Personalisation, how important is it to you?
I have loved Snoopy since I can remember, from my first cuddly toy to when I could read the comics and start drawing and copying the cartoons.
Snoopy has influenced me in many ways over the years and I’m sure this won’t be the only blog post citing him as an influence, but my desire to personalise things for people be it a greeting card or a commission all started here.
I think I was about 7 when I wrote a fan letter to Snoopy.
I hand wrote it, found the address on a book and posted it (no stamp), the couple who ran our local post office thought this was so cute they paid the postage. I’m fairly sure my Dad paid them back.
Why was I writing to Snoopy?
At that age, I read Snoopy cartoons most days, there were many storylines where Snoopy would write letters to publishers and get a standard rejection letter, or to a famous author (Helen Sweetstory who wrote the Six Bunny Wunny book series) and he'd get a form letter in return.
You know the type, “Dear Reader, Thank you for your letter…” that don’t actually say anything apart from acknowledging receipt of your letter, much like the auto-response emails we get today.
I’m a bit hazy on the exact content of the letter, actually I can’t remember what I wrote at all, but I remember very clearly how I felt.
I knew that Snoopy knew exactly what a form letter was and there’s no way he would send one out. He would reply to me by name and because I'd hand written my letter I was sure he'd hand write his too.
A few weeks pass and I get a reply, I was so excited it’s the only time I’ve been afraid to open an envelope.
Well guess what, not only was it a form letter*, it was typed to Dear Friend and it wasn’t from Snoopy it was signed Charles Schultz ☺
I really was quite disappointed and a bit confused, everyone around me was telling me how wonderful this was but I couldn’t connect with it the way they could, I appreciated I had got a reply to my letter, yes the letter had come all the way from America too, but it wasn’t the type of reply (a personal reply) that I’d wanted.
I learnt 2 things that day, firstly don’t assume you’re going to get what you ask for from another person (or cartoon dog that doesn’t actually exist in real-life!) and that personalisation, a direct communication addressed to me was VERY important to me.
In the early days of Jo Scott Art I would always hand write a note to go with every order and it was always very important to me, in any card I sent or letter I wrote to add a personal note or message.
Unfortunately, I can’t handwrite notes for every order now, happily there are too many to keep up with and so I’ve looked to other ways to keep that personal connection, my email newsletter being one of them (if you're not already signed up and you'd like to receive them you can, sign up here)
I’m also not the only one who wants to personalise something to send to their friends and family. A lot of my work reminds people of their dogs or a dog they know and they want to send it to others for birthdays, other occasions and sometimes just because.
A big part of my work includes partnering with online greeting card suppliers where you can personalise your own messages alongside my artwork.
I started with Thortful when they first launched in 2015, I have just released a new range with Moonpig (the holy grail of personalisation as you can edit the front of the card aswell as the inside)
and I’m very excited to have just launched with Touchnote a range of dog themed cards that you can send as a card or a postcard and add your own photo’s too (there's also an app you can download on your phone), I don’t think you can get much more personal than that!
* No I don't have the letter anymore, it did have pictures printed on it and the envelope, I believe these were cut out and used as part of a collage circa 1977...