The Making of Felt with Tomer Alpert

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You’re on your way home from a party and think, I should really send a thank you note. But it’s late, all the stores are closed, and you having nothing at home to send. You want to make sure you send a note before you get caught up in daily life and forget, so you check to see if there’s an app that can send out a card for you. Because there’s an app for any problem, right?

Enter Felt, a brand new app that allows you to choose, write and send a card straight from your iPad.

Here’s how it works:

We couldn’t believe no one had developed something like this before, so we asked Felt App founder Tomer Alpert if he would be willing to answer a few questions for us.

Tomer, it seems like there is already an app for just about everything. What made you want to develop Felt? 
I wanted to build and run a company ever since I co-founded one about ten years ago with my Dad and a long time friend, Jason Sumler.  When we moved to Telluride, CO, I began working remotely for another software company.  After a year they asked me to move to Austin, TX. Austin is a great city, but Telluride captured our hearts and we weren’t ready to leave.  So after much anxiety we decided to follow our hearts, give up the great paying job and stay.

Then about two weeks later I had finally made peace with the decision.  We were driving back from a BBQ and Gracie (my long time partner) said “we should send them a thank you card”. We both wanted to, but the problem was we were tired and didn’t want to stop to buy a card.  So we searched for an app like Felt and only found apps that let you type your message.  While these apps were certainly cool, we wanted to send a card without going to the store. To us that meant it had to be in our own handwriting.  Both the card message and the envelope in our handwriting. When I didn’t find anything that worked for us, I got serious about building the app.

The more I dreamt of Felt, the more excited I became about the simple notion of taking a tablet (cutting edge technology) and using it to write a card. We’re using new technology while the core idea of handwriting the card remains.

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What makes Felt different from the other apps out there?
Two things: 1) you handwrite the card and envelope.  2) we wanted to honor the experience of sitting down in a quite space, on your favorite writing surface, and devoting time to writing your card. Not just getting through the process as quickly as possible, but to create a space for you to relax in.

Have you developed an app before?
I’ve helped develop an app at a previous software company.

What were some of the challenges in developing the app?
My challenge was staying calm and not letting the fear of the unknown rule my life. We didn’t know if anyone would want to use what we were building. Coupled with investing my money and time, there was a lot to be afraid of. I got through it because of Gracie, my friend Tommy, and my GoPro (which I would talk to when I couldn’t sleep). I would force myself out of bed, to our stairwell where I would sit and record myself sharing my current fears with the camera. It allowed me to hear myself and on numerous occasions resulted in discovering that my fear wasn’t routed in reality.

Why did you choose Mohawk for your paper?
We were considering different options, but I knew Mohawk was right when I showed a Felt card to a friend, who was a print and paper fanatic, and he went crazy when he found out he was holding Mohawk paper. He even said something like, “Mohawk is the best, but you probably don’t need to go that good for what you’re doing.” I just smiled and thanked him.

We want Felt cards to be the very best so the choice was clear.

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What do you see in the future for Felt?
Lots of new, fun features! Plus, we’ll be expanding to Android and Windows tablets and offering international support.

What are your thoughts on combining technology and paper?
I love the textile experience. I also love the creative freedom that tablets provide; you can erase and doodle without worrying about having to throw the paper away and starting over. I think there will be a lot more personal creations going from digital to material.

How has response been? What are the comments you are hearing from customers?
The response has been so delightful. We’ve been receiving emails every day from people telling us how much they love the app and suggestions for new features they’d love to see built. I had this moment a few weeks after we launched (and still do today) where I thought, “man our customers are the best in the world.” What more can we ask for?

If you haven’t sent a Father’s Day card, there’s still time! Download the Felt App and write your card today for delivery before Father’s Day. If you miss the deadline, you may want to check out their brand new belated Father’s Day designs.

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