Okc Greeting Card Firm Doubles Size in First Year / Novel Confetti Cards

Article excerpt

In a small office on NW 23rd St. grows an international company eager to greet the public.

Discards, located within the Kizer Design Group offices at 527 NW 23rd St., began selling greeting cards in November 1985 with a $20,000 initial investment and a base of 25 designs.

In its first year, the firm has doubled in size and now offers 55 designs for general occasion, friendship and Christmas. Discards has filled about 800 orders, amounting to a sales volume of approximately $125,000, said Bill Kizer, who owns Discards with partner Angie Minton. The cards retail individually for $1.50.

The company has established a sales force of 95 independent representatives selling the cards to gift shops across the country. Negotiations are underway to expand the network to New Zealand and Australia.

The idea for Discards started with an announcement of an opening. Kizer, who also owns Kizer Design Group, designed the invitation for a client. When the card was opened, confetti drifted out.

"That is how the idea got started," he said. "We (Kizer and Minton) had the idea of going into the card business for a long time. We were working on another idea for post cards - but junked it to get into the confetti cards."

In a brainstorming session, Kizer and Minton narrowed their ideas for designs down to 25, then began to build a network of sales representatives.

The 25 original designs were first shown in a catalog and sample cards were printed for representatives to use in selling to retailers.

The network of independent sales representatives offered the benefit of having sales people in the field, but not on the payroll, Kizer said. Only three people are actually involved in the management and day to day operations of Discards.

Minton said the greeting card business demands a lot of creativity in order to stay in the market.

"The greeting card business is very competitive," she said. "It's a fickle business. You have to keep coming up with different ideas and the confetti card idea is different. There is nothing else like it in the world."

The company is preparing for its second Valentine season, the largest holiday for card giving during the peak buying season, which runs from June to September.

"Much of the card business is based on how much you do at Valentine's Day. It may determine how well you will do for the year," Minton said. "We feel like it's going to be a good one."

"Last year was great even though, we had only been in business a matter of months," Kizer said. …