Introduction to our blog and a bit about us...
Hello and thanks for reading my new blog! I thought I would start off my telling you a bit about us and our journey so far...
I will be posting regular features ranging from how to bring vintage accessories into your home, sharing our inspiration, past collaborations as well as a peek behind the scenes and a few little creative tutorials to get you inspired.
So, to get started here is a little bit about us..
Sukie is us: Darrell & Julia Gibbs, we met at the University of Brighton in 1992 where we both studied for a degree in illustration. It was in Brighton that we first started visiting car boot sales, antique markets and local auctions as a fun hobby to furnish our home. After making lifelong friendships and having a fabulous four years, we moved to London when Darrell accepted a place on MA Illustration at The Royal College of Art, and I started work as a buyers assistant (for gift & stationery) at Liberty of London.
The original rescued paper notebooks displayed at Darrell's RCA show 1999
It was at Darrell’s graduation show that he exhibited a wall of handmade ‘rescued paper notebooks’ made from the discarded artworks of former RCA students (anyone who still has one of those original books may be holding the designs of a now famous artist or designer!) Darrell was overwhelmed by the response from buyers and stylists including an order for 24,000 notebooks for furniture and lifestyle store Habitat – and that’s really when Sukie began, as we decided to set up a stationery & gift company and put Darrell’s designs into production!
Some of the range of utility notebooks & photo albums for Habitat
We found a company in India who would be able to work with us to create the rescued paper books in volume. India has a great infrastructure for recycling and also, especially back then, was still using a lot of traditional book binding and printing techniques that we felt worked well with our brand. We started working with a small family business based just outside of Delhi, and we have been working with them ever since!
Darrell with Umesh, our manufacturing partner in India (early 2000's)
Snapshot of the print room in Noida UP
During this time we were living in a little flat off Westbourne Grove on the edge of Notting Hill, London and weekends were spent wandering through the markets along Ladbroke Grove and Goldbourne road, as well as venturing further afield to the east end of London. It was in a shop on Goldbourne road (Lescouillesduchien) that we spotted our two amazing plan chests, we had to store them in Darrell’s parents garage for several years until we had a studio space large enough to house them, but they are still one of our favourite (and most useful ) purchases!
The selection of handmade journals we made for DKNY
Over the years we have designed various printed items such as handkerchiefs, pouches, bags, pin badges, giftwrap, tea towels, cushions, mugs, greetings cards and of course many more notebooks. We have designed exclusive collections for Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Aveda, DKNY, Oliver Bonas, Chronicle Books, Habitat, Le Sportsac, Keith Brymer Jones and many more all over the world from the USA to Japan. We have had a shop on the platform notonthehighstreet.com since 2010 where we grew our range to include personalised notebooks.
Darrell with Keith Brymer Jones and our collaborative mugs
Our People Pencils for Chronicle books, part of an extensive range
Some of the items from our collection for Le Sportsac
We have continued to use recycled & discarded papers in our products as well as vintage maps and our collections of old books and collected ephemera inspire many of our designs. Recycling and repurposing has always been at the heart of what we do since day one, but it was only in around 2019 that we started selling original vintage items in our store alongside our own designs. We have been delighted to find that there are many people out in the world who seem to love old desk accessories and ephemera as much as we do! Its given us an excuse to indulge our passion for ‘old stuff’, because now we have the purpose of filling our shop rather than filling our home and studio, where we were beginning to reach capacity!
Photo from one of our trade shows in Paris - just before the pandemic
In a completely unexpected turn of events we have now also found ourselves sourcing and making vintage office props for film & TV which has been fascinating and extremely enjoyable. It’s funny how opportunities happen when you are least expecting it, so watch this space and lets see where the next 20 years take us!...
A corner of the studio with our beloved plan chests in the background and one of our much loved leather Eames Chairs