How 1000 Amazing Handwritten Notes Provided a Tangible Impact

How Startups growth hack handwritten notes


Handwriting Hacks: How 3 Startups Used Handwritten Notes to

  1. Engage Their Customers
  2. Build Customer Loyalty
  3. Surprise their Customers

The startup world moves at a lightning pace. Bigger is better and fast user growth is the name of the game. But when the goal is to grow rapidly, it’s easy to overlook things that could add even more value.

The “throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks” culture of growth hacking rewards creativity, speed and agility. But sometimes, real lasting growth comes from an unlikely source.

A number of startups have taken it back to basics, proving that offline can still play a key role in the digital world.

The simple act of putting pen to the page has helped them stand out from the crowd to leave a big impact on their customers.

handwritten thank you note by PENSAKITHE HANDWRITING IS ON THE WALL

Over a span of 8 years, South African start-up Yuppiechef sent over half a million handwritten thank you notes to their customers. What started as a single heartfelt ‘thank you’ to their first customer, quickly turned into a company-wide initiative. With every new order shipped, they included a personal handwritten thank-you note. This genuine expression of gratitude became a key point of difference for Yuppiechef. You could say it became their thing.

As they grew, so did the volume of handwritten notes and at one point they even had to hire people to write the cards! (with PENSKAI there is however another solution available.)

The handwritten notes represented a broader commitment to providing amazing customer service and on the back of this commitment, Yuppiechef achieved 300% year on year growth, despite spending very little on marketing.

“We do spend a little bit on marketing, but nowhere near what people imagine. A massive portion of our visitors come from word of mouth because people share positive stories and love telling others about their happy experiences,” Paul Galatis, Director, Yuppiechef

Source: handwritten postcards ﹒


On the other side of the Atlantic, fashion tech accessory startup Hex also decided to send their own handwritten thank you notes. 13,000 of them in fact. Competing against big brands like Tumi and Michael Kors, Hex needed to do something a bit different.

“The human element is key,” says Hex co-founder Trent Valladares. “As much as you can harness technology and use it, there still needs to be a personal connection, otherwise it’s just machines”

As reported by Micah Solomon in Forbes, this simple act can leave a lasting impression. This human touch is unexpected. And especially for online startups, such an act can have a powerful humanizing effect.

An effect that US-based crowdfunding platform Tilt knows all too well.

Tilt began sending handwritten notes to their users as a way of expressing their genuine thanks. Like Yuppiechef, it started simply enough, by sending a few handwritten notes out. A few turned into a hundred, two hundred, five hundred. One thousand notes later and Tilt became convinced of the value of handwritten notes.

In an interview with Gigaom, founder James Beshara notes many benefits. One of the main ones being that it humanizes your company.

According to Beshara, this personal touch gave the small startup a lot of goodwill with customers, especially when things on the service went wrong. That’s why they made real-world interactions a priority, including the additional social media bonus of thank-you cards.

It shows your customers that you are in fact a team of real people. It adds a human connection to an otherwise faceless company. For an online startup, this is particularly important.

And in humanizing your company, you make it easier to build personal connections with your customers. A reward that can pay off enormously, as Beshara notes.


“With running a startup, you’re going to have things go wrong…having the personal touch from the very beginning allows you to overcome certain experiences that go awry” says Tilt founder James Beshara.

Anyone who has spent any time in the business world knows that things go wrong. And when they do, you want to have customers that like you. Customers that feel they have a personal connection with you.


Because we tend to cut people we like a bit more slack. When things go wrong, we tend to give them the benefit of the doubt. We forgive them. This kind of connection can prove invaluable for startups.

But the process of building a personal connection must come from the right place. It must be genuine. It must represent a real desire to care about and connect with your customers.

Handwritten notes can certainly add value, but the real impact comes from something deeper.


Handwritten notes are an unexpected delight in a world of digital communication. The experience of opening a letter is memorable. Real ink on real paper. It cuts through the noise and clutter of emails, tweets and texts.

For a customer, it can stir the emotions. It can cause them to talk about it and to share it on social media. It can increase their connection with your company. It can build loyalty.

But, it is about more than the note itself. It is about what the note represents.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

A common theme in the mentioned startups is their why. Their reason for sending the notes. When you dig a bit deeper you see that they sent notes not simply for a shallow strategic gain, but rather because they wanted to genuinely express gratitude to their customers.

Make no mistake, handwritten notes have enormous benefits for your business. And Pensaki makes it easier than ever for you to build that emotional connection with your customers at scale. True lasting benefits in this thank-you economy come from a something deeper — a sincere desire to provide an amazing customer experience.