LAKEVIEW — A Lakeview designer tired of "lame" e-cards hopes his new website will be an alternative for those who need a digital hug.
Daniel Stanford's cousin had just joined the Air Force last year and was about to go off to basic training when he thought there should be an easy, heartwarming way for the extended family to show their support. Single e-cards are too cheesy, he said, and gift baskets are too time-consuming for the whole family to contribute to.
The solution: HugBoard, a new website Stanford created to help groups of people send their love and support to someone.
"I’ve always felt like e-cards were lame and not particularly sexy or fun to get," the Lakeview resident said. "It's not because we can't get a really amazing experience from something digital. There are things that we love that touch our hearts and move us."
Stanford launched HugBoard last week. The site is a way for multiple people to send a person messages, which are then collected on a single "HugBoard" — kind of like a digital bulletin board dedicated to someone special.
People posting to the HugBoard can upload a personal photo or choose from 55 different e-cards, most of which are designed by Stanford, an illustrator by trade. Only starting the board requires a payment of 99 cents, and the first HugBoard is free for each user.
People who create the board simply send a link to friends and family so that they can contribute.
"When family members going through something exciting or something challenging, I wanted to find a way to rally friends and family around them to say 'We love you; we’re thinking of you'," Stanford said.
Already, site users have included a mother who wanted to congratulate her daughter for making good grades, a husband seeking family support for his wife as she went through chemotherapy and a supportive goodbye board for a man who was being deployed to Afghanistan, Stanford said.
Though he'll be showing off the digital start-up to media and investors this year, Stanford said his goal has never been to get rich off the site. He has a day job that he enjoys, helping professors teach online.
For now, the primary goal of HugBoard is to brighten someone's day.
"I want to get at least one letter from a stranger that said 'I was going through something really tough, and this really turned it around for me'," he said.