picture 

Whichever you do first – take the picture or purchase your holiday card – be sure you match orientation. If taken as a portrait, no matter how great the picture is, it will not fit a holiday card that is landscape oriented.

4. Starting your list from scratch 

A guaranteed way to embarrass yourself is to forget to send a holiday card to a friend or family member. To prevent this, don’t start your list from scratch year-to-year. Instead, use last year's list as a starting point. If you don't have last year’s list, start with your address book, your wedding invitation list, a recent birthday party list, etc.

5. Writing all your cards in one night

You might envision sharing a cup of hot cocoa around a warm fire with your family, leisurely writing and addressing your holiday cards. Get over it; that isn’t going to happen. We’re all pressed for time, so don’t delay. You can start addressing envelopes today, even before you get your cards finalized. (A great time saver is to have your return address pre-printed on your envelopes or purchase pre-printed return address labels.) Then, start writing a few cards each day during October and November. Worse case scenario and you run out of time, don't worry – most people are pleased to hear from you no matter when your card arrives. Alternatively, skip the Christmas/Hanukkah “deadline” entirely by sending a New Year's card.

6. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (I think) 

Mrs. Manners probably has a hard time keeping up with today’s complicated marriage situations. Check and recheck names before addressing your envelopes. For example, do your recently married friends use the same last name or different last names? 

7. Needing 100, but having 75 

There are always last minute additions to your mailing list. Order a few more cards than your original estimate. It is always less expensive to order extras with your initial order than to place a second order.

8. Not enough postage 

If you include separate photos and notes alongside your holiday card, you may be surprised at how much the whole package weighs. Before mailing it, weigh it at the Post Office. Otherwise, you run the risk of having all your holiday cards returned because of inadequate postage.

(P.S. A great time saver is to buy your stamps online from the U.S. Postal Service. Buy your holiday stamps early; sometimes they run out of special issues.)

Hope you find these tips helpful!

Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Uplifting Words

Because of Paperly’s 2 new catalog launches (Everyday Collection 2010-11 and Holiday 2010), for the past 2 weeks, I’ve either been overseeing my data entry team or performing data entry myself… hour after hour. The work is both tedious and exhausting, yet the attention to detail must remain high, because an error can create dramatic consequences (i.e. a bad customer experience, a wrong price, etc.)

Fortunately, while doing data entry, the Paperly team was also shipping out the new catalogs and sample sets to our team of Consultants, which now reaches across 27 states coast-to-coast. I say "fortunately" because as the new catalogs and sample sets arrived on the doorsteps of Paperly’s Consultants, I started to receive phone calls, voicemails, emails and Facebook postings about how much they LOVE what they received. Those kind words gave me the extra fuel required to plod along with the data entry. So, thank you to all the Consultants who shared such kind words about our new designs.

I thought you too might enjoy a few of their comments: 
  • "My catalogs and samples arrived yesterday… They look great! I gave out several sets at a football game today and got a good response."
  • "SO excited to receive the catalogs & samples today - Everything looks so beautiful, and I can't wait to share it all..."
  • "I received my new catalogs and samples sets today!!! I LOVE EVERYTHING!!!! I can't wait to share the new designs with my friends and family."

Here’s my favorite from a Consultant as she eagerly awaited the arrival of her catalogs:
  • "I keep waiting by the front door for my box o' catalogs every day @ 530! Can't wait to get them in my grubby hands!"

And finally, although a bit unrelated, I received this quote today, from a new enrollee, and I loved it so much, I wanted to share it:
  • "After looking through the catalogs for all of 3 minutes, I made my decision to join her team."
Wow! It is words like that which keep me going. And now, back to data entry.

Regards, Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly