Over the last few years, there’s been a distinct shift in how people plan their weddings, baby showers and other events. With the dawn of Pinterest and Etsy, more brides, mothers-to-be and eager event planners have become accustomed to the idea of having a completely customized, detailed, hand-made party. Makr, a free-to-use app made exclusively for the iPad, aims to fulfill that fantasy by offering completely customizable and editable stationery, printable at home or commissioned to a printer.
It’s safe to say that the stationery design business is pretty hot right now: Custom design house Minted recently netted $41 million in Series C funding, and estimates the party decor market to be around $7 billion. Makr is definitely looking for a piece of that pie, and it has the pedigree. Makr creators Happy Studio, Inc. began with designing Martha Stewart’s CraftStudio, an obvious forerunner to its latest app. In order to create Makr, Happy Studio raised a seed round that attracted big names: Lerer Ventures, Betaworks, and Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, among other companies and angels.
As for Makr itself, the system is quite robust at launch, offering many stationery design templates for cards, invitations, labels and other paper paraphernalia that wiggles its way into high-end events. After a template is selected, a “workshop mode” is enabled that allows users to customize every inch of the design, from inserting new graphics, to playing with fonts, to tweaking the colors for any palette. Once finished, the piece can be quoted by Makr’s digital print partner in Idaho or downloaded via PDF to be printed elsewhere for $3.99.
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The app is very user-friendly, if at times overwhelming. The process of carefully surveying, customizing and changing each stationary is so open that it’s mind-boggling to behold, making it difficult to stick to an aesthetic without the aid of design savvy. However, Makr has done enough to make its core templates attractive to the point where an easygoing user would just be able to click, adjust the big details for the event, and print.
Perhaps the biggest downside of the app at this point is its lack of complete suite support. While many templates carry through across many different kinds of stationery (invitations, thank you cards, labels, etc.), there is no way to completely change, say, the colors on an entire theme. Instead, everything must be done by hand — a tedious process. Plus there isn’t any built-in cost incentive to committing to a whole theme with Makr, as every item is treated with separate quotes or the flat rate. Yet while the lack of overall suite management is frustrating, it is still fixable.
Right now, Makr is probably the closest product out there to nailing a “what you see is what you get” customization tool for stationery, and that’s a powerful thing. But with some extra effort towards management and e-commerce, it could have an even brighter future.