Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Snark Whisperers - Uncooked cards

We don't have a favourite New York greeting card company, but if we did have a favourite New York greeting card company, Uncooked cards would be our number one favoutite New York greeting card company.

We always imagine Nat and Armand - the genius snarkbrains behind Uncooked cards - to look exactly like this:

But no. New York style magazine The Aesthete shows them to look like this:

And then they go on to say:
In an age when entrepreneurship is hot, Armand and Nat Prisco are sizzling. Together, the couple is the wit, snark and humor behind Uncooked—a brazen independent line of greeting cards they founded in 2004. On a recent sunny morning in their airy Tribeca apartment, the two talked business, marriage and parenthood, laughing at their unconventional experiences with all three.
 “When we started [Uncooked], we were just looking for a way out of the corporate world,” Nat says from their sizable, picnic-like dining table. The pair met in 2000 while they were both working in advertising at McCann Erickson—she as a copywriter and he as an art director. “We would pitch ideas and everyone would say ‘You guys are too weird,’” Nat recalls. “So we’d sort of hide in our office and think of other things to do with our life.” Her knack for creative copy and his illustration background made greeting cards an ideal venture. “It was like taking these stupid skills we had…” Armand says. “…And making them into something stupider,” Nat finishes.
Read more at The Aesthete

Buy Uncooked Cards at Cool Cards

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Night Mail - Public Service Broadcasting

We've blogged before about the famous Night Mail service.

Night Mail is a 1936 documentary film about a London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) mail train from London to Scotland, produced by the GPO Film Unit. A poem by English poet W. H. Auden was specially written for it, used in the closing few minutes, as was music by Benjamin Britten.


It's been updated with a 21st Century groove by London duo Public Service Broadcasting

Night Mail - Public Service Broadcasting from PSBHQ on Vimeo.

If the above video doesn't work... try this:

Cool Cards blog - Night Mail
Public Service Broadcasting

Friday, 13 September 2013

Postal Service is Public Service

Just as the British government has given formal notice to the stock exchange that it plans to privatise the Royal Mail and straight off the back of our recent Royal Mail - Cycles post, we were delighted to see these postcard images on the Missive Maven blog Postal Service is Public Service.

"...a 'postman bike' from India. The caption reads "Prototype of a postman bike bearing the new logo of India Post and its slogan in Hindi: 'Dak Seva, Jan Seva' meaning Postal Service is Public Service."

And this postcard, one of our own British postmen featured on the cover of a Ladybird 'Easy-reading' book.

What also caught our attention was the way in which Missive Maven received these postcards. They arrived via Postcrossing which is something new to us.

What is Postcrossing? "It's a project that allows anyone to receive postcards (real ones, not electronic) from random places in the world." ... Read more.

What a great idea! We've just signed up. We'll keep you informed..!

Postcrossing Stats
434,720 members
216 countries
1,074 postcards/hour
19,199,491 postcards received
465,858 postcards traveling
99,488,955,924 km traveled
2,482,569 laps around the world

Missive Maven

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Expat Birthday Cards - Sending to the UK

Expat birthday cards. We receive many birthday card orders from Brits abroad which we duly personalise, print and post to your relatives and friends here in the UK and elsewhere on the dates you ask us to. 

We thought we'd look at how many of you far-flung brits are out there, where you are and how best you can use Cool Cards.

How many of you? 

In excess of 5.5 million British-born people live outside of the United Kingdom, that's about 1 in 10 of the UK population.

Where are you?

What? 3,750,000..? Really? That's a lot of brits in Hong Kong..! Wiki must have got that one wrong.
We've yet to receive an order from Hong Kong. Most of our expat birthday card orders from Australia, the USA and then Spain.

Who uses Cool Cards abroad and Why?

Expats, holiday makers, business people and forgetful people. Forgetful people? Several of our customers place a years worth of birthday card orders with us early in each year. We then print and post their cards on their chosen dates throughout the year.
Other customers use Cool Cards because of the lack of local card shops and post offices, or sometimes they have difficulty getting out and about or simply they just don't have the time. But it's most likely that expats use us simply because we offer such a great service, great value and a fantastic range of greeting cards, many of which cannot be found elsewhere!

Other advantages of using Cool Cards are that you don't have to allow for uncertain postal delivery times to the UK. Within the UK, Royal Mail aim to deliver over 93% of 1st Class mail items the next day. Order before 5.00pm for same-day order processing and posting.
And then of course then there's the cost - you get free UK delivery with orders over £5.99 - UK orders below £5.99 are charged just £0.99. All our UK greeting cards are sent 1st Class Royal Mail.

What's not to like..?

Q. I'm Bob, a forgetful expat in Australia. So you're saying I can order a card from you in, say, January and you'll print my birthday message and post it to Aunty Joan who lives in Edinburgh in time for her birthday in August?
A. You've got it Bob.

Q. I'm working in the USA, can I order from you to send a birthday card to my expat dad in Spain?
A. You certainly can. We post using International Airmail.

Note: International Airmail from the UK usually arrives within three days to Western Europe, four days to Eastern Europe and five days for the rest of the world.

Q. Can I choose which font you use to print my message?
A. Currently you can choose from 6 different fonts, but if you prefer an alternative font, just get in touch and we'll do our best to accomodate your preference.

Q. Can you print my message if I write it in a language other than English?
A. Yes we can, and often do.

Note: You need to be careful if copying and pasting text - for example copying a poem from a webpage and pasting into our text box. Sometimes characters are copied over which aren't recognised by our system. It's always a good idea to first paste into a plain text editor, like Notepad, then from there into our text box. If you're not sure, just check your order confirmation email to check that everything looks ok.

