When University alum Rachel Long decided to make dinosaur-themed Christmas cards for loved ones last fall, she didn’t know that it’d quickly evolve into an online greeting card business.
The company, Joy and Raptor, was developed by Long and fellow University alums Bhavik Lathia and Colin Roberts and sells humorous greeting cards that are mostly science-themed. Though the website has only been up for a few weeks, the business has sold more than $100 in cards, and is looking to expand and develop merchandise.
Lathia and Roberts expressed interest in helping Long develop future designs after she first shared her work with them.
“I said, ‘You and I should totally get together and make things and sell these,’” Roberts said. “As it turned out, Bhavik had said the exact same thing to her.”
After hours of deliberation on how to launch the business, Roberts said they decided on the name Joy and Raptor, a play on words of the quote “Oh, Joy! Oh, Rapture!” from prominent Victorian-era playwrights Gilbert and Sullivan.
Roberts explained that the cards, which are sold online for four dollars each plus shipping, feature mainly science-themed jokes.
“We wanted to come up with something that was either dinosaur-related or funny or science-related somehow,” Roberts said.
He explained that Joy and Raptor is self-sustaining and only hopes to break even, as money isn’t what’s important to the owners.
“If something makes us laugh and smile, we bet it will make someone else laugh and smile too,” he said.
Joy and Raptor prints its cards at Kolossos Printing in Ann Arbor because the company hopes to support other local business, Roberts said. He added that the owners are thinking of expanding their business by selling the cards to local vendors.
“I think we’re going to try to reach out to museums, starting in Ann Arbor, and at least sending sample packages around the country,” Roberts said.
Lathia, who handles most of the business aspects of Joy and Raptor, said the three co-founders pride themselves for being based in Michigan.
“While this is an online business, it’s very much a Michigan business, and we’re very proud of that fact,” Lathia said.
Lathia added that there may be more than just cards in the future, mentioning the potential to develop merchandise.
“We would love to do a lot of other things (like) screen printing, T-shirts,” Lathia said
Since the business launched close to Valentine’s Day, many of its cards are romantically themed, but the business plans to “branch out,” according to Lathia.
Long also said she hopes Joy and Raptor will be sustainable as a long-term project, adding that the business allows her to express her creative side.
“We’re all into dinosaurs, we’re all into biology, and we’re all into nerdy things like that,” Long said. “We’re all into design and making cool things.”
Correction appended: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the name of the company.