The Power of Hand-Written Thank You Notes…

I love to send handwritten notes. Birthday cards (yes, even to adults); “random” notes (sometimes with an article I think will be of interest;) and of course, thank you notes.

One of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received was from my girlfriend Heidi Kallett, former owner of the Dandelion Patch. She gave me 365 thank you cards and envelopes, and the book 365 Thank yous by John Kralik. The cards are long gone, the book is on my bookshelf as a reminder to keep at it.

If you don’t write thank you notes, try it. A hand-written thank you note is an overt act of gratitude, something the world needs more of.

When to send

  • Anytime you open a gift in absence of the giver. Really, anytime you receive a gift.
  • Anytime to are invited to someone’s home for a lunch, dinner, or party.
  • As soon as you can possibly write the note is the most opportune time to send them.
  • Keep in mind it is worse to never send the note than to send it 6 months after receiving a gift. While more timely is better, the time for a thank you note never has lapsed. Not sending a thank you note is always worse.
  • The most memorable thank you notes are thank yous for random acts of kindness, because those are the most unexpected.
  • Anytime you question whether you should or should not send a thank you note, you should send one.
  • There is never a wrong time or occasion to send a thank you note.
  • Always send a thank you note to a prospective employer who has taken the time to interview you.
  • It is always appropriate to send an immediate thank you email, but only in addition to the hand-written note that will follow.

What to say (and what not to say)

  • Always mention something specific about the gift, preferably how or where you are going to use it; this specificity is particularly important if you received a gift card.
  • Remember that even if you do not like the actual gift, you are thanking someone for his or her thoughtfulness and for the fact that they put time and effort into the gift.
  • Never say you won’t enjoy the gift, have a duplicate of the gift, or will never use it. (Yes, this seems obvious, but you would be surprised…)

Modern day rules

  • An email thank you is never a replacement for a hand-written thank you note.
  • Because of the prevalence of email, actually, a hand-written thank you note will have even more of an impact.

Start today. Send one thank you card to someone, just because. And then sit back, and enjoy how it makes you feel, and how it makes the recipient feel. 

Interviewing tips and highlights from #GIRLBOSS

One of my summer reads this year has been #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso, Founder and CEO of Nasty Gal. I admired her and what she has accomplished even before I knew her story. And knowing more about her story only makes me more admirative. I enjoyed her book, and her messages to women entering the workforce – and cannot recommend the book enough to young women everywhere.

In particular, her chapter on “Hiring, Staying Employed, and Firing” resonated with me. I am fortunate enough to have three amazing summer interns for Alchimie Forever this year (Alchimie’s Angels, as we know them, partly because all three have names that start with A). As I have gotten to know them better over the last couple of months, they have shared some of their dreams, fears, and professional ambitions with me. They remind me of how it was to be a junior or senior in college, of the unique combination of carefreeness and stress of that time. And their stage of life reminds me of the painful process that interviewing can be.

On page 161 of her book, Amoruso lists “Interview No-No’s That May Doom You to Unemployment.” Here is her list of interviewing tips, with which I wholeheartedly agree:

–       “Chewing gum

–       Bringing things with you – a beverage, a pet, a boyfriend, a child

–       Leaning back in your chair and crossing your arms

–       Staring at the floor, out the window, or at the interviewer’s boobs

–       Picking your nose or your nails

–       Having your phone even visible

–       Having zero questions

–       Asking so many questions that it seems like you’re interviewing the interviewer

–       Not writing a thank-you email or note – I especially love a handwritten note because to me, someone who knows to have good manners knows how to get what she wants in this world

–       Dressing like you’re headed to a nightclub instead of a job interview

–       As a female, thinking that you don’t have to wear a bra, even if you’re interviewing at a company with a name like Nasty Gal”


I would add a couple more recommendations to her list:

–       Be late, even by one minute

–       Be too early; if you arrive more than 10 minutes early, find a nearby coffeeshop

–       Lie on your resume, in particular about languages; you never know when your interviewer might switch to French because you have “conversational French”

–       Cry

To all young women (and men) interviewing everywhere, good luck! And to my three amazing interns, enjoy the process!