Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Write Address

Good penmanship can pay off. A little bit. Thanks to some whip-crackin' elementary school teachers, I have a nice, clear handwriting style. Last year I ran an ad on craigslist offering - for a small price - to hand-address cards, invitations, and thank-you notes, having no idea if anyone would take me up on the offer.

Believe it or not, several folks have hired me. My first job was addressing 100 birth announcements for a couple in Greenwich Village. I sat in the "party room" of their apartment building to complete the addressing assignment. The next job involved writing thank-you notes for a recently married couple. They typed out what they wanted to say in the notes and provided the addresses and cards, and I did the writing. Both of those little jobs helped me buy Christmas presents last year.

Now, there's a trick to hand-addressing envelopes, whatever the size. Especially when the card has to be addressed something like: Mr. Stephen and Dr. Elizabeth Jonesenbergenstein. Sure, I can use an ampersand, unless the customer asks me to spell out everything, but that still doesn't save much space. What I'm saying is, there's a bit of finesse involved in keeping the address neat, readable, and correct (and on one line).

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my ad again and got an immediate request from a high-profile non-profit group who had 500 invitations to address for a big party at one of the Hampton mansions. I was given pages and pages of the addresses, a fistful of green Sharpie pens (to match the logo on the envelopes), and boxes of beautifully-designed envelopes. Quite a nice little weekend job, actually.

This was a fun project. Lots of famous people and philanthropists were on the list. Imagine that Sarah and Matthew, or Liev and Naomi, or designer Donna, or writer Elie - well, I could go on and on, but I won't - got invitations in my very own handwriting! And, no, I do not remember their addresses, so don't ask. I'm trustworthy in that way. It was kind of cool.

But I will tell you this. The #1 zip code for these invitees was 10021, the primo NYC zip. People - well, certain people - vie to land a place between the north side of East 69th and the south side of East 76th and between Fifth Avenue and the East River. And Park Avenue won the prize for street frequency. (Obviously not my end of Park Avenue, zip code 10029. I suspect no one vies for 10029.) Plus, it was fun to get to write "PH" on many of them. I'd love to poke my nose into any penthouse on Park in 10021. Sigh.

I finished the project on time, and the client loved the work, so job well-done. The organization has an even bigger fund-raiser in the autumn and promises to call me again. 4,000 envelopes next time. I think I'll need more than a weekend for that one.

Moral of the story: write neatly. You never know where your handwriting will show up. But stay out of my territory. I own 10021, baby!


Thom said...

What a great story. You are so creative in your thinking to market your gifts and skills--a true inspiration: You are your own brand and take it to heart. Brava!

MaryB said...

Thanks, Thom! And let me know if you have any addressing jobs for me. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I always keep any note you send this way. Usually posted on the fridge. So many people comment on your impeccable penmanship. Unfortunately, my penmanship was bestowed on me via genetics and I received our father's. Mother on the other hand had a beautiful hand.

Anonymous said...

You've given new and exciting meaning to the old ad "Earn money in your home during your spare time." Thank God I took (seriously) Ms. Lewis' high school typing class. Keyboarding, as it is now called, mostly means no more worries about my bad handwriting. Wonder if you addressed anything to Woody Allen? Thanks for the recent ring to my new number.

Liz said...

What a nice little earner! I can imagine you would have good writing. Mine is scrappy. Sometimes okay but never artistic.