Smythe retired from his architecture practice at the end of 1997, and with time on his hands an idea that had been germinating in his head sprouted shoots. Remembering how his father, effected by the Great Depression, had reused envelopes by removing the stamps and crossing out the address, then resealing them with tape or staples, Smythe decided to invent a reusable envelope. By 1999 he had a design and a patent.
It was a genuine first. There are two envelope manufacturers in New Zealand. Croxley didn't want to know but Candida were interested and luckily they could make Smythe's design on their existing machines.
The first crowd to give the envelopes a go was the North Shore City Council who sent bills out using them