Carolina, how did you start with this endeavour? What is the story behind the brand?
I am a graphic designer and I was always passionate about the publishing world, books, notebooks, papers and books. For me, entering a bookstore felt like how a child would in a toy store. My mouth watered every time I went into one and saw all the products that were there. My favourite part of my classes was always at the beginning of term when I got to buy all of my tools and books. A pending matter during my years in the UBA (Buenos Aires) was to complete a course of binding. Just after that time I was recovering from an operation and so I wasn't able to go to work. Being stuck in bed all day meant that my mind as a designer constantly wanted to create and do. Suddenly I had the inspiration to resurface my knowledge of binding and begin working with that. My goal was to create something different that would allow my notebooks to stand out from the rest. Finally I joined together my love for wood and bookbinding. With the base of the course as a starting point I was testing and discarding several options, materials and ways of binding. It was a long process, however, after trial and error I arrived at the result that I liked. Once I had the product, everything related to the creation of the logo and brand identity followed, which I also enjoyed a lot because of my profession. I registered the brand and the product and that is how Book Handmade was born!
What is your source of inspiration to drive you to continue working everyday in this endeavour?
First of all, the passion of doing a project of my own and doing what I like at the same time. I love being able to create and the positive feedback that I receive helps to keep me driven. There is nothing more beautiful than waking up with desire and determination to start the day and get going.
Can you tell us a bit about your workplace? From the place where you design the products to where they are manufactured.
The place of work and manufacture is my workshop that I have assembled in my parents' house in Olivos. I have my giant table set up in a comfortable space, although inevitably it's always overflowing with things! Also in the workshop I have a storage section full of wood and materials for the interiors of the notebooks and diaries. I make them from start to finish and on demand, so when an order arrives, the process starts. Originally the interiors of each book were hand-sewn by me, until the order flow increased and I could not continue doing so since it takes a long time. Therefore I made the decision to send the interiors to a printer and save that step. The design of the interior of the books is done by me and then they are printed, which makes them quite authentic and unique, every year I change the designs. It is a long process of producing the notebook as it is handmade and I also try to be as detailed as possible to achieve a good result, I put a lot of effort into that, into the detail, which then is what will differentiate them from the rest , so that the client is happy and the product exceeds their expectations and wants to choose them again.
There is nothing more beautiful than waking up with desire and determination to start the day and get going.
What kind of products can we find?
They are binding products in general with the characteristic of having wooden tops. There are notebooks (in different sizes), diaries, photo albums, sketchbooks. Any of these can be ordered with a pencil holder or without and in 10 different colour options for elastics and spine. The idea is that each person has a notebook that is unique and specific to them. Customers are not anonymous and may have tastes, for this reason I also offer and option to customise the cover with the engraving that they want. It is super important that the person comes to love their notebook and it feels like their own object. What better way is there to achieve this than for them to participate in the design process. For this reason I am also super open to the person to present a need or project that they want me to make. For example, if you suddenly want a special size, a special role, etc., that kind of project works without problem.
What is the manufacturing process; from the selection of materials to the designs that make up each of the products?
The notebooks are basically made of 3 ingredients: wooden top with elastic, an interior of paper and spine made of cloth. The cover is selected, then the corresponding colour and interior are both added. The inside is refined according to the lid, so that it is neat and flush with the lid. Then it is a common binding process with some little details or secret extras that make it more neat and voila!
What is the main philosophy of the brand? Do you take into account the care of the environment and the ecological process in the final product?
The main philosophy is to produce beautiful, different binding and stationary products with the added value of the quality finish and superior detail of the handmade product. We aim to provide a product that is an object of value, different, goes beyond the simple notebook and can adaptable to each customer.
If we buy a Book Handmade, what kind of experience are we going to have? What differentiates your product from an ordinary product?
The main difference is the wood as, in general, notebooks have card/paper covers. Also, the fact that it is handmade adds a lot to the experience, each product is individual. There is a lot of careful attention to detail in the making of our products so that each book is transformed into a special piece, an object of value. The idea is that when each person receives their notebook they feel the warmth with which it was made. That is why we make sure that the packaging also links into that. It is very important that when receiving the notebook the client has a good feeling. Besides this, each person can participate a bit in the creative process since the cover has the option of being customised. You can make it into whatever you want! In this way I think that you get to love the product more, since it is YOUR notebook.
What is your goal as an entrepreneur? Where would you like to take the brand and what long-term goals do you have in mind?
My goal is that my brand will come to mind when people are thinking of where they can find a cute and original gift. Whether that be as a gift from themselves or for another person, my main goal is for them to see my products and not hesitate to buy it. It'd be great to see my customers come to love their notebooks to a point where it holds a large significance to them. No longer would it just be seen as a notebook but as a beautiful and unique object that is personal to them. My long term goals are to develop a larger group of products, all made of wood or a similar material to it.
"We aim to provide a product that is an object of value, different, goes beyond the simple notebook and can adaptable to each customer."