I have a confession. The number of times I have mailed a handwritten note total the number of digits on my hands. Growing up in the age of the internet has provided me with a superb sixth sense for computer skills but a lacking penmanship ability. It comes as quite a surprise to those my senior to learn I was not taught cursive in school.
Now in my young adult years, I find myself gravitating towards pen and paper. I crave the beauty of pristine stationery and the physicality of inscribing a note. My telephone has become rife with images of ornate typography, charming note card designs from decades past, and of course, the exquisite artistry of vintage monograms.
While devouring the latest episode of The Gilded Age with a group of friends, we discussed the use of calling cards throughout the series. The tradition of a bygone era struck a chord in each of us.
Hardly a necessity in the modern era, each of us dreamed of whipping out a calling card to leave with a friend or a potential suitor. Better yet, leaving a card for one Mrs. Astor just as Bertha Russell so gracefully did in episode one. Though not so kindly taken by Mrs. Astor, the idea of toting delicately personalized cards with one’s information provides such an intimate and tangible moment.
It was clear after this conversation that we all desired to spark a resurgence of not only calling cards but traditional stationery. All of us having grown up in an era of digital communication suddenly began eagerly formulating ideas of how to incorporate the use of stationery in our everyday lives.
A likely result of digital fatigue, lack of personal connection throughout the pandemic, and the decline of formality in society, stationery has made a comeback. According to an article by Town & Country titled A Side Effect of the Pandemic? Stationery Sales Are Booming Right Now, Google Trends reported a 180% increase in the search term “what to write in a ‘thinking of you’ card?” in 2020, and the stationery brand Papier experienced a 300% increase of online sales.
Last fall, Inc. magazine highlighted the powerful business advantage companies can achieve through handwritten communication. “Emails and printed mailers aren’t reaching your customer,” the magazine reports. “More importantly, neither form of communication tells your client or customer something vital: that you care about them.” However, estimates suggest that personalized notes are opened at an overwhelming rate of 98 percent! “Handwritten notes are treasured and saved, creating an ongoing brand impression for months or even years,” states Inc.
Everything old is new again. In December 2020, Marie Claire highlighted the new digitally savvy generations putting their stamp on the traditional greeting-card business. “Thanks to millennials and Gen Z, the incredibly analog business is experiencing a rebirth,” the magazine reports. Winnie Park, CEO of Paper Source told Marie Claire, “People may be surprised, but our number-one customers for paper goods are actually millennials. They are our fastest growing segment.”
Why? “Blame screen burnout, for one—the same thing that has millennials snapping up vintage typewriters and real-film Polaroid cameras,” says Marie Claire. And let’s not forget the Grandmillennial movement that has sky-rocked the popularity of timeless, classic “Granny Chic” interior design.
While stationery and hand written notes never disappeared, they have certainly taken a back seat to technology, and a rebound seems inevitable. What was thought to be a custom of the past has taken hold once more, filling the void of physical connection we have missed over the last two years.
Emily Post writes, “When I get a handwritten letter, I’m excited to open it. The art of the postage stamp, the feel of the paper, the graphic quirks of a friend’s handwriting: There is simply nothing as personal as a handwritten note. In a stack of bills and flyers, it’s a treasure in a sealed packet, full of promise and potential. It is a visceral reminder of someone far away.”
The Glam Pad has eagerly taken note and watched with great interest as countless new players have entered the stationery market. Fresh and whimsical stationers such as Papier, Clementina Sketchbook, Dogwood Hill, and The Chain Press have started to dominate our Instagram feed as individuals are finding ways to correspond in an old-school manner while bringing a contemporary twist to the task.
As guardians of tradition and old-fashioned niceties, the use of beautiful paper to convey personal thoughts kindles our hearts. It is safe to say the generation raised with computers as extensions of their arms has had enough. Nothing can compare to the personal touch. Analog always prevails.
Follow Natalie on Instagram: @natalieealdridge
NEW SERIES ALERT!
- APRIL 8: Why hand-written letters and fine stationery (and calling cards!) are making a comeback, particularly among the Millennial generation.
- APRIL 15: The fascinating history of calling cards, and how they are relevant today. – A guest post by Nancy Sharon Collins.
- APRIL 22: An overview of resources for fine stationery. What pieces do today’s letter writing enthusiasts need in their wardrobe and why?
- April 29: A fabulously fun trend… Vintage stamps! How to begin a collection and use them to personalize your correspondence.
- MAY 6: Why cursive handwriting is making a comeback, and what you can do to learn or improve.
- MAY 13: The ultimate in customization – A bespoke monogram and stationery created by Nancy Sharon Collins.