8 min 51 sec

Illustrated Greeting Cards Provide Personal Touch

A Houston pharmaceutical sales representative delights gift recipients with illustrated greeting cards that tell the tales of their lives.
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What It's About

An MBA student draws up the perfect way to send personalized greetings cards.

Business Model
Arts & Crafts
Skills Required
Illustration & Copywriting
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Alex has some great words of encouragement to share from his side hustle journey:

"I have failed so many times with Tellinga but have gotten back up and tried to improve for the next time. I see and hear too many people talking themselves out of great ideas because they develop paralysis by analysis. Quit talking about it and start being about it!"

Fun Fact

Alex had wanted to name his company "Snail Tales," a play on the term "snail mail," but the domain would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to buy. So, he crowdsourced the name by creating a poll and asking people to choose their favorite from nine names he brainstormed.

Notes from Chris

Episode 978
We’ve all stood in front of the racks containing dozens of greeting cards looking for just the right one. But that unicorn card seldom appears because greeting cards are so often generic and trite. Meanwhile, most snail mail these days consists of junk promotions and bills. When we do hear from our family and friends on a special occasion, it’s often in the form of a digital message via social media, text, or email.

A pharmaceutical sales rep by day and an MBA student by night, Alex Kurkowski of Houston saw this from both sides.

He disliked mass-produced greeting cards … and he fondly remembered getting letters in the mail from his grandmother. Later, he had a pen pal and enjoyed the anticipation of checking the mailbox for a letter each week. Then, as an adult, he started sending cards and letters to family and friends complete with silly doodles and stick figures as a way to stay in touch. The recipients said they loved opening the mailbox to find something special and personal.

And it’s that experience that led him to his side hustle, Tellinga.

Tellinga creates personalized, hand-drawn greeting cards. The sender chooses a story length—either one day, one or two weeks, or one month—and uploads a photo of the hero of the story with a description of the story they wish the cards to tell. The story can be funny, dramatic, romantic, or anything you choose. It can even be a fictional story. You can make the recipient into a superhero or the leading lady or gentleman in a romance!

Tellinga’s team of illustrators and artists will then tell your story through personalized illustrations. A few days later, the recipient will start receiving the one-of-a-kind greeting card-sized illustrations in their physical, not digital, mailbox every other day until the package ends and their story is complete. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to open that envelope?

Having completed his degree, he has plans to integrate a sharing economy model into Tellinga in an effort to streamline the onboarding of aspiring artists and writers. The writers will create love letters, poems, or fun narratives which will be paired with the illustrations to more fully tell the stories that people want to share.

For stories that are too good to end, Tellinga hopes to soon offer a subscription plan.


  • Tellinga: Check out this fun and personalized take on greeting cards at Tellinga's site.

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Quit planning and start failing."
—Alex Kurkowski #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau