Tuesday, 7 August 2012

interview: natalie mason of rebound books

Today I’m excited to share with you an interview with Natalie Mason of Rebound Books. I first came across this lovely crafty business at Bowerbird Bazaar, and have been loving on them ever since.

Rebound Books is an Australian creative and ethical stationery business run by Natalie and Ben Mason. It all started in 2005 when they decided to rescue old and unloved books to create unique stationery in an environmentally responsible way. They mix old, neglected books and 100% recycled Australian made paper to create one-off sketch books, diaries, journals, fridge magnets, graph books, bookmarks and more! Each item is handmade. Natalie & Ben have at the foundation of their business, a commitment to minimal impact on the environment. They use only vegetable based inks, 100% recycled paper and manual labour, and work with local businesses.

I hope it is as much a pleasure for you to read Natalie’s answers as it was to interview her! Hip Hip Hooray for another inspiring creative!!

1.     Tell us a bit about your journey. What led you to where you are now?
We've always been avid recyclers. I inherited it from my Italian grandparents. They recycled everything, mostly because they'd lived through the war and weren't able to upgrade or replace things as easily as we can today. They lived well by making do, by mending, by inventing things using only what they had. It's how we try to live, as best we can.

2.     What excites and inspires you?
The changing seasons. Watching food grow in the garden. Making things by hand.

3.     What bothers you?
Watching people waste paper. Oh boy, does it bother me!

4.     Who do you admire?
Ben, my husband and Rebound Books business partner.

5.     How do you choose and source your materials?
All of the books we work with come from Op Shops, charity stores and school fetes. We are selective about where we spend our money and what charities we support. We particularly enjoy buying books from the RSPCA Op Shops.
As for the paper we use, it is all 100% recycled and made in Australia. That is very important to us.

6.     What steps are involved in the creating process?
We use manual guillotines and binding machines, though have just recently introduced electricity to our workshop by the way of electric machines. It has made parts of the process easier on us physically, though not faster, strangely enough.

7.     What’s your favourite part of the business?
There are too many to mention! Making our stationery. Browsing at Op Shops for the perfect cover. Actually, I think my absolute and ultimate favourite part is watching our customers at our stall when they find “the one”. It's like watching someone fall in love and it's wonderful. It makes all the fiddly parts of what we do completely worthwhile.

8.     Why old books?
We think old books are beautiful. Each book has its own personal history. We also see their damaged spines, their faded or missing pages, full of out of date maps or content. We bring them back from the brink of extinction to be used again.

9.     What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own creative & ethical business?
Learn everything you can about running a successful business. Go to the library. Bookmark well written business blogs and read them often. Do your research. Your creative side needs nurturing too, so don't forget to feed that in the way that best suits you.

Thanks, Natalie, for being so honest and lovely to interview, and for sticking to your guns when it comes to your business ethics!

Want to stay in the loop? You can keep in touch with Rebound Books via their website, blog, twitter and facebook accounts.

Kate xxx

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