Sending invitations is a fun part of event planning and there are now some new digital platforms that make it easier than ever for people to plan parties. Digital media makes it possible for people to have fun while party planning in a way that is not only easy, but cost effective. One such digital platform is known as “PercyVites” which enable users to customize animated clips of their child’s favorite characters with photos, party details and thank you notes for after the party. Users can send messages via email and share on social media, through this unique system. You can even track and manage RSVPs through a user-friendly dashboard. In short, PercyVites provides fans and party-goers with the opportunity to personalize their party start to finish, from invitations to post-party thank you notes.
When it comes to birthday parties, PercyVites operates under the belief that every person is an individual and, therefore, their party should have a theme that reflects the interests of the birthday boy or girl. For example, some invitations feature monster truck rallies while others feature animals–it all depends on what most interests the specific child. Recently Julie Steiner, the founder of the company, spoke to the Examiner about her experiences working with PercyVites and her hopes for the company’s future:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): What inspired you to start your company and how did you chose the name?
Julie Steiner (J.S.): I spent my career in film and television post-production and watched with fascination as 3D visual effects software developed. I became really intrigued with the idea of its use in personalization, which up until now has been really flat and two-dimensional. At the same time I’m also a mom to twin boys and loved creating fun birthday parties themed with their favourite character, and the idea of immersing kids right into their favourite characters world grew to became PercyVites. The company name Percy3D was chosen to reflect what we do, which is to personalize video with photos and messages using the same 3D visual effects technology used in Hollywood movies. Percy is short for Personalized, not my dog’s name as many people assume!
M.M.: Growing up, what kinds of crafts most interested you?
J.S.: Growing up my head was always in a book. I was a voracious reader from a very young age, but was never really into crafts as drawing stick figure men was about the extent of my artistic abilities!
M.M.: How did you go about getting your app marketed and how, exactly, does it work?
J.S.: PercyVites is a browser-based application that’s fully responsive and looks great on mobile, but isn’t an app in the traditional sense that you’d find in an app store. We’ve worked really hard to make it an easy, intuitive experience and it’s just a matter of choosing which character you’d like to use (or theme, in the case of our adult selections). You answer a few questions about your party, upload a photo, schedule when you’d like your invitations delivered, and you’re done. We also include party dashboards where the party host can track their RSVPs and manage their invitations, and one for guests where you can RSVP, map the location, add it to your calendar, and add comments. We’re fortunate to have terrific partners due to our licensed characters, and they help us a great deal in getting the word out. For instance, we’re currently running a Monster Jam ticket giveaway on the website and they’re running a birthday party sweepstakes on monsterjam.com.
M.M.: Do you have plans to release any other apps in the near future?
J.S.: We remain really focused on PercyVites and plan to continually evolve and improve it first before moving onto the many other applications available for our technology. Not only are we continuing to add fun new characters all the time, but we’re also partnering with other companies to embed our technology into their sites. For instance, we recently launched on Build-A-Bear Workshops revamped Build-A-Party site, where we created fun Build-A-Bear branded invitations and thank you videos that of course come with our party dashboards. We’ve got several more of these partnerships that will be rolling out in 2016, which we’re really excited about.
M.M.: So far, what has been the most rewarding thing about working with PercyVites?
J.S.: By far the most rewarding thing has to be watching the faces of kids watching themselves in one of our videos, followed closely by the letters we get from people who like our product. As we’ve moved a physical product into the digital space it’s also rewarding to develop a product that’s environmentally friendly.
M.M.: Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to mention?
J.S.: We’re really excited about some of the huge new characters we have coming soon and also distribution partnerships that will be launching early next year, particularly with some e-commerce party supply sites as well as other destination party spots. I’m practically bursting but can’t yet announce anything, but there’s lots of great stuff coming soon.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to get into app design?
J.S.: My number one piece of advice would be to maintain focus on the user. Question whether your app idea is something that people want and will use and every step of the way keep checking in with real users for feedback and suggestions.
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To learn more about PercyVites visit the official website here. Additionally, you can watch an “explainer video” here and an example of their “Octonauts” invitation here.