Julie Van Daele

Julie Van Daele

Founder, Well-Received.com. Los Angeles

By: Meagan Wilson
Styling: Meagan Wilson
Photography: Jake Rosenberg

When was the last time you wrote to someone?

Not a jotting of scattered musings in your Notes app (does anyone else have a slew of random checklists that go something like, "birth control, birthday, Momofuku res, laundry"?). Not a timid response to your roommate's passive-aggressive e-mail or texts cancelling post-work drinks with friends. And certainly not a swiftly-deleted Tumblr ode to the OKCupid match you went out on two dates with. We mean the last time you actually sat down, physically put pen (or marker, pencil, lipstick—we're not picky) to paper and wrote something with contents containing more than the usual 10 words worth of well wishes? We thought so. Us too, TBH—and the lost art of letter writing is one casualty of digitization that's actually worth mourning.

The whole gravity of the situation was really reiterated to us while we were last in Los Angeles, at Julie Van Daele's West Hollywood apartment. "Since I was little, I grew up being taught that for every gift I received, I was to take the time to write a handwritten thank you note. We can all thank my precious mama for that etiquette training! After a few years in the business, lots of people started saying how amazing it was that I was so genuine and took the time to write letters and that it set me apart from most publicists, so that always stuck with me." Allow us to explain: as the founder of Well Received, Van Daele's endeavoring to reintroduce the art of letter writing in a world of Facetime-ing and Skype-ing, via her line of embossed letter boxes and edgy stationary.

As for Van Daele's tips for actually nailing those crucial words? “My tips for letter writing are to pick a card that is reflective of you and the person you are sending to. Sending a note is personal, so make it personal. Don’t have your assistant write it! Write it yourself and mean it. My favorite note I’ve received is a note that my husband left in our hotel room a few months ago, encouraging me to keep going with Well Received, to not get discouraged and letting me know how proud he was of the risk I was taking. I don’t throw away any letters, as they all mean so much to me.” In short, Van Daele's determined to not only bring the art of the handwritten note back, but actually make it cool again. And if there's anyone who can do it, it's her.