Shakespeare did it, Oscar Wilde did it, Edgar Allan Poe had a go and your grandparents probably did, too. Love letters used to be common. These days you’re lucky to get a right swipe on Tinder or an emoticon with heart-shaped eyes.
That’s why Sonia Mir and Ella Walker opened letter-writing service The Love Lettery. “People are kind of intimidated by it,” says Ella. “It’s unapologetically emotional and puts a spotlight on love and feelings, things people don’t necessarily associate with a retailer.”
The ladies come from PR and media backgrounds. Words are their thing. They opened their Topham Mall retail space in late November through Renew Adelaide’s rent-free, 30-day rolling lease program for local entrepreneurs. It stocks stationery and romantic, local-made gifts.
The letter-writing process involves a chat, preferably face-to-face, then Ella goes away and puts pen to paper. “I was nervous the first time,” she says. “You really want to do someone’s relationship proud.”
The customer sees the finished letter or poem before it is sent to The Calligraphy Society of South Australia where it is written on parchment. For a lesser fee it can be printed using house fonts. The whole process starts at $29.95 per page and takes three to four days. Traditional anniversaries, birthdays and the lead-up to Valentine’s Day are particularly busy.
“I’ve written professions of love, letters for estranged family members who want to connect and don’t know how to say the words,” Ella says. “I had a guy who didn’t want to send his bride a bunch of flowers on the morning of their wedding day so he sent her a love letter.”
In the spirit of love, Ella penned an ode to the city of Adelaide and shared it with us.
Dear Adelaide by Ella Walker
I was just 12 years old when I first laid eyes on you. I was young and impressionable and floored by your beauty; The sparkling cape of your dusky pink sunset took my breath away, Your boulevard streets a leafy tapestry of history and hope. Ours is a love story that grows stronger with each year passing. Cycling through falling lilac rain in jacaranda season, The splendour of your endless summer nights, The city’s welcome dance at the arrival of festival season, The songs of WOMADelaide as they breeze through the warm autumn sky, The unfolding secrets of your nooks and laneways, And oh Port Willunga! Your warm sands and still waters that replenish the soul. My Adelaide, As I sit here tonight and gaze across the twinkling of your city lights, I am yours and you are mine. You have stolen my heart, dear city.
The Love Lettery
Shop 11, Topham Mall, City
(08) 8211 7633
Hours Mon to Fri 9–5pm