After 10 months of writing letters in 2016, Kate, Isabel and I, finally met at the Renegade Craft Fair in NYC where Of Note Stationers had a beautiful booth. It was amazing to meet in person for the first time and yet feel like I was meeting old friends. We went for coffee after the Fair wrapped up and the conversation that ensued remains one of the most thought provoking discussions of my year. It worked out just perfectly that evening as it does with things that are meant to be, that I got to spend time with Kate and Isabel together and time alone with both of them. And as I walked away from the subway car that carried Isabel off to Brooklyn, I thought to myself – these are two remarkable ladies. I’m so glad I took the chance to reach out to them and forge a connection that will never be broken. Here’s part two of my interview with them and a very special Flipogram of my correspondence with them.
Your Make America Love Campaign is so amazing. What inspired you to create it? What is the most magical thing that has come from this endeavor?
KK: It was our participation in the Women’s March that prompted us to create our Advocacy Postcards. We owe it to the Women’s March organizers for creating 10 actions for the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency. The first action was writing to your representatives and, being stationers, we of course wanted to make our own postcards. The designs were inspired by phrases we saw on signs, or chants that we heard, during the Women’s March.
Make America Love Again is our favorite one because the layout references vintage book covers which we have really been enjoying lately. And of course it ties in so well with our #loveletter campaign! In all seriousness though, it is what we truly wish for our country, that everyone operate from a place of love, first and foremost. Imagine how that would transform the nation.
The most magical thing that came from this endeavor was having a Write-In Event in Boston. We printed 200 postcards assuming that we would have leftovers. Every single card was used. Guess we all needed a little handwritten healing.
IB: We owe it to the Women’s March organizers for coming up with the 10 Actions 100 Days challenge. We were empowered by our involvement in the March and the momentum it generated across the country. Since the first prompt was to write to our representatives, we decided in addition to using them ourselves, we would offer all postcard designs on our website for others to download. We felt it was truly important to have these as a free offering so that together our voices can be heard.
One of the most magical things stemming out of this endeavor has been seeing individuals come together for a cause. In March, we co-hosted a Postcard Write-In Event with our friends at Space Boston and got together with members of the Boston community to write and mail 200+ postcards. Although the event was by no means the scale of the Women’s March, it seemed like at least for the night, we truly made an impact in our community by providing the space for others to connect and advocate.
If you could correspond with one woman you don’t currently know, who would she be?
KK: Just this week, through an Of a Kind newsletter, I stumbled across the work of Alexandra Elle. I should probably read her work first, but I am infatuated by someone who can build their life’s work around self-love, self-care, and healing.
IB: Currently it is Linda Rodin, the stylish lady behind Olio Lusso. I just find her very peculiar, and imagine she would have exquisite handwriting and amazing stories from her past as a fashion stylist.
Kate do you write love letters to your fiancé? Isabel do you write love letters to your husband?
KK: Yes, indeed I do!
Every year I give Russell at least 12 postcards chronicling different moments from the year, both good moments and challenging moments. After 3 years of doing this I thought I could stop, but he finally caught on to the trend and the 4th year was like, “do I get my postcards this year?,” and so the writing continues. This August will be 8 years.
We also had three years of long distance, so during that time we sent a notebook back and forth that we both wrote in. Russell ended up including our postcards in his proposal and we spent a part of that weekend re-reading our writing from our first year of long distance. When re-reading the journal we realized how this correspondence foreshadowed Of Note.
IB: I do! I do! I definitely write love letters to my husband, but probably not as often as I should. I would say every year for his birthday I dedicate a nice lengthy letter to him, and then every year for our anniversary, we exchange letters. While my notes are long and wordy, his are always so much deeper. Letters are actually my favorite part about our anniversary every year. I know we rarely say out loud the things we are able express via handwritten notes, so it just feels amazing to connect that way and to be able to read, and re read those special words as many times as I want. I guess that is the true wonder of tangible letters, right?
You do a lot of custom work for Of Note. What types of projects do you love most and why?
KK: Ooo good question. Hard to choose, but if I must, I am really loving our wedding invitation work right now. A recent request was for a suite that was “New York, classic, traditional, and romantic.” This was right up our alley which made it really fun for us to design and then super gratifying when our clients LOVED it.
What is your favorite place to write letters?
KK: Amherst Coffee, a hip coffee shop / whiskey bar, that is walking distance from my house. I like to sit in the window seat with a glass of wine and my letter writing supplies.
IB: As of late it is more of a time than a place. I think I mentioned this previously, but I really enjoy that golden hour and it just so happens that my home office gets pretty good afternoon light. So, I really enjoy writing letters at my desk at home, but most importantly it has to be at the right time.
Do you have any people in your life that you would be willing to only communicate with via handwritten note?
KK: Very interesting question. I think I would be willing to with anyone, if that was the only way, but I do really value connecting in person as well. Letter writing is a great way to deepen relationships and stay connected when you are separated, but after having met two of my pen pals in person, including you, I wouldn’t want to go back to not knowing the “in the flesh” version.
IB: I think if my paternal grandfather was still around, I would love to communicate with him strictly via handwritten letters. He was not really the warmest human being in person, so I’d like to imagine that I would get to know his warm and affectionate side if we were to only correspond via letters. In addition, whenever I visited he was either reading or writing. I also have this vivid memory of him sitting on his recliner, cigarette in hand, and a stash of recently opened letters on the side table. They were mostly bills, but still, I remember those envelopes. I was actually given his letter opener after he passed, and I put it to use every day.
How do you store your most treasured correspondence?
KK: Still working on this…I currently have a bin that I store under my bed. This has been great considering how often I move. But hoping that I am settling in one place soon, I’d like to invest in some nice boxes (like these) that perhaps live in a more accessible location in our home moving forward.
IB: I have a wooden box on my shelf where I store all incoming letters. I find it excruciatingly hard to let go of these, so I often just stash all my correspondence in this box–see below– and eventually I go through them. I’ll sit down to re-read them, and identify the most treasured. Once identified, those extra meaningful letters graduate to an additional box on that same shelf (it’s just a white photo box) full of treasured notes ranging from birthday cards written by my late grandfather to anniversary letters from my husband to letters from my girlfriends.
Thank you Isabel and Kate for taking the time to share your love of creating beautiful stationery for all of us paper LOVERS to enjoy. And thank you for being amazing pen pals. As promised here is a visual recap of my letters to Isabel and Kate…..signed sealed delivered, I’m yours ladies! Don’t forget to turn your sound on.