10 Great Tips to Master the Art of Handwritten Notes from Elizabeth Upchurch of Fresh Ink
Sharing thoughtful sentiments to express appreciation, affection or even to extend a thank-you can mean much more by taking the time to write and send a handwritten note. In a time when text messages, emails and social media posts are a primary form of written correspondence, it is still nice to receive a lovely, handwritten note.
Elizabeth Upchurch, Proprietor of Fresh Ink, a stationery store with a dash of southern flair, shared her thoughts with Jenny Cox Holman,
Lifestyle|Travel Editor of Mississippi Matters, about meaningful ways to master the art of a handwritten note in a creative and memorable fashion.
Elizabeth, as a connoisseur of creativity and written words, how do you desire to serve the community with services at Fresh Ink to celebrate the art of the handwritten note?
One of our goals is to help clients create custom stationery that inspires them to write. They are excited to pull out their beautiful stationery and write and send a note to a friend.
In a time when handwritten notes are lost in easy access to social media posts, text messages and emails, why do you think it is important to take the time to write a note?
If you want to stand out from the crowd, send a personal note. If you want to create a memento that people will keep, send a hand written note.
Handwritten notes don't have to be drab or boring or even overtly feminine, so what are some options for the social media savvy generation that are trendy and hip? For those with traditional taste, what stationery or memos create the look and feel that is classic?
Younger clients have circled back to pretty note pads and paper goods for keeping on task with work or life. Our industry is full of creatives who have exploded on social media, and the younger generation comes in to see their newest products. For clients that prefer a more traditional product, a beautiful creation from Crane or William Arthur is ideal, and we also find many customers embracing letter sheets again for penning more than a 3 sentence note.
What are some of your tips about writing a good note? Length and timeframe to send it?
When you are in a season of life where you have many notes to write (i.e. wedding, baby, sympathy) we feel 3-4 sentences is sufficient. Express gratitude for the specific action, make a point to mention how you will use the gift or were impacted by the gift, and a closing sentence as a nod to a future action (getting together, seeing someone soon). When you are writing just the occasional note, try to include as many personal details as you can, and you may have room for more than a few sentences.
Besides custom stationery, what types of self inking stamps or custom options can a client use to jazz up their envelope?
A classic embosser will be used regularly to imprint your return address, or a pretty inking stamp will see lots of use, too. We also have fallen in love with lining envelopes for a punch of color and style. It’s an easy DIY touch as well once you know the basics.
Now that our generation has become so accustomed to typing and texting, do you offer classes to brush up on skills in penmanship such as basic calligraphy?
Something as simple as a good pen that makes your hand comfortable will do wonders for your penmanship. But we do also work with several calligraphers who come in and teach classes for those who want to learn the basics to get started with pretty lettering.
Men typically think that writing notes is quite feminine, so what type of paper and stationery is masculine and well-suited for business men?
Younger men may sigh at the responsibility of writing thank you notes, but as people mature, and men in particular, we find that they realize what treasures letters from the men in their life are. They start to realize that sentiments put on paper are often heard many years after they were said. Correspondence cards are appropriate for me, but also folded half sheets for longer letters.
Do you have any advice for college graduates or those interviewing for a new job and following up with a thank you note?
Always do it; we regularly hear it makes a huge impression in professional circles.
Do you recommend certain types of pens to avoid smudging a finished, well-thought-out note?
The perfect pen is a very personal choice. We carry a wide variety from casual felt tip pens to brass fountain pens, and we enjoy helping a client in selecting a writing instrument that will inspire them to write.
Thinking back on handwritten notes of which you've been the recipient, what makes those memorable ones stand out to you?
We are so graciously blessed with clients that actually send us thank you notes for helping them with their special event - whether it’s selecting wedding invitations or working on a big project. Each and every one of them is such a treasure. Probably our most memorable one was from Jenna Bush Hager, former first daughter, who wrote to thank us for a stationery set we created as a gift when she spoke at the Sanderson Farms Golf Tournament. To think of how busy she is, and her travel and personal schedule, that she took the time to send us a note of appreciation; it really shows that her parents raised her right!
Blog by: Jenny Cox Holman
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