Write on! Two stationery brands to take note of

These en­trepreneurs used their pas­sion for pa­per, de­sign and func­tion­al­ity to cre­ate ex­quis­ite prod­ucts that are a joy to use – and look at.

Fairlady - - CONTENTS - By Shireen Fisher

ALoveSupreme is a ‘col­lec­tion of stationery and home­ware that leaves a smile on your face’, say hus­band-and-wife team Leanne and Ryan Botha. Af­ter run­ning their graphic de­sign con­sul­tancy for 11 years, the pair wanted to move to­wards a plat­form that would al­low them to sell prod­ucts, rather than just their time. ‘We also wanted the creative free­dom to de­sign a brand and a range un­re­stricted by a client’s brief,’ Leanne ex­plains. Both Leanne and Ryan stud­ied graphic de­sign in Cape Town – Leanne at The Red and Yel­low School and Ryan at Ruth Prowse. He went on to work in ad­ver­tis­ing and de­sign, work­ing for BBDO Net­work, Vir­gin Drinks and En­ron in the UK, while Leanne did a post­grad­u­ate course in Or­gan­i­sa­tion and Man­age­ment at UCT, worked in in­te­rior de­sign, then as an ac­count man­ager for SEA De­sign in Lon­don. ‘When we re­turned to Cape Town in 2003,

we started The Fire Room,’ says Ryan. ‘Leanne took seven years of ma­ter­nity leave [they have three boys], and came back with a bang with the launch of aLoveSupreme in 2014.’

They cre­ate dis­tinc­tive, strik­ing de­signs. ‘Orig­i­nal hand-drawn il­lus­tra­tions with a hint of hu­mour is the style of aLoveSupreme,’ says Leanne. ‘The de­signs are fresh, bold and stylised, with an ap­peal­ing graphic sim­plic­ity.’

aLoveSupreme has cre­ated an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion that in­cludes wrap­ping pa­per, clip­boards, cards, gift tags, note­books and lap­top sleeves. They’ve also branched into home­ware, and their ac­ces­sories (tote bags, sling­bags and pouches) are avail­able in vi­brant prints.

All the prod­ucts are printed and man­u­fac­tured lo­cally, and the cou­ple have a team of 12 (10 women and two men) who help make sure ev­ery­thing comes to­gether.

‘I find in­spi­ra­tion in peo­ple and hu­mour,’ says Ryan. ‘We have great ideas, great prod­ucts, and great peo­ple. You need to be­lieve you can do it or you won’t see the light at the end of the tun­nel.’ His ad­vice for other creative en­trepreneurs: ‘Don’t do it alone; you need some­one to lean on.’

‘Build­ing a new busi­ness is stretch­ing us in ways we never imag­ined!’ Leanne says. ‘But we love it – the creative process as well as the mul­ti­fac­eted chal­lenges it presents. We’ve had chal­lenges on ev­ery front – HR, pro­duc­tion, sales, op­er­a­tions and fi­nance. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?’

They have three stores, and the prod­ucts are also avail­able on­line. Leanne and Ryan ex­hib­ited at Mai­son et Ob­ject in Paris last year and Top Drawer in Lon­don in Jan­uary, build­ing an in­ter­na­tional pro­file for their de­signs.

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