Trying to describe yourself and your business can at times feel so hard. You know your business inside and out but what is it about your story that you want people to know? It’s important to me that Taylor and I are honest with you throughout this blogging process about where we came from & the highs and lows of our industry. So I enlisted one of my favorite people and writers in Nashville, April Hefner, to help me step outside my own arena and write our story. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the transformation of pop-in-greetings.
Appropriately enough, it all started with a crayon contest. More than two decades ago, a designer-in-the-making entered a Crayola-sponsored competition to create a board game… and won! It marked the first time April Maglothin’s parents noticed that their elementary-school student was already blessed with a unique talent, a gift of making things work and making them look better in the process.
While she dabbled in and continues to enjoy painting, illustration and other art forms, April’s true love comes from using design to solve problems and create order, a passion she’s pursued since early childhood. Her design and project management skills were
further honed while receiving a bachelor’s degree in graphic design in Nashville, and her career shortly took off with abundant opportunities in Music City to work in print marketing, editorial and advertising. The Alabama native’s obsession with quality paper paired perfectly with a savant–like insight for the perfect font, foil or finish to take any project from good to great, garnering her opportunities for quick advancement and leading to a role as a Creative Services Director.
Then came the curveball.
Married to a corporate marketing analyst, April and her husband Tim were thrilled to welcome their first child, Faith, in 2012, after overcoming numerous health issues before and during the pregnancy. However, the young couple was soon besieged with complications, attempting to juggle two demanding jobs while caring for an infant who was frequently, and inexplicably, ill.
“I literally ran out of sick days and had to quit,” April says. “It was impossible to continue.”
Though she had retained a freelance business while working full-time, it was still a huge leap of faith for the young couple to surrender the security of her salary and benefits, but it was a decision they had to make for their family. It also meant that perhaps another door could open, an idea that had long been germinating might finally take flight.
After countless doctors’ visits and tests, baby Faith was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis, a disorder triggered by food allergies that was causing significant inflammation in her esophagus and compromising her immune system. Determining and eliminating the foods she was allergic to—egg, chicken, turkey, walnut & dairy—greatly improved Faith’s health, and with a bit more flexibility in her schedule, April finally could pursue an entrepreneurial venture that had long been in the back of her mind.
“There were numerous times over the years when I’d forget to grab a card for someone’s birthday or for a child’s party,” she recalls. “And I’d always question why I didn’t create something that was both beautiful and functional that could work for any purpose so I’d have something on hand for those situations. From talking with friends and family, it seemed like a common need we all had and one where I could provide a perfect solution.”
Managing her freelance assignments during the day, April began researching possibilities, costs and vendors while her family slept at night, creating a business plan for the start-up she would name Pop-In Greetings (P.I.G.). The line of customizable cards debuted last November and quickly garnered a following for their classic and creative design and letterpress, pop-in greeting options.
In less than a year, P.I.G. has expanded to 20 different card designs and 40 hand-crafted letterpress greetings, plus the company’s staff recently doubled with the addition of Taylor Colson Horton. Colson brings a background in luxury marketing to the P.I.G. team following stints working with Calvin Klein, Tiffany’s and Louis Vitton, among others. From styling photo shoots for the company’s website to handling day-to-day operations, Colson brings her own creative eye to bear in taking P.I.G. to the next level.
And clearly the future looks bright for this upstart brand. Given her own history, April hopes Pop-In Greetings proves to be more than a successful financial venture, though that’s certainly part of her goal as she treks her innovative product to trade shows around the region. But, she also wants to pursue a broader vision… a company where work/life balance isn’t a buzzword but a lifestyle… where designers, illustrators and vendors collaborate to make products they can all take pride in… where a mom has the flexibility to stay home with a sick child and finish her work at 3 a.m. if needed.
It’s a mission that moms—well, heck, all adults trying to make a living and a life in the modern business world—can appreciate. You might just say that Pop-In Greetings, this southern lady’s fun and functional entrepreneurial effort, is redefining the ‘family business’ for the 21st century while making all our lives just a bit easier, one customizable card at a time.