The month of April harbors many celebrations – Earth Day, Poetry Week, and the ever-popular Rubber Eraser Day – but did you know it’s also National Letter Writing Month? YAH. It’s something we put a lot of stock into . . . ALMOST as much as Suzy.
Suzy is the whimsical ginge in charge of TAY HAM’s orders and shipping. She loves all things paper, packaging and postage. She literally gasps with pleasure every time the USPS shows up. If NLWM were an Olympic sport, Suzy would bring home gold in every category.
Today marks Suzy’s 21st card of the month in Write_On's annual 30-cards-in-30-days challenge. It took the promise of three Siamese kittens and a blackberry Italian soda to lure her away from her roll top writing desk, so please enjoy the following interview, and accept our sincerest apologies in advance for lack of kittens and soda.
What does writing a letter mean to you?
Everybody is used to just getting bills and junk mail so it’s like a personalized, special something that can make someone’s day and all it took was time and a stamp. It’s a small gesture with a big impact.
Did you always write letters?
I’ve always really liked cards, but I didn’t start buying them obsessively until the last 10 years.
Tell us about your card-writing worst nightmare.
When I get the saddest is if I send something and it gets marked "Return to Sender" because then it’s been cancelled several times and you have to get a new envelope, new postage, new current address and people think the card inside isn’t cute when they get it late.
We hear you've got some stamp secrets. Spill.
The only real secret I have is that not a lot of people know you can still use vintage postage. You just have to make today’s postage out of the stamp’s worth. As long as it matches our postage, it’ll still go through the mail. So then the card is personalized, the message is personalized, and the stamps, because it’s really hard to personalize an envelope.
Do you consider yourself a stamp collector?
No, because I don’t seek out first prints and stuff like that. I have some in full sets because I want to keep them. I think they’re so pretty as a sheet.
What’s the deal with Forever stamps? Are they really FOREVER??
They’re supposed to be. So, if I bought some 5 years ago, and they say Forever, they should still be good today. That’s how they got people to start buying stamps again. People didn’t want to buy a roll of 100 stamps and then have to buy extra three-cent stamps to send mail when the price went up a month later.
The card Suzy needs most often says what?
My first instinct would be something like, FUCK OFF!
That reminds me! You have a line of Dirty Little Love Notes! Tell us about them.
I don’t know. I love tiny things, I love cards, I love cursive and I love curse words. It’s all the things together. I like that they look super sweet, but then they’re funny, or dirty, or inappropriate. And also, I get to see people buying them. Like seeing all ages and their responses. Like, old grandpas reading them and dying laughing. That was the scariest when I saw old people reading them. I thought they were going to yell at me, and then, they love it.
How do you come up with content?
Everything. Things people say, memes, pick up lines. Anything.
What are some of your favorite card brands? Start with your most favoritest (wink, wink).
I like that they're funny and relevant and not specific to a holiday or event. Like, just that they could mostly be given to anyone at anytime is pretty unique! Cards are usually so specific that they box you in, but Tay Ham cards are super universal. On a design level, I love that instead of using a font catalog, Taylor hand-draws and designs her own fonts every time! I only studied a couple years of graphic design in college, but I always felt like fonts play a huge part in a design and to be able to create and mix them is really cool.
Which TAY HAMs do you like most? Why?
Straight Up is like the most classic. I think it’s the strongest fonts. I like mixing cursive with other fonts. And you could give it to so many people for so many occasions.
Frida I love because I’m on the flipside, it’s really colorful, and also, she’s so recognizable and well loved, but also unique.
And Dip, duh, because guacamole is the best, avocados are the best, and it also reminds me of high school dances. That song – are you kidding me?
It’s two ladies in California. They’re hand-pressed and based out of an Oakland farmhouse with a Lemon Tree! I just like that instead of digital fonts it looks written. And they cross things out and embrace their mistakes. They’ll write a list and cross something out and they’ll leave the cross out. I normally don’t like messy-sloppy, but there’s something about it. Writing letters is about that handwritten touch, so it’s not like email, it’s a human being who thought something out and wrote it down and now it’s a thing.
It’s a very nature-and-adventure-based card line. The attention to detail, the collections of things – it’s very outdoorsy and cozy. I mean, sandwiches, that little hacky sack! C’mon! And I think they look more like art than a greeting card, you know? It’s like tiny pieces of art. They’re the ones that make me feel the coziest inside.
I mean, she’s just fucking amazing. She’s such a badass. Her little naked people – that’s not very me aesthetic-wise, but the colors are good and she’ll just draw a little cute blob and add a cute saying. She doesn’t box herself in. I mean, the burrito on the burrito card is filled with X’s and O’s! And the burrito has a face! And I feel like she embraces, like, “I’m gonna squish you ‘til you’re dead!” She just loves everything so hard.
What’s the best advice you can give to the average letter writers out there?
Be thoughtful. Don’t do it begrudgingly you have to want to do it and want to brighten someone’s day. You don’t need special reasons to send a greeting. Most people just think of a thank you card, or an invitation, but you can send fun mail any time! I think the 30 letters in 30 days is a little harder for a lot of people, but if you really break it up, it’s just one letter a day. And it’s special, so everyone should try.
In conclusion, is working with Tay Ham fulfilling a life-long dream/fetish of yours?
Um, did you see the cover letter that I wrote?! It said, “I’VE LOVED CARDS MY WHOLE LIFE, I STILL LOVE CARDS, AND NOW I LOVE CARDS EVEN MORE!!”
We got a live one here, folks.