Local DC residents set out to make postcards cool again

Oleg Kucheryavenko and Ramon Barthelemy (photo courtesy of O. Kucheryavenko)

Every day, people around the world send over 200 billion emails and 18 billion text messages. But today, Edgewood DC residents and entrepreneurs Oleg Kucheryavenko and Ramon Barthelemy want you to put down your device, and do something downright quaint: send a postcard. 

“It’s uneconomical, it’s inefficient…” says Ramon. “But, it’s a very personal way to send messages.”

In fact, the pair is so jazzed about this lost art form that they have started their own company, Monumental Post, that lets you create and send custom-made, personalized postcards featuring watercolor paintings of DC landmarks, commissioned from a local artist. 

Oleg and Ramon are neither in the art business nor in publishing: Oleg is a public health consultant and Ramon is a survey scientist. But they share a love for travel, and prefer to go old school when it comes to keeping in touch with loved ones.

“We like doing it through a medium that nobody does anymore, which is hand-written postcards,” Ramon says. 

But when the couple moved to Washington DC (Ramon is originally from Michigan, and Oleg is Russian), and wanted to send postcards to family back home, they were not impressed with District’s postcard selection. The cards were glossy and lame, featuring the same tired images of the US Capitol from the ‘80s and ‘90s.

So, the pair set out to make their own. They hired an artist, sourced thick matte paper, and went to town. Customers can purchase cards by selecting one of five watercolor templates and emailing a personalized message, which is then transcribed in nice handwriting and sent to the recipient. So far, Monumental Post sold about 500 cards in four months, and business is on the rise.

Oleg said that while many of Monumental Post’s clients purchase cards to send to friends and relatives, some are purchasing to send to Congressional representatives, as an alternate (and more eye-catching) way of making their voices heard.   

“Postcards are bright, easily spotted, and it’s a punchy note that will reach representatives,” Oleg said, adding that Monumental Post does not mean to be partisan, and all messages written on postcards must be respectful.

Monumental Post has also launched two postcard campaigns: a “Thanks Obama” campaign and a “Women’s March on Washington” campaign. The company plans to soon launch a third postcard campaign, focused on climate change.

An example of the postcards available by Monumental Post

An example of the postcards available by Monumental Post

So what’s next for these local entrepreneurs? They’ve opened an Amazon store, and are in talks with DC hotels about potential partnership opportunities. 

The duo’s main focus in the coming months will be on becoming better-known right here in the District.

“We want to grow our base of customers in DC,” Oleg said. “The majority of our customers are not DC based. We want people in DC to know that you can send beautiful postcards back to your home.”

That’s why they’re offering Petworth News readers a 20% discount off of your purchase. Check them out on MonumentalPost.com and use code “Petworth20."
 

Yuliya Panfil

Yuliya is a new member of the Petworth community, but has already fallen in love with the neighborhood's vibe and offerings. She's a former journalist and recovering lawyer, now working in international development. When she's not working, Yuliya loves to travel, try new food, drink red wine, and write (preferably at the same time!).  Yuliya and her husband, Michael, chronicle some of their adventures through their blog, Window 3.  You can email Yuliya with any story ideas, particularly human interest stories about interesting area residents. 



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