This Startup May Have Created the Easiest Way to Guarantee That Your Family Stays In Touch
I love getting mail – real mail, that is. There’s just something fun about walking down my driveway, opening my mailbox, sifting through piles of junk mail and discovering a handwritten note addressed to me. It makes me feel special, cared for and loved. Human handwriting –those unique scribbles and scrawls and signatures–is the secret sauce that makes mail magical. When someone takes the time to send a letter, it means they care enough to pause their busy lives and think specifically of another person. The sender feels good because they took advantage of a rare opportunity to jot down their thoughts. The receiver feels good because someone reached out to them in a sincere, personal way. If that’s not a recipe for warm, fuzzy feelings, I don’t know what is. So when I got a personalized package in the mail last week, I was thrilled to tear it open and find out what someone sent me! Inside the package was a small white box with a lovely logo, pictured above. When I sat down and opened it, I realized that this startup may have created the easiest way to guarantee that your family stays in touch.
Meet greetingStory, the latest innovation from Chattanooga, Tennessee based startup Pass it Down. Like most great startups, this one started in the heart. Founder Christopher Cumming’s personal experience with memory-loss catalyzed him to create Pass it Down, a platform that enables families to document their stories. Christopher’s mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 23. By 49, she had lost her short-term memory, and her long-term memory was quickly fading too.
In 2010, I was sitting in a nursing home by mom’s side thinking how much there was that I wanted to know about her. Big things, little things, just the stories of her life. What was her favorite movie? What advice would she want to pass down to me?
When someone experience loss like that, they want to make sure nobody else has to face the same outcome. With his heart set on helping families capture their stories, Christopher got to work building Pass it Down. Fast-forward a few years, Christopher and his team have learned a lot about how families want to capture and pass on their legacies. One of their most important discoveries was this – people need prompts to write down their memories. Whether it’s journaling or using a family history service like Ancestry.com, writing down details can feel daunting. But greetingStory makes it so much simpler! By using greeting cards as a medium, Christopher and his team have made it easy to capture family history, one memory at a time.
Here’s How it Works:
1) Get some cards. Each card contain question or prompts. For example, my box contained cards with questions like, “What’s the most rewarding thing about growing older? and Did you have any pets growing up?” All of the questions were thoughtful, but quick to answer in one or two paragraphs.
2) Send some cards. Pick a person and mail a card to them. (They’ll love it, trust me!) By only asking one question at a time, recipients will never feel overwhelmed. In fact, they’ll feel special! And don’t worry, the card includes easy-to-follow instructions for the recipient.
3) Return some cards. GreetingStory’s subscription service includes pre-paid return envelopes, so your loved ones can mail cards back to you!
Does this sound simple? Yep, that’s because it is! Get started capturing your family’s history, one memory at a time. Years later, your kids (and even grandkids) will be glad you did! If you’d like to try out greetingStory, here’s a breakdown of their services:
You can subscribe (US only) and choose from the following options, all of which include a pre-paid return envelope.
- 1 card a month = $6
- 2 cards a month= $10
- 4 cards a month= $16
Or you can go with greetingStory “Memory Boxes,” which ship worldwide and choose from the following options:
- 12 cards= $29
- 24 cards= $59
- 48 cards= $99
In some ways, greetingStory is just a new take on an old idea –the greeting card. But instead of “Thank You” and ‘Happy Birthday,” these cards will get passed on to future generations, conveying fascinating family history in an approachable format.
About the author: Rachel LaCour Niesen, Steward of Stories & Founder of Save Family Photos, is a Yankee by birth but a Southern storyteller at heart. When a much-loved uncle gifted her with her first SLR camera, Rachel found her calling in photography. In pursuit of her passion, she headed to the University of Missouri, where she studied Photojournalism and Art History. When she’s not curating vintage family photos, she enjoys adventures with her husband and partner in entrepreneurship, Andrew Niesen.