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When you care enough to send the very bounciest

byWendy Navratil
November 9, 2003

She's known around the Jefferson Park Post Office as the Lady with the Balls.

Just about every day, Michele Sipolt Kapustka arrives with arms full of vinyl balls in shades of the rainbow. They are stamped with jumbo messages, addresses and metered postage and sent on their way, without burden of any additional packaging, to recipients far and wide.

"The clerks get a kick out of it," she said. "You know they talk about me at postal conventions!"

For six years, she had been using Sharpie pens to scrawl messages to friends and family on similarly unconventional media, including wood, chopsticks, even rocks. Postal workers and customers were always so curious, she decided to focus on the balls and began marketing her idea last summer as SENDaBALL, imprinting wishes such as "Have a ball on your birthday," or "Bounce back soon."

Via word of mouth alone--"I make a lot of sales just standing in line at the post office," she said--she just took a 1,000-ball order from a company for its sales force.

Far from running afoul of postal workers, she has become a VIP. She simply must
keep the size of the balls below 10 inches diameter. They even send a truck to
pick up her big orders.

"I told [the postmaster] he'd be cursing me in a few weeks," she said, "and he
said he wouldn't. Revenue is revenue."

Check . Balls are about $9 each, including shipping.

Copyright (c) 2003, Chicago Tribune



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