Saturday, August 10, 2013

Brunch with an entrepreneur: Susan Green of BOUND

Do you still remember my Brunch with a blogger series? It used to be one of my favorite features on the blog, and I can't quite explain why I ever stopped doing those interviews. My guilty conscience is whispering to me that the procrastination is the guilty one here, and I'm sure it's true. However, that's old history now, and I'm back today with a brand new and extremely inspiring guest. Please, say hello to Susan Green, the founder of BOUND

Susan is a very talented bookbinder living in Dorset, England. She is both an artist and a craftsman (or, should I say, a craftswoman?), dreaming up and creating beautiful individually hand-bound journals, notebooks, wedding guestbooks and artists' sketchbooks (and then some). Great design, simplicity, refinement and impeccable craftsmanship is what Susan swears by. She spent quite some time sourcing the highest quality materials, and refining her style, skills and techniques. The hard-to-resist butter-soft leather and high quality paper make for the ultimate luxurious experience. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about: I've already treated myself to 2 beautiful mini notebooks (the blush and peach one seen below) and I'm extremely tempted to expand my mini collection with even more lovely colors. 

Susan's notebooks can capture everything you want: your dreams and hopes, your ideas and inspirations, your sketches or photos, even tickets and keepsakes from your travels. I'm already toting mine wherever I go, jotting down random thoughts and inspirations, and relishing the one-of-a-kind experience. 
Binding together the past and the present, Susan creates a unique blend of tradition and modernity. That's what drew me to her work in the first place, and that's what keeps me returning to her shop. If you're constantly on the hunt for thoughtful personal gifts, I strongly recommend you add BOUND to the list of your favorite shopping destinations: you can have a journal custom made from scratch, and that, my friends, is the ultimate luxury in my (note)book. If you want to know more about Susan and her work, be sure to read the interview below. You are bound to be delighted. 

The best piece of advice I've ever received: Never shut your (online) shop.

My life & business mantra: Do the next right thing, and do it well.

My favorite beauty product: Eve Lom TLC cream. I use it at bedtime and by the morning I look so healthy!

Miniature Journals in Blush Pink. My absolutely favorite of Susan's designs.

3 things I never leave home without: Business cards, iPhone, lipgloss.

My ultimate style icon: Audrey Hepburn – unpretentious chic

My favorite, fail-proof recipe is: Mushroom risotto. The trick is to use carnaroli rice, not arborio, and never stop stirring!

Pristine white wedding guest book. I'm dreaming of one like this for my own wedding (if I ever get married, that is).

Favorite item in my closet: My little black dress – it’s a sharp, tailored design by Fever.

I wish I knew how to... Draw. I gave up art when I was at school because although I loved art, I found my lack of ability so frustrating. I assumed I wasn’t creative, but I realise now that there are all sorts of creativity, not all of them require you to be an artist. I identify as a maker, an artisan, a craftsperson.

My favorite travel destination: Currently, I’m dreaming of New Zealand – friends from over there are visiting at the moment, and it seems like a beautiful, creative, wholesome kind of place. But a beach holiday in the Maldives would be fine!

Monochrome Journal / sketchbook: it would be a perfect gift for that one special gentleman in your life: whether it's your dad, your grandpa, or your significant other.

When I was a kid, my dream job used to be... I really didn’t have any ambitions at all when I was a kid, or as a teenager. I studied English Literature at university, then did a post-grad diploma in International Development and was planning a career in that sector – I fell ill and couldn’t pursue those dreams, but I’m very happy doing what I do now and find satisfaction in continually improving my business, skills and knowledge day by day.

My favorite pick-me-up when I'm in a bad mood: My Spotify playlist - currently includes Alt-J, Disclosure, AlunaGeorge, The Lumineers, Stevie Nicks, Empire of the Sun…

3 blogs rocking my word lately: 
The Holborn – like me, they appreciate heritage, style and hard work.

CardboardCities – great illustrator, collage artist and style blogger.

