Well, they’re still alive. And one maker of them has recently been getting some serious attention.
The company is called Black Astrum, a small operation that produces diamond-encrusted custom business cards and invitations for an exclusive clientele. Based in Berkshire, England, the company has been quietly peddling its wares since the second half of 2011, but it wasn’t until the company formally announced its signature collection earlier this month that the world seemed to pay attention.
Why, you ask? Oh, because the average price is about $1,500. Per card.
If that sounds nutty to you, you’re not alone. After all, these are serious times for the global economy, and it’s hard to believe that even the world’s wealthiest consumers would spend their money on something like a set of business cards.
We asked Sufian Khawaja, Black Astrum’s founder and concept director, about what led him to start his business and whether or not he thinks clients will use their pricey business cards to network.
1. Tell us about Black Astrum. What led you to start producing high-end business cards?
I have a design and engineering background and was asked by a Saudi client in 2010 to create a luxurious business card. After several designs, a diamond-encrusted version was created.
Believing there could be demand for the card, I formed Black Astrum to design further cards. Black Astrum began operations at the end of 2010 and was formally incorporated in early 2011. Currently, we have a small team based in Berkshire, England. They provide a full design service, working closely with clients to create a product tailored to their specification.
2. The average price of your signature business card is $1,500…for one card. That’s a lot of money. Why would anyone spend that much on a business card?
For many of our clients, wealth is no longer a distinguishing factor in the circles in which they move. In an ever increasing digital world, people still like to leave a lasting impression, and our cards allow our clients to do just that.
3. What types of materials do you use?
The cards are made from a precision cast acrylic fabricated in Switzerland and specially coated to be scratch and chemical resistant; this helps to maintain their glossy finish.
They can be produced in a variety of colours and we offer clients a colour-matching service for an additional fee. A metal version is also offered, but we've found clients often prefer the cast acrylic version due to its lighter weight and feel (allowing them to comfortably carry more).
All text and images are engraved onto the card.
4. You say your cards are offered by invitation only. What sorts of people are you targeting?
Our clients like to make an impression, and we believe keeping our cards as exclusive as possible allows this. We mainly aim our products at ultra high net worth individuals, but also welcome expressions of interest from any individual or organisation.
5. How many people have purchased your cards thus far?
We are currently in the design process with several clients, however that’s all I can say to maintain the confidentiality of our customers.
6. Do you have plans to expand into any other arenas?
Although we are currently focused on business cards, Black Astrum also offers diamond-encrusted invitations for exclusive events such as VIP weddings and parties.
7. Moment of truth: Of the people who purchase your business cards, what percentage of them do you think will actually give them to other people?
We don’t question clients about what they intend to do with our cards, but it’s likely a very high percentage who purchase them give them out.