Westfield’s Severson sisters create business with inspiration messages
A little postcard in the mail led two Westfield sisters – Emma, 15, and Lindsay Severson, 13 – to start their own business, Positive Postcards, encouraging and motivating others.
“The idea for the business started a couple years ago,” said their mother, Leah Severson. “They both came home with awesome report cards and I wanted to do something special for them. So I designed and mailed a postcard to each of them. One said ‘Way to go!’ and the other ‘I’m so proud of you!’”
“Lindsay and I really liked them,” Emma said.
That little piece of mail was such a big hit the family business began in September.
“It’s a great little business but I don’t have time to run it,” Leah said.
“We usually don’t get mail unless it’s our birthday, so getting a postcard in the mail with a nice note from our parents was really cool,” Lindsay said.
Emma and Lindsay decided it would be a great business for them to run. So with their parent’s help, they designed and printed three sets of postcards.
“We hope that for people that receive them it makes their day happier and they get inspired to send it to someone else,” Lindsay said.
“We want it to make their day a little special. It’s not every day you get mail,” Emma said.
The cards’ purpose is a way to encourage, inspire and motivate.
“The whole thing is sending it to anyone who needs a pick-me-up. As parents we might say ‘good job’ but they (children) may not hear you,” Leah said. “It’s a great way for parents and grandparents to stay connected. You can put it on the mirror or in a picture frame – ways to cheer on your kids and that you are thinking of them long after saying, ‘Good job.’”
While living in the same house provides convenience, the two said working with their sibling is aggravating at times.
“It’s frustrating sometimes,” Emma said. “We’re very different, especially when it comes to organization. I’m not as detailed oriented as she is and sometimes that clashes.”
“She doesn’t like to keep stuff neat and it’s very annoying,” Lindsay said.
One aspect the girls did agree on was using their business to give back to their community; it would be an important part of their business strategy. Each week the sisters partner with a nonprofit and provide 50 percent of the proceeds to their organization. In early February, Positive Postcards raised $164 for the Westfield After-Prom Party Committee.
“Right now we’re looking for churches, schools, really any non-profit organization that wants an easy way to raise money,” Leah said.
To promote their products, the sisters spent many mornings at craft fairs and making cold calls to local businesses. The two said the most-often-asked question is if the postcards are printed or electronic.
“We have to educate people that we still send items in the mail,” Emma said.
Emma, who maintains and edits the website, said she has learned social skills through the business.
“Talking with a lot of people you don’t know at craft shows and local businesses,” she said. “It (cold calls) was uncomfortable talking to the manager with no appointment or anything, but it worked.”
“I’ve learned it takes a while to get started,” said Lindsay, who is in charge of social media and packaging and quality control of the orders.
The cards are sold in packs of 10 designs online at www.positivepostcards.net. Currently there are three packs available – kids, teens and Bible verses, the latter two being the best sellers.
“It’s funny because the original item was for little kids and the other two came later,” Leah said. “They are a little more universal because you can send them to any age.”
The sisters are looking at creating male- and female-specific packs.
“When we get it a little more off the ground we’ll expand it and offer more products,” Emma said.
Postcards also are sold at five Hamilton County stores, including Basket Pizzazz, 4 Kids Books and Toys, Delaney’s Gift Shoppe, Capstone Bookstore and Simply Sweet Shoppe.
Meet Emma Severson
Hobbies: playing guitar and lacrosse, hanging out with friends at Starbucks
Grade: freshman, Westfield High School
Favorite food: popcorn with extra butter
What is playing on your iPod: One Dimension, 5 Seconds of Summer, and The Vamps
Favorite color: light blue
Favorite school subject: math
Favorite Positive Postcard: I think you’re terrific
Meet Lindsay Severson
Hobbies: tumbling and yearbook class at school
Grade: eighth grade, Westfield Middle School
Favorite food: Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing
What is playing on your iPod: Frozen soundtrack
Favorite color: purple
Favorite school subject: math
Favorite Positive Postcard: I believe in you