Master Boddington recalls the power of the handwritten word
“There is a wonderful space in time between ages six and twelve when one isn’t tethered to a phone and might be inspired to write on paper,” says Rebecca Ruebensaal, Proprietor of Mr. Boddington, a stationary-plus brand for adults and children alike. The company was started 12 years ago, the concept sprung from a downtown New York apartment, heeding a call for less traditional yet equally elegant stationary.
“At the time I had gobs of friends getting married who wanted letter pressed invitations that looked slightly different from their mother’s classic invitations,” Ruebensaal says. She conjured a muse, Mr. Boddington—the name borrowed from a childhood imaginary friend—who was a highbrow gent who could “navigate a party in Eze with a Campari soda in hand or find spectacular textiles in a back market of Udaipur.”
This millennial man with an old soul and a jet-setting spirit, inspired a revival of the lost art of letter writing.
Alongside Mr. Boddington, is his nephew, Master Boddington, an equally dapper fellow, who inspires kids to pick up a pen or pencil with a collection dubbed Master Boddington’s Correspondence for Discerning Children.
Master Boddington’s suite of special products, include Letter writing Kits to Santa, Fill-in-the-blank Thank You cards, and the White House kit, a set that encourages kids to write the government. Ruebensaal admits the later has been flying off the shelves, with a new generation of active citizens who are eager to be part of the process.
She says the Santa kit is the company’s most successful product, adding, “Every year in our Brooklyn studio, we hire a temporary team of hipster freelancers to write back as Santa. It’s wild to read the letters – naturally there are requests for Legos and dollies but we also get requests for wild animals and trips to the moon.”
However, Ruebensaal says, the soul of the Master Boddington brand, is the Secret Society of Letter writers, a kit where kids the world over can exchange handwritten letters (Shhh!).
She says that every time a child joins, a bell is rung in the studio, so all day she and her team hears ding! Ding! Ding! The Boddington team underwrites this exciting experience, so no barriers exist in joining. Says Ruebensaal, “If all goes as planned, thousands of children around the world will be writing one another about their favorite forest animals, colors and what they like to eat.”
Ruebensaal, who hailed from an advertising background, kicked the big firm life to the side for this entrepreneurial pleasure. It’s been long in the works. Even as an elementary schooler, she designed her own letterhead, and enjoyed the personal aspect of a handwritten letter. She confides, “Today, in my private time, I often write to my future sons Penn and Hucksley.”
Over the years that Mr. Boddington has been reviving the lost art of letter writing, technology has taken off at a breakneck pace. “Everyone is addictively tap tap tapping into their phones barely looking up to order a coffee or hold a civil conversation", says Ruebensaal. “The more technology infuses into our lives, the more an antidote is needed—writing allows the brain to slow down and think.” Mr. and Master Boddingon might just provide the respite we all need to unplug and connect.