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The Lost Art of Note Writing
Laney Liner of Plainview, NY became an art-related entrepreneur back in kindergarten, selling of all things, pieces of the colored yarn from her pom-pom adorned ski hat for a nickel each. Her indulgent mom pronounced her resourceful, so she wasn’t surprised by Laney’s fish tube and bead bracelet business by the time she went to junior high.
After graduating with BA in Sociology from Binghamton University in 1994, Liner landed a position with the famous Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency where she worked on a large telecommunications account for a year and a half. In large advertising agencies, the only way up is to change jobs frequently, so Liner worked her way through five jobs in nine years. The high energy and high stress requirements of New York agency life weren’t a problem until Liner married and started a family.
Liner had her first child in 2001, but continued to try to make it in New York. Slowly, however, she realized that her mother was raising her son and she couldn’t remember the first year of his life; it was time to start planning to do something else. Her exposure to the agencies’ creative people over the years convinced her that she wanted to do something creative, so she enrolled in a graphic design program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and later, at New Horizons in Commack, NY, where she earned a certificate in graphic communications in 2004.
Liner had visions of starting her own business, something to do with flowers and poetry; she even created a name, poeticpetals, but didn’t know how she was going to make it financially viable. So, Liner kept looking for a full-time job that would better fit with her lifestyle and started a tiny business designing correspondence cards (heavy, high quality, acid free graphic post cards that go in an envelope) on the side.
Liner had been collecting stationery since she was a child and she knew that many people save handwritten letters. Liner wanted to create a line of stationery that were works of art in their own right, the kind people who are separated from one another keep for years. She had years of experience writing in her advertising career and had always written letters to relatives, thank you notes, and even kept a diary. By the time she got a job offer she liked, poeticpetals had already won her heart.
Liner invested her savings and created 18 different designs on her first print run of 15,000 pieces. Then she hit the pavement, talking to stationery store owners. It was a hard road and it took some time for the cards to catch on; poeticpetals, ltd. is still in its infancy, selling tens of thousands cards per year, and Liner is actively looking for manufacturer’s representatives to take on her line. Her design inspiration comes from life itself; she likes the strong, vibrant, happy colors in nature.
Liner believes in good old-fashioned hard work to promote her business; she focuses on public relations rather than expensive advertising. She also does a lot of direct marketing to publications where she wants to be listed and never fails to send a thank-you note to editors she contacts. For free advice, she relies on the Small Business Development Center at SUNY Farmingdale, and she doesn’t expect she be a millionaire anytime soon. She knows that half the battle is credibility and that only time and perseverance can provide that.
The Small Business Professors' Words of Wisdom
Laney Liner has tapped into a well–known but often perilously ignored factor in the success of a business. The value of a hand-written note or thank you is immeasurable. When you take the time to find appropriate stationery and then write a personal note in a business capacity, you create a connection, you make yourself more memorable, and you deepen your relationship with both customers and suppliers. It’s one of the easiest, least expensive, ways to make a good impression that will last for years. Laney Liner guarantees it.
- Case History: www.poeticpetals.com
- Entrepreneur’s Strategy: Send hand-written notes on beautiful stationery to create a lasting impression
- Could This Work For Me? Often thought and effort go further than cold hard cash. Who should you be thanking today?
Liner believes in good old-fashioned hard work to promote her business; she focuses on public relations rather than expensive advertising.