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Pass It Down launches physical product to connect families, preserve memories

After testing it for months, digital storytelling platform and Chattanooga startup Pass It Down launched its first physical product, which continues the company's goal of preserving life stories and memories. 

The product, called GreetingStory, reinvents the greeting card with the goal of using it to preserve family memories and reconnect with loved ones. 

Pass It Down's platform allows people to record and share memories digitally, but founder Chris Cummings got some feedback that older customers weren't getting on board with unfamiliar technology. 

He noted that the cards aren't solely for older generations but said the product helps solve a problem for people who aren't tech-savvy. 

GreetingStory cards are made with no-bleed paper and have a variety of questions to aid in memory preservation and documentation. (Photo: Pass It Down)

"Today’s technology allows us to simplify everything we do, and we think capturing and sharing family memories should be no different," Cummings said. "With the launch of GreetingStory, families have an effortless, interactive and effective way to capture each of their special memories, one question at a time."

The new products are simple, colorful cards with one question on the cover. 

For example, one of the questions might ask, "How did your parents fall in love?"

The card includes two areas for the user to answer the question in their own words and handwriting. It also includes tips and instructions from biographers so users get the most out of the product. 

Every card includes a custom URL on the back, allowing the user to upload a loved one’s story into the Pass It Down platform. The platform can also host additional video, audio, text and photos to supplement the story. Users can share stories with the entire family, essentially creating a digital memory book, according to a news release. 

The cards can also be used separately from the digital platform. 

Cummings said that there are memory books on the market, but those can feel overwhelming. It can feel like work, so those books are often left incomplete, he said. 

Pass It Down offers GreetingStory memory boxes that include 12, 24 or 48 cards and envelopes.

In the United States, the company is offering a subscription model through which users can send a family member one, two or four cards per month. Each card includes a prepaid return envelope to send the card back to the customer.

"Imagine being able to send your mom or dad 24 cards a year, in a personalized envelope, asking about their life and their legacy," Cummings said. "We automate the process for families, and our prepaid return envelopes ensure that it is extremely simple for your relative to get the cards back to you." 

Cummings' grandmother, who is 84, didn't know how her parents fell in love. She called a family member and got the story, which is something none of them would have known and documented without the cards. 

There's potential for Pass It Down to work with assisted living facilities and use the cards as a form of reminiscence therapy, Cummings said. 

And, in a time when technology reigns supreme in many ways, there's something special about sending and receiving a physical card, he said.

"Everything is so digital that physical means way more," he said. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017