Art and Handwriting, FTW

How a simple, 57 second task has jumpstarted our business


tl;dr: we started hand-decorating envelopes in an effort to increase engagement of developers that had to wait for their development kits to arrive. A large number of these developers have tweeted pictures of the kits and our handwritten note, and these tweets have resulted in a huge increase in developer kit orders over the last month.

The SnowShoe developer kit — which takes 3-4 days to be delivered by the US postal service.

The problem:

You are a developer. You hear about SnowShoe’s magical pieces of plastic. You think “hey, that looks nifty. I’d like to build a game/loyalty app/crypto currency wallet/geocache contest/etc with that.” You order a free developer kit.

And, you wait…

…and wait…

…for days.

By the time the postman drops off the envelope containing your developer kit, you barely remember ordering the thing. You certainly don’t remember what you were so excited to use the little pieces of plastic to build.

This was the problem we faced.

Lots of people were ordering our developer kits, but most were not doing anything with them once the kits arrived. We needed to find a way to re-engage these developers once they had received their development hardware.

Our solution?


Color like a 4th grader!


We started writing a brief note on the outside of the mailing envelope for each dev kit we sent out. We even took the time to draw (poorly) a few stars, suns, or other, rather rudimentary, decorations. On average, the note and drawings take us 57 seconds per envelope, but their effect has been HUGE.

When we started decorating the envelopes in December, less than 50 apps had been built on our platform by outside developers, and less than 2% of developers that received one of our developer kits built an application.

Now, greater than 30% of the developers who receive a kit build an app, and we have had over 150 apps built since February alone!

But, it gets even better!

Not only have our decorated mailers driven re-engagement within our developer community, but they have also spurred a significant amount of viral growth over the last three months.

A selection of photos showing SnowShoe developer kits that our developers have tweeted to their followers over the past few weeks

Love, @SnowShoeStamp

Early on, we started signing these notes with our company twitter handle. This wasn’t really a strategic decision — it was just something that kind of happened.

Soon, however, our developers started tweeting pictures of their dev kits, tagging us and talking about how excited they were to start building on the platform!

We’ve had dozens of these photos posted to twitter in the last three weeks alone!

These tweets are amazing for two reasons:

  1. The twitter followers of people who have already requested our dev kits are probably the best-qualified audience we could ever hope to get in front of!
  2. We get an opportunity to engage directly with the developers who tweet out a photo at the exact moment they are starting our developer onboarding process. The resultant conversations have generated great feedback on our demo applications and hello world example app.
The growth in SnowShoe Developer Kit orders over the last month is almost entirely due to tweets of our hand-decorated mailers.

We are now seeing sustained, viral growth in developer kit orders. This growth dwarfs even the bump in orders we saw on our TechStars Demo Day, and it is all being driven by 57 seconds of 4th grade art.

Now back to printing, drawing and shipping!

SnowShoe Stamp is a startup located in San Francisco, California. We make plastic stamps that unlock the digital world through a simple touch on your mobile device screen. Click here to learn more about how our stamps work.