If you've visited any of our stores, you'll be familiar with Rama clips. Those tiny gems are dotted around the shelves, embellishing our notebooks with a flash of gold.
We had a chat with Rachida, founder and creator of Rama Publishing. Rachida is so inspiring and full of energy, often popping into our London stores to deliver each batch of goodies by hand. We found out about her creative process, her obsession with London and of course, we had to ask what's in her pencil case too (it's us, what did you expect?).
What was your goal when creating the brand?
When I first started Rama, I wanted to create products that had a clear purpose, elegant design and carried a touch of magic. I must believe in each product 100% or we will simply not go ahead with it and try something else. Rama reflects me in a lot of ways. For example, our first product, the Daily Review Planner, is also known as “the coach you carry with you” and I used my coaching experience to develop a product that would help the customer achieve their goals. I also have a Master of Laws and my experience studying and tutoring law students inspired me to create the Ratio Notebook for Law Students. We want our customers to love and be thankful for our products because we are thankful for them as well.
You were born and raised in France but have spent a large amount of your life in London. Tell us what it is about our city that you love so much!
I don’t just love London; I am obsessed with London. I honestly believe London is the greatest city in the world, the energy in this city cannot be explained with words and I feel blessed to be able to live here. One of the things I love most is how multicultural London is; it is a city that is open to so many diverse and beautiful communities. As a young girl from a mixed background growing up in a small town in France, London was the sort of place I had always dreamed of – you can do whatever and be whoever you want in this city.
What have been your biggest challenges since starting Rama?
The biggest challenge has been not always being able to do all the things I want to do. I am a dreamer; I love coming up with ideas for products. But one thing I quickly realised after starting Rama was having an idea was the easy part, executing it well is tough! Creating a product that we are proud of might take a little longer, but we are happy with the pace. I love that quote: God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time.
Talk us through a typical day in your studio.
I have a working space in London because I would go crazy if I had to work from home or in a studio by myself or with just a few people every day. I love being surrounded by the other founders at my working space; they motivate and inspire me. I usually start work at 9am after delivering the previous day’s orders and my day could be filled with any of the following things: meetings all over London, designing new products, engaging with people on social media, researching, organising and/or delivering workshops (I am also a career coach and speaker). In the evening I pack any new orders and try to switch off from the business for at least a few hours. My husband and I cook dinner together and then go for a stroll around our neighbourhood which is a great way to relax. I’ve never been to the gym; walking is my limit in terms of exercise!
What inspires you to create?
I am inspired by people. I am completely in love with people: what they think, how they behave and their dreams. I could sit for hours in a coffee shop simply observing the people around me and sparking up conversations with friendly strangers.
What's your favourite thing about stationery?
This is a very hard question because there are so many things to love. I am obsessed with the artistry, the touch and the smell of stationery. Starting a new notebook is like entering a world full of possibilities. My mum gave me my first notebook I was seven years old and I still remember vividly my heart bursting with excitement. It is a feeling only a fellow stationery addict can understand!
The all-important question. What's in your pencil case?
I absolutely love this question. I have never been asked this before! I have Rama pencils (soon to be released), a metal pencil sharpener, a small Milan rubber, a fountain pen (in France you learn to write with a fountain pen), Rama eye paperclips, highlighters for my research and some Rama pen holder clips. I always have some with me because I like to give them to random people I click with, just for being awesome.
Any lessons learnt from building Rama that our followers might find useful?
My number one lesson is more of a confirmation of my life motto: the more you give the more you receive. I always give our products to people in the street that I connect with; whether it is someone at a coffee shop, the local post office staff who are such a great help, or simply a kind person I happen to meet.