Back in the 70s I wrote about a hundred different greeting cards, some of which were unlike anything anybody had seen on card racks during those years. Cards back then were sweet and sentimental or mildly humorous. You wouldn’t have been able to find a sarcastic card no matter how hard you looked.
My ideas included more than just sarcasm, though. I created genres that never before existed – Pregnancy Announcements – Congratulations, Daddy cards – Grandparent Announcements – Happy Birthday Twin cards – all of which I sent to 100 different greeting card companies.
Every single one of those greeting card companies rejected my ideas. Every single one.
Well, most of them didn’t respond at all, but for those who sent more than the generic, “sorry, we can’t use your material at this time” note, I received, more than once, this comment, “We have no market for these kinds of cards.”
Not one of those companies recognized that I was creating the market. Ironically, at the same time I sent those messages, two women from New York, where I was living at the time, created a line of sarcastic greeting cards that eventually garnered a lot of attention. A couple of years after I moved back to Illinois, they appeared in People Magazine, which showcased their sarcastic line, Bittersweet, a company they had created a couple of years before the article came out. Oh, well.
Because I knew nothing about advertising (no Internet back then either), I tucked away my messages. In the 90s I decided that my messages might fare better inside bottles. But again, with no advertising expertise and no Internet knowledge, I floundered and reluctantly put them aside again.
Inspiration and prompts, however, sometimes come from very strange sources. Because when Mr. Potato man appeared on the Steve Harvey Show, he lit a flame inside me that incited and invigorated me to rethink my Message in a Bottle idea. You haven’t heard of Mr. Potato man? He puts messages on potatoes and sends them out anonymously for people willing to pay $10 + postage and handling to get their message read – on a potato! I know. I seem jealous. But in my defense, last month Mr. Potato Man made $20,000 – from potatoes!
My first thought (after I shot upright and thought, HOW)? Where are my bottles and messages?
So I rummaged through the garage, grabbed my bottles and corks, listed all my messages and made them easily accessible so that I can put them in a bottle when 2,000 people request my services (positive thoughts, please) this month.
Want to visit my new business and read some of the messages? Just click the logo below!