Two years ago I got a card from my then-four-year-old nephew William. William is one of my favorite people on this planet. He is simply one of the best humans I know and – as absurd as it may sound to say as much about a recent toddler – a deeply kindred spirit. I had gone to visit my sister in California, and halfway through the visit William walks up to me, hugs me, hands me the card and then vacillates between playing it cool and waiting impatiently for my reaction.
The card was a drawing of the two of us, looking at each other and smiling. We’re standing next to a Christmas tree and holding hands. Christmas is William’s favorite holiday, and the very definition of “special” in his book.
It wasn’t Christmas though. It wasn’t even December. It wasn’t my birthday. I wasn’t sad. There was no occasion nor reason for him to make me a card. He did it because he wanted to show me he cared about me.
I burst into tears on the spot.
Two years on and I’m now building a business that aims to give that moment, that feeling a digital home. Every year Americans buy nearly 7 billion greeting cards – that’s over 20 cards per person per year. Which is astounding if you think about it – even accounting for the holiday spree. We buy them for an array of reasons: to say thank you, to say get well, to say congratulations, to say Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas and Thinking of You. We buy them because they are a small, simple way to convey vast, meaningful sentiment.
What if there was a way to do so digitally? I’m not talking about the litany of digital greeting card services that have popped up in recent years – what are essentially digital replicas of the analog service. But a way that is more genuine, more personal and more experiential? That better enables that moment, that feeling in a robustly and uniquely digital way? That way is Tikel – and it’s exactly why we at Team Tikel are so deeply passionate about what we’ve built.
Two years on and I still have William’s card… To this day – whenever I’m feeling down – I pull his card out and look at it. And that moment, that feeling still makes my heart swell and my eyes prick with tears, every single time.