With This Startup, a Handwritten Thank You Note Is a Click Away For $3.50 a note, Bond's robot arm will sign, seal and deliver your gratitude.
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In a world where everything is just a ping away, it takes a special effort to put a well thought-out and personalized note in someone's hand.
As one of the founders of Bond, a service that combines modern technology with the tradition of handwritten thank you notes, entrepreneur Sonny Caberwal would certainly know and understand how far a quick note can really go.
"Being nice to your customers isn't just the nice or right thing to do," he says. "It's also good for business."
There's just something about someone actually taking the time to personally write and mail something that carries more weight that an email or text would, says Lizzie Post, an author and spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute, an organization that provides advice on etiquette. For that reason, there's been more of an emphasis on the gesture.
"It's literally about taking the time to share your gratitude with someone," she says.
Bond's business model depends on making these acts of gratitude simple. Think of someone you'd like to send a thank you to, go to bond.co or use its mobile service, write out the message, pick out some stationary and a handwriting style (or use your own), submit the note with the name and address of the person you want to send it to and when it should be delivered and you're done.
The goal of the venture, he says, is to help people connect in a meaningful way by creating a unique experience for both the sender and receiver.
Using a special machine, which was developed in house, special arms made to hold a paintbrush, pen or marker create your letter. The paper stays pristine because of the use of static electricity, according to Caberwal. With about 200 machines now in operation on site in Manhattan, Bond produces its own stationary as well. The envelope is sealed with wax and is sent on its way.
At $3.50 a note or about $2 or $2.50 for businesses with larger orders, Bond's services are quick, easy and accessible. Another invitation-only service, Bond Black, offers concierge service to clients through a mobile app, able to send notes in their own handwriting on custom stationery for $1,200 a year.
The majority of clientele are from people in business, ranging from CEOs of large Fortune 500 companies, real-estate brokers or startups founders.
Bond has had a successful year and is growing in popularity. With an effort to raise about $3 million, the company had about $500,000 a month in sales by the end of the year as revenue increased about 30 to 50 percent per month, according to Caberwal. He says he expects the company to continue to grow as it expands services online and for mobile within the coming year.
Post says something such as Bond seems like a great idea. However, the etiquette expert isn't sure the convenience could or should completely replace the effort to personally write and mail a thank you yourself.
"I think that people in the day and age where technology is everywhere and everything is instantaneous, it puts even more value in this," she says. "Emails and texts are all wonderful, they're helpful and fast, but nothing can replace that handwritten thank you note that you know someone took the time to write."
Still, writing a great thank you note doesn't always have to be a big production featuring hours of effort and intense background music -- sorry, Jimmy Fallon.
In Caberwal's experience, some of the best thank you's are simply the ones that let a person know they're valued and appreciated. They may include a message or gift showing you remember him and her and a specific topic you discussed -- like a love for a certain whiskey or James Bond.
Caberwal says these acts of gratitude are regularly performed by top people in business. "I think it's probably a big reason why they're so successful," he says.
With a host of experiences under his belt -- having graduated from Georgetown, practicing law, starting the online fashion company Exclusively.com in India with is wife, and even a short stint as a model -- Caberwal certainly understands the value of a simple thank you.
"Entrepreneurship is hard, and it's because no one believes in you at the offset. It's always an uphill battle making something out of nothing," Caberwal says. "The best way is to find something you really believe in no matter the outcome."