Growing connections, cultivating relationships, harvesting goodwill (OK, we’re out of farming metaphors)— The Letter Farmer, aka Rachel Brandzel Weil, can help your group do all three.
Based in Seattle, Brandzel Weil launched The Letter Farmer—a mobile paper, stationery and letter-writing business—in the summer of 2016. Brandzel Weil’s passion for letters runs deep—she is the former owner of Real Card Company and a veteran of the stationery industry. She says her mission is to help people “rediscover the fine art of handwritten correspondence.”
On the day we spoke with Brandzel Weil, she was sitting in her office tying bows on letter-writing packets to distribute in swag bags at a conference for women in technology. Attendees subsequently used the packages of special stationery to send letters of thanks to individuals who were inspirations to them. For another private event, she put together hostess gifts of stationery, inviting guests to write to a childhood friend who had an impact on their lives. At that event, she says, the very act of writing the letters spurred conversation and a deeper connection among the friends.
Brandzel Weil says handwritten letters offer an intimacy that other, more popular and convenient forms of written communication—such as email or text—can’t convey. Letters, she notes, ground you and preserve your personal history. For example, she says, some people have told her about not knowing much about their parents’ relationship before they were married, until they “read and observed the relationship through the letters they wrote to each other.”
Swag-bag packets come in a range of prices and can include custom stationery, pens, vintage postage and inspirational quotes. Brandzel Weil can also include letter-writing prompts, such as “Remember someone you cared for who has passed away” or “Share a recipe or a joke” with a friend. She can also help facilitate the exercise, explaining the intention and the desired outcome to your group or guests.
After the event or party, guests or conference attendees can shop at Brandzel Weil’s bright red truck for stationery, letterpress cards, letter prompts, postcards, pens (including glass dipping pens and ink) and vintage postage.
Handwritten correspondence can prove to be a powerful alternative for businesses and executives, but it requires forethought and, says Brandzel Weil, “mindfulness and presence.” But, when it comes to making a lasting impression, it’s worth it. “Our letters from the past are a way of tracking our stories and our humanity that is not preserved in digital communication,” she says.