Interview with Gina Flanagan of Lunch Box Cards – Creative cards to make your child giggle
Q: What is your name? Gina Flanagan
Q: Company name and website? KidsLunchBoxCards.com
Q: We launched in: March 2008
Q: What is your business or what do you sell? We manufacture and sell fun, colorful lunch cards full of interesting facts, riddles and wacky true stories to make your child giggle at lunch.
Q: Who or what was the inspiration behind your company? My daughter Leila. When she was in 2nd grade, Leila would complain about not having friends at school. During those days, when I went to kiss her goodnight, I would feel tears running down her cheeks, and
she would tell me about how she would sit alone at lunch and how humiliating it was. It felt like my heart was splitting in half, and I knew I had to do something. I had recently quit being a costume illustrator for feature films to be a stay at home mom. I started drawing fun cartoons with riddles, quizzes and true wacky stories that I knew would make her giggle, and I put them into her lunch. The lunch cards worked so well, it changed my daughters life. Kids
would gather around her to see the card-of-the-day and try to answer the quizzes or riddles correctly. The cards sparked conversation, and now she has a huge group of friends. I also used them for my two little girls -if there was a card in their lunch- all of a sudden
mornings were easy!
Q: How did you get started? Other moms started calling asking where I got the lunch cards. I realized I might have a business so I decided to try to go to print with one set and see what would happen. I knew I would need graphics, so I asked my friend Rose to come on board. We
created test cards- to see what kids of different ages and genders liked and didn’t like, and what size would be best. After that was accomplished, I asked my retired father (who
created Rice-A-Roni and was the president of family owned Ghirardelli
Chocolate & Golden Grain Macaroni) to be my investor, my husband Markus (an actor who plays the dad on the t.v.show “Unfabulous” )to be in charge of marketing and my very
smart brother to handle all the legal stuff!
Q: How long before your business was profitable, or when is it projected to become profitable? It may be another year before it becomes financially profitable, but emotionally it has been profitable from day 1!
Q: What significant obstacles (if any) have you faced & how did you overcome them? I think our biggest obstacles so far have been what size to make the lunchcards, how to prepare the artwork for print, how the cards should be packaged and displayed. We are still working out all the kinks but are moving along at each step of the way.
Q: Do you ever feel like giving up at times? If so, what keeps you going? Never. I love it and I see how happy it makes my children. It inspires me work to harder and to share it with other children.
Q: What qualities (i.e., family support, discipline, time management) do you think are necessary for a women entrepreneur? I think the most important quality is to love what you are doing. We already have too much to do- if our work isn’t a haven, we run the risk of being miserable.
Q: What is the one thing (book, website, coach, mentor, tool, blog, service, etc) that you value and can say has contributed to your success? I think all my years working on movies with talented Costume Designers really helped me understand success and be able to be more organized and understand deadlines. Doing my own thing now, I have to rely on my own sources for networking and marketing. I book reviews and giveaways on mommy type blog sites. The internet is a powerful way to market your product in a very cost effective way.
Q: What was the worst advice someone gave you? To hurry up. I rushed going to print and ended up paying a fortune in printing costs. NEVER rush, always do your research and find the best manufacturing price or your profit margin is blown and your prices become too high.
Q: What are your business or personal goals for the next year? To redesign my website and attract advertising.
Q: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in business or thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship? Starting a business is time consuming. Make sure you have the time to commit to it, if you don’t, you will always feel frustrated.
Q: is there anything else you wish I had asked?
Yes. How do you market to your customers?
I created a monthly e-newsletter as a marketing tool. I have a blast creating it. In writing it I meet moms doing amazing things, and find healthy products I would have never known about. In sharing my findings with other moms I am able to stay in contact with my customers and hope they share my product and newsletter with others.
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