Rediscovering Authenticity: Entrepreneur Kathryn Hastings on the Appeal of Wax Seals in the Digital Age

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Jorge Lucena

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Among younger generations, a captivating trend has emerged in the past several years: an increasing love affair with the beauty and charm of antique items. In a world defined by rapid innovation and cookie-cutter consumerism, the allure of vintage treasures invites those seeking a connection to the past and a departure from the mundane.

The fascination with antique items goes beyond mere nostalgia. It is an appreciation for the artistry, craftsmanship, and stories woven into these aged artifacts. From delicate porcelain teacups and weathered leather-bound books to old typewriters and ornate pocket watches, each item carries a unique history, offering a glimpse into the past.

36-year-old self-made entrepreneur and avid antique collector Kathryn Hastings fell in love with all things antique as a budding college student. Already passionate about letter-writing, a hobby she had in some way inherited from her grandmother, Hastings set off on a trip through Europe at the age of 19, intent on learning about art and history, while writing letters and discovering fine staionery. 

Her quest brought her to Italy, where she had her first touch with antique paper and acquired her first wax seal, and from that moment on, her heart belonged to the days past. "There’s something extraordinary about the beauty that antiques offer us. They’re not just a testament to the times that are long gone, but also a reminder of the existence of the people who once possessed them."

For younger generations, in particular, the appreciation of antique items extends beyond sentimentality. It is a way to express individuality, creativity, and a sense of style. Incorporating these treasures into their living spaces and personal belongings becomes a form of self-expression — a perfect addition to their "aesthetic".

Among these cherished relics, one item stands out for its ability to add a touch of elegance, individuality, and nostalgia: the wax seal, Kathryn Hastings' personal favorite.

What makes wax seals particularly appealing to younger generations is their ability to personalize and leave an enduring mark on their correspondence. The tactile nature of these seals provides a tangible connection to the sender, carrying their personality and sentiment along with the message.

"Today’s world is saturated with generic digital messages, so wax seals can offer a unique opportunity for self-expression. On top of that, custom-made wax seals add a further layer of individuality and intimacy."

Wax seals also follow the values of the slow-living movement that younger generations have embraced with open arms. It is a mindset that fosters mindfulness and the appreciation of simple pleasures. The very act of sealing a letter with wax invites a pause, encourages reflection, and encourages a return to a more deliberate method of communication.

Beyond aesthetics, the appeal of antique items, including wax seals, also lies in their sustainability. By giving new life to pre-owned treasures or using items made of environmentally friendly materials, younger generations actively participate in the movement towards conscious consumption and the reduction of waste. The act of preserving and repurposing these items not only adds beauty to our lives but is also in line with a sense of environmental responsibility.

"In some ways, the next generation seems to understand the luxury of letter writing better than previous generations. They experience the peace away from screens, and understand the magic of mantras and symbolism. Wax seals are an added layer to that experience. Seals add intention and beauty while reminding us of those who came before. ," Kathryn emphasizes.

Regardless of people’s individual choices of antique items, it is good to keep in mind that they are not just relics of the past but also portals of people’s shared history and a reminder of the stories that have shaped the world. In this digital age, where everything is fleeting, the allure of antique treasures provides a palpable connection to people’s roots and a sense of authenticity that cannot be replicated.

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Kathryn Hastings