Boulder Jewish News launches a series of interviews with local Jewish startup founders and entrepreneurs by asking Joel Wishkovsky “4 Questions.” Joel’s company Card Gnome is an online greeting card site that will mail a physical card for you, “Making those you love feel special.”
Chad McGimpsey (co-founder) and I have always been fascinated by the idea of bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds. At first we tried to create a marketplace for artists, singers and other creatives to sell their local services. One of the artists asked us if we could sell his art as greeting cards, so we obliged. As we got deeper into how to implement it, we realized the potential. We want to do for Greeting Cards what Netflix did for for Movies, bring the distribution online.
Card Gnome is different from other card sites because we take seriously our responsibility to the artistic community and the environment. All of our cards are created by independent artists and we share our profits with them while most companies pay them a very small royalty. All of our cards are also eco-friendly, and not just for marketing purposes. We print all cards on recycled paper using organic ink and power our printing facility with 100% wind power.
I was the president of the Jewish Student Group while in college and was heavily involved in starting pro-Israel organizations on campus (right around the time the intifidah started). Jewish culture and community have always been a huge part of my life. My father is Israeli and met my mom while she was helping Russian Jews immigrate to Israel. They moved to the US so my father could pursue his education, and never left as they both settled into great careers. My grandparents survived Auschwitz and while growing up I was surrounded by their stories of surviving adversity by sticking together. So I’ve always believed strongly in being a part of a strong community and ensuring that I was giving as much (or more) than I received. The strong Jewish community in Boulder is one of the best parts of living here. One of my first big events with the community was with Ignite Chanukah, I was blown away by the dynamism and passion of Boulder Jews! I’m so glad to now call this town home!
We encourage non-profit organizations to run greeting card fundraisers using our system. It’s simple. We set up their own “shop” that they can customize and point their supporters to, to buy cards. We let customers add donations to the non-profit in the receiver’s name to each order. We also provide organizations with assistance in running the fundraisers effectively.
I’ll just be getting back from Argentina (where I’m climbing Aconcagua) at the end of March so there won’t be a lot of time to plan for a large Passover. I’m sure that I could make some great analogies between the exodus of Jews from Egypt (to the promised land) and our own journey from GE to the startup world. I’ll refrain for now, but maybe this will turn into a blog post. Good question! But before Passover, we are running a special campaign for Valentine’s Day. If you buy a card before February 9th we will give you a free card to use at any other time throughout the year. With Mother’s Day and Pesach around the corner, it’s a perfect time to schedule the cards ahead of time and not have to worry about it!
Interested in an interview? Have a startup you’d like to share with the community? Contact us! Disclosures: Joel Wishkovsky recently joined the board of Boulder Jewish News. And we would be remiss if we did not invite you to visit (and please, shop!) the CardGnome shop of Lauren Fellows!