Flikshop Truths: What is Flikshop?
Updated: Mar 29
Welcome to the first in a series of "Flikshop Truths." This Spring, the Flikshop team will publish a series of articles that dive deeper into Flikshop and how we can best support our customers and families. A couple of times each week, our readers will be learn more about how Flikshop was started, how we're here to help, and the work we're doing to keep families connected. Look out for Flikshop Truths and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
The Flikshop app allows users the ability to take a photo on their phones or tablets, add an optional short note, and click “Send” directly from their mobile devices. Flikshop prints the photo and message on a real postcard and ships it directly to any person in any jail, state or federal prison, or juvenile detention center for $0.99 each.
Flikshop was born out of a necessity for people who are incarcerated to feel constant love from their loved ones, and for the families and businesses that we support to send that love quickly and affordably.
The Beginning of Empathy (1996)
When Marcus was 15 years old he was arrested and sentenced to spend 8 years in adult maximum-security prisons for carjacking a man in a shopping mall parking lot. By the time he served the first 2 years he became very dark and depressed, so his mom made a promise to him in a prison visiting room.
"Marcus, I'm going to write you a letter or send you a picture every day for the remaining 6 years of your sentence.", says his mom, Ms. Bullock.
"Those letters saved my life!", claims Marcus. "I was able to see the world through my mother's lens and that gave me a clear vision of what my life would look like after prison."
In jails and prisons around the country, whether it be in a local/county jail, state or federal prison, and even juvenile detention centers, mailcall happens around 4pm and during count time. The correctional officers in these facilities change shifts and the mail is inspected and sorted to be distributed throughout the facility to the resident population. This is the time of day where people that live in these cells are hoping and praying for someone to show them love, and Marcus’ mom would send him letters every day, along with photos of his family, the meals she ate, and the happenings at church and school that she knew would give Marcus a sense of what was going on in the world.
“I wanted Marcus to experience the life that he dreamt about, and the funny face pictures of his nieces and nephews always brightened his day, according to him.” says Ms. Bullock. “He would always say, ‘getting mail in prison is like hitting the lottery’, so I wanted to ensure that he had something to look forward to in hopes that it would keep him focused and out of trouble.”
Life After Prison (2004)
Marcus was released from Virginia Department of Corrections in February 2004, and he believed that this would be the beginning of a new life for him and his family. However, he found it difficult to honor promises to his friends still incarcerated. His friends wanted photos from vacations and snapshots of his life on the outside and he often spoke about how guilty he felt for not sending letters and photos, as his mom did for him.
“Sending physical photos had too many steps; Monday would turn into Tuesday, and the week would fly by before I realized I had never gone to print photos.” he states. There were no solutions that allowed him to send quick texts or photos, like he grew accustomed to doing with social media apps but he still wanted to honor his promise and support his friends, so it was crucial to find a solution.
The Beginning of Flikshop (2012)
Google searches left Marcus still in the market for an affordable, easy way to maintain a connection with his friends. Through more research, he got the idea to start his own company.
He looked up pricing, where to start, how to create a mobile application, all before coming to the name Flikshop and building a team to help make it happen. Since Flikshop’s launch in 2012, Marcus and his team continue to lead with intention to provide the most affordable, convenient, and safe way to connect people who are incarcerated with their families and friends.
How has Flikshop grown?
Market research and responding to consumer needs has driven Flikshop’s improvements. Families are able to send postcards for as little as 79 cents and purchase packages that allow them to send postcards every day that mail operates for less than $16 a month.
Now, in 2021, Flikshop is still driven by the same purpose to connect families and end recidivism.
“If we do our jobs right, every person in every cell in the US will receive mail every day. This level of love, accountability, and empathy is what will drive down recidivism rates. I want to keep people out of prison, and we’re helping to do that with Flikshop.” states Bullock with enthusiasm.
Download the Flikshop app for free by clicking here. (Available for iPhone and Android)