Dear poetry lovers and purveyors of rhyme,
We at Postcard Poets wish you a Happy New Year! As the new year begins we’ve decided that our January 2013 mailing will be our last. This may seem like a sudden decision, but we’ve been preparing and thinking about it for the past couple of months- let us explain.
We started Postcard Poets in April of 2012. It was a collaboration between two grad students as an assignment for an entrepreneurship course taught by Gary Chou and Christina Caccioppo of Union Square Ventures. It’s been quite a journey and we have learned much more than we had imagined at the beginning.
To find out what this means for you as a current subscriber, please see the FAQs below.
As students we have learnt things about running a company that one can only learn by doing, that are not taught in schools and curriculums- that in itself has made the journey worthwhile. Not unlike all startups, we went in with our assumptions, and predictably as we grew, gained a better sense of the opportunities and constraints related to running a publishing service. We initially ran into some issues with the USPS which we’ve been able to sort out for the most part, but another challenge- those involving copyright and poetry selection have proven to be the biggest challenge. In the end, we realized that the service was actually much more dependent on partnerships than we had initially anticipated. To work well, it would require resources we currently do not have.
But it’s not all sadness and despair. It was and has been an experiment of sorts. In these past months, we’ve redesigned the website to incorporate your generous feedback and pull in new features to make it more flexible for you. Looking back, although the idea was compelling to us personally, we never expected the immense positive response it has received. There were people from all over the world writing to let us know how much they loved our idea and how it was something the world needed. Some used it to bring joy to their loved ones one poem at a time, some moulded our idea into a way for giving hope in times of tragedy and some just wanted to give us a try. In the beginning, we had agreed on our personal metrics of success- if we manage to bring joy and make a difference in even a few people’s lives, we would consider Postcard Poets a success- and a success it was. So, to all those that stood by us as we took our first steps into entrepreneurship and found our idea compelling enough to convey affection to their loved ones - thank you so much for being a part of this incredible ride.
And as is customary with every good ending- we close with a poem:
The End and the Beginning
After every war
someone has to clean up.
straighten themselves up, after all.
Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
and bloody rags.
Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.
Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.
We’ll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.
Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls the way it was.
Someone else listens
and nods with unsevered head.
But already there are those nearby
starting to mill about
who will find it dull.
From out of the bushes
sometimes someone still unearths
and carries them to the garbage pile.
Those who knew
what was going on here
must make way for
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.
In the grass that has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.
Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak
I’m a current monthly subscriber. What does this mean for me?
You will receive your final set of poems in January 2013. This is covered by the charge made to your credit card in December 2012. Effective January 1st, 2013, all recurring charges will cease.
I purchased a gift subscription for x number of months. What does this mean for me and my gift recipient?
Your gift recipient will receive their final set of poems in January 2013. This is covered by the last charge to your credit card in December 2012. Effective January 1st, 2013, your card will be credited the remaining unused balance, if any.
Can you tell me more about the challenges you faced with shipping?
It was quite a learning curve with the USPS- we faced a number of issues with regard to paper stock, shipping times, and tracking costs. We initially shipped poems on translucent vellum that was beautiful but very thin. The postcards often reached their owners after a rather long wait, sometimes mangled and even lost. A couple months ago, we switched to a heavier kraft cardstock, and that seems to have done the trick. Still, it would be ideal if we could track each and every postcard to ensure a timely and safe delivery. Unfortunately, that option is not sustainable at our current subscription price.
Can you tell me more about the challenges you faced with content curation/selection?
With highly copyright protected poems and our shoestring budget we had not accounted for quality loss from poems in the public domain. We know most of you wrote to us with an appreciation for the poems we sent out to you, how they moved you, but let this be known, we meant it to be even better. We also looked into how we could keep the content fresh (and legal!) by taking a more active role in finding upcoming poets or poetry groups to partner up with but realized that that route involved much more time and resources- more than we had available.
So, what happens to Postcard Poets now?
In the momentum that was brought about by some great companies and popular design blogs writing about us we never got a chance to evaluate our business practices and processes. This gives us the perfect chance to do that- although we are shut indefinitely, we are definitely open to suggestions and feedback and would consider possible tie-ups with poetry communities because we truly believe that if executed well it can bring a new and consistent source of recognition and earnings for old and upcoming poets alike.
We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Much love and gratitude,
Sana & Nikki