Courtesy of Kate Wiggins
It started ten years ago with a disappointing trip to the mailbox. "I realized it was all bills and junk and got a little sad," says Kate Wiggins. "Then I quickly realized, well I don't send out any good mail, so it makes sense that there's only bills and junk coming in."
She resolved to make other people's mailboxes happier places, sending a handwritten note to someone every day of 2012. "I love to drop a New Year's resolution as much as anybody, but I actually completed that one, and it was so fulfilling," says the Southport, North Carolina resident. "It was such a delightful experience to reconnect with people that I hadn't been in touch with in a long time. I also sent letters to people I worked with and saw every day. It ran the gamut."
Some folks wrote back, others didn't. But Wiggins found that it was gratifying to send snail mail regardless, and she continued her practice long after her resolution had been achieved. She realized too that there were some barriers to old-school communication; texting, for instance, didn't require a trip to the post office to buy stamps. Eager to make sending a little love via the post as easy as possible, she launched Sugar & Kiki, a postcard subscription service that provides everything you need to dash off some snail mail. (Kate's nickname is Kiki, and her dog's name is Julia Sugarbaker, after the Designing Women character of the same name--Sugar for short.)
Courtesy of Kate Wiggins Kate Wiggins with her dog, Sugar
"A postcard is a great entry point for those folks who feel a little overwhelmed by the prospect of being a snail mailer," says Wiggins. "I like to think that with postcards, they're complete at any length: You can write two words; you can squeeze in two paragraphs. "It's just a quick, 'Hey, I'm thinking of you' that really has an out-sized impact on the recipient."
For $9.95 a month, subscribers receive four postcards, four stamps, and a note-writing tip. The postcards are a mix of original designs, licensed artwork, and postcards sourced from other makers. Whenever new subscribers sign up, Wiggins asks them to share a little about themselves and their interests so that she can thoughtfully curate each month of postcards. "I get great lists from people," she says. "Maybe they love '80s movies, or they're obsessed with coffee, or they want to have at least one 'get well soon' card a month." If they don't like one of the postcards that they're sent, they can always trade it for a new one (though she notes that nobody has taken her up on it yet). That's because Sugar & Kiki is in the business of spreading joy.
"I talked to a woman whose mother had bought a subscription and passed away a few months later," says Wiggins. "As we were connecting and I transferred the subscription over to the daughter, she told me, 'My mom decided to reach back out to high school friends that she had totally fallen out of contact with, and it just makes me so happy to know that in the last months of her life, she was able to reconnect with people who had been really important in an earlier chapter of her life.'"
And after the past year and a half, when the COVID-19 pandemic left so many feeling isolated and alone, human connection is more important than ever, says Wiggins.
"We can't always rely on the easy ways to connect with each other, like running into somebody in the grocery store," she says. "Putting pen to paper shows a real intention behind the desire to connect. There's something special about receiving something tactile and lasting."
WATCH: What to Write in a Baby Shower Card