Legendary Letters: A Family That Has Been Helping Santa Online Since 1997

Once upon a time, Stacy Rose bought a 3” thick book on HTML to build her website from scratch.

Wait, is that a suitable beginning for a Christmas story?

Tech books are the antagonists of fairy tales — unless they are used to create and sell some magic. That is the case with Legendary Letters, a twenty-year-old online store that helps Santa with his mail to good boys and girls.

No doubt, the owner Stacy is at least half a wizard. She found a way to sell online when there was no such word as “wifi”. In the store’s busiest season, she found a moment to show us around behind the scenes and unveiled the world of magical mail (and, well, e-commerce).

Listen up, kids

No worries, we are not sharing the most awful Christmas spoiler here. It’s something else: Legendary Letters is a family business, run by elf Stacy, her husband, and their two boys. The youngest is eleven, and he is the one who manages their Ecwid store!

“I create all of the 2D paper items while my husband (who is the true artist) creates all of the 3-dimensional items. Our 16-year-old son does the wax seals on our envelopes and packs up orders. Our youngest will go into Ecwid to mark orders shipped after they are complete and will often log in new orders. My Mom comes in to help pack and ship when things get crazy.”

Besides Christmas mail, you can find fairy hits like an acceptance letter to Hogwarts, a golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory, or a note from the Tooth Fairy.

“We have actually met Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt) and Paris Themmen (Mike TeeVee). Paris told us that our golden tickets were the best he had seen and he actually purchased our replica of the giant contract the kids sign in the movie. Denise Nickerson (Violetm Beauregard) has used our golden tickets to autograph at conventions. We were also contacted by the original set construction manager, Hendrik Wynands, and we sent him one of our tickets. He still has an original one and helped us with the sizing and paper stock.”

Stacy’s sons are lucky to test the most products.

“We like to throw really intricate birthday parties based on a theme that they love. We usually work on the parties for a full year (starting on a new theme right after the last one is over). The designs we create for their parties are then offered in our shop. Our sons are also into a live theater in our community, so we often create props for those productions that are then made available to the public.”

Their customers are not only kids, though. Stacy ensures that people in their 70s and 80s can be looking forward to acceptance letters just as badly as seven-year-olds.

Magic outside Hogwarts

In the same year when Joanne Rowling got her first Harry Potter book published, Stacy was making her way through oldschool e-commerce. The next time you’ll be mad at spreadsheets or something, think of the late “90s.

‘It took forever just to set up forms that would be formatted correctly when emailed to me, and of course PayPal didn’t exist, so we had to set up a merchant account with a real credit card reader to process online payments. We didn’t even have DSL, our online connection was through the phone line and was super slow.’

But e-commerce was too promising. Many of Legendary Letters” items require customers to fill out pretty lengthy personalization forms. In 1996, people would simply fill them out by hand, which made the forms hard to read. Online ordering let them do it at their leisure from home, leaving no room for errors.

The main site legendaryletters.com is not the only place on the web where the magic happens. Stacy and her family also sell on three other domains (legendaryletters.biz, hogwartsletters.com, and hogwartsletter.com), and on Facebook. That way Santa’s letters are always available for every boy and girl.

One store, many storefronts

Before Stacy found Ecwid, all her domain names had one host. One day, that host went down on them. All the online sales were down for a month or more before the family could set everything up again. That scared Stacy so badly that she assigned each domain to a different host.

I loved the fact that you could embed your store on multiple sites and manage it from one location. I’ve never had it easier.

The team uses the affiliate tracking code on their other domains and their Facebook store to track how many orders come in from those auxiliary sites.

Stacy shared what she particularly likes about her Ecwid store:

Legendary Letters sells both physical and digital products

“Ecwid really is a life saver. It cuts down on the time I had to spend doing all my tasks separately like I used to. I love being able to search orders by customer name or product and just having such good records of each sale. I love that we can have so many options and variations for each product as well as attach files for digital goods. Now that SEO is a tab for each product, it’s SO easy! What’s not to love?”

Stacy uses a number of Ecwid applications: CloudSearch for search suggestions, Stamped.io for collecting reviews, the FOMO app for promotions, and Currency Converter for showing prices in different currencies depending on customer location.

The CloudSearch app suggests relevant content in Stacy’s online store

In addition to the storefront, there are personalization forms that customers submit, after which the info is merged directly onto their items. That helps to minimize personalization errors.

“We ask customers to proof their forms during and after submitting. If they find an error and contact us before printing, we make the change for them. We also check each item carefully for spelling and grammatical errors ourselves before printing. So returns due to incorrect or incomplete addresses are very low.”

Making it last all year round

This most holiday-themed store doesn’t take part in the holiday season sales. Instead, they usually offer only one discount per year and that is in mid-summer when things are usually slowest for them.

Stacy and her team run paid promotions on Google, Bing, Pinterest, and Facebook, and also advertise in their local newspaper and mailers.

The owner uses the power of reviews and ensures it brings results.

Legendary Letters reviews

“I’ve found the Stamped.io reviews amazing for making people feel we’re trustworthy. I’ve also found those reviews answer a lot of questions people have so they don’t need to contact us before ordering. They are comfortable ordering right away. Before the reviews, I would often get emails from people asking if we were still in business and if the site was active. They said they have had bad experiences in the past ordering from defunct sites. The reviews show that we are current.”

Speaking of customer service, for Stacy, the importance of stellar customer experience is on top of everything — she’s a Santa representative, after all. So she does all the customer service herself and tries to respond to each email within 24 hours so they don’t get backed up.

A little help is not forbidden though, even if it comes from competitors. Yes, Stacy thinks of competition as helpers, which makes her business even more special.

“When I started out helping write letters to Santa there was an organization for Santa’s helpers like me all around the world and we all helped each other out. There are so many customers for the products we offer that we are glad there are others who can help share the load! We couldn’t possibly do it all ourselves. So, yes, there are many competitors but I’m thankful for them. What we do spreads joy and the more the merrier!”

The nontrivial promotion tactics include a one-of-a-kind FAQ page. There you can find brilliant answers to the trickiest Santa-related questions that don’t let you sleep at night.

Santa FAQs on Legendary Letters

“After 21 years in business, we have really heard all those questions, so we thought it best to answer them on the site for everyone to read. Dealing with the magical community can be a bit confusing for first-time parents especially. Hopefully, our FAQs make things easier on them!”

Future plans

In 2018, Stacy will have some new products available and become more open to local walk-in customers.

“I just got a tablet so now I can use the Ecwid mobile app for those customers, which is exciting because I won’t need to go in manually and deduct those sales from the inventory counts in Ecwid.”

Legendary Letters, the brick and mortar shop

We wish the whole team good luck and hope to see more amazing products in their store. In case you lack a little bit of X-mas spirit and merry mood, elf Stacy has something to wish you.

“I wish Ecwid store owners much success! Online ordering is so convenient for people these days and you can reach customers globally like never before. Once you get a rhythm set up for order processing and shipping in Ecwid, you’ll have all the tools you need. Ecwid makes it so you can run a successful small business and keep organized without a large staff to start.”

Merry Christmas!

About The Author
Kristen is a сontent creator at Ecwid. She finds inspiration in sci-fi books, jazz music, and home-cooked food.

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