Modern Pen Pals: Combining Snail Mail and Email
Sometimes when I tell people what I do here at AM Stationery (besides sell a piece of stationery every 3 months) they ask me, surprised:
"People still write letters? There are people out there that actually want pen pals?"
The answer, of course, is yes! When I found out there are other people out there who also love the feel of pen on paper, enjoy writing just for the sake of it, and like the idea of a slower type of correspondence, I knew that opening my own stationery shop was the right move. Even though it hasn't gone exactly like I dreamed it would, I keep working hard at it. The thing that has remained a fixed part of my business is the Find a Pen Pal Program. Because it turns out that not only are there people out there who still want a pen pal, it's also not that easy to find one.
AM Stationery's Find a Pen Pal program is the only one like it I've seen on the internet. And it's gone through a lot of changes in the year that it's been active.
One of them being the most recent one: pen pals who are matched are now receiving each other's emails in addition to their mailing address.
Just like before, participants will have to log in with their password to access this information, so it is still secure, but I am finding that pen pal matches are much more successful now (in the last 6 weeks).
Before this change, I would hear from a lot of participants that they sent off their first letter and waited weeks and weeks for a reply, never receiving one. After a while, I would usually end up matching them with someone else. Occasionally, the down-trodden pen paller who didn't receive a reply would change their mind and drop out of the program.
All of this led to the current change. The reason I didn't do this at first was because I wanted to keep the sanctity of snail mail pen pals! But as it turns out, a morph of new and old school is what works best.
Personally, I believe that's because no matter how hard we try, we can only slow down this life so much. We live in a faster world than people who communicated solely through letters did. Although we snail-mail-lovers may appreciate the sentiment, it doesn't change the fact that we often don't have the time to correspond only in handwritten letters, and what's more, we often don't remember what we said in our letters! (To hack that, read this blog post.)
So pen pals matched with AM Stationery's Pen Pal Service will now be encouraged to introduce themselves via email first. Which allows them to get to know each other a little, gives them a push to send that first letter, and even gives them a chance to set up something fun and personal, like a list of 10 current favorite songs, the exchange of a favorite recipe, or some other way to get to know each other that plays to both of their interests.
I love the idea of setting this up beforehand, because let's be honest, sometimes we need a direction when we sit down with our pen and/or craft supplies, and in this way, we can totally set that up with our pen pal -- and still be surprised when it arrives!
Soon I will make another blog post with some ideas for fun things to do in your letters. Do you have any ideas of your own right now? Comment below and I'll add them ;)
Any other questions and you know where to find me.
Stay Curious and Keep Writing!