Paperless Post defies digital strategy with Crane

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 3, 2013 at 5:41 pm •  Published: April 3, 2013
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The main difference between the Crane invitations and the other paper offerings on the website is that they can be engraved or include letterpress printing, so that the printed messages have texture. When an invitation is engraved, the text pops from the paper. Letterpress means the text is indented into the paper. Engraved cards are more commonly used for formal weddings, while letterpress is used for more casual events, says James Hirschfeld. A third printing option is thermography, which creates a result that is similar to engraving, but costs less.

When customers buy a Crane invitation through Paperless Post, they can also get a digital copy to send to people online. Senders can then keep track of who they sent invites to and who responds through the Paperless Post website.

The siblings started Paperless Post when they were in their early twenties. James Hirschfeld, now 27, came up with the idea after planning his 21st birthday party. He didn't have the time or money to send paper invitations, but he says he felt the digital ones available at the time were lacking. "It didn't reflect how much I cared," he says.

That's when he came up with the idea of selling stylish digital cards. "If I have this problem and I'm a 21-year-old man," says James Hirschfeld, "there must be a lot of other people in America thinking that."

His sister, Alexa Hirschfeld, 29, liked the idea. She left her job in television news and they began working on the startup together. The company has raised $12.3 million from venture capitalists. It expects to be profitable this year and predicts revenue will nearly double. It has about 2 million active users, and about 40 million people have either received a card, have a Paperless Post account or downloaded the iPhone app, they said.

The siblings never expected to print paper cards, hence the name. So now that Paperless Post is no longer paperless, will they change the name? When asked, the Hirschfelds both laugh nervously. James Hirschfeld says, "Awkward!"

"We like the name Paperless Post," says Alexa Hirschfeld.

"So we're going to have to make it work," says James Hirschfeld, finishing her sentence. "The name is here to stay."

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ONLINE:

—Crane & Co. on Paperless Post: http://www.paperlesspost.com/crane

—Paperless Post: http://www.paperlesspost.com/

— Crane & Co.: http://www.crane.com/

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Follow Joseph Pisani at http://twitter.com/josephpisani


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