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10 min 27 sec

It’s No Joke: Prank Musical Greeting Card Earns $36,000/Month

What starts as a silly idea to make a musical greeting card with no off-switch turns into a multiple six-figure, nonstop success for two brothers.
Arts & Crafts Crowdfunding High Profit Product

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What It's About

California man helps terrorize the friends of others with musical cards that just won't stop.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Product Development & Marketing
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

Travis isn’t a big fan of “rules of thumb” because he thinks that there are no two businesses that are exactly alike. He thinks it’s important to take the opinions and advice of other business owners with a grain of salt and focus on finding your own path.

Fun Fact

Travis is locking in the greeting card market, one side hustle at a time! His most recent greeting card venture is called Bloom Greetings! These cards are not joke related—it’s a different concept altogether. Instead of a card that will not stop playing music, each card comes equipped with a sheet mask.

Notes from Chris

Episode 744
Travis Peterson didn’t have a childhood aspiration to make a non-stop musical greeting card that looped for up to 6 hours. He didn’t study the greeting card industry in college—he studied finance. He didn’t hate his job in investment banking—he liked it just fine.

But life is funny, and these days, Travis spends much of his time managing a little project that sells close to half a million dollars a year, all built around what was admittedly a silly idea.

The silly idea came about when Travis and his brother Nick were visiting a relative who had received a musical greeting card—you know, one of those cards that plays a little annoying tune when you open it up. Travis said, “This is really dumb,” and Nick said, “Right, but what if it didn’t stop.”

This was the extent of the idea validation they did. There weren’t any focus groups, prototypes, or competitor analyses.

Their goal was to make $1,000 in profit from a prank musical greeting card that loop non-stop when opened. You couldn’t turn it off unless you destroyed the card. If musical greeting cards were annoying, theirs would be the most annoying of all...

Their Kickstarter project for the card raised a bit more than $1,000. It raised more than $90,000. Once that happened, Travis decided to give it more of his attention. He ended up launching a side hustle and called it Joker Greeting.

He found a manufacturer in China and got 1,000 cards made. Buoyed by that crowdfunding momentum, Travis began direct sales at the same time they began to reach out to vendors and retailers, hoping to be stocked in stores. After all, most people buy greeting cards in person.

That second part took a while, but once some stores began to sell them, Travis' competitors noticed Joker Greeting and soon they had requests coming in. Keep in mind, stores and retailers are always looking for new ideas that have strong sell-through. Every product on their shelf goes stale at some point.

As the business grew, Travis added more features and marketing tactics:

  • - Included glitter to explode whenever you rip up the card … adding another step to the prank.
  • - Made a video of the card being dunked in water … it still worked!
  • - Uploaded another video, this one 8-hours long, of the card being played non-stop to YouTube. That video has 100,000 views which says a lot about how people spend their time on the internet.
In 2017, Travis sold nearly 40,000 units. He says they could have sold more but each holiday he found himself completely sold out. In 2018, Joker Greeting sold 50,000 units and began visiting trade shows. This was all on startup costs of about $2,000, later covered by Kickstarter pledges, and it now brings in around $36,000 per month.

With a new line of non-prank cards coming out and the strong relationship with vendors, it’s no joke: this whimsical idea just won’t stop.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Joker Greeting: Looking to one up your friend following that prank gone wrong? One of Travis' cards may fit the bill!
  • Bloom Greetings: In the event that you don't want to terrorize your friends but still want a unique card to give to friends and/or family, check out Travis' other greeting card company
  • Kickstarter | Joker Greeting: The Kickstarter campaign that started it all
  • Shopify: Travis used Shopify to set up his site for Joker Greeting, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

cg-sig-newsletter


Download 2019 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR

Download 2018 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Download 2017 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Start with something simple, and see if the product is even something that people are going to purchase. Get your proof of concept in place before you make any big investments or decisions!"
—Travis Peterson #SideHustleSchool

Sponsors & Gratitude

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau