A former Medtronic manager has found a second career giving greeting cards a second life.
Last fall Christy Eichers started selling kits to help consumers reuse old greeting cards. Regreet
kits come with fresh envelopes and recycled-paper labels to affix over the original signatures.
They also come with tracking labels that let users go online and see how many times the cards have been reused and where they wind up (as with the Where's George? dollar bill tracker.)
Eichers describes the inspiration as "a bit of necessity and a bit of red wine."
She was back home visiting family and friends in Mankato two winters ago when the idea struck. She couldn't motivate herself to go out into the cold to buy a birthday card for a friend, so her her mother suggested reusing one of the cards her father had just received for his birthday.
Her first thought: Where's the White Out? But later she started to wonder whether her crafty solution might contain a business idea. She took that thought to a WomenVenture class, developed a business plan, and started her company in October 2009.
Along the way she decided to take a voluntary severance package from her former employer, Medtronic, where she worked as part of the community affairs team. "A little bit of craziness," she says," but sometimes you just have to take the leap."
Regreet's card reuse kits are now for sale online and in 14 retail stores in seven states. And cards with the labels affixed have logged more than 138,000 miles around the globe.
Eichers doesn't have any employees, but she has a regular circle of consultants and creative professionals who work on contract, and she recently started signing up sales reps, too. Much of her energy is going toward building awareness and educating consumers about the product.
The $11.99 kits come with supplies to repurpose eight greeting cards, which works out to about $1.50 per card. In September, $2 from every purchase will support breast cancer research and awareness through the the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.
Source: Christy Eichers, Regreet
Writer: Dan Haugen