Q. Can I place one single order for several different birthday cards to be sent on different dates to different addresses?
A. No. Our system allows for one delivery address/posting date per order. 
You could however place one single order for several different cards to be posted to the same address on the same day.

Q. I forgot the Postcode...
A. Is that you Bob? No problem. You can use our Postcode finder during the Cool Cards checkout process, or you can use the free Royal Mail Postcode finder.

Q. I did have another question, but I forgot...
A. Hi Bob. Any questions, please do get in touch.


Wiki - British diaspora
BBC - Brits abroad
Royal Mail - Postcode finder
Cool Cards - Cool Cards
Cool Cards - Email us
Fonts - Dafont

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Royal Mail - Cycles

"Postmen employed on cycling work should be strongly recommended to wear woollen vests and drawers, and opportunity should, when possible, be afforded to men who get wet to change their clothes..."
Cycling Duties - Circular to Surveyors, March 1909

Line of postmen with their cycles, 1920s

"Pedal cycles have been used since the 1880s to increase the speed of mail deliveries and the distances the delivery postman and postwoman may travel. The photograph below shows a dynamic group of cycling postmen ready to start their round in the early 1920s.

Before 1880, Post Office trials with early bicycles failed, mainly because it was difficult to find men fit enough to ride them! In 1880, two tricycle posts were used experimentally in Coventry. Their rider-owners had a weekly allowance of five shillings (25p) towards their purchase and maintenance.

In the late 19th century, experiments took place with two, three and even five-wheeled cycles. In 1882, at Horsham in Sussex, there was a local trial of the centre-cycle (or 'pentacycle', with five wheels) for carrying mail. The centre-cycle was also known as the 'Hen and Chicks' as the four small wheels around the large centre wheel was similar to a mother hen with her brood.

By 1895 there were 67 regular cycle posts set up throughout the country. In 1909 there were 5000 postmen on bicycles, carrier tricycles and bicycles with trailing carts.

A standard design bicycle was introduced nationwide in 1929. By 1933 some 20,000 were in use. This basic design remained in use until 1992, although some changes were introduced such as models for women and reinforced versions for taller, heavier-built postmen.

Today, Royal Mail has about 37,000 delivery bicycles, including new designs developed for the 21st century - the Mailstar and the Millennium."

 Source: The British Postal Museum and Archive

Hen and Chicks. Five daring postal workers on centre-cycles in Horsham, 1882

Replica pentacycle, 1930

"This is a replica of a five-wheeled cycle (pentacycle or centre-cycle) made in 1930. The Pentacycle was originally invented and patented by Edward Burstow, an architect, from Horsham, Sussex in 1882.

Postal officials at Horsham tried out these cycles for both postal and telegraph delivery work. Although the centre-cycle did not prove popular elsewhere, the Horsham postal workers wrote a letter of appreciation to Mr Burstow, praising the pentacycle.

Replica pentacycle, 1930

Tricycle with forward basket carrier, 1934

Double top tube standard delivery bicycle, 1929-1992

 "This is an example of a delivery bicycle produced to the standard specifications established by the Post Office in 1929. With little variation it remained in production until 1992.

This cycle has a Double Top Tube frame, which is designed to carry a taller rider. This Double Top Tube was one of three frame designs for Post Office Standard cycles. The others were Gentlemen's and Ladies'.
The standard bicycle weighed up to 23kg and had to last four years before replacement.

Inspector’s bicycle, 1956

"This bicycle was probably used by a Post Office manager or inspector. We can tell this because it is black. The usual delivery cycles were always red. It was produced by Tyseley in 1929, to the standard Post Office design.

Inspectors' bicycles like this were used until the mid-1980s when they were phased out and replaced by motor vehicles.

Inspector’s bicycle, 1956 - chain wheel detail

"The initials GPO (General Post Office) can be seen worked into the design of the chain wheel – a feature that started in the early-1930s.

Mailstar bicycle, 2001

Modern Mailstar bicycle and rider, 2005

"This cycle is the last of this model produced by Pashley Ltd. It was one of the new delivery bicycles for the 21st century, introduced by Royal Mail in 2001.It includes many of the technical advances already put into commercial production by cycle manufacturers. It features a unisex, step-through frame so that it can be used by both postmen and postwomen. It also has lever-operated cable hub brakes. The metal carrier at the front can carry loads up to 24kg. This would have a plastic tray in it to hold the mail bag. It also has a twist action control for the five-speed gears.

Mailstar: Pashley Cycles
Roy Mayall: Going Postal

Friday, 6 September 2013

Uncooked cards - Elite review

Our lovely friends Nat and Armand at Uncooked cards are featured in a great review by the supercool Generation Y groovers Kayla Inglima & Stephanie Freeman at Elite daily

"Ever find yourself in the card isle at your local convenience store pondering – for what feels like hours – what card will best communicate what you want to say? Should you go with the sentimental one, or funny one? Cursive transcriptions describing how much you love your significant other, or a teaser of a model on the cover for your horny friend? But what if none of those are really your voice? You’re not the mushy sap or the corny friend. You’re the cool and funny person who needs a greeting card to match just that. Well, fret no more! Uncooked has the perfect greeting cards for you.
Whether you want to say it, shouldn’t say it or don’t have the balls to say it, you can find an absurdly funny greeting card at Uncooked offers a line of more than 175 cards in every category imaginable: birthday, love, get well soon, friendship, thinking of you, congrats, anniversary, thank you (and you’re welcome), missing you, sorry, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the holidays, etc."

Cool Cards - Uncooked Cards