Tea&Cookies – wonderful words and images from a talented food writer.

Miniature journals again. This time in bright and cheerful peach and white combination. I couldn't resist them, I confess.

Book I'm reading right now & my all time favorite book: All About Love by Bell Hooks, my all time favourite is Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow by Peter Hoeg.

My favorite guilty pleasure: Staying in.

If I could meet any woman for lunch, it would be... Virginia Woolf – she was a groundbreaking writer, incredibly intelligent and perceptive, the lynchpin of the Bloomsbury set of British writers, printers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists whose lives were said to be most concerned with ‘love, the creation and enjoyment of aesthetic experience and the pursuit of knowledge’. (GE Moore)


Blue memory book. I would pick one like this in blush pink, and use it as my travel journal: jotting down my impressions, memories, experiences, gluing in actual photos and tickets from museums and other monuments.

What was the inspiration behind launching your own business? I’d begun bookbinding as a hobby and really, I started selling my work as a way to fund buying tools and equipment, and it grew from there. I relaunched last year with a really strong brand image to communicate what I stand for: great design, impeccable craftsmanship and practicing a heritage skill in a very contemporary way.

If the Internet didn't exist, what do you think you would be doing instead of running your online business? I hope I’d be still doing what I do now, but selling and exhibiting in retail outlets such as gallery shops – actually, this is something I’ve just started to do – it feels great to be placing my work in an accessible context where people can touch (and smell!) the leather, handle the book and see the way the various bindings work.

What's the best thing about running your own business? And the worst? Being responsible for ALL aspects of the business is both the best and the worst thing – you never feel you can take a break or ask for help, but it’s great because you develop a broad skill-set covering marketing, photography, customer relations, accounting, copywriting, etc as well as designing and making your product. You develop really great self-confidence and become an awesome problem-solver!

Hardback journals: the perfect everyday companion. You can pick the size and colors, and create your unique and personal notebook.

 Where do you find inspiration for your designs?  Modernism as expressed in product and graphic design, architecture and fashion. Simplicity and clean lines are the most important things.

How would you describe your business in 3 words? Contemporary, creative, promising.

Where do you see your business in 3 years? Any big plans & projects ahead? I’d really love to collaborate with artists, illustrators and printmakers on sketchbook projects, experimenting with the dialogue between form and content with a range of binding styles. I plan to take some training in fine leather binding, box-making and letterpress printing so I can expand my professional skills and widen the range of products and services I can offer my customers. I’d also like to be teaching bookbinding workshops to children and adults and hope to be stocked in gallery shops throughout the UK. All this whilst working really hard on marketing to try and secure the bottom line.
Thank you SO much, Susan, for taking time to share your story with us! Getting to know you better makes me appreciate your craftsmanship and hard work even more! I keep my fingers crossed, I'm sure that with your determination and work ethic, it won't take long before you conquer all your big dreams and plans!

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  1. She looks so nice and also really great, her creations are adorable! Lovely feature and interview Ivana! Kisses dear! xo

  2. Very nice looks!

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  3. inspiring interview

  4. These books are amzing and she is a very interesting person!

  5. Hey Ivana! I think you can order Lush products online, at least you can in Germany. I would recommend to try out a bath first, like this one:


  6. What an interesting interview and these notebooks are so stylish and contemporary.

  7. What an awesome interview! Her work is incredible, I took a book making class last term and it's really really really hard so I admire her so much.

    Oh and the nail polish on my blog was covergirl's "Mint Mojo"

  8. What an adorable person! And the notebooks are so, so pretty!

    By the way, the mint Essie colour is called 266 naughtynautical!

    Have a great day,


  9. The journals and notebooks look so beautiful! I love anything stationary.

  10. susan is so lovely! i adore her journals. love this interview too! thanks for the mention :)

  11. Those journals are so pretty!! Her work looks amazing!

  12. This was fun to read! Her journals are absolutely beautiful -- and I can totally see why Audrey Hepburn is her style icon. I can see a resemblance. :)


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