Designer Q&A: Gold Teeth Brooklyn

My mom has always written me letters and cards. Anytime I traveled she would stuff a letter into my bag so I could find it later. It always made me smile.

We sat down with Jesse of Gold Teeth Brooklyn and asked her a few questions about how she got started and where she see the future of letter-writing heading. Be sure to check out the rest of our Designer Q&As after this. 

Write_On: Tell us about yourself!  What’s your background and what drew you to design cards and stationery?

Jesse: I took printmaking classes in college, including a summer studying the medium abroad in Greece, and fell in love with it. I loved everything, manipulating colors and how the ink felt on the textured cotton paper. Every little detail was magic! I was an art student, and it was important to me that I make accessible art. I didn’t see myself in the “real” art world, but I still wanted to be creative. When I started to make prints and cards I felt I could sigh in relief, there was less pressure than when you’re trying to be an artist. Ultimately, I didn’t care if my work was in a gallery or in a gift shop, as long as it was out in the world and everyone could interact with it. That's empowering!

Write_On: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Jesse: I have fun putting a colorful and playful spin on everyday objects--I want people to smile! 

Write_On:  How do you use your designs to inspire people to connect in writing?

Jesse: I hope that people are inspired by the simplicity of my designs and objects, and that they are reminded of particular friends or family members. They might just write them!

Write_On: What does your process look like for creating a new card or stationery design?

Jesse: Usually I have an upcoming holiday that I need to create a new card for, so I'll turn to my daily surroundings for inspiration. For instance, my boyfriend wears these super old work boots that inspired me to create a Father's Day card!

Write_On: How have hand-written letters shaped your life and relationships?

Jesse: Letters force me to deeply consider the person I’m writing. They're more formal than a text or email, so I really reflect on the content before I put it down on paper. Writing a letter is like a private moment with the recipient because you're carving out time you wouldn't otherwise to think about them. 

Write_On: What do you find most difficult about writing a letter?

Jesse: There isn’t a delete button! Cards are precious. I know how much work can go into creating them, so I don’t want to write a sloppy letter inside. When I make a mistake it really bugs me! 

Write_On:  What does your letter-writing practice look like?

Jesse: I try to write letters for all the major holidays, sending girlfriends Valentine's Day cards, birthday cards throughout the year or just a letter saying that I’m thinking of you. A handwritten letter goes far. It can really make someone’s day, I know when I receive one, it definitely makes mine. Someone sat down and thought of me versus sending a 5 second text message. These days not everyone has stamps and addresses handy. You have to go that extra step and that makes it so much more special.   

Write_On: Modern times have made digital correspondence increasingly available and convenient. Why is it important for people to send handwritten cards and letters?

Jesse: Hopefully people will save their cards and letters in the way they don't save emails. If they don't, I worry that future generations won't have that sense of family history that can only be found in passed-down correspondence. Digital correspondence is wonderful, too. But we have to make time for handwritten letters.

Write_On: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about letter-writing?

Jesse: It's not advice per se, but my mom has always written me letters and cards. Anytime I traveled she would stuff a letter into my bag so I could find it later. It always made me smile. She still sends me cards for every holiday, even Easter and Halloween. It really rubbed off on me. I hope to do this for my kids, too. 

Write_On: What’s the next letter you’re planning to write?

Jesse: I'm getting married soon, and we're sending out our save-the-dates. It's the perfect opportunity to include notes to people that I’ve been meaning to write.