Mariam Naficy, co-founder of failed beauty startup Eve.com (which went belly up when the bubble burst in 2000), has launched her latest venture: Minted, an online stationery store with a competitive marketplace reminiscent of the one found on custom t-shirt store Threadless.
The site offers graphic designers a community to showcase and (hopefully) sell their designs, which are voted on by customers. The best designs are printed and sold, with about 5% of the retail price going to the designer (this may sound small, but Naficy says it is near double what a designer might get from a traditional card company like Hallmark). On top of the revenue sharing, the site will also hold regular competitions, with winning entries winning on the order of $1000. To further sweeten the deal for the designers, all cards have the artists’ name emblazoned in fine print on the back (another thing you won’t see on typical greeting cads).
The store will sell a mix of designer-submitted cards and cards from established independent card companies. While Minted is starting with stationery, it will likely expand to other products in the future. Minted will initially only sell its cards through its online storefront, but Naficy says that there ample opportunities for partnerships and alternative distribution channels down the line. If the site is going to succeed, it will need to establish these ties quickly – few people are going to buy from a stationery store they’ve never heard of, giving designers little reason to submit their designs in the first place.