Gyongyi Dalnoki was born in the countryside in Hungary where she lived until attending university in Budapest to study economics where she stayed upon graduation to work at IBM. During this time she met and married her husband, Adam, and the two decided to move to the US to bring his enterprise software company to Boston. A year later their daughter, Lizi was born. With the desire to balance career and motherhood, Gyongyi launched LiziCards in November 2017.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
After moving to the United States from Hungary, I became pregnant with my daughter Lizi, who is now two years old. Soon after Lizi’s birth, I wanted to send a Christmas cards to my parents back in Hungary. Since we are a close family and talk on Skype and send photos through Facebook every day, I wanted this card to be special.
I did a lot of research and found the available options to be very limited and really poor quality. And no one provided the option of recording a personalized voice message. Since I couldn’t find such a special a card, I decided to build it myself.
My family loved the card even more than I expected. They were overwhelmed and thought it was the most thoughtful card ever. They told me that they kept the card on the mantle for months after Christmas and whenever they walked by they would open it to hear Lizi’s voice.
That’s when I had the idea to turn my Christmas card project into a startup. I wanted to give others the chance to send special messages to friends and loved ones that would be as well received as the card I sent my parents.
Tell us about your business.
LiziCard is a special way to send a personal message. LiziCards are paper greeting cards with your voice and photo. They have enormous emotional effect compared to traditional cards, or any digital message.
We’re the first to offer customizable, high-quality paper greeting cards that allow the user to upload both voice-recordings and personal photos through a mobile app or online store.
Each LiziCard is made by hand in LiziCards’ Boston office using the finest quality cardstock, paper, sound chips and printing materials. LiziCards mails the greeting card directly to the designated recipient or to the user, depending on their preference.
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
There were a lot of steps to turn my dream and vision into reality. First I had to find the right developers and audio engineers who designed the app and the audio chip. I secured the graphic designers and artists who designed the cards through a lot of research.
I used various online platforms and got referrals from friends. I found artists and designers that were both reputable and whose work I really liked, and I contacted them and asked them if I could commission them to make designs for the cards.
We include the bios and background of each artist and designer to accompany each card so users know who created the beautiful artwork on the card they are purchasing.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Since we just launched a few weeks ago, we have relied on social media, word of mouth and outreach to media outlets and bloggers. We hope that everyone that sees, reads or hears about LIziCards will download our app at the iPhone app store or visit us at our online store at LiziCards.com.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Finding the right balance between motherhood and career.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Eliminating time spent sleeping helped quite a bit!
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
LiziCards are more personal and higher quality than anything on the market. We’re the only one that enables users to customize their paper greeting card by uploading both voice-recordings and personal photos. We are not e-cards.
LiziCards are high quality physical cards that are designed by award-winning graphic designers and artists from around the world including the US, Iceland, Brazil, India, Hungary and the UK. Their various disciplines, geographies and backgrounds are on full display in the diversity of the card designs.
Despite the custom-nature of each card, we also aim to have a very quick turnaround time between when a customer places their order and when it is delivered to the recipient and aim to have the cards assembled and shipped within 24 hours of the order being placed.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
A friend of mine mentioned that those that succeed are usually the people that work the hardest AND are willing to take risks to achieve their dreams. I agree.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
There will always be challenges and obstacles as you try to build your business and make it a success. Perseverance and passion for your business are essential if you are going to overcome those obstacles.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
We love Upwork to find talent anywhere on the globe. We’re heavy users of Google with drive, doc, spreadsheet, adwords and analytics.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Some books that largely influenced me are:
- “The hard thing about hard things” by Horowitz
- “Elon Musk” by Ashlee Vance
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m currently in the process of raising capital for my business. This is the first time I have done this in the US.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
We launched the company in November 2017 with 15 unique greeting cards for a variety of occasions – Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, birthdays and baby announcements – with the goal of bringing the most personal and best quality greeting card to market. We plan to expand, adding new cards to the LiziCards store over the coming months.
We are also planning many new and updated features in early 2018, such as options for people to share the experience of receiving this cards on social media, as well a LiziCards Android app. But right now, we are focusing on ensuring the current version of the app and online store is perfect.
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