Tille and I studied graphic design at Sint Lucas in Antwerp. We are driven by a passion for real craftsmanship, typography and beautiful, tactile design.
We are passionate about paper products as a working material and book design, which stems from our background in graphic design. We love working with our hands. Experimentation is central to the process. We explore and try out different bookbinding and finishing techniques. Our designs are deliberately uncomplicated and clean, allowing the materials to take the lead role.
We have a common interest in sustainability and circular economy. In our daily lives, we try our best to consume consciously. And try to inspire other people in a positive way.
How did you start? (where did the idea come from)
When Tille and I discovered that the printing process generates a large amount of paper waste and surplus. We decided to work with this beautiful waste stream, and turn it into unique, handmade products.
Our project started very small, it was never the intention to start our own business. We sold our products in a pop-up shop in Antwerp for the very first time. When the temporary shop closed, people kept ordering our stationery. So we decided to make a second batch, after that a third… Before we knew it we started our own company ‘Redopapers’.
Organisations were inspired by our project and asked to make tailored work for their company.
We started with an assignment for the Fotomuseum in Antwerp and made custom products with their paper surpluses. After that, we worked a lot for other cultural organisations and interesting companies. We were very lucky that we had interesting clients from the start. Very quickly we gained brand awareness and started to grow.
What’s next? What brings the future?
We will definitely keep exploring and trying out different techniques to design new sustainable products and have a more positive impact.
We also want to increase our social employment with organisations from the neighbourhood. We give tasks according to their individual needs and skills, they gain work-experience and contribute meaningfully with adequate supervision and guidance. The social employment makes it possible for us to remain the production locally. It’s been so far a wonderful experience.
Our concept is also very easy to apply to schools. This is a new idea that we want to explore. We hope we find the time and funding to set up a new Redopapers project that inspires pupils and students.
What is good design to you?
We love products that subscribe to the ideas of a circular economy. The designer gives a positive message and inspires you to consume in a conscious way.
Using high-quality materials, using a timeless design, making a product with replaceable components, will ensure the product will last long. We are very happy to see that more and more designers react to the disposable society.
Sustainability and design go hand in hand. We are convinced that a good ecological product doesn’t need to look recycled. It is very important that a product looks good. You have the love it for its shape, texture, etc.
Tell us 5 things you’ve learned in starting up your own business?
- Planning is everything. As we rely on social employment, production time is sometimes longer as we do not want to create unreasonable time pressure. Our products also require a lot of manual work, so we need to make a good production plan in advance.
- It is very important to have personal contact with your clients. Often they will advertise you to new potential clients. Also, listen to their needs, that’s how we created our business activities.
- Be critical to your own design. Dare to reject your ideas.
- Find a balance between an experimental design and an affordable product for your client.
- Having a clear mission (social and sustainable) makes it very easy to make fast decisions for your company.
Have a look at the sustainable design work of Redopapers