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Snail Mail Story


Hi, my name is Alex Kurkowski.  In 2018, I started attending Rice University as an MBA candidate. Already equipped with a career, and now maintaining a new MBA workload proved to be a tall task. I noticed that all my free time started to slip away, and so did a lot of my relationships with friends and family. To keep in touch, I started sending them mail art stories. mail art, also known as postal art and correspondence art, is an artistic movement centered on sending small-scale works through the postal service. I would draw pictures in story form and snail mail them out to loved ones piece by piece over time. Imagine a comic or any book with images being taken apart page by page and then those pages snail mailed out one by one throughout weeks or even months! For my friends and family, it was always a way to stay connected and create fun, personalized stories so that they could look forward to checking their mailboxes every day. My family and friends always enjoyed these stories because they were always goofy, consistently sent over time, and they were always drawn as the main characters in their own personalized “mailbox movie.”

For example, I sent the first two to my brother and mother when I started attending Rice University. The story about my brother was based on a running joke we shared about a trip to see the Kansas City Chiefs training camp in Wisconsin; my then-teenage brother asked tight end (Tony Gonzalez) to autograph his ball while fake crying about having come all the way from Houston to get his signature. The one to my mom referenced one of her nicknames: “Queen Mamadala,” a play off of Queen Amidala from Star Wars. 


After telling a few friends at school that I was sending art stories through snail mail to friends and family, they suggested I turn my hobby into a business, so I decided to start Tellinga. Tellinga is the world's first personalized art subscription company and a revolutionary marketing channel that utilizes handcrafted cards as a new advertising medium while prioritizing philanthropy. Tellinga is supported by ads inserted into our envelopes, printed on our eco-friendly cards, and displayed on our digital prints. Every card shipped helps raise funds to fight Alzheimer's disease, support breast cancer research, or treat those impacted with PTSD.

Here's how it works:

  1. Select your story length (options-one part, three parts, six parts, or 12 parts)

  2. Upload a photo and add a description of your desired story (you can reminisce a memory from your past or create a brand-new story)

  3. Our team of talented illustrators and artists will start working on your story

  4. A few days later, the designated recipient of the story will start receiving unique hand-drawn postcard illustrations every week in their mailbox until the package ends. 


Tellinga started for four reasons:  

1.  We live in such a digital world these days as we are always emailing, text messaging and following each other’s social media accounts. Things such as traditional snail mail have somewhat been forgotten and those that still frequently check the mailbox are often disappointed by the number of bills or junk mail. Tellinga offers a way to tap back into the tangible and traditional by providing a product that you can touch and feel on a deeper level rather than staring at another screen. It provides that old level of eagerness and anticipation of looking forward to checking your mailbox every day. It is the same exciting feeling of when you were mailing letters with a pen pal or loved one growing up, looking forward to that new edition of your favorite magazine, or the expectation of receiving a greeting card from a loved one. The goal is to provide an extremely personalized gift that brightens a loved one’s day by delivering little hand-drawn story surprises in their mailboxes. It gives people the chance to be a character of their own mailbox story sent out piece by piece.

2.  Greeting cards for lack of a better word, suck. They are templated without any real personalization or meaning. Messages are usually generic, lame, and flat out cheesy. Greeting cards also provide zero additional benefits. Sure, maybe you put one up on your fridge for a week, but nobody truly enjoys it. When people usually receive a greeting card, they fake smile, say “thank you,” and toss it out when nobody is looking contributing to the world's paper pollution epidemic. Why? It’s because there is zero additional use because of its lack of meaning and feeling. Lastly, you only receive greeting cards one time in one occurrence or situation. I honestly don’t know how greeting cards have survived this long. Tellinga is the perfect solution to these problems. Tellinga offers 100% personalization/customization allowing the customer to have whatever they want. Messages are told in story form, which is more heartfelt and personal than standardized templates. Tellinga cards are created on 5"x 7" premium 32 pt thick greeting card-sized postcards with cool red edges, and provide additional uses including framing, putting on your refrigerator, set as the profile picture on your social media pages, and you can even create your own reusable storybook for your coffee table or book collection. Lastly, you receive Tellinga hand-drawn cards over time to enjoy multiple times rather than just the one and done occurrence. Tellinga is truly where greeting cards meet storybooks meet snail mail!

3.  Tellinga delivers a new platform for young and eager artists to express themselves artistically while pursuing a path of personal and economic prosperity. Currently employing 40 talented artists from across the nation, Tellinga provides younger artists a chance to demonstrate their hard-earned art degrees by sending 100% hand-drawn storybook greeting cards as unique gifts by snail mail.

4.  As an independently owned business, we have the freedom to support causes we believe in and to impact the world in a positive way. Giving back is important to us and we want to share that passion with you. Through the use of Semi-Postal or fundraising stamps on every card shipped, we’ve been able to help raise funds to fight Alzheimer's disease, support breast cancer research, and help treat those impacted with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Thank you for helping us do our part to improve the planet and support the people who live on it.

Thanks for reading our story now let us help you tell yours. The mailbox isn't dead - it's more alive than ever! Start your story today!

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