PPAI Magazine May 2024

Lucash quickly recognized a kindred spirit. “I saw a lot of myself in Stacy,” he says. “When Mike and I entered the industry, we didn’t have a ‘promo sherpa’ telling us where to go and how should we do it. Stacy has the same entrepreneurial spirit that we had. She’s bullish on the industry and is doing something different. She just needs some guiding light.” The connection proved fortuitous, with Rupt Ventures – helmed by Lucash and Mike Szymczak – later making Sweeter Cards its first strategic investment in the promotional products industry. “I think a huge part of their mission is to find more young brands that are doing things outside of that promo box, bring those products to promo and help them do some cross-selling, share resources, share knowledge,” Stahl says. “They’ve been in the world for 20 years, and we’ve been in it for one or two. I think that that’s really advantageous for small brands, because making a name for yourself in the promo industry when you’re new is kind of hard.” Lucash adds, “Stacy Stahl’s vision and dedication to creating a unique gifting experience align perfectly with our investment philosophy. We’re excited to support Sweeter Cards in its journey.” Stahl’s personal goal with the partnership is to continue the company’s trajectory of growth and innovation. With the support of Rupt Ventures, Sweeter Cards plans to accelerate its expansion, broaden its sales team and amplify its marketing to reach a wider audience. Additionally, the investment will enable Sweeter Cards to further enhance its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. What’s On The Horizon Buoyed by a rising profile and fresh investment, Stahl and Sweeter Cards aren’t sitting still. The company recently launched its “Bring Your Own” gift option. This new initiative allows distributors to include their own product in the card instead of a chocolate bar. If it fits inside the signature Sweeter Cards box, the company will make it happen. “I named the company Sweeter Cards and not something like ‘Chocolate Cards’ because I knew that something else could fit in the card,” Stahl says. “We can stuff Sweeter Cards with pens instead of chocolate. The same thing with socks that fit or notepads that fit. We’ve already done a couple orders with pins, golden tickets, extra marketing collateral, stickers and more. We even have an eye mask project we’re working on.” Throughout her rapid rise, Stahl has remained committed to upholding high standards and creating a meaningful influence. “I could never function without integrity,” Stahl says. “I truly couldn’t be prouder of the type of company that I started and run. It feels like all the stars aligned.” Luna is a copywriter with PPAI. The First Of What Will Be Many Rupt Ventures announced a second investment, this time in Desk Plants, also located in Austin, Texas, in March. Desk Plants provides the promotional industry with unique, sustainable, customizable plants that are hard to kill. Backed by Rupt, the company seeks to expand its impact in sustainable branding solutions. Lucash says Desk Plants embodies the essence of what Rupt Ventures stands for: innovation, sustainability and a commitment to excellence. He notes strong similarities between Stahl and Desk Plants’ founder and CEO, Lawrence Hanley. “As an investor, you bet on the jockey as much as you bet on the horse,” Lucash says. “Stacy is a good jockey with a great horse in the race. Same for Lawrence. And there aren’t other comparable horses to them. It’s interesting to have investments in sectors where there aren’t a lot of other players, finding the people doing it really well and helping those businesses grow.” Sweet Success | Must Read PPAI • MAY 2024 • 39