With balloons stating “You actually showed up, so have fun,” and paper cups encouraging others to “Ask me what I like about the party,” the party supplies from Social Butterfly are far from traditional.
And that’s just how founder Christina Hyrkas ’17 (Graphic Design B.F.A.) wants it. Printing custom designs with witty conversation starters on everything from plates and napkins to name tags and cupcake signs inspires in-person communication at social gatherings — even among strangers, she said.
“We want users to feel empowered and confident engaging with others in any social situation,” said Hyrkas, whose company was the People’s Choice winner during the 2018 UP/Start Venture Competition finals, garnering a $5k award. Our products help people overcome social anxieties and remove the imaginary barriers we place in front of ourselves when meeting new people.”
“How to Win Friends and Influence People,” a self-help book by Dale Carnegie, inspired Hyrkas to start Social Butterfly.
“My mother, who is professionally proficient in human relationship building with (more than) 15 years teaching the Carnegie principles, raised me by applying the very same human relationship proficiencies,” Hyrkas said.
Since founding the company, Hyrkas said her biggest reward is seeing people form friendships using Social Butterfly products and “how those friendships bring them happiness,” she said.
Hyrkas said she will put her prize money toward building inventory and marketing. The company has already partnered with three event and networking businesses that vow to use its products in 2018.
In the future, Hyrkas said she hopes Social Butterfly will grow to host its own networking events.