Family put all their cards on the table during pandemic
When the pandemic began a year ago bartender Gus Gonzalez found his pay cut in half.
Some people might have carefully counted their pennies, but Mr Gonzalez and his wife, Tori, took the last of their savings and invested in a new business Card Your Yard.
“We went ahead and took a chance during the pandemic and thought outside of the box,” Mr Gonzalez said. “We have shown incredible tenacity and creativity over the last few months.”
Card Your Yard helps people celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other big events, by placing large, decorative cards in their yard that spell out messages such as “happy birthday” or “happy graduation” or “welcome students”.
Card Your Yard is a safe way to draw attention to milestones without breaking social distancing rules.
“We first saw the idea on social media in January 2020,” Mr Gonzalez said. “When my wife saw it she said we should jump on top of that idea.”
They would have created Card Your Yard anyway, but the pandemic helped to push the idea forward, a little faster.
“We love the look of joy and surprise on someone’s face when they walk outside and see the cards in the yard,” Mr Gonzalez said. “We also liked creating a business around such a hard time and devastation where people are not able to celebrate or see their families. It is the simplicity of being able to do something.”
When they first launched two months ago, things were a little slow.
“People did not know about the business,” Mr Gonzalez said. “Then we started to gather followers. Two weeks down the line we ended up doing a happy birthday gig for a fantastic lady. She posted a picture of our work on the Facebook site Maj’s List.”
That exposure changed everything. Soon, Card Your Yard was flooded with calls, and were gaining many new followers on social media.
“We were so ecstatic,” Mr Gonzalez said. “We received love from Bermuda tenfold thanking us for allowing them for provide joy to their family members throughout the island. A simple drive-by can turn a frown upside down.”
When schools came out of lockdown this month, Somersfield Academy hired them to put a ‘welcome back’ sign in the school parking lot.
“Graduation is going to be insane this month,” Mr Gonzalez said. “Schools have been reaching out to us, and also individuals who want to celebrate their child’s graduation.”
Clients can pick what time they want Card Your Yard to visit their household to install the cards. Usually, the cards are erected at dawn, and collected in the evening before curfew. Mr Gonzalez said the hardest thing about the business is losing sleep.
“We have to wake up early every morning to get them out,” he said. “We have not had a full night of sleep since we started this.”
The couple have a seven-year-old daughter, Amaya, who often comes along with them to help set up.
“She is our yard carder,” Mr Gonzalez said. “She is so happy to be a part of the business and help at any time.”
The cards are rented out for 12-hour periods.
“Once, a client did not realise this and wrote on one of the cards,” he said. “We have several themes to choose from, such as travel, or wine, super heroes, princesses or mermaids, and we are hoping to add to that as the business grows.”
He and his family have had some interesting moments carding yards at dawn.
“It isn’t always easy finding addresses in Bermuda,” Mr Gonzalez said. “Once we ended up going to the wrong house.”
They were taking things out of the car when the startled homeowner appeared.
“He was not expecting anyone,” Mr Gonzalez said. “He saw the happy birthday cards in our hands, so he knew we were in the wrong spot. He immediately helped us to try to find the right place.”
Another challenge has been finding the space for all their equipment.
“We live in a small apartment,” he said. “At first we had the boxes all over our bedroom.”
Recently, family members helped them create a storage room in their house to get rid of the mess.
The signs are water proof, but can get a little battered by wind.
The cost is $100 for a birthday or graduation theme, and then $3 per letter and $5 per number if the client wants to add an age or name.
Their hope is that Card Your Yard becomes a staple of many events in Bermuda.
For more information call 533-1401, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or see Facebook and Instagram @cardyouryardbermuda