Juno launches subscription greeting card service for busy people, draws on expertise of working artists
In our increasingly digital society, it’s easy to feel disconnected. Despite the ubiquity of social media and texting, nothing beats the thrill of face-to-face interaction, though a nice handwritten letter or a greeting card comes close. Jesse and Ross Harding, two brothers raised in Omaha, experienced such disconnection when they moved away from home. Living…
In our increasingly digital society, it’s easy to feel disconnected.
Despite the ubiquity of social media and texting, nothing beats the thrill of face-to-face interaction, though a nice handwritten letter or a greeting card comes close.
Jesse and Ross Harding, two brothers raised in Omaha, experienced such disconnection when they moved away from home. Living on opposite ends of the United States, they found it hard to stay involved in each other’s lives.
“By the time we both moved back to Omaha, it was like I didn’t even know him,” Jesse said of Ross, his brother-turned-business partner.
In an effort to reconnect and collaborate, Jesse and Ross created Juno: an online service that aims to set a new standard for the U.S. greeting card industry (an industry that sees approximately $900 million on Valentine’s Day alone). The service launches October 16.
Here’s how Juno works.
Consumers provide birthdays, anniversaries, and/or holidays they want to remember. With plenty of advance notice, Juno sends automated reminders for each occasion. Juno users may then select from a curated collection of artist-designed greeting cards (many from local producers). The selected greeting card is mailed to the user in a pre-stamped envelope.
The most important step is up to users. They must write a handwritten, meaningful message.
“The last thing we want to do is put words in your mouth,” Jesse said.
Restoring Originality to the Greeting Card Ritual
The brothers felt frustrated with the lack of innovation in the greeting card industry. They believed modern greeting cards often minimized or removed the intimacy of written communication. The brothers were shocked to learn the most popular wholesale producers often created each card’s copy separate from its illustration.
Ross and Jesse thought this lack of intimacy was partially a result of last-minute purchases. In the rush of daily life, it is easy to forget a special occasion. Many people turn to pre-written greeting cards and sacrifice the intimacy of a handwritten message for convenience.
Juno allows consumers to avoid such a regrettable compromise. In fact, Jesse pointed out the online service’s fantastic irony: providing quality greeting cards through the convenience of a web subscription allows users to disconnect from the digital world and engage in a personal way. The time saved with Juno gives consumers an opportunity to sit down and write.
Another distinct feature is Juno’s atypical subscription model. The service does not charge a monthly fee or require minimum payments. Users only pay for cards they request. And at $8.00 per card, Juno manages to stay competitive with major greeting card retailers like Walgreens, Target and Hallmark.
Time in the Startup Collaborative Paid Off
The Juno duo attributes a large part of their success to participation in The Startup Collaborative, a program of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, from which they earned a $50,000 investment. Networking through the Startup Collaborative also connected them with an angel investor. A prototype grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Nebraska Innovation Fund was also vital to Juno’s launch.
A Juno launch party will be held this Saturday, October 19 from 7 – 9 pm at Omaha branding firm Grain & Mortar, 1414 S. 13th Street. The event is free and open to the public.
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