We’re entering a brand new era of snail mail. Personal correspondence is still largely digital, but people are pining for that visceral thrill of finding a surprise waiting for them at home—enough that they’re willing to pay for the pleasure. Subscription services are popping up and offering an alternative to simply stocking up on necessities through Amazon; these curated collections—everything from myriad of luxury men’s products to earthquake kits—hope to make spending money a little more exciting than a standard online transaction, and bring a bit of magic back to the postal service.
Ned Corbett-Winder was an art director at M&C Saatchi Advertising agency back in 2011 when he first had the idea for Not Another Bill, an artful take on what’s now become a big-time trend. "When I started I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe no-one has thought of this,' he tells Co.Design. "At the time there were hardly any of these businesses about."
The passion project, which he developed during evenings and weekends, is now a full-fledged business offering a monthly collection of curios delivered straight to your doorstep. Corbett-Winder’s background in advertising and graphic design gave him the ability to establish and brand the biz on his own, and his extensive industry and creative connections helped to kick things off. Word-of-mouth (and -blog) helped the first "Take Over the World" kit—which included vintage maps, toy soldiers, and gold coins—gain a following, and now Not Another Bill is his full-time focus.
So what can a subscriber expect? "We usually collaborate with two to three different brands, designers, and/or artists each month and commission them to create products," he says. "When signing up we take some information about the recipient and then try to match their profiles with the products we have that month." So it’s a wide range of treasures that may pop up; basically anything "interesting/beautiful/well-designed/quirky/fun/practical" could make it into a package.
If you’ve got collector tendencies and some disposable income, Not Another Bill would be a fun supplement to the red Netflix envelopes and coupons that clutter up the mail. Check out prices here.