If you have school-age children (or friends who do), chances are you’ve seen stacks of colored paper pouring out of backpacks. You’ve probably also seen these stacks quickly hit the recycling bin. Mike and Kathy Dunham saw their share of flyers, but rather than shrug and deal with the paper cuts, they dreamt of a better system. And then they made one: Peachjar, Inc., an e-flyer delivery service for school districts everywhere – or, more accurately, the best thing that’s ever happened to school flyers.
Prompted by Kathy questioning their school’s paper trail, Mike set up – and fully self-funded – Peachjar, Inc. Districts everywhere jumped on the idea and he knew that Peachjar was ready to grow.
“In 2013 we formed a Delaware C-corporation,” says Mike Dunham, president and CEO of Peachjar, Inc. “and that’s [when] we really started growing the company.” Hard to believe this was Mike’s first crack at a media startup, but it’s true. Before launching Peachjar, he was a program manager for Northrop Grumman.
Big change? Huge change.
Sure, simplifying the school flyer fiasco doesn’t have much in common with his work at Northrop Grumman, but it was a great business move. And more important, it was about more than business.
“I wouldn’t have done it to just start a business,” says Mike, reflecting on taking the small business plunge. “This is all about changing the world. Changing the future. Our mission is to help parents grow beautiful children into amazing adults,” he says, stressing the significance of providing parents with easy, reliable access to important information as a key part of improving the overall communication among students, parents, and schools. “And,” Mike continues, “we’re just starting out.”
Sure, paperless is a change, but it’s a positive change. And there’s only one question left for school districts: When do we leap toward e-flyer freedom?
Fortunately for Peachjar and parents everywhere, a lot of schools are answering with an enthusiastic “Now!” And that’s keeping Mike pretty busy. Conveniently, a business contact told him about insureon and his insurance was set up in a snap, which, for Mike, is the perfect speed.
“Everything I do is really fast [and] getting that response is really important to me,” he says in regards to insureon’s amazing response time, “when I touched base, [insureon] had amazing customer support and service.”
That means Peachjar and its team of 17 employees can focus on supplying technology to more than 2,000 schools in 27 states, though Mike fully expects that number to grow quickly. And while that’s impressive, it isn’t quite as compelling as the Peachjar technology itself.
By going paperless and cutting out the copier (sorry, Xerox), Peachjar allows for simultaneous distribution of e-flyers to all email subscribers. That means that Grandma can stay up to date and both parents can get notified at the same time. Plus, without worrying about the cost of color ink, these e-flyers take on a life of their own with vibrant graphics that nearly pop off the screen. For those new to flyer design, Peachjar even offers basic software recommendations (though almost any program will work).
“Everything gets uploaded as a PDF and then we have software that changes that into an image so that both the PDF and the image get uploaded,” says Mike. This whole process happens instantly, making for very lightweight emails (smartphone-optimized!) and easy viewing. Oh yeah, and it’s free for schools.
Impossible, right? Nope. District buildings and groups – the PTA sends a few flyers, we’re told – use the Peachjar system for free because outside organizations (after-school enrichment programs) pay for flyers. Historically, these organizations relied on district employee time and labor to distribute information for upcoming camps, events, and other student opportunities, but Peachjar is shaking things up by saving money for everyone. Schools can save an average of $10,000 per year on labor costs for copying and distribution. Outside organizations can save roughly 50% by eliminating paper. And all flyers can make it home without backpack abuse.
Okay, so e-flyers are great, but why “Peachjar?” Because the name embodies everything the company stands for. People jar peaches to preserve the fruit and Peachjar aims to preserve the future of children.
“They fall off the tree very quickly,” says Mike, making a sweet peach analogy, “and they’re out of your house and gone. You just want the best for your children and preserving the children’s future is really what Peachjar symbolizes.” That alone is e-flyer worthy.
For more information on the e-flyer revolution, visit www.peachjar.com .
An e-flyer delivery service for school districts everywhere.
15090 Avenue of Science #101
San Diego, CA 92128 USA