Today I'm talking about how a thank you note can change your life. These underrated little miracle workers should be a part of everyone’s lives. No matter what industry you’re in, or where you live, or who you are - a thank you note can go a long way.
“But Lena! I just had a job interview and I want to follow up… but I don’t want them to wait for snail mail. It may look rude if I don’t send them an email!”
Friend, you are correct! Always follow up in life, and following up over email is a great option. It’s instant and it takes minimal effort. But that’s the problem: we all know it takes nothing to type a few words on a phone and hit send.
That’s where the tangible note comes in.
If a client books you, email them back obviously thanking them, ask for their address, then hit the pen and paper and write them a thank you note. Rifle Paper Co is my favorite stationary - they have swanky designs, affordable packs, and gold FOIL, bless! Everything at Target is great, too. Presentation is everything people! Put a pretty little stamp on it and pop it in the mailbox. If you don't have a business, send notes to people anyway! Mail thank you notes after receiving a gift, or write a little admiration note about someone you care for to remind them of that (my second shooter Mei Lin does this all the time!)
Who DOESN’T love finding an actual piece of mail written by a human in their stack of bills, junky credit card offers, and grocery store flyers? The recipient feels special and important - which is exactly how you want them to feel.
I’m the lifestyle photographer for the Johnny Cupcakes brand, and a lot of people ask how I landed that gig. If you haven’t guessed it by the theme of this article - it was a thank you note.
Johnny put out a call on Twitter asking if students at art colleges around the country would want to pass out his ‘zine. Um, YES!!! I have a photo of myself holding my MassArt admission packet the day I got accepted… wearing a classic cupcake and crossbones hoodie. I had been a fan for years. He DM’d me and said I could put it on my resume, and I would be handing out zines on campus each month. Incredible!
When the first ridiculously heavy box arrived via FedEx, and along with the zines, were shirts, buttons, stickers, and pins. All in my size! I thought that was SO generous and unexpected of him to hook me up with all this swag! Instead of DM’ing him back on Twitter, I pulled out a Johnny Cupcakes stationary card (I had one left from a pack I previously purchased) and wrote him a thank you note.
Irrationally afraid that I was going to get in trouble for distributing non-college materials on campus, I headed to school after-hours with a friend to sprinkle the zines throughout the library, design department, cafeteria, photo department, everywhere. I brought along a mini Polaroid camera and took photos of our nighttime shenanigans. I stuck six Polaroids in the card and mailed it off to JC headquarters.
Fast forward two months, and I wake up one morning to a DM from the man himself. “Hey, I got your Polaroids and note, thank you so much! We need photos to post on social media every day. We need a lifestyle photographer like… now. Would you be interested in working with us, potentially forever?”
I’ve been part of the Johnny Cupcakes family for almost a year now, and it has been a wildly incredible experience. I’ve met hundreds of happy people, learned about entrepreneurship and clever business strategies from the cupcake prodigy, made new friends, and I’m now traveling around the country to places I never thought I'd visit capturing his adventures and speaking engagements. Literally - I’m writing this on the plane ride to Houston for his next talk.
That, my friends - is why a thank you note can change your life. You just don’t know it yet.
So break out those pens, buy a pack of stationary, and get writing.