August 31, 2022

Quill and Cue (Season 4 Episode 34)

Quill & Cue is a subscription card service that inspires you to do something simple but impactful – send one handwritten card per month. The local company sends customers a cute blank card, envelope, stamp, and writing prompt every month.

“The idea is to spread unexpected joy,” says founder Alyssa Toft. “It inspires people to do something simple that impacts them: sending one handwritten card a month.”

Hear more about Alyssa’s inspiration on this Maker of Minnesota Podcast

Quill and Cue Podcast Transcript

Stephanie Hansen 0:12
Hello, everybody, and welcome to the makers in Minnesota podcast where we talk to cool people doing cool things. I’m talking to Alyssa Tov, today, and she is the founder of Quill and que. And Alyssa, I have a thing for paper. I owned a printing company. I love a handwritten note. I love a greeting card. I still every week, actually, as part of my gratitude practice for myself write handwritten notes. And I just love the idea for this business. So can you tell me exactly how Quill and Q works because it’s a subscription, subscription service for people that want to write handwritten notes. And I just think it’s so clever.

Alyssa Toft 0:51
Well, thank you, Stephanie. And you are like my target customer with the gratitude practice and the love for the notes. I love that. So yes, quilling Q is all about showing people how much they matter. And we do that through the magic of a handwritten note. So it like you mentioned, it’s a subscription service that inspires you to send one handwritten note a month, and it’s super simple, you sign up on quilling q.com. And then each month, you get this surprise letter writing kit. And it has a beautiful letterpress card, an envelope, a postage stamp, and then something called a cue card. So you know, if you already know who you want to send your card to that month, great. But if you’re stuck, and you like the idea of surprise, inspiration, that is where the cue card comes in, it has prompts that help you figure out who to send your card to and what to say. So, for example, that cue card might encourage you to send it to the hardest working person you know, or to someone who encouraged you to take a leap of faith or even a teacher who made an impact in your life, you know, perhaps years ago. And so the whole idea behind it is you know a lot of what you’re seeing with his gratitude and kindness practice and trying to get you thinking about and reaching out to people who might not know how much they mean to you. So then you write your note in your own handwriting, send it off, and then you get to imagine all that joy that you just sent out into the world.

Stephanie Hansen 2:12
It is a really simple, small thing to do. And I think I first started, I’ve always okay, so I was a salesperson, and I always every sale I closed. That was over a certain dollar amount. I wrote a handwritten note of thanks. And it was years later, when I was leaving the business and going to start my own company, an old client reached out to me and said, Oh, I’m going to be so sad to not get your handwritten notes. They said you were one of the only people that ever did that. And I always remembered that about you. And then later on, I had cancer and a friend of mine sent me a card a week. And it was a really unintrusive way to let me know, he was thinking about me, the cancer went on for, you know, a couple of years because I was in treatment for a long time. And I just have always remembered how those things made me feel. And for some reason, it’s not that the words that someone says to me Don’t make me feel good, because they do. But I remember more of the handwritten stuff.

Alyssa Toft 3:15
Oh, absolutely. And that is just something that I’m such a big believer in, there is something about a handwritten note that makes the message makes the word stick, it makes it feel more permanent. You know, I think about compliments, like you said, compliments you might receive or nice messages, if they’re in tax, or they’re, you know, an email or even even if they’re verbally said to you, a lot of those can, can end up being sort of fleeting, you know, we don’t? Well, I mean, you know, we usually don’t go back through our text messages and try to find a nice text message that was sent to us or go through our emails to try to find that nice email. But what we do do is we keep handwritten notes, we stumble upon them, we reread them, it brings back all those good emotions, it’s sort of this more permanent way to have a really meaningful connection.

Stephanie Hansen 4:05
I absolutely agree. So you started this during the pandemic as a way to like, create connections for people. And it’s, it’s just, it’s a great idea. How do you actually like execute it, like, tell me the basics of how it works?

