I don't normally post about past (or present) customers, but one thing that always tickles me pink is when we hear from an overseas bride or groom. We don't ship printed cards yet, but lots of couples have used our designs and just printed in their own country. A frequent lament we hear is "All the stationery over here sucks!". For them, 'sucks' generally means boring or traditional.
It feels kinda weird writing about a customer... I normally don't, I normally write about whatever fiddly things are going on in my brain. But today the fiddly things are how it truly is amazing to hear that you have helped someone. Sure, you've helped them through a commercial interaction—but is that not valid? Against some of my own fears and guilts, it seems like it is indeed valid.
I started A Printable Press during the beginning of the recession, to help out other people, and of course to earn a living for myself as well. Or rather, I didn't know it would be a living, I thought it would just be a little something on the side. That little side project turned into a full-time company in a flash, like a knock you over flash. Because, as it turned out, so many people wanted good design in a way they could afford. Not just wanted, but kind of needed.
I have had nigh-breakdowns about wanting to earn a living by doing good in the world, and feeling that I had fallen into a dreaded industry that convinces people they need to spend tons of money on a single day. That I was complicit in the era of making people think they need something, even if it racks up credit card debt.
But I am finally, finally, coming to believe that I am providing a service. A nice service, like nice as in being a nice person, doing nice things for people. Are pretty wedding invitations necessary to a wedding? No. You can email or do an online thing, or even call people or send a hand-written note. But people seem to have an inborn desire for prettiness, and an inborn eye for it too. People do not want to have to buy their stationery from Costco. And not everyone is a designer and can make all things by hand. Or have design programs.
It's not just a modern industry. The wealthy used to have calligraphers do each invitation by hand, gild the edges in fact (was it real gilding? I just realized that I don't know! What if it was! Holy crap). And have some guy in livery hand-deliver it, and then another guy would hop in their horse and carriage and return a hand-written reply. And you know what? These days, it's not just for those who can afford gilding.
I *think* I might actually and truly be doing something nice for the world. It's something other people have been trying to convince me of for 3 years, that I had accomplished that goal. Somehow, for some reason, it is today that I truly believe it.
Anyway, all of these fiddly thoughts came about because I received a note from a Facebook reader about their wedding in Ireland. Their location was the Royce estate, as in Rolls Royce, and Jo was kind enough to send a couple of pics.
Now, with that much gorgeousity, they are probably not in dire financial straits. But I bet they can't afford gilding either. And they certainly didn't like any of the stationery they found in Ireland. We made someone happy, happy to the point where she wanted to let us know about it. That we helped make things just a little more special.
Thank you Jo. You don't know it, but you pushed me over the hill of "Am I doing any good in the world?" to help me run down the other side into the fields of "I am making people happy!".
Xoxo to Jo,