SmartSenda: Launching a startup with a personal touch

Hi Emma, tell us a little bit about the SmartSenda story:

My husband was continuously forgetting birthdays and anniversaries, due to his busy work and family commitments. I had an idea for an online planner that plugs direct into his social media connections and reminds him in advance of upcoming events – so no more missing important occasions!

How did your business journey begin?

I was discussing the idea with Andy for an e-organiser and planner for all occasions, this led to us to the idea of also stocking cards and providing a hand-writing service.  That conversation was over a year ago now and Smartsenda is now up and running.

What made you create a business in a competitive industry?

Once I had come up with the idea of SmartSenda, I knew the unique concept was too good an idea to let it pass me by.  Starting a business while simultaneously looking after four children was not an easy decision, but I have never been shy of a challenge - plus it’s great being my own boss! 

What's the USP?

We have a unique offering as no other companies offer a complete planner with the ability to pull your friends and family details from your Facebook profile. We also offer a ‘hand writing’ service in all our cards - something that is not offered by any other greetings card company and is a great way for our customers to save even more time.

What makes the hand writing service unique and how does it work?

Users have the ability to select a personalised message for each recipient and occasion.  Our team will then lovingly handwrite the message into the card.  This service is completely free of charge and optional, giving the user complete flexibility when it comes to ordering greetings cards.

How does the service work?

Fundamentally, the service is an online greetings card business… but with a difference. Users can sign up as a SmartSenda member, or use the site on an ad-hoc basis.  SmartSenda offers a credit buying system, which allows cards to be paid for in one go and then spent throughout the year or users can also purchase individual cards one at a time, if they don’t want to buy credits.

Once registered, there is a helpful reminder and planner service allowing users to organise all upcoming occasions. We also offer a free of charge hand-writing service, for an extra personal touch.

How did you launch the brand?

I’m not from a business background, and as we don’t have any marketing experience we spoke with various marketing and PR companies until we found one that fitted with our ethos. Help and advice from outside sources, friends and mentors has been invaluable to us in the development of the site. We are improving the site each day with new ideas & suggestions from our customers.

How have you funded the business so far?

We are very fortunate in the we have been able to fund the business thus far from personal savings, we didn’t want to have the added pressure of starting a business with a loan.

What made you create a business together?

My Husband is useless at remembering Birthdays and keeps getting into trouble, and judging by his friends he’s not alone. Life is ever more demanding and that people do not intentionally forget to send out cards. We wanted to provide a service that plans out all regular occasions for free, and sends cards on people’s behalf, saving them the embarrassment of forgetting. 

What’s your best entrepreneurial skill? 

Simply put, it’s our hunger.  We may not have as much experience as other business owners, but we most certainly are willing to learn and put in the legwork!

You can find out more about SmartSenda by checking out their website, following them on Twitter and liking their Facebook page.

Any questions? Let us know and we'll pass them onto Emma! 

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