My name is Clare and I’m addicted to stationary.
I’m OBSESSED with fancy pens, notepads and greeting cards. It started when I was young; like most kids I thought the best part of going back to school was buying a new pencil case and all the bits to go in it and I’ve never really got over that. I like shopping for stationary, talking about stationary, using stationary and even reading about stationary. I love greeting cards and will happily spend £4.50 on the perfect birthday card. I’ll even watch people unboxing new planners and Filofaxes on YouTube (honestly, it’s really addictive) and I follow so many American planner fans on Instagram that my timeline is basically one long succession of girls debating the merits of PaperMate pens over Sharpies, interspersed with the occasional avocado.
But despite my love of cards, when I first read on their brilliant site that the craft and lifestyle blog A Beautiful Mess were launching a monthly subscription service of greetings cards and stationary, I have to admit my first reaction was “Monthly greeting cards? What a waste of money. #richpeopleproblems”. I just couldn’t see why anyone would ever want or need a pack of cards delivered to their door every month.
Then I watched a video that showed the contents of the first pack and I knew I had to sign up.
First of all, ABM Happy Mail is just so CUTE. Everything in the pack is so beautifully designed, I just can’t wait to send them out or frame my favourites. And I don’t know if this is because it’s American, but I like how all the designs are just so fun and friendly, without the irony that everyone in England loves so much.
I also think that, despite my original misgivings, its actually really good value. If you sign up to a 12 month commitment (which I obviously did) then it costs $15.00 a month plus $2.00 international shipping, paid by monthly Direct Debit. This works out to about £12-ish per month and ABM say you receive roughly $50.00 in cards and gifts. I think that’s about right. To give an example, here’s what I received last month with what I’d cheerfully pay for it in Paperchase or John Lewis:
5 ‘flat cards’ with envelopes = £7.50
3 folded cards with envelopes = £7.50
1 postcard = £1.00
1 mini “Hello My Name Is” notepad = £2.00
2 mini washi tapes on dispensers = £3.00
1 large A4 unframed art print = £10.00
Total = £31.00
That’s about $47.00 so bang on.
One thing I wasn’t sure about when I received the first pack were the ‘flat cards’- basically postcards with what would be written inside a card on the back, that you send in an envelope. I didn’t get how you’d display them if they couldn’t stand up on their own. Are they an American thing?? But! I soon realised that they were much easier to display for a long time: flat pics are better to frame nicely or put in a little wire cardholder (this “keeping and displaying treasured items forever” idea is very much in the spirit of the ABM blog, now I think about it 🙂 ).
As I mentioned above, there’s always a couple of gifts in with the cards as well, usually washi tape (I LOVE washi!), stickers or a notepad plus an original art print. The prints are beautiful- usually a quote or phrase on a graphic background. I’ve used a couple- “Create the things you wish existed” is on our sideboard framed on an old wooden clipboard I nicked from my old work and “Get to work” is my planner bookmark. They’re great to give as presents too, my writer friend really appreciated a framed Maya Angelou quote about creativity that I sent to her out the blue.
I’ve been receiving ABM Happy Mail for about 8 months now and I would totally recommend it. It’s fun, good value and it turns out it’s really handy to always have cards around, particularly if you’re as forgetful as me!
Has anyone else joined any subscription services? I know there’s loads about, 90% of my office seem to have signed up to Pact coffee. If anyone has any recommendations (Birchbox looks good) or just wants to chat stationary, let me know in the comments!