How a forgotten anniversary led to a new business
Forgetting your wedding anniversary might not sound like an obvious trigger to start a business, but for Matt Sandford it showed that he held a desire for a lifestyle change by launching his own enterprise.
Sandford is the founder of Yellow Postie, an online greetings card website that allows users to personalise card designs or create their own, before having them printed and posted.
Based in Sydney, Sandford launched Yellow Postie in 2010 after a 30-year career in the printing industry. He founded the business with his wife Jo, who was a major reason for its formation.
The Sandfords have been together for 30 years, but their marriage got off to shaky start.
“One of the motivating factors to doing it is I managed to miss my first three wedding anniversaries, which was not a good thing and still isn’t,” Sandford says.
“When you’re working in the print industry, you’re working day and night.”
“I came home on the night of the first wedding anniversary, and I couldn’t work out why the lights were out and there were candles lit and so on.”
While Sandford’s forgetfulness wasn’t great for his marriage, it inspired him to set up Yellow Postie, which includes a handy feature for the benefit of other forgetful spouses.
“With your card list, we put these in your calendar reminder as soon as you get on – you log on and fill in all your personal details, and it will send you an SMS or an email,” he says.
“That was the first feature, I guess… Also, having personalised online greeting cards.”
“Another feature is the ability to upload a contact list for Christmas… You can create 30 Christmas cards using your own handwriting as a font, with photos, in five minutes.”
Having already established a presence in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom – in addition to Australia – the ultimate goal for Yellow Postie is to operate worldwide.
“What we’ll do is form a worldwide network where people can collaborate on features and stuff. We’re talking to people like Hallmark,” he says.
“We’re also about to launch our Christmas cards in the United States.”
Yellow Postie also plans to expand further into digital products.
“We already have a calendar, a simple flip-through book, which will be great, and posters will be coming soon,” Sandford says.
“We’re building a new card editor using the new HTML5 technology, so you can grab a photograph off your desktop and put it on the card.”
“We have also built a business application for it, which I think is really exciting. Yellow Postie is the social one and CR Cards, which stands for Client Relationship Cards, is the business one.”
“It’s all about businesses being able to send out personalised, relevant cards to their clients.”
“We’re teeing up with real estate groups, for example, who can have a picture of a house on the front, which becomes really personalised and a lot more relevant.”
With 10 staff now on board, Sandford says the business is expected to grow by as much as 300% this financial year. However, he insists money has never been the motivating factor.
“If you’ve got half a brain and you’re passionate about what you’re doing, hopefully you’ll make some [money],” he says.
“But you have to be driven by something other than money – saving your marriage is a good start!”