Nick Berry, a Des Moines area business owner, has formed Thankably, a startup that focuses on handwritten thank you card services for small business and sales professionals.
Berry said that he first learned the importance of a well written thank you card when he took his first job after leaving the military. “My very first sales job was selling copy paper for an office supply company in a small town in west Texas. Dialing for dollars to find companies that wanted to buy pallets of paper. The guy who “trained” me on my very first day said, in the upper right hand drawer of your desk are three boxes, one is blank thank you cards, one is blank envelopes and the third is first class stamps. I don’t care if they buy a paperclip from you, the first time someone buys from you, you stop what you’re doing and you send them a thank you card.”
15 years later, Berry becomes Facebook friends with a retail wholesaler who was sending thank you cards to all of his customers and was looking for a service that would send out handwritten thank you cards for his wholesale company. “I reached out to him, found out what he was looking to pay, bought a pack of thank you cards, and timed myself on how long it takes me to write out the card, and envelope, attach a stamp, stuff it and seal it. I actually ended up doing it for an hour straight to see how many I could do with a 45 word template.” Berry said. “We agreed on a price and I had my first order of 35 cards. I reached out to the other sales people I know, and started getting feedback, and adjusting my thoughts based on what my customers were willing to pay for.”
Bulk mailings are cheaper than buying from Thankably, but Berry is not concerned. “I have found in my research handwritten envelopes get opened 15 times more than personalized printed mail, and response rates are 40 times more effective for handwritten versus bulk mail. I know our product is greatly more expensive than bulk mailings, but the response rate and relationship it builds I think makes up for the cost. Our value proposition over printed or bulk mail is it’s written by a human, and I have gotten samples from every alternative out there, and they all suck when you compare it to a human hand, and a pen.” said Berry.