9 Creative Alternatives to the Business Card

In a world with conventions, trade groups, and fierce competition for nearly every service imaginable, it's important for savvy businesses to have something extra to catch and keep a client's attention. And let's face it: The humble business card has become downright forgettable. Even putting your business' basic details on a little bit of swag isn't always enough. Pens, keychains, and the occasional beer cozy emblazoned with a business's name are so routine and dull that they almost guarantee you'll be forgotten.

This has encouraged a more creative approach among ambitious sellers. Turning your business card into an item of unique usefulness helps separate you from competitors, and makes it harder for a client to forget you. Here are some examples of clever and functional business "cards."

1. Cookie business cards

Lady Fortunes specializes in the sweet marriage of business and baked goods. They can even bake you up some business cards by putting an edible print of your actual business card on top of their frosted graham cookies.

2. Seed envelope card

This envelope was specifically designed for the Lush Lawn and Property Enhancement company by the design firm Struck. Unlike some business cards that are printed directly onto seed paper, the Lush design allows you to sprinkle the grass seed on your lawn while keeping the pertinent information on the "card."

3. Lock pick card

Kevin Mitnick is a world-famous hacker, who, after being arrested and serving his time, set up a successful computer security firm. It is fitting that a man famous for breaking and entering past technological barriers would have such a unique and morally ambiguous calling card. His website sells the cards and hosts a video on how to use the tools it provides.

4. Cheese grater card

The JWT design firm in Brazil took utility in advertising to a delicious new place when they presented Bon Vivant, a cheese specialty store, with its new business card. It may not be routinely carried around in wallets in case of parmesan emergencies, but it will likely stay in a kitchen cupboard, and the minds, of whoever has one.

5. Sea salt vials

Lulu the Baker is a blog run by farm girl, chef, and all-around food fanatic Melissa Bahen. She distributes these clever little corked vials of sea salt, imprinted with her name and business info, when she attends conferences. Possibly the most savory marriage of charm, simplicity, and utility on this list.

6. Tea bag cards

When Kim, the blogger behind Blending Beautiful, set out to make business cards advertising her husband's web design business, they thoughtfully included a little bag of comfort with each card. Gluing together their own small bags from pieces of paper bearing the logo, the couple inserted a tea bag (with the logo again pasted to the string tabs) and a formal business card. A soothing way to help set his business apart.

7. Pop light cards

The Light Bulb Flashlight may be mass-produced, but it can still be a great business card alternative. The light bulb very cleverly raises from the base, making this gadget very useful, and very hard to throw away. Especially when it can fit right into your wallet.

8. Soap cards

It's a clever enough idea to include something as attractive and useful as soap as swag with your business card, but to actually have your business card in the soap ensures the message and the medium don't separate. Haley's Dragon Fly Garden can insert your business card into any number of clever soap designs, making your business the first to come to mind when a client gets to her hotel room for a hot shower.

9. Tetris card

The YouTube video title says it best: "My Business Card Plays Tetris." Designed by Kevin Bates, this card is tiny, but it has all the proper Gameboy-esque button placements and a replaceable battery that runs for up to nine hours. "Practicality" may not be the first word to apply to this ingenious little card, but desirability counts for something. Longevity, too. Your grandchildren will find this one day when they clean out your desk, and they'll play with it too.

More from The Week 

This fire-spewing sinkhole in China looks like the portal to hell
*
You can watch all 6 Star Wars movies online starting today
*
For those who have everything: Surfing desk

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
Why a Readily Available Used Paperback Is Selling for Thousands of Dollars on Amazon
iStock
iStock

At first glance, getting ahold of a copy of One Snowy Knight, a historical romance novel by Deborah MacGillivray, isn't hard at all. You can get the book, which originally came out in 2009, for a few bucks on Amazon. And yet according to one seller, a used copy of the book is worth more than $2600. Why? As The New York Times reports, this price disparity has more to do with the marketing techniques of Amazon's third-party sellers than it does the market value of the book.

As of June 5, a copy of One Snowy Knight was listed by a third-party seller on Amazon for $2630.52. By the time the Times wrote about it on July 15, the price had jumped to $2800. That listing has since disappeared, but a seller called Supersonic Truck still has a used copy available for $1558.33 (plus shipping!). And it's not even a rare book—it was reprinted in July.

The Times found similar listings for secondhand books that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than their market price. Those retailers might not even have the book on hand—but if someone is crazy enough to pay $1500 for a mass-market paperback that sells for only a few dollars elsewhere, that retailer can make a killing by simply snapping it up from somewhere else and passing it on to the chump who placed an order with them.

Not all the prices for used books on Amazon are so exorbitant, but many still defy conventional economic wisdom, offering used copies of books that are cheaper to buy new. You can get a new copy of the latest edition of One Snowy Knight for $16.99 from Amazon with Prime shipping, but there are third-party sellers asking $24 to $28 for used copies. If you're not careful, how much you pay can just depend on which listing you click first, thinking that there's not much difference in the price of used books. In the case of One Snowy Knight, there are different listings for different editions of the book, so you might not realize that there's a cheaper version available elsewhere on the site.

An Amazon product listing offers a mass-market paperback book for $1558.33.
Screenshot, Amazon

Even looking at reviews might not help you find the best listing for your money. People tend to buy products with the most reviews, rather than the best reviews, according to recent research, but the site is notorious for retailers gaming the system with fraudulent reviews to attract more buyers and make their way up the Amazon rankings. (There are now several services that will help you suss out whether the reviews on a product you're looking at are legitimate.)

For more on how Amazon's marketplace works—and why its listings can sometimes be misleading—we recommend listening to this episode of the podcast Reply All, which has a fascinating dive into the site's third-party seller system.

[h/t The New York Times]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Sam's Club Brings $.99 Polish Hot Dogs to All Stores After They're Cut From Costco's Food Courts
Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In early July, Costco angered many customers with the announcement that its beloved Polish hot dog was being removed from the food court menu. If you're someone who believes cheap meat tastes best when eaten in a bulk retail warehouse, Sam's Club has good news: The competing big box chain has responded to Costco's news by promising to roll out Polish hot dogs in all its stores later this month, Business Insider reports.

The Polish hot dog has long been a staple at Costco. Like Costco's classic hot dog, the Polish dog was part of the food court's famously affordable $1.50 hot dog and a soda package. The company says the item is being cut in favor of healthier offerings, like açai bowls, organic burgers, and plant-based protein salads.

The standard hot dog and the special deal will continue to be available in stores, but customers who prefer the meatier Polish dog aren't satisfied. Fans immediately took their gripes to the internet—there's even a petition on Change.org to "Bring Back the Polish Dog!" with more than 6500 signatures.

Now Sam's Clubs are looking to draw in some of those spurned customers. Its version of the Polish dog will be sold for just $.99 at all stores starting Monday, July 23. Until now, the chain's Polish hot dogs had only been available in about 200 Sam's Club cafés.

It's hard to imagine the Costco food court will lose too many of its loyal followers from the menu change. Polish hot dogs may be getting axed, but the popular rotisserie chicken and robot-prepared pizza will remain.

[h/t Business Insider]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios