Roses are red, chocolate is sweet, but both are predictable Valentine's Day treats.
Pittsburgh-based entrepreneur Anne Lopez wanted to help men find clever, customized gifts for their significant other.
"There's definitely room in the market for things to make romance new again," she said.
To help fill the need, she recently launched Romeo Delivers, a subscription service that sends members each month a box of cute and quirky goodies men can customize to surprise their sweetie and strengthen their relationship.
Ms. Lopez draws upon her background in art and advertising to create the crafty contents of the monthly boxes. In January, subscribers received calendar coupon cards that men could personalize with a kind deed they would do by the end of the month and a kit of accessories to build a miniature snowman and snow lady couple. In February, Ms. Lopez has planned a survival guide to Valentine's Day.
Membership is "growing quickly," Ms. Lopez said. "A lot of the guys were saying, 'I can't believe something this simple made this much of a difference.' "
The budding business has received support from the AlphaLab Gear program, which provides startups that produce physical products with a financial investment, a team of advisers and temporary office space in East Liberty. Romeo Delivers also tapped YouTube yinzer Pittsburgh Dad to help spread the word of the brand in a new promotional video for www.romeodelivers.com.
"One of the things we find is guys don't really talk to their friends about what romantic things they're doing for their wives or girlfriends," Ms. Lopez said. "We tried to make this promotional video fun to give them a way to talk about it."
Membership is $15 per month, or sign up for an entire year of "romantic toolkits" for an introductory rate of $120. One-month, three-month and six-month gift cards also are available. While products are designed for men to give to women, gift box sets for same-sex couples and for women to treat the man in their life are in the works, Ms. Lopez said.
"I really wanted to do something that would make people happy," she said. "The long-term vision is to create a membership for anyone to do something nice for anyone in their life."
For more from PG fashion writer Sara Bauknecht, check out the PG's Stylebook blog at www.post-gazette.com/stylebook. Follow her on Twitter @SaraB_PG.