completist [ kuh m-plee-tist ]. noun.
- a person who attempts to complete a collection or set, especially a collector who wants to collect an example of every item in a particular field.
In other words, it's us with stationery. But how are we ever supposed to complete our stationery collection when people like Jana and Marko keep bringing out gorgeous new planners and cards? You're killing us here, guys. (But we love it really.)
The Completist was founded at the beginning of 2018 by husband and wife duo Jana and Marko. Their colourful creations are brought to life in their studio in Peckham, South East London. Not only are their designs super fun, vibrant and inspired by fashion (nothing we love more than being able to feel glamorous whilst writing our to-do lists), they're also kind to our planet. Jana and Marko use vegetable inks as well as both FSC certified and recycled papers to create all of their goods. Fashionable, practical AND sustainable - guys, do you have any flaws?! You make our life Completist.
We had a quick chat with Jana about studio life, the creative process and her pencil-case. Would it really be a Papersmiths interview if we didn't mention pencil-cases at least once?
Jana! Tell us how you got into the world of stationery! How did The Completist begin?
It began by accident! I was working in fashion, had just gone freelance and Marko (the other half of The Completist) suggested I should find something to do with the days I wasn’t freelancing. I was doing a lot of fashion illustration at the time, so thought I could try to see if I could turn that into something. Fashion illustrations on cards is very niche, so I did some prints on them instead and got a great response. It all took off from there really!
Talk us through a typical day in your studio.
I try to come in early, but I do like to read the news over coffee in the morning so I’m generally in by 930. I answer emails in the morning to get them out of the way, then it’s put on a podcast (I’m obsessed with ‘Trashy Divorces’ at the moment) and pack any orders or organise the studio. We just moved into a bigger space so there’s lots of organising to be done.
What excites you the most about creating?
I start off every season wondering whether/scared that the season before was the last time I would design anything decent. So it’s really exciting to get all my books out (and buy more, of course) and start researching, only to find that I am inspired by new things, and I somehow manage to make something that is new and worthy of putting out there in the world!
Your go-to source of inspiration?
I always start with the fashion runways - it’s a good place to see what kinds of prints and colours I’m drawn to.
Let's talk pencil-cases! What's in yours?
Always the essentials - a 2B pencil, eraser, sharpener and a fineliner pen.
Now for a tough one. What's your all-time favourite thing you've created and why?
This is like choosing my favourite of my cats! Probably my daily planners - it was such a risk making them in the beginning, as we didn’t know if they would even sell, and they’ve just been a runaway success.
Tell us a bit about the sustainability of your brand and why it's so important to you.
Coming from the world of fashion, I know how wasteful and unsustainable creative businesses can be in the pursuit of the perfect collection. I always figured that as a small brand we could start out on the right path being sustainable, which would mean it would always be a core part of our brand. I hate waste, and I think it’s up to all of us to do our bit and make a difference.
And finally - any lessons learnt from creating The Completist that could be helpful to our followers?
Work hard, take calculated risks, find your own voice. It all sounds like cheesy platitudes but really that’s what we’ve done and we’ve created a brand we love working in and are really proud of!