“I’m a bit of a basic bitch and cannot wait until I’m reunited with Wagamama.” Vicky Simmons of Mean Mail on the restaurant she’ll dine at first once restrictions are lifted
As a word magpie myself, I’m pretty darn obsessed with Mean Mail Founder, Vicky Simmon’s effortlessly witty repartee (on cards, in this Q&A and in LIFE). I had to change the pull out quote for this interview multiple times because I couldn’t decide on my favourite. Mean Mail isn’t a mere stationery brand people, it’s a brand that is seriously relatable. Vicky, who refers to herself as “an art director with a penchant for brutal honesty and eye rolls” (which I love – because who doesn’t love a sassy eye roll? It’s like my fav of the eye movements), brings to the table – in her words – “cards for those you love and love to hate”. Stocked internationally (with over 100 stockists including the likes of Liberty London and the Compendium Design Store in Aus) and crafted in the UK from responsibly sourced materials with an eco-conscious printer, Mean Mail definitely would’ve been on my speed dial if I was living in the 90s and the internet wasn’t a thing. I caught up with Vicky to get the low-down on her lockdown.
#1 Provide us with three words that sum-up how you were feeling about lockdown when it first started, and then three words about how you feel now:
Before: “Anxious, surreal, confused.”
After: “Calmer, hopeful, confused.”
#2 What time do you get up? Has this changed? Is life a little slower? Talk to us about your new daily routine…
“I’m getting up at the same time, if not a bit earlier as my son is waking up between 6 and 7am. Life is definitely a little slower but feels more hectic as childcare is a constant, there is no respite. I get to work for the first half of the day then look after him in the afternoon (often as I’ve just hit my stride with work). When I’m not dispatching orders or responding to customers I’m working on lots of back end areas for my business. I’ve rebuilt our website, set up a wholesale website and rebuilt our wholesale stockist process. Lots of admin but very satisfying.”
#3 How is lockdown impacting your business, and how can people support you?
“Wholesale has fallen off a cliff, understandably. I’ve had a few orders trickle through from new stockists and some restocks from current stockists who are selling online. Website sales have picked up – I’ve added four cards for £12, notebooks and a handwritten card service to the site which have been really popular.” Click here to learn more.
#4 Name three local businesses you are supporting or would like to support more…
No.1 “Perky Blenders – my local coffee shop (who also sells Mean Mail) have diversified their offering – they also do a coffee subscription service.”
No.2 “Earl of East – Paul and Niko make the best smelling candles, run a lifestyle store and are my neighbours in Leyton.”
No.3 “Prick LDN – Gynelle runs London’s best cactus shop.”
#5 What’s your favourite isolation snack?
“Apples and peanut butter when I’m trying to be healthy, Tony’s Chocolonely (any flavour) at all other times.”
#6 What’s your most recommended quarantine pick-me-up when you’re feeling down?
“Time in the park or listening to dance music LOUD with my son.”
#7 What’s the item you can now NEVER find in the supermarket (and consequently dream continuously about)…
“I get sweaty if I can’t find the Oatly Barista version but we haven’t been out of supplies at home yet.”
#8 What’s the strangest thing that’s happened during your lockdown period…
“I did a post about how bored I was by seeing Instagram Lives – lots of people commented on it and someone from Instagram UK got in touch. I made them some cards saying ‘Oh great. Another Instagram Live’ for them to send to their team. The design is now for sale on our website. Holly Tucker just bought a bunch!”
#9 Favourite app for keeping in touch digitally with friends and family?
“WhatsApp all the way. The combination of voice notes, emojis and gifs is just right. Zoom is so exhausting.”
#10 Name your lockdown hate:
“Supermarket shopping and post office queuing.”
#11 Name your lockdown love:
“All this extra time to think about everything – work, life and all the time we’re getting to spend as a family unit. I love watching my son develop on a daily basis.”
#12 The person(s) you will hug first when social distancing is no longer in place?
“Definitely my mum and my mates, it feels weird seeing people at the moment and not being able to say hello or goodbye properly.”
#13 An act of kindness towards you that you’ve really appreciated?
“I’ve contacted some of the companies I have subscriptions with and they’ve extended the trial periods / given me a few months free credit. They’ve basically got a loyal customer for life now.”
#14 Talk to us about what’s new at your brand?
#15 Name three things the lockdown has made you grateful for:
No.1 “My family.”
No.2 “My work.”
No.3 “Decent wifi.”
#16 Which restaurant will you dine at first once restrictions are lifted?
“I’m a bit of a basic bitch and cannot wait until I’m reunited with Wagamama.”
#17 What series have you now completed on Netflix? Any recommendations?
“The Innocence Project on Netflix is incredible. I’ve also been listening to lots of podcasts. Here are some of my favourites:
Success Busting with Amanda Perry
In Good Company with Otegha Uwagba
How To Fail with Elizabeth Day.”
#18 What would be your quarantine book list?
#19 And, finally, your quarantine cocktail/tipple of choice?
“Anything by Most Wanted Wines. I love their cans of pink fizz. I keep a small stash in my fridge ready for distanced park dates.”
Want to discover more from Mean Mail? Click here.