In the digital world we live in today, sending mail through the post office is not as common as it once was. The mailbox now has a negative connotation associated with it due to piling bills or junk mail that usually ends up in the trash. However, what if checking the mail could become enjoyable again?
Alex Kurkowski had the same idea when he decided to turn his passion for art into “mailbox- movies.” Kurkowski is a former Rice University student who has recently graduated with a Masters in Business Administrations. Graduate school can appear to be daunting and stressful, with little to no time to pursue passion projects- let alone starting a business. Yet that was not the case for Kurkowski, who was an MBA student at the time he decided to pursue his project. During his second year in the MBA program, almost by accident, he created a company called Tellinga.
What once started as a fun way to stay in contact with family and friends, soon became something that the whole Houston community could enjoy. “For my friends and family, it was always a way to stay connected and create fun, personalized stories so they could look forward to checking their mailbox every day,” said Kurkowski.
Tellinga is a customized set of stories and illustrations that are sent through the mail, right here in Houston. The stories are personalized for a particular person or a family that receives it. Each story is different and is based on specific details given by the customer when ordering Tellinga. The illustrations that appear with the stories are hand-drawn by the employees, much like a comic book.
What makes Tellinga interesting is that the stories are spread out over a series of days. When a customer orders their stories, first they pick the length of the story as well as the rating and genre. Stories could range from one day, one week, or two weeks. The longer stories are sent out every other day for a week or two weeks and are sent out a little at a time. Depending on the length of the story, the customer will receive a one, three, or six-part story. Per Kurkowski, this method “provides that old level of eagerness and anticipation of looking forward to checking your mailbox every day.”
Examples of stories produced through Telligna
After the customers choose their preferred story length, they upload a picture with a few details of what they would like the story to be about. From there, the artist starts designing the personalized greeting card. The artists that design the illustrations for these stories are students from the University of Houston and Rice University.
The “One Day” Story
The “One Week” Story
Tellinga employs about 22 university students with art associated majors. “Young and struggling artists across Houston now have a new way to express themselves and give back to the community,” according to Kurkowski. This is a great way for student-artists to earn hands-on experience in the art world while still earning their degrees.
Families can now go on epic adventures without leaving the comfort of home. For Kurkowski, this project “gives people the chance to be a character of their own mailbox story.” Tellinga also proves that even in graduate school, it is totally possible for students to pursue passions and make them into a profitable company. With just a simple greeting card, Tellinga brings back the idea of mailing cards again and provides inspiration for creative, entrepreneur-minded students to follow their personal projects in their graduate school years.
Check out or request your own personalized “snail mail” at tellinga.com
Featured image is an illustration by artist Gozie Okoro from a “Two Week Story”. Image courtesy of Alex Kurkowski.