The holidays are here, and nothing says you care more than a heartfelt greeting card. Dr. Dionne Mahaffey understands this and is here to help you pick the perfect card for everyone this year.
Mahaffey is a business psychologist, professor and tech entrepreneur. She developed the WhereU app, a directory of Black-owned businesses, and she is the founder of several businesses, including Culture Greetings, a startup that gives consumers the freedom to customize culturally relevant greeting cards for people of color.
Rolling out spoke with Mahaffey about the purpose behind her brand Culture Greetings.
Describe the process you went through to create your company.
I’ve been wanting to develop this platform for the past five years, but I kept putting it off. I didn’t think I had time to write the code nor time to figure out the supply chain process for commercial printing. Then I finally paused and carved out a five-month window to devote to it. The development part was pretty easy since I did most of the software programming myself. I learned how to code in high school and advanced my software-development knowledge in college. The lion’s share of my professional career has been spent in the tech world.
Why is it important to create inclusive holiday greeting cards?
Cards indicate that someone cared enough to take [the] time to send a personal message. For us as Black people, we have a special way of expressing ourselves. While the top greeting card brands do have some multicultural cards, there is still room for more inclusion. I developed Culture Greetings as another option available online. We are a marriage between fast-paced technology and the classic way of expressing oneself.
Who designs your greeting cards?
Most of the greeting cards are designed in-house. Culture Greetings also features the work of renowned artists, including photographers, printmakers, painters, graphic designers and visual artists. This stellar roster of creatives has immensely enhanced our card offerings. Some of our artists are Mr. Steve R. Allen, a world-renowned artist whose work is featured at the National Museum of African American History and Culture; Tanzanian artist Abu Mwenye; printmaker Nadiyah Rodgers; and cartoonist Quinn McGowan.
What sets Culture Greetings apart from other greeting card companies?
Automation and technology. Our brand is dedicated to featuring people of color. Beyond a greeting card, we’re a technology company. The entire process of picking a card, to it being printed and mailed, is automated. In less than 60 seconds, a customer can select a card, write a message, click and send. We print, pack, stamp and mail the greeting cards directly to the recipients for less than the average price of a greeting card at the store.
Why is it important as a Black business owner to have the support of their community?
As a people, we have a $1.3 trillion [in] buying power. According to research by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, between 500,000 and 1 million jobs could be created if higher-income Black households spent just $1 of every $10 at Black-owned stores. The NAACP also cites data that suggest that entrepreneurial success is linked to generational economic empowerment. Supporting our own businesses could help us drastically improve our own communities.
Visit them online at culturegreetings.com.