A Follow Up Chat With Mean Mail Founder Vicky Simmons

A Follow Up Chat With Mean Mail Founder Vicky Simmons


Back in July 2017's Analog Issue, we spoke with Vicky Simmons, a designer-turned entrepreneur, and founder of the London based greeting card brand, Mean Mail. As a fairly new company in July, Mean Mail has now had the type of success most small business owners only strive for. We spoke with Vicky about her learnings as an newly creative entrepreneur and what Mean Mail has in store for 2018.


SS // Since we last spoke, the Mean Mail is now sold in over 20 retailers, you've built a loyal social following, and your product line is expanding. Did you ever think you would be where you are now in such a short amount of time?

VS // I’m thrilled by how Mean Mail has been received so far but there is still so much more to do / learn. We’ve only just started. 


SS // What takeaways do you have from your first year in business? Give us your rose and your thorn.

VS // With running your own business - the highs are so much higher, but likewise, the lows are so much lower. In 2017 Mean Mail got stocked in two of my dream stores - Liberty and Colette. We were also commissioned to design a card, wrap and tote for Nike London. The lows have been tough - at one point £500 worth of stock went missing en route to a retailer and we’ve still not been able to secure our trademark (it’s been ongoing since March). It’s tough to keep going at times but ultimately the successes (no matter how small) and the fact I'm working on my own thing, not someone else's, make it worthwhile. 


SS // What advice would you give to young entreprenuers or people who are thinking of starting a business?

VS // Spend on product quality, photography and packaging. Don’t take on unnecessary overheads - office space / pr / marketing until completely necessary. Keep your burn rate small and slow. Don’t go for funding unless your business really needs it. Self fund / bootstrap / freelance until your business is financially viable. Stay uncomfortable - challenge yourself weekly and never stop learning.

There's a great book called Rework - Change The Way You Work Forever by the guys who created Basecamp - Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson. 


SS //As we head into 2018, have you set any goals or "resolutions" for Mean Mail?

VS // My main goal for Mean Mail in 2018 is growth. Our focus is on increasing the number of cards we sell each week and expanding our stockists. 


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