Do you remember the smell of a letter? The process of stripping the side of the envelope open, careful not to damage the letter, followed by reading, and re-reading it before meticulously shelving it somewhere safe? All that’s left of this concept now is just nostalgia.
But thanks to The Indian Handwritten Letter Co. (TIHLC), who have refused to let go of letter writing, are doing everything they can to keep this ship sailing.
“A friend’s friend, my co-founder, and I bonded over the idea of writing letters at a random party. And we ended up starting a small blog offering to write letters for people. In about a month, a lot of people wanted us to write for them— they wanted different handwritings, stationery and we were pleasantly surprised. Then we pushed the envelope, literally, and were convinced that this is a product well in demand,” says Anubhav Ankit, the founder of TIHLC who along with Jashwanth Cheripally started this initiative in January 2016.
What do they do? They write letters – you need one written and don’t have the time? Are you stuck finding that perfect word? Never thought writing an apology letter can be so tricky? Well, they’ve got you covered. Ankit understands that India is obsessed with written communication and loves letters. But with increasingly busy days, people are either not finding the time, or have opted for instant messages and emails instead for the sake of convenience.
So when we have electronic means, why even bother? Because feels! Ankit feels there are two reasons that have heavily contributed to the success of TIHLC: “when there are easier and cheaper ways to get a message sent across, why even bother doing it yourself. And secondly, there is always koi kar raha hai, inse hi kara lete hain logic, which is what companies like Ferns ‘n’ Petals rely on. It’s obvious that you, the sender, can bake a better cake but you don’t question it because the gesture matters more than how it tastes. Similar is our case. We offer multiple styles, multiple formats, and the best part – the headache is ours.”
TIHLC is based in Bengaluru where they have a core team assisted by volunteers. And between them, they are equipped to do multiple fonts, styles, languages (more than nine), and most importantly, the will to invest the required time.
But how can someone else write a letter on someone else’s behalf? Well, you’re in for a surprise. “We do general correspondence, cover letters, resignations, apologies and even school applications for leave, but aashiqon ki chhithhiyaan jitni hain, utna kuch nahi hai. People love to express and we offer the bandwidth,” quips Ankit.
While clients in the metropolitan cities know exactly what they want which makes it a walk in the park for TIHLC, Tier-II clients are tricky.
“Love letters are the trickiest. They just request us for one. We have to explain to them that if we write a letter to your love interest, the letter will really be from our side. So we ask them to give us pointers; jotting down what they feel. We then draft it properly and send it to the client for approval. We make required corrections, re-write the final version and ship it out. It is a collaborative process – we can improve a draft given to us, and they give the final nod,” explains Ankit. And in this world where world’s biggest organizations are not being able to keep data safe, TIHLC, by policy, deletes all data within three weeks to make sure nothing gets leaked and misused.
Ankit shares quite a lot of interesting requests that they get. This one incident where a 10-year-old requested TIHLC to basically put her life back in order is particularly heart-warming: “Hey Guys, My mother is never home when I come back from school and that is why I never get hot lunch. Can you please write a letter to her employer asking them to leave her quickly?”
Ankit and his team were obviously in a fix. They reached out to the mother who said that her boss is a really nice man and if they really intended on honoring her daughter’s request, they could go ahead. So they wrote a letter to the mother’s boss and voila! Now, this 10-year-old gets to have her lunch with her mother, every single day. They wrote the letter on behalf of the child, and the boss agreed. The gracious peeps of TIHLC did this one particular thing for free, of course.
TIHLC helps corporates too. If you were to get an appreciation note from your senior at work, would you prefer a mail or a handwritten letter? Don’t bother. We know your choice, and so does TIHLC. Besides personal and professional letters, they are now slowly turning into a full-fledged content solution place. “Some of the people have taken this a step further and are asking us to do their office job. You know like requesting for a draft to send to the GM, or to make power point presentation, we’re now doing everything.” And this is working for them because their services are affordable, and response time is really quick. And what’s next? In their upcoming release, they have plans to launch templates and help text on their website that will help everyone who is feeling stuck.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it is. And if you’ve been struggling with that one MOST IMPORTANT communication, you now know where to head!