HappyWiseWell + PaperchainG: A Meeting of Minds
Alex and I first meet face to face in a cosy booth in a London café. We’ve found the golden hour: we’re both free and in the same city (hurrah!), the stars have aligned and we finally meet. After weeks of emails and texts, we both excitedly greet each other and within minutes we are sharing stories, ideas and plans for the future. The energy is palpable and anything feels possible.
My sister Farzana and I first came across PaperchainG on a wintery, Christmas morning a couple of years ago. With the fire was crackling and ol’ Buble crooning in the background, it was my