Snail Mail Storytelling

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Hi, my name is Alex Kurkowski. In 2018, I started attending Rice University as an MBA candidate. Already equipped with a career in the pharmaceutical industry and now maintaining a new MBA workload proved to be a tall task. I noticed that all my free time started to slip away, and so did a lot of my relationships with friends and family. To keep in touch, I started mailing them epistolary (literary/artisanal work in the form of letters) style illustrations. I would draw pictures in story form and snail-mail them out to loved ones piece by piece over time. Imagine a comic or any book with images being taken apart page by page and then those pages snail-mailed out one by one throughout weeks or even months! For my friends and family, it was always a way to stay connected and create fun, personalized stories so that they could look forward to checking their mailboxes every day. My family and friends always enjoyed these stories because they were always goofy, consistently sent over time, and they were always drawn as the main characters in their own personalized “mailbox movie.”

For example, I sent the first two to my brother and mother when I started at Rice. The story about my brother was based on a running joke they shared about a trip to see the Kansas City Chiefs training camp in Wisconsin; my then-teenage brother asked tight end (Tony Gonzalez) to autograph his ball while fake crying about having come all the way from Houston to get his signature. The one to my mom referenced one of her nicknames: “Queen Mamadala,” a play off of Queen Amidala from Star Wars.

After telling a few friends at school what I was doing, they suggested I turn my hobby into a business, so I decided to start Tellinga. Tellinga (like telling a story) is a Houston, TX-based start-up that creates personalized hand-drawn greeting cards that tell your story through snail mail. Story recipients receive illustrated stories about themselves based on unique preferences. It can be fun, dramatic, thoughtful… anything!

Here’s how it works:
1. Select your story length (options-one day, one week, two weeks, or one month)
2. Upload a photo and add a description of your desired story (you can reminisce a memory from your past or create a brand new story)
3. Our team of talented illustrators and artists will start working on your story
4. A few days later, the designated recipient of the story will start receiving unique hand-drawn greeting card-sized illustrations every other day in their mailbox until the package ends

There are three reasons why I decided to start Tellinga.

1. First, we live in such a digital world these days as we are always emailing, text messaging, and following each other’s social media accounts. Things such as traditional mail have somewhat been forgotten and for those that still frequently check the mail are often disappointed by the number of bills or junk mail. Tellinga offers a way to tap back into the tangible and traditional by providing a product that you can touch and feel on a deeper level rather than staring at another screen. It provides that old level of eagerness and anticipation of looking forward to checking your mailbox every day. It is the same exciting feeling of when you were exchanging letters of a pen pal or loved one growing up, looking forward to that new edition of your favorite magazine, or the expectation of receiving a greeting card from a loved one. The goal is to provide an extremely personalized gift that brightens a loved one’s day by delivering little hand-drawn story surprises in their mailboxes. It gives people the chance to be a character of their own mailbox story sent out piece by piece.

2. Second, greeting cards for lack of a better word, suck. They are templated without any real personalization or meaning. Messages are usually generic, lame, and flat out cheesy. Greeting cards also provide zero additional benefits. Sure, maybe you put one up on your fridge for a week, but nobody truly enjoys it. People usually receive a greeting card, fake smile, say “thank you,” and toss it out when nobody is looking. Why? It’s because there is zero additional use because it lacks meaning and feeling. Lastly, you only receive greeting cards one time in one given situation. I honestly don’t know how they have survived this long. Tellinga is the perfect solution to these problems. Telling a offers 100% personalization/customization allowing the customer to have whatever they want. Messages are told in story form, which is more heart-felt and personalized than standard templates. Tellinga also provides additional uses including Framing, putting on your refrigerator, set as the profile picture on your social media pages, and you can even create your own reusable storybook for your coffee table or book collection. Lastly, you receive Telling a hand-drawn cards over some time to enjoy multiple times rather than just the one occurrence. It’s where greeting cards meet storybooks!

3. Lastly, I wanted to start Telling a to deliver a new platform for young and eager artists to express themselves artistically while pursuing a path of personal and economic prosperity. Currently employing 25 talented artists from across the nation, Telling a is providing younger artists a chance to demonstrate their hard-earned art degrees by sending 100% hand-drawn storybook greeting cards as unique gifts by snail mail

Thanks for telling our story now let us help you tell yours. Your mailbox isn’t dead – it’s more alive than ever! Start your story today at


Positive Phil Podcast
About the Author
Positive Phil is a motivational keynote speaker & start-up consultant. Focusing on revenue generation & new business acquisitions. Founder & CEO @Audio inc. Business developer since age 12. Public Company Start up CEO, $investor -Public speaker #podcaster #motivator Enjoying life.

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