We’ve all experienced it: an inbox bursting at the seams with emails, constant phone alerts from text messages, and unending feeds from Twitter and Snapchat. It’s fun to stay connected all the time—but it can become exhausting.
The means of communicating through technology has become so saturated that people have become tired of it all.
In a recent survey from Radicati, corporate email accounts send and receive over 100 emails a day, while Millennials from 18-29 send and receive close to an average of 88 text messages a day.
It is no wonder many are fleeing their screens and flocking to pen and paper.
We’ve become overloaded with the intangible and ephemeral swipes and clicks of our screens that Millennials, primarily women, are nostalgically seeking the alternative, tangible and increasingly rare nature of paper goods. Whether you are the recipient or the author, a handwritten note leaves a lasting impression that stands out against the backdrop of our oversaturated digital landscape.
As the owner and creative director of the stationery line, Forage Paper Co., I visit many craft shows, and that’s where I see thousands of people interacting with and enjoying the process of selecting greeting cards for the special persons and those special occasions in their lives.
I see everything from kids pointing at one of our cards to their moms saying: “see, this one is my favorite for daddy because he drinks coffee and reads the newspaper!” to the hip quiet-types that subtly smile at their favorite horticultural designs before picking them up, or the effervescent fans who just can’t contain their excitement at the idea of giving their adventurous loved ones the perfect card. It was in these moments that I realized that people love finding stationery that fits their unique taste and sense of style.
And in a twist for our times, it’s tech-obsessed Millennials that especially love connecting to their loved ones with carefully chosen, hand-crafted, original designs that stand apart from the black on white electronic canvas etched with Times New Roman that clutters our eyes.
At one of our craft shows, I posted a quote from the 19th century English poet, Lord Byron, on our letter board that read:
“Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.”
Throughout the show, countless people turned their eyes to the board, stopped dead in their tracks, walked towards us and asked to snap a photo. They confessed their love for the quote. To authoritatively validate this experience, I posted it and got several hundred likes on Instagram.
But before we answer the question “why did it garner so much traction?” we must recognize what it didn’t say.
The quote didn’t say that social media, emails, or text messages were “the only device for combining solitude with good company.”
No, it was letter writing.
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This idea resonates deeply with people.
There is something magically sentimental about a handwritten note and something nostalgic and wonderful about opening up a personalized envelope to open a card that was specifically chosen with you in mind, with words of purpose on its pages.
There’s no denying the thought and love that goes into writing a card. This is one contributing factor that attracts Millennials so much to the art of hand-written greeting cards: the love and intentionality behind it.
It is no surprise then that there is a new movement to treasure the written word.
There are so many once-in-a-lifetime events, whether it’s a wedding, a baby announcement, or a 30th birthday. What better way to draw your friends and family into these precious and privileged life events than with a gorgeous, paper invitation?
Women–mainly–have embraced high quality stationery to fit these big moments and life-marking events. Especially with the rising popularity of websites like Pinterest that encourage all of us to have an awesome, crafty lifestyle, one needs to have the cards to rise to the occasion of the fabulous events in our lives. To conclude these events, Millennials have found no better way than to do so with the time-honored tradition of mailing thank you cards. Here we see the revelation of ecstatic news, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the conclusion of forever memories all beginning, expressing, and concluding with paper goods. This is the business of stationery: announcement, celebration and gratitude.
Part of my purpose in starting my own paper company was to inspire our generation by offering beautiful paper products that allow people to make meaningful connections to each other in a real way.
This message hits home to many Millennials as we struggle to balance our email-inundated, technology-saturated life with the art of texting less and writing more, and rekindling the joy of doing some things the good ol’ fashioned way.
This is why there is a movement towards beautiful physical products like paper stationery.
Just try browsing Pinterest, Brit+Co, crafting blogs and marketplaces like Renegade Craft Fair; they’re full of them. Women and men alike are drawn to physical goods and the idea of creating their unique style through these products.
The countless hours of our lives we spend tethered to the internet have left us desiring the tradition of surrounding ourselves with touchable things that truly spark joy.