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Crane, Paperless Post in wedding deal

NEW YORK — Paperless Post has defied its original digital business model successfully once. Now the online invitation and greeting card start-up is taking that defiance a step further.

The New York company launched Paper by Paperless Post in October after customers requested a way to get its electronic greeting cards and invitations in a more old-fashioned way: on actual paper. Starting Wednesday, Paperless Post teamed up with stationery and card maker Crane & Co. to print wedding invitations. Users will be able to choose from 35 wedding invitation designs that they can customize and then print on Crane paper.

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It sounds like an unlikely match. Crane has been printing cards and stationery on paper made of 100 percent cotton since 1801 in Dalton, Mass., while Paperless Post was launched in 2009 by twentysomething siblings with no plans to ever print cards.

But it turns out people still want to walk to the mailbox and send the real thing, even though it’s much easier and less expensive to send invites and greetings through a tweet, Facebook message, or e-mail.

‘‘People might say paper is dead or dying, but actually, it’s not at all. It’s just more rarified,’’ said Alexa Hirschfeld, who cofounded Paperless Post with her brother James Hirschfeld.

‘‘One of our biggest help requests was ‘how can I print this card?’ ’’ said James Hirschfeld. About 30 percent of the nearly 11,000 cards on Paperless Post are able to be printed.

Some Paperless Post users say they are willing to send online wedding invitations, says Alexa Hirschfeld, but their mothers won’t allow it. ‘‘We’ve heard that so often,’’ she says.

Paperless Post proposed the pairing to Crane in the fall. The company wanted to work with Crane because of its reputation for high-quality paper.

The lowest-priced Crane wedding invitations will cost $2.60 each, without a reply card, and $3.70, with a reply card, for an order of 500.

When customers buy a Crane invitation through Paperless Post, they can also get a digital copy to send online. Senders can keep track of invitations and responses through the Paperless Post website.

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