Start-ups: Ink links: fountain pens and ink as a bridge to the offline world

Increasing customer loyalty with the magic of handwriting is the idea of ​​the start-up Ink Links. It offers mail order companies handwritten package inserts to send customers personal and appreciative messages. Start-up founder Maximilian Krist explains the business model in an etailment interview.

When it comes to reading rates, handwriting beats every other form of written communication, such as printed flyers or e-mails. Then there is the emotional aspect conveyed by handwritten messages. “It’s not for nothing that we still write postcards or love letters by hand in our digitized world,” says Maximilian Krist. In 2021 he founded Ink Links.

The start-up based in Glött, Bavaria, produces handwritten cards that are automatically written with fountain pens and ink. Mail order companies can add them to orders to give their customers a personal message.

© Ink Links

Handwritten messages are read by more customers than printed ones, says Ink Links founder Maximilian Krist.

In the etailment interview, start-up founder Krist says who else he has in mind as a customer.

To be honest and without buzzwords: How would you explain the start-up to your parents?
At Ink Links we write cards for online shops with fountain pens and ink. The shops enclose these cards in their shipping packages to thank their customers for the order or to address other appreciative words to them. After all, a handwritten card has a much more personal effect and is read by significantly more customers than a printed flyer or the hundredth email.
Since nobody could read my handwriting and it would not make economic sense for most companies to write cards by hand, robots do this work for us. The result is optically and haptically exactly like a human hand, but much cheaper.

How would you describe your business model to a potential partner in a tweet (280 characters)?
We help mail order companies to communicate with their customers in a very personal and appreciative way through handwritten cards in the shipping packages, thus increasing customer loyalty. We write the cards automatically with ink fountain pens by robots.

The package inserts, which are produced automatically, look and feel like they were written by a human hand, but are many times cheaper.

© Ink Links

The package inserts, which are produced automatically, look and feel like they were written by a human hand, but are many times cheaper.

Which companies/customers have you already convinced?
We’ve only been around for half a year and can therefore not yet boast a page-long customer list. But we have already been able to attract some exciting companies, including a watch brand, a producer of sustainable food and an influencer’s online shop. The great thing about it is that almost all customers are convinced of the effect of handwritten cards after their first order and regularly order more.

Who would you like to do business with?
With the magic of handwriting for online shops, we build a bridge from the online world to personal customer contact in the offline world. As a result, the customer journey is not limited to the Internet, but is designed holistically. Our target group ranges from small start-ups that sell their products online to large mail order companies.
Although we focus on mail order companies, our handwritten cards can also be of interest to other companies, for example in hotels as a welcome card for guests.

What has been the most important finding since the start?
I think it’s important to be happy about small successes and to celebrate them. That gives you a tailwind and helps you to survive dry spells that occur in every company.

Which success number are you particularly proud of?
I was and am very proud of winning the first customer. It’s just a great feeling when, after a long period of preparation and lots of theoretical considerations, you finally get confirmation that you’re really helping the target group with your product and that they’re happy to pay for it.

Which headline would you like to read about your start-up in a business newspaper in five years?
With Partner Ink Links, Zalando sends its customers a handwritten card with every order.

Start-ups without buzzwords

Are you the founder of an innovative and exciting company in the retail and FMCG environment? Can you also explain your start-up without buzzwords? Then contact us at any time at [email protected]

You can find all the startups presented so far at


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