A chat with the founders of DIYer
Who doesn’t love personalized stationery? Just knowing that something beautiful and unique is created just for you, feels so special! And, it won't cost you an arm and leg. Not anymore! Whether you prefer spiral binding over glued, watercolor florals with your name printed on a notecard, or your inner pages marked with your initials, there is a local stationery boutique that can turn the simplest act of planning your day into a work of art—DIYer.
DIYer means someone who makes things by themselves. As the name suggests, DIYer will help you create your own customized stationery. They offer a wide range of handcrafted notebooks, planners, and bookmarks, all completely customizable, at an affordable price. This week, we had a chance to talk to Hosneara Binni and Suraiya Kamol, the brilliant duo of sisters behind DIYer, shared the memory of how their business came to be.
Tell us when and how DIYer began. What inspired you to start such an unique venture?
Suraiya Kamol: That's actually a funny story. Completely on a whim, in the middle of a semester Binni apu decided to make a customized notebook with leftover papers for personal use. She designed the cover, picked the binding type and everything. The outcome was astonishing. My sister was so shocked! I remember, I was sitting in BRAC's canteen with a friend when she came to show me the notebook. My friend wanted one right away. Apu had no intentions of making a big deal out of it. But soon more and more requests came pouring in from friends of friends, and we started growing. That's when we decided to create an official page and actually make a business out of it.
Do you have any kind of training in graphics designs or art or did you get into it from your own hobbies?
Hosneara Binni: I am a business-major-turned-artist, completely self-taught. Designing has always been there for me. Even my present work involves me designing stuff. Just so happens, I am the mind behind DIYer, and the owner. My sister Kamol handles the business side.
How's the journey been so far?
Hosneara Binni: This was my seventh business attempt. My past failures have taught me a lot. The road with DIYer hasn't exactly been the smoothest either but as Kamol likes to say, this business chose us. It sounds cliched, we know but like we already mentioned, this opportunity came out of nowhere. So we put our collective experiences, skills and efforts together, and it just made sense, you know? It's working out just great, Alhamdulillah.
How did you cope during the lockdown situation?
Suraiya Kamol: We closed our business as soon as the lockdown hit. As our products are handmade, the process is very hands on. We have to visit the workshop frequently, work closely with our workers. The risks were pretty high, so we just decided to hit pause for the time being. But by the grace of Allah, we didn't face many problems during this period, and we were able to pay our workers. We resumed again around August, following all precautions and safety procedures, with a new product: A brand new customized planner.
Let's talk a bit about the products. What's the main concept that DIYer represents?
Suraiya Binni: Kamol and I, we love anything customized. Initially, we allowed customers to use designs that are not our own, but eventually we decided against it. We provide a variety of nature themed designs ---florals and leaves--- for customers to choose from. Depending on our customer's preferences we provide a mock up. Even while customizing, we make sure we are not copying any existing art or style. I think that's what makes our products really special. All the materials we use are sourced locally, and all our products are manufactured by hand by our local artisans in our small workshop.
In today’s modern world, technology has taken over paper. However, for those of us are old souls, love the way paper feels against our hand and to own personalized stuff but have a budget to maintain, DIYer is a dream come true. All of their handmade goodness is priced keeping specially us in mind. So what are you waiting for? A new year is approaching, go check out their collection on Facebook here, and they are also on Instagram.