Justin Young’s first idea was to create a line of COVID-related greeting cards, but at some point between conception and creation, the Vancouver agency veteran decided to throw in the towel. And the shower curtain. And the welcome mat.
The resulting “Covid Greetings” line has grown to include a wide range of products, with all proceeds donated to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
The greeting cards have proven the most popular item, but the venture has also sold a few $55.99 “There’s no place like home” shower curtains, while the $23.40 “You had me at Purell” fanny pack is also a popular item.
“It’s about putting something positive into a world that’s not so positive,” says Young, most recently director of brand engagement at Vancouver’s Elevator Strategy, Advertising & Design.
Young developed Covid Greetings in association with former Rethink Vancouver colleague Patsy Gannon; Vancouver-based graphic designer Spencer Jackson and The Neighbourhood Agency founder and CEO Betsy Cooper.
The line of self-isolation themed products directly address the pandemic and its disruptive effect on everyday life, through a series of light-hearted themes including “Will you be my quarantine?” There’s also a product line dedicated to healthcare workers using the theme “Guardians of the galaxy.”
Young first conceived the idea when he realized how many everyday occasions, from birthdays to weddings to holidays, would be cancelled by the threat of COVID and the accompanying need for people to stay at home.
“I started thinking about what kind of sentiments we want to talk to people about to lift them up,” he says. “I’ve been doing marketing for 25 years and I thought how interesting would it be to create a company within a couple of days using very little cash.”
The advent of technologies like printing-on-demand and the ability to quickly created an online storefront allowed Young to take Covid Greetings from conception to reality within 72 hours.
“It was very positive energy for me, and if someone can get a bit of enjoyment out of it, that’s great too,” he says. “Even better, we can sell some things and get some money to a charity. Putting something into the world that I feel excited and passionate about, and can do some good, is the best feeling.”