Spotlight: Punkpost Updates an Old Communication Method


With all of the options for electronic communications, the idea of sending handwritten cards can seem a little old-school. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t situations where that personal touch would be welcome.  That’s why Punkpost aims to sort of mix the old school idea of handwritten cards with newer technology like mobile apps.

Read more about Punkpost in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What Punkpost Does

Creates custom handwritten cards.

Alexis Monson, co-founder of Punkpost, told Small Business Trends, “Punkpost is an app that, through our network of handwriters, helps you send handwritten cards as easily as sending a text. You devise the message, we take care of the chores, and the recipient gets pure handwritten awesomeness.”

Business Niche

Offering a truly unique way of communicating.

Monson says, “We think that people still want to feel that human touch that robots, emails and texts can’t deliver. There’s an unspoken truth from a handwritten greeting card that people aren’t willing to part with. ‘You matter to me.’ ‘I thought of you.’ ‘I took trouble to share with you this thing I like.’ This is what our writers’ network help us create making each card really unique.”

punkpost founders

How the Business Got Started

A small handwritten card.

Co-founder Santiago Prieto used to travel a lot for his previous job. During one of his business trips, Monson, his wife, sent him a greeting card with a handwritten message.

Monson explains, “This experience got him thinking about ways of making such handwritten greetings part of our everyday lives. Greeting cards are still the best type of communication to amplify and affirm your emotions. And, ironically, thanks to Facebook, handwritten cards are more relevant than ever because we’re more connected than ever.

“An idea of an app that saved time on going to the store, getting stamps, writing and mailing a card was a great start. However, prototype testing clearly showed that simply automating the process wasn’t going to work.

“So, we also started building a community of writers who could make each message look like a little piece of art and launched our app in 2015 that made it as easy to send those pieces of art as sending text messages.”

Biggest Win

A successful launch on Product Hunt.

Monson says, “We’ve been lucky enough to get a pretty large number of press hits since our app launched on the App Store. But we saw a clear difference in the chain of events that occurred after our debut on Product Hunt, mostly in the way of lots and lots of downloads. We got 260+ upvotes, we saw 10 times more downloads than we had the previous day, and we were able to stay on the main page the entire day, which felt like a huge success in itself. But the biggest value that we saw from our feature came from the Product Hunt community. Their thoughtful and thorough feedback helped us refine out offering — which for any startup should be just as important as driving downloads.”

Biggest Risk

Leaving their stable jobs to start the company.

Monson says, “We truly believe that to make a new business take off you need to focus all of your energy on it and feel confident in your choice.”

punkpost card

Lesson Learned

Do lots of testing.

Monson explains, “When Punkpost first launched, we got a really good piece of press that gave us over 600 downloads on our first day … Unfortunately, the app was crashing left and right. So it was this weird excitement of people checking out the app, but not being able to check out the app … We realized that we should have tested the app a lot more before launching it and got back to work that same day to introduce a quick update with the needed fixes.”

How Punkpost Would Spend an Extra $100,000

Growing the writer’s community.

Favorite Quote:

Monson says, “This quote from Patti Smith actually describes the Punkpost spirit really well: she said that punk rock for her is about “the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are.””

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program.

Images: Punkpost; Second Image: Santiago Prieto and Alexis Monson, co-founders of Punkpost

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.