Smiles by Mail: MDes student business that brightens people’s lives during COVID-19


11/20/2020 12:00 am

Adam Huth (MDes Sp22) and Alec Huth (UC Berkeley student)


Adam Huth, Berkeley MDes student, and his sister Alec, UC Berkeley student, launched a new business with the start of COVID-19. Smiles by Mail is a small lifestyle webstore that uses snail mail to bring handmade, sustainable products to people across the country.

Their goal is to bring positivity to people’s lives. As Adam says, “We hope that a smile by mail serves as a reminder that someone out there cares enough to make you smile and brighten your day.”

How does it work?

Adam and Alec make earrings, rainbow car charms, stickers, and stationery cards made from recycled paper scraps. Customers can order through Instagram or Smile by Mail website, either for themselves or a friend. Products are then mailed via the USPS, generally as First Class Mail (aka snail mail).

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Sustainability and social responsibility are key values in Smile by Mail. All products are handmade in house (aka a tiny apt) with sustainability at the forefront. Envelopes are made from recycled paper grocery bags, product cutouts (to keep envelopes flat and products protected) are made from recycled cardboard, and the notes that are included in each order are written on magazine paper. Adam and Alec then recycle their own paper and cardboard scraps from these processes into new paper that they make into cards, art prints, and other packaging. They made an effort to save scraps from other products (macrame scrap and embroidery scraps) which they hope they can incorporate into future products.

Adam and Alec also want their products to be accessible to everyone to be able to bring happiness into their own home or share a gift to make a friend smile. With this in mind, they started this business with a “pay what you can” pricing model. They truly believe that in today’s economy a company can be for-profit while making positive impacts on people and our environment.

What’s Ahead?

In the future, Adam and Alec hope to create equipment to increase their manufacturing capacity of their products, specifically macrame products – as those are the most labor intensive. They also aim to work with other artists and creatives, carrying their products under the Smiles by Mail brand. With other artists, Adam and Alec hope to diversify our product inventory, reach new customers, and further develop social media and marketing campaigns. Their hope is that they can expand their business while maintaining their handmade, sustainable initiatives. As production allows, Adam and Alec also intend to release more non-profit products that support various social justice initiatives across the globe.

Smiles by Mail are colorful and simple reminders that there will be better days are ahead. So far over 300 people have received Smiles by Mail – making a positive impact one smile at a time!