Struggling to find a sympathy card for a Senior Executive, founder of Man Cards, Brian Musolin, developed the idea for his new business. He realized there was a need for greeting cards specifically geared towards men, for men – ones that wouldn’t make men uncomfortable to give or receive. Read on to find out how Brian started his business all while working as a Financial Analyst for a Fortune 200 company.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you sell at Man Cards.
On March 31, 2014, a Senior Executive’s mother had just passed away, and I was shopping for a sympathy card for him. He’s a real man’s man, and a straight shooter. None of the Hallmark cards seemed to fit. Most included some form of cursive and/or a lengthy poem, not what the ideal card should be: Short, to the point, and letting him know I was thinking of him. There was a distinct need in the marketplace for simple greeting cards that men wouldn’t feel awkward receiving or sending.
While working as a Financial Analyst by day, our Man Cards Wingmen and I have managed to build a brand with over 100 card options, forge international and domestic strategic partnerships, and hire a team of sales reps to sell our brand in seven states. We’re also in the final stages of launching our second brand – Shades on Point, a line of wooden sunglasses.
When did you start selling online? Why?
We incorporated in April 2016 with a soft launch target date of early June, just in time for Father’s Day. Our initial launch included 25 cards only for dads. Immediately after the holiday, we relaunched with birthday, graduation, wedding, and thank you cards.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in building and running Man Cards?
In addition to all of the normal challenges entrepreneurs face – legal, incorporation, business banking, tax, administrative – some of our biggest challenges with Man Cards have been setting up the operational network and digital marketing/site traffic.
Finding a print vendor for our operations and fulfillment was a huge obstacle to overcome. Luckily, we found one through my personal network. They’ve been really great to work with, setting up order flow processes and fulfilling orders in a timely fashion. All of our cards are printed on demand, so we hold very little inventory.
As a Financial Analyst with zero design experience, I had to build a network of artists and content creators. Freelancer sites like Fiverr were a huge help during this process. We’ve now had over 30 individuals in 16 different countries create content for Man Cards by writing copy, designing graphics, creating videos, animating, voiceover work, or photography.
How do you attract new customers?
Digital marketing is a work in progress. We hired a freelancer in India to help kickstart our White Hat SEO. SEM and SMM are still a learning experience. We’ve honed in on Instagram being our social media platform of choice. We’ve built a following on Facebook as well, but their practices for business pages are a little disconcerting. Email marketing offers the best ROI, which is why we’re SO excited to be working with Bizzy! When we launch our line of sunglasses, we’ll start running ads with the largest sports coverage team in Pittsburgh, so that should create quite a bit of traffic as well.
Can you share a tip or something interesting you learned in the process of building and running Man Cards?
Spend the time, effort, and money to improve site speed. We’ve focused heavily on it at Man Cards. Google uses site speed as a ranking factor, and the average ecommerce site takes a whopping 7 seconds to load. For most people, instant gratification is a necessity. A 1 second delay in site speed equates to a 7% loss in conversions (aka sales). Over 40% of users abandon a site if the speed is greater than 3 seconds. We’ve made vast improvements here and now blow our competition out of the water, with more improvements in the works.
Need a high-quality and hilarious card for the man in your life? Look no further! Man Cards makes greeting cards that men actually want to receive.