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Postcard Pen Pals: An Origin Story

This blog post was taken from a recent newsletter publication. Normally, my newsletter is written exclusively for my subscribers, but this is a big day and a big story.

Today is a big day! It's the official launch day for my first ever tangible, physically-shipped storytelling product!

When I started down this new path of creating storytelling items that people could receive in the mail, I learned something about product design: what you create should help solve a problem in someone's life. Another way to look at it is, what positive change will this item produce?

As a storyteller, I looked at this design lesson and said: "Oh! It's a narrative arc! My customers are the hero(ines) of the story, who begin with a problem and through using what I design go on a journey towards a transformation".

So, on Pen Pal Postcards launch day, I give you the narrative arc that inspired the idea :)

It was the summer of 2020. Our oldest daughter Zuzu's kindergarten year was suddenly switched to remote learning, we had a toddler and I was pregnant, and my husband and I were scrambling to understand what it meant to be two arts-field gig workers supporting a family in a global pandemic. It was a struggle to keep up with everything, including Zuzu's academics.

Then my mom came up with an idea to help us help Zuzu practice her reading and writing. She would mail letters to Zuzu, and Zuzu could write back to her. They could be pen pals! It was brilliant, especially because our visits with each other were so limited. The letters not only helped Zuzu work on reading and writing skills, but they helped Zuzu feel connected to her grandma in a time of quarantine. Zuzu still keeps a stack of the letters in her desk drawer, and loves writing letters

This is the inspiration behind Postcard Pen Pals. I wanted to create something that people could use to inspire both creative writing and relationship building. It's my hope that there will be lots of little stacks of hand-written postcards tucked away in drawers like treasures, pulled out when a reminder of human connection and creativity is needed


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