Business, Strictly Business

Celebrate Life With a Unique Card

Image: Tying the knot led to the entrepreneurs buying into the business of cards. [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]

GETTING those unique greeting cards for your wedding, baby shower, birthday or any other special occasion just got hassle-free, thanks to an innovative team of young entrepreneurs who have teamed up to help you express yourselves through their business idea.

The business, Celebration Avenue Inc., started in August 2012, three months after Jasen and Vernesa James tied the knot. Having done all the print jobs for their wedding and realizing that they could make money by tapping into the greeting card business, the couple decided to add another dimension to their already-existing printing business, Computer & Business Services Ltd. on L’Anse Road, Castries.

Image: Tying the knot led to the entrepreneurs buying into the business of cards. [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]
Tying the knot led to the entrepreneurs buying into the business of cards. [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]
“We usually print other basic items for customers,” Vernesa said. “However, before my wedding, we never really gave printing greeting cards any thought.”

Jasen’s sister, Jonelle, said the team designed and printed the entire suite of wedding products such as invitations, favour boxes and programmes for the couple’s wedding nearly five years ago. It save time and money and did not compromise on quality.

“They chose a peacock theme for their wedding and wanted to incorporate those colours. Realizing that it would have been very difficult to buy something that fit into that theme, we decided to conceptualize and print the items ourselves,” Jonelle explained.

When Vernesa and her husband, Jasen, who operates a computer and business services company, and business partner, Hassan Euristee, decided to open the greeting card business, Jonelle, who owned and ran an events management company previously, jumped right into it. Jonelle lent her experience by targeting customers using the experience she gained when she had previously planned weddings for customers. She said greetings cards were the surefire way to immortalize special moments.

“All of our products are made with love and care. Various people are involved in the process; however, Vernesa and I decide on the final product before it goes out because we’re very precise,” Jonelle said.

Jonelle said she has a long-held passion for collecting greetings cards, confessing that she has “stacks of them”, some of which date back to when she was 11 years old. Greeting cards are very important, she said, adding that with the advent of social media, few people even find them outdated. However, she said, what’s captured in a greeting card is a tangible expression that can last forever.

“Many people might argue that greeting cards are no longer relevant,” Jonelle said. “I don’t agree with that. However, I believe that people might not be getting what they want in a card. But even as life and seasons change, greeting cards are ways of recording how people felt at a certain time. If you want to express a feeling that can last throughout time, say it with a card.”

The general feedback from customers has been so encouraging from the start that Celebration Avenue Inc. was among the goods and services providers at the Love Elevated Wedding Symposium organized by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) held in September 2015 at the Johnsons Centre in Rodney Bay. That was the company’s first public showcase of its handmade cards to build up its confidence and portfolio and network with wedding planners.

Last December, Celebration Avenue Inc. printed their first batch of Christmas cards which were on sale at Massy Stores. The second batch of cards is expected to hit the shelves in time for Valentine’s Day. While the company prints a wide range of greetings cards that cover just about any occasion, it also takes orders for custom-made cards and offer consultations in deciding what designs to choose.

Since starting the business with their own savings, the co-owners have managed to stay afloat by cutting costs wherever they can and ploughing back profits. The co-owners also aim to expand the business and incorporate every aspect on events planning into their portfolio. They also had some advice to fellow entrepreneurs.

Vernesa: “Don’t ever quit on your dreams of building up your business. Despite the challenges, there are always ways to get around them. So I don’t believe the answer lies in closing your business and ending your dream. Stick to your dreams.”

Advice: Jonelle: “Never let the fear of success — or failure — keep you from achieving your true potential.”

For more information about the company and orders for greetings cards, call 384 1181.

Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

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