United States, Ma... "Alden Grace designs, manufactures and personalizes high-end stationery and Christmas cards. The high-end personalized stationery market is a $65 million dollar market and is growing rapidly. The typical consumer is an affluent woman at least 45 years old. The market is considered a high growth one based on past economic performance (William Arthur has grown 20% every year for the last 10 years), the increasing number of affluent people in the United States, and the large projected increase in the 45 to 64 year-old age bracket. Crane is the market leader with 65% market share followed by William Arthur with 35% market share. There are no other significant companies in this market niche. They produce wedding invitations, social stationery, Christmas cards, birth announcements, special occasion invitations, sympathy and a generic boxed goods line. For the most part, cards are sold through local retail stores who receive 50% of the list price. Alden Grace will look to secure 1% of the market share with its initial efforts and reach $1,984 million in revenues with 8% of the social stationery market and 3.5% of the Christmas card market in 2005. Alden Grace will take advantage of the following to gain market share: 1. Having experience in the production process and access to talented workers, Alden Grace will offer the same or better quality and service at a price point that is 10-15% less than the competition. 2. Many dealers in the top markets across the country are upset that Crane is opening its own retail stores. They will be looking for a new product line to replace lost Crane sales. 3. The recent acquisition of William Arthur by Hallmark has put additional stress on increased profitability for the company. Subsequently, quality has dropped from 97% to 90% on orders shipped resulting in almost 300 orders going out every week with a quality problem. Alden Grace will start in a 2,400 square foot facility in southern Maine with five full time employees, a freelance artist, a freelance designer and three homeworkers. It will outsource the four-color, embossing and foil stamping processes to established vendors. By 2005, it will do most of its own manufacturing and have 18 full time employees, 9 temporary employees, a freelance artist and 10 homeworkers. The total financing needs for the start-up of Alden Grace are $660,000. This covers the investment in capital equipment ($162), start-up operating losses ($219), and working capital needs ($277). By 2005, the company expects to achieve a 36.7% gross margin and 14.1% profit before taxes. Peggy Grainger spent eight years with William Arthur in a variety of production management roles. Most recently Peggy was the Director of Order Fulfillment and a member of the senior management team. Ted Wirth also worked for William Arthur as its Vice President of Finance and Administr...