Paperless Post is paperless no more: The online stationery startup announced Monday that it is releasing a line of paper stationery later this month, dubbed "Paper by Paperless Post."
Now, you can design a card at PaperlessPost.com and opt to send it electronically, have it printed, or both. Only a small selection of designs are being made available to start, costing between $1 and $2.50 per piece, depending on the weight of the paper and other specified embellishments, like envelope liners. Electronic cards cost around $0.10 each.
"We don't want [the printed cards] to be astronomically more expensive than the digital product," Paperless Post co-founder James Hirschfeld remarked in an interview with Mashable.
Printed cards will be shipped for $8 three to five days after you've submitted your design. You'll then need to label and send them out yourself. "People really want to feel what they're sending," Hirschfeld explained. Eventually, you may be able to mail them directly through the site as well. The company is also planning to revamp its RSVP system so that senders can keep track of electronic and paper invitations RSVPs in one place.
The irony -- that a company called Paperless Post is launching paper stationery -- is not lost on Hirschfeld, nor his co-founder (and older sister) Alexa.
"We did not think we were ever going to do this," Alexa said. "This is really something our users wanted -- 60%, based on our research. They've told us that they love Paperless Post,but there are certain times that they really need to use paper for its archival quality, for its ability to be saved and scrapbooked."
Paperless Post has signed on with a third-party provider to print and ship the stationery. "It's important to continue to focus our team on our core comptencies of design and technology," James explained of the decision to partner. "We didn't want to get super distracted with printing itself."
Beyond giving users what they want, the foray into printed stationery also opens up a new revenue opportunity for the company. Unlike most other e-card companies, Paperless Post does not run advertising on its site. Instead, it sells virtual currency (Coins) which users can use to purchase certain styles of stationery, as well as envelopes, liners and logos. Roughly a third of registered users -- about 300,000 people -- have purchased Coins, James said.
The three-year-old company now employs 50 people and expects to be profitable next year. It has raised $12.3 million in funding to date.
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