The Fort Lee-based PostcardsRus.com provides customers with much more than just postcards, although, as the name suggests, they do that too.
The company, founded by Fort Lee resident Mark Kleinfeld, provides high quality printing services and fast and efficient delivery of a variety of products, “from business cards to banners and everything in between,” as Kleinfeld says, including menus, envelopes, postcards, greeting cards, retractable banners, digital posters, magnets, mugs and more.
Headquartered in Fort Lee, PostcardsRus.com has seven facilities across the country and, as of about six months ago, in Canada. They include Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Arizona, Texas, California and the newly opened facility in Toronto.
Kleinfeld said he got burned out after many years of doing design and layout before going to work for a printer for one year—the only job he ever had working for someone other than himself.
“I was in creative for probably 30 years,” Kleinfeld said. “I just didn’t want to do that anymore. I was sick and tired of coming up with another layout and another concept.”
But working for a printer didn’t make much of a difference; he didn’t like the way the company was run and grew frustrated with the print world in general, believing he could run a more efficient operation himself.
He started a company in 1999 called Print It, which he said “kind of led into PostcardsRus.”
“It was established a number of years ago, but last year in January was really our full-fledged launch,” Kleinfeld said of PostcardsRus. “We basically process orders from customers that generally we don’t even meet or speak to. They just go through the website; they select the products they need, and they place their orders.”
Most customers find the website through Google or other search engines, Kleinfeld added.
“Once you’ve created an account and logged in, we have a list of products on the website,” he said, noting that you can get a quick estimate without creating an account. “It’s very simple; it’s broken up by products—grand format, promo products, offset products—and there’s a variety of them.”
Customers select the product they’re interested in, and then the system leads them through the process of estimating the cost and accepting files of their own design, which Kleinfeld said most of his customers have. But if they don’t, there’s an online design tool complete with a variety of templates.
The company also handles mailing services, which is something Kleinfeld said was critical to his business model, both from a revenue standpoint and as a service to the customer.
Kleinfeld estimated the company, in its second year, is doing about $1.5 million in business, and that ideally he’d like to be processing about 100 orders a day this year.
“The whole concept is really getting volume because we’re very inexpensive,” he said.
PostcardsRus sells 1,000 postcards for $49, for example. Five hundred business cards will run you just $18, “so there’s not a lot of profit in each order,” according to Kleinfeld.
“It takes time to build a client base,” he said. “Right now we currently have about 1,000 customers. We have some customers that may have ordered 100 times, 200 times; we have some customers that placed one order and maybe will do one a year.”
The dual-focus is therefore on individual customers who need one relatively small order, but also, importantly, on companies that have a lot of employees who all need products like business cards. PostcardsRus.com therefore handles procurement orders, accepting templates and designs pre-approved by a company so its employees can simply login, select the products they need to order and personalize them.
“And depending on where they’re located in the country we will route it to usually the closest facility so that when it ships, it will ship relatively quickly and inexpensively,” Kleinfeld said, noting the importance of having the seven facilities strategically located across the U.S. “So starting from coast-to-coast was really the number one thing, and then building inward and trying to cover as much geographic ground based on what the zones were with UPS.”
PostcardsRus.com also has what it calls its “Give Back Program” in which 1 percent of the proceeds from every order gets donated to one of a handful of charities customers can choose from when ordering. Those charities currently include the Fort Lee Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Locks of Love, Project Morry, Hospice Foundation of America, the Andrew Glover Youth Program and the West Dover Fire Department in Vermont.
“We’re looking to add more charities,” Kleinfeld said, “This year we probably gave back in the neighborhood of a couple thousand dollars.”
PostcardsRus.com and Kleinfeld himself also give back to the Fort Lee community. The company has been sponsoring a team in the Fort Lee National Little League for about seven years and is sponsoring a team in the Fort Lee Girls Recreation Basketball League, in which Kleinfeld also coaches, for the first time this year. The company also donates signage to both town little leagues and for Fort Lee High School sporting events as well.
From a business perspective, Kleinfeld said 2013 has started off well, and he believes it is going to be a very good year.
"Slow and steady we’re just grinding it out," he said. "This year I think we’ll really get over the hump and really start moving along. The first couple of years were difficult because selling these products at such an inexpensive price, there are losses involved. But in order to get to where we think we can be, it had to be done."