It’s only natural that when I make my way to Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Target or any local boutique shop, I poke through the piles of stationery and stacks of note cards sitting on the shelves. I sometimes open the boxes to feel the envelopes and look at the variety of designs on the cards. Often, I fight the urge not to walk out of the store with yet another collection of writing paper. Honestly, it’s the last thing I need.
But, knowing that the vast majority of people don’t send handwritten letters, I often wonder: If I’m not buying these note cards and stationery, who is? Why is there so much stationery available, and why is letterpress popular? Who is feeding this market? I personally think stationery is beautiful; sometimes the artwork on it, especially the pressed pieces, is truly stunning and could be framed as a home accessory. But if stationery or note cards are being used for artwork, then why is it sold in boxes of ten, twelve or twenty?
As I wandered up and down the aisles of a shop the other day looking for a new pack of thank you notes (I was out … again), running my eyes over all the boxes of note cards, these were the questions I kept asking myself. I just can’t figure out who the snail mail stationery industry is selling to these days because that market share has shrunk to such a tiny sliver of people. Sometimes I poke around on Etsy at handmade note cards and I wonder the same thing. Why in the world would anyone get into the business of designing and trying to sell stationery? It isn’t like jewelry or scarves or even magnets. People use those things, and people in generations to come are also likely to buy and use those things, but stationery … ? I have to assume that going into the stationery business is something you do out of love, not for the likelihood of profit.