Card, Gift in One

Washington native Joe Fischer recently launched a greeting card line, Greetabl, which is a card and a gift in one. After writing in the card, it can be folded into a small box for a gift card or other small items. Fischer, who currently lives in St. Louis, is a 1999 graduate of St. Francis Borgia Regional High School. Greetabl cards can be purchased at Fern & Sycamore in Downtown Washington. Missourian Photo.

Washington native Joe Fischer’s signature wedding gift is a handwritten note and a check, but despite the note, the gesture always seemed a little impersonal.

While recovering from shoulder surgery, and with several upcoming weddings to attend, Fischer decided to do something about the impersonality of a plain card. With that, and the help of co-founder Zoë Scharf, Greetabl — a card and gift in one — was born.

“It’s a lot more fun to receive a gift than an envelope,” Fischer said. “And I thought ‘What if the gift was the envelope?’ ”

“What it really is, is a way to connect with the important people in your life,” he said. “There are a million apps that will send a card to someone, but the lack of effort is fairly transparent.”

Fischer said he hopes to make each gift-giving experience more meaningful.

People can pick from one of 45 designs, write a message on the card, then follow the instructions to fold it into a 2 3/8- by 2 3/8-inch cube.

Each card comes with a piece of tissue paper to put inside the box with hundreds of possibilities on what to fill it with. The inside surface can be covered in messages, pictures, doodles and more.

The interior can be filled with a gift card, nail polish, jewelry or countless other items for any occasion.

At first, Fischer said the idea was a “strike out.” To get the right paper weight, enough space to write a message, and a thickness to fold that’s also stable took dozens of tries, he said.

Prototype after prototype, Fischer took more than a year perfecting his product.

During that time, he sent one of the prototypes to his mom to see how it held up. He was out of paper samples, so he used the inside of a cereal box.

“It was the ugliest thing on Earth, an inside out, gray cereal box,” he said. But when it was delivered to his mom, the mail carrier had written a separate note and attached it to the box, “Too cute!),” it read.

The simple act inspired Fischer to keep going.

“For people who really want to make an impression, (Greetabl is) an incredible thing to get in the mail,” he said.

The fact that it takes a little extra time makes the difference, Fischer added.

“It’s not just the thought that counts — It’s the effort,” he said.

Fischer takes pride in the fact that the product is American made and being manufactured at The Chest in Washington.

It also can be purchased at Fern & Sycamore in Downtown Washington.

Fischer said the online store launch date is set for Dec. 6, barring no problems.

Greetabl also is on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. The website is