Alyssa Toft 4:21
Sure. So I am actually a lawyer and I had been working as a lawyer sort of at the time this idea came to me so I don’t necessarily I mean, I don’t have a background in you know, letterpress design or the greeting card industry or anything along those lines. But as far as the mechanics go, because I don’t have that background with design and greeting cards. I work with a different letterpress studio every month to select the card for that month. So it’s honestly been one of the best parts of this job is getting to talk with these different letterpress artists and owners learn about their process. They’re so passionate about what they do. They’re really taking this old art for warmth and keeping it alive through what they do. And so that’s been a real joy. So anyways, I’ll work with letterpress shops to figure out which card I’m going to be featuring In which month. And that’s just a matter of ironing out those details with them. And then the other step is the cue cards themselves. And I primarily write the cue cards myself, and then get them printed at a local print shop, get the envelopes printed at a local print shop. And then I select a postage stamp that, you know, I feel coordinates with the card and the whole letter writing kit for the month.

Stephanie Hansen 5:33
And you’re obviously I mean, I’m sure getting rich would be great. But you’re obviously not doing this to get rich, you’re doing this to sort of it’s like your community work, I guess, as it were your way to give back if you subscribe. So it’s $8 a month to get the package that inspires you with the cue card to write your handwritten note. And if you’re like me, then you’d write a couple because why wouldn’t you? And then each month you get this subscription that helps you to be more thoughtful? What kind of people are you finding are subscribing to your service? Like, what’s the target market?

Alyssa Toft 6:07
Yeah, so Stephanie, and I was I was just going to clarify the subscription is now 950 a month. So just like with everything, you know, prices are changing. So I wanted to clarify that. But the target customer is really a wide range. And I did customer interviews last summer and was really interested to see the diverse group that I have a subscriber so all have millennials, to empty nesters to grandparents. Um, and it’s the other sort of themes, I guess, that I heard coming up was Journalers. You know, you talked about gratitude practice people who enjoy writing, of course, or feel that they express themselves better in writing. Also, people who just care about being intentional, was another theme that emerged. The other theme that I saw was people whose parents were excellent or frequent note writers, and they were sort of carrying on that tradition. And I also heard from people who were motivated by the death of someone so you know, perhaps they lost someone, and it was this moment of crushing never let that person know how much they meant to me. And so this was, you know, quilling QA, I think can be a way, like I said, to reach out to people that you maybe haven’t or maybe never would have otherwise, you know, if you hadn’t been prompted to do that, when you

Stephanie Hansen 7:27
think about those connections that you’re helping people make and the gratitude or just the paying it forward, I guess, as it were, how does that make you feel? Because I mean, not that being a lawyer isn’t great, because my sister’s a lawyer, and I was a salesperson, but I always kind of felt like is what I’m taking out of the world as important as what I’m putting into it. You know what I mean? I felt a little solace sometimes.

Alyssa Toft 7:52
Yeah, I just love what I am doing right now. Um, it’s, you know, there’s obviously parts of it, like even assembling the packets and things like that. But it’s like, when you put those out into the world, I love imagining people getting their packets, and then having that joy. And those notes continue to spread out into the world. Like it just, it really is just the best feeling for me.

Stephanie Hansen 8:16
I can imagine. And I’m really excited about it. And, again, I love that you are choosing like printed materials and local shops. And it’s just, it’s a really great idea. It’s Quilon que it’s 950 a month, forget to subscribe. And I’m looking forward to becoming a new subscriber for you. Because I just read about it. I was like, Oh, this is a great idea. And again, I’m pretty good about doing this on my own. But I like the idea of a supporting you be like, what’s that paying it forward into the world? Right? So even though this is already in my personal practice, if I help support you, then maybe that’ll help support others. And you can you give it as a gift?

Alyssa Toft 8:59
Yes, absolutely. There are gift subscription options, which is really nice for birthdays, holidays. Sometimes just if you have a friend who likes doing this sort of thing, you know, it’s a nice little surprise for them. And it’s fun because they get a packet every month to you know, like that’s obviously the fun part of a subscription. Is that it really is every month that they get it they have the chance to think about you too.

Stephanie Hansen 9:21
Yeah, I love it. It’s quilt and q.com Thank you so much Alyssa, for talking with us about this. I can’t wait to release this podcast, and put more handwritten notes into the world.

Alyssa Toft 9:34
I love it. Thank you so much, Stephanie. Thank you. We’ll talk soon. Sounds good. Thank you.

Stephanie Hansen 9:38
Bye bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai