Posted: 3 years ago
Author: Nina Gomarteli

Aembi's Paradise for Stationery Lovers and Their Almighty Notebooks

‘’Our main product, the notebook, appears to be an ordinary object at first glance, but I believe its significance is far greater. It successfully performs the duty of a kind of psychologist, assisting the owner in releasing collected bad emotions, improving event analysis through regular writing, and being self-motivational,’’-said Anna Bakradze, designer, and Founder of Aembi. 

Anna is an illustrator who worked as a freelance graphic designer before starting a paper company to obtain experience and technical skills in this field. She then founded Aembi - a paper shop based in Tbilisi that produces a variety of high-quality notebooks. As Anna told CBW she loves both the illustration and the industrial process of creating a product, and that is her great passion. We asked her how she got her concept for the business: 

‘’My shelves are stacked with notebooks depicting various stages of life, many of which are decorated with images and sketches cut from magazines, bringing the notebook even closer to my world. Today's social networks serve a similar purpose, yet I believe that when people write in a notebook, they are more sincere and have more possibilities to immerse themselves in it.

That is why so many individuals are drawn to notebooks in an unexplainable and powerful way. Notebook collectors will spend a long time selecting a new one that matches their current mood. Because the options were limited, I began to manufacture this product as a designer. Now we have a wide selection of alternative items that are just as beneficial,’’-said Anna in the conversation with CBW. 

Since manufacturing stationery products in Georgia, starting and developing your business, and getting the attention of potential customers are not easy tasks, we decided to ask her what challenges they had to face. The founder of the company pointed out three of them: 

‘’We were distributing products in Georgian bookshop chains and stationery stores for a while before opening the brand stores. The majority of Georgian entrepreneurs select this way of selling their products; however, I must point out that the prevalent method of distribution payment in our country, reimbursement after the sale, is a major obstacle to the industry's development. Success would take longer in the case of direct purchase, but it would be guaranteed.

The second real challenge was to obtain the materials needed for production. The production of branded products takes some responsibility before the customer. When a product becomes popular, the shortage of necessary materials creates a serious problem. There are only a few large suppliers in the country and creating a new product based on the materials imported by them is a kind of risk for the start-up entrepreneur, the problem is solved when the manufacturer will be able to import the required amount of raw materials.

The third challenge is a topical issue for all Georgian entrepreneurs is exporting, the biggest obstacle of which is irregular land/sea freight transportation. By regulating this important issue, I am sure that a big step would be taken to facilitate the export of Georgian products to the international market and, consequently, to the development of Georgian industry, because the current terms and tariffs for transportation are unprofitable for foreign partner companies, despite great sympathy for Georgian product,’’-said Anna. 

The working day is always changing. Throughout developing a new product design, which is the longest in the product development process, she prefers to work with illustrations.

Then she moves to the studio where they do a product layout with the technical team. After creating the sample copy, printing begins. This is an important stage because colors are crucial in Aembi products, so the printing process is also done jointly with the printer.

Then comes the finishing, processing the details separately, and finally assembling them into a single product. There are a lot of unforeseen difficulties in this process, which Aembi team members are trying to deal with together. When all issues have been resolved and all adjustments have been made, circulation printing and production begin, as well as ongoing stockpiling of existing products. Anna is working together with the creative team on the visual advertising material of the finished products. As Anna notes, at all these stages, she has the significant support of her partner and best friend, who is also her spouse. 

‘’ Due to the pandemic, we had to put several projects on hold and remove some products from the line, which disappointed regular customers; however, thanks to their love and special attitude, we were able to restore some of the products, and now, with great joy, we're working on a few new lines, including healthy food and lifestyle motivational diaries, planners, and other unique items never made before in Georgia,’’- Anna shared about their upcoming projects and we can’t wait to see them.