South Dakota sisters launch handwritten card business
By JIM HOLLAND
Nov. 27, 2017
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Who would have expected a pair of young women — millennials assumed to be consumed in the era of social media — to get so nostalgic for sending handwritten greeting cards and letters?
OMG! R U kidding me?
All kidding aside, Leah Nixon of Rapid City and her sister, Grace Nixon Peterson, now living in Florida, indeed belong to the generation which can tap out a text faster with two thumbs than most can type with 10 fingers. But you're just as likely to catch them applying a postage stamp to an envelope with a handwritten letter or card and dropping it into a mailbox.
"I think it's something my mom raised me with," said Grace, 31. "You send a handwritten thank-you note. You express in words what someone means to you. We grew up knowing this is something important to do."
That love of personal expression was powerful enough for the two siblings, daughters of Bob and Glenda Nixon of Rapid City, to launch their own business dedicated to helping others experience what parents and grandparents have known all along, the joy of real correspondence: a handwritten and personalized card or letter.
"When I see a photo printed out and something in someone's handwriting, I think this is just so special. It's way more amazing than seeing a text message," said Leah, 28.
On Oct. 18, Grace and Leah introduced their first release of greeting cards and custom stationery under the name of Tiny and Snail.
Their Signature Collection, a 22-piece line of custom stamps, card and stationery sets, features original illustrations from both women, the Rapid City Journal reported .
"We really want our cards to be an interaction between us and the senders and allow them to partake in this magical process of sending meaningful mail," Grace said.
Ironically, the women so enamored with old-fashioned correspondence rely entirely on modern e-commerce to market their brand of nostalgia. At least for now, their cards and stationery are available online at tinyandsnail.com, with links also found on Instagram and Facebook.
"I love technology so much," Grace said. "It allows us to have this business online and to reach anyone. It's a meld of old and new."
Grace divides the year between New York and Florida with her husband, a golf professional, and Tiny and Snail is her full-time occupation. Leah pitches in evenings and weekends after working her day job, building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
They hope to eventually market their products wholesale through stores and set up parties where people can gather, pick out envelopes and make cards for their friends.
Grace's initial foray into greeting cards started with her attempt to hand-paint individual cards until she encountered problems with her wrist.
"I actually ended up ruining my hand doing that. I gave myself a repetitive stress injury because I was doing so much detail work," she said.
Her sister stepped up to help. Leah, who studied art at Washington University in St. Louis and learned web design on her own, helped produce digital files of the original art for high-quality reproduction by a printing firm in Florida.
Inspiration for their company name, Tiny & Snail, came from a comic drawn by the young daughter of family church friends.
The names were a perfect fit. Tiny refers to Leah's trendy tiny home she built in Kentucky and recently moved to Rapid City, where she works for Black Hills Habitat for Humanity.
"Leah's tiny and I've been into snail mail for as long as I can remember," Grace said. "It sounds like a law firm so that's extra hilarious."
Their first collaboration came while Leah was still attending St. Thomas More High School in Rapid City where she graduated in 2007.
Leah and Grace, a 2004 STM graduate, called themselves the Ladybug Ladies in a successful project to raise $100,000 for Habitat for Humanity.
"We really complement each other well," Leah said. "I think I'd want her as a business partner even if she wasn't my sister."
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com