Fast friends Kate and Isabel of Of Note Stationers bonded over their shared love of "snail mail." Together, both women are on a mission to help partners, family members and friends connect on a deeper level through old fashioned, hand-written letters. They believe in something simple but poignant: the art of thinking of someone, and actually acting on it.
On meeting each other
Kate moved to Boston to teach and connected with Isabel through her boyfriend's brother. Isabel was uncertain about her career in industrial design and Kate was deciding to take a step back from teaching.
"We were both in a period of transition at the exact same time. We connected and bonded over our shared love of sending notes to friends just because, and slowing down the day to reach out to people we loved."
The two would get together to write letters, and one day, the idea for Of Note Stationers came together. Both came from creative backgrounds: Kate dabbled in photography as a hobby and Isabel left Guatemala to study industrial design in Boston. Together, they decided on an aesthetic, and agreed to focus on cards for in-between moments - the ones where you feel compelled to just reach out and say hello.
Oddly enough, Kate's grandfather was a calligraphist and Isabel's was a stamp collector. When Kate was young, her grandfather taught her the alphabet in gorgeous calligraphy script. During the holidays, he'd send hand-written letters to everyone in the family, and everyone "cherished them as art pieces." Isabel's mom is a note-collector. She carries them everywhere she goes so she can leave thoughtful thank-you's or reminders on short notice. The business runs in their blood.
On the letterpress
Kate and Isabel took letterpress workshops together and decided they wanted to use the antique, handmade process for their cards. And ancient is accurate. Their letterpress in Boston hosts machines dating back to the 1800s.
"We love that with letterpress, there's a person involved every step of the way. The words and illustrations are impressed, you can run your hand over and feel them. It's how newspapers were originally made. We were elated during our first workshop."
In our new world where getting in touch is a swipe and tap away, it's easy to reach out with a one-word text, funny picture, stupid video or kissy-face emoji. Kate and Isabel feel there's value in carving time out to show you care and using your God-given handwriting, instead of the pre-set phrases and characters of an iPhone.
"When you get a special note, you pause and read it and appreciate that this was written by a person. Maybe they're down the street or across the world, but the handwriting part is the best. You see it and it's completely your friend on paper. You can see the emotion in their writing."
On writing and receiving letters
"As the writer, it's so fun to choose the right card for a person. Then you sit down and think of what you want to say. It slows you down, and all the while you know you're doing something that's going to make someone smile. As the receiver, you look at that letter and know that someone really cares about you. That person took a little longer to send something to you. And you know what, it forces the reader to slow down, too. It gives them pause in their life and time to just feel loved. That's a beautiful gift."