In this vibrant voices podcast Fiona Phillips talks to Charlotte Pearce, CEO and founder of Inkpact, a company which provides personalised business communication through handwritten letters. Charlotte tells us about her experiences as a young entrepreneur, how she made her business idea a success and the social impact Inkpact is having.
In these excerpts from the podcast Charlotte explains how the business uses technology to maximise the power of the personal approach.
Making handwritten letters a 21st century communication tool
Fiona: “Who wants to buy handwritten letters these days? I love looking at them but you rarely see them anymore.”
Charlotte: “A family friend ran this coaching company and I just went to learn about how you grow a business, and they were saying they were struggling to contact CEOs because they're so busy all the time. One of the guys was saying he loves sending handwritten letters. And even I was like handwritten letters, this is the 21st century, come on! And he said, no they get opened, they get read, they get kept on a desk whereas the emails get deleted. And I just literally off the cuff said, I've got an idea, why don't we write 100 letters for you and see what happens? We accidentally stumbled upon the idea.”
Setting the vision
Fiona: “So how did you set achievable goals for growth and where the business should be in two, three years?”
Charlotte: “Our big vision is to scale thoughtfulness. And we know there's many ways we can do that above and beyond writing letters. But we know that's our vision and we know right now we are where we are. But we don't know what comes in between and that's where you keep flexible and you adapt and you bring people around you.”
Doing good business
Fiona: “You employ prisoners as well don't you? So what made you do that?”
Charlotte: “I just realised that, from a background in social enterprise I'd met all these people across the UK who had been in different situations, maybe they were homeless or had been in prison. I think sometimes we forget they're human, they made mistakes like we did or you know, something happened in their life that wasn't their fault. And there shouldn't be a reason why they can't create and do things. So there's this problem where brands couldn't get the human touch at scale, but there's loads of humans that had the human touch that needed work, employment, something to do.”
Fiona: ”How do you utilise technology?”
Charlotte: “When we first started we were not a tech business. It was literally me, a spreadsheet and some handwritten letters. But it wasn't scalable. And we needed tech to scale it. More recently we've developed a sales force integration, so a lot of companies keep a lot of customer data inside their CRM system. And we wanted to really trigger thoughtfulness, so if it's someone’s birthday or they haven't shopped for six months, or they've shopped and it's thousands of pounds, we can trigger an automatic handwritten note to go out. We've seen shopping carts of e-commerce companies increase by 30% just by these little triggers. It's the tech that allows companies to do this without even thinking about it. It's really enabled by tech but it's the human in tech which not many people are doing. It's bringing those two together which is really exciting.