For the past 20 years, we have been sending out Xmas cards. I like it now more than in the past because it is a great way of catching up on people, watching their kids grow, hearing about their year, etc.
Over the years we have done different things. We have sent out simple cards with just a signature. We did a top 10 list one year so people knew what we had done that year. I actually liked that but sometimes the list was a little too too so we opted out of that list. We had inserted pictures of the kids too. For the past few years, we have sent out a simple fold over card with a picture of the kids scanned on. It is my favorite and will probably be the card of the moment for awhile.
I am the organization queen, so I usually get these cards made sometime in September at Kates Paperie. Not cheap but they do a great job. This year, I opted to do the cards myself and save some $$. It was an interesting process.
The best part is that I took the photo, downloaded it on my computer, sent the jpeg in over the internet and created my own card, how many I wanted, what it would say, entered my credit card number and I should receive the box in about 2-3 business days. Sounds easy – right? Not exactly.
We use Iphoto on the Mac in our kitchen. I use Picasa on my office PC. So, we’re basically covered on all bases. Iphoto did not offer me anything that I felt I wanted. Picasa didn’t offer me anything that I wanted. So, I signed up and used Shutterfly.
Perhaps Shutterfly doesn’t have as good as an interface as the other options but Shutterfly is what I chose so I stuck through the process. I found the process completely annoying. First of all, it takes awhile to figure out that u are actually moving through the process. U pick a card and hit next, then u put in the jpeg and hit next. Eventually the picture is shown on a card in someone’s hand so u know that is "aha, what my card will look like". Then, u continue with the saying u want inside the card. Again, takes awhile to make sure u see that it is correct. Finally, u purchase. Now, I wanted to be able to see my final product to insure that it was correct. They don’t let u do that. U bascially have to go through the entire process again without any changes but a final card is not presented. It wouldn’t take a technical genius writing their code to fix that. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to buy what I had ordered. The card goes into your saved file. I retrieved it and fooled around until I figured out how to buy it. You can buy multiples of 1-thousands. Although, the box that u put your units appears that it can only hold 2 digits so that would mean either 99 or less. But, if you need 500 or more u can click on a button. After getting frustrated, I realized that you could put 250 in the box but wouldn’t be able to see 250 but only 50 which is fine because you know it is correct due to the cost of the product. Next u pay which then confirmed that I ordered 250 cards.
I got an email confirming my purchase. I had 1/2 an hour to make the various changes but I didn’t even go look and make sure the card was right b/c the site doesn’t confirm that for u in the first place. Then, a few hours later I received another email saying my cards were done and being shipped.
It will interesting to see the level of quality in these cards. I will ship them regardless unless they really look bad. If they do, I’ll send them back. But, in terms of savings and creating my own, that was very cool. I basically had a 60% savings which is significant.
I’ll keep u posted on how the final product comes out.
It is comforting to know that Kates Papreie will be there next year. We use them here at work quite often. Maybe by this time next year there will be a better on-line option.
We used Sutterfly for the GMAM Private Markets Christmas cards last year, after Larry Rusoff, a portfolio manager in our group, used it for his family. The card came out fine, but the address list interface was terrible. We had a .csv file that we tried to upload our card list from and it completely botched the addresses and a number of them came back. Perhaps they’ve fixed it since then, but I know that inputting addresses was very difficult at the time. Watch to make sure all the addresses import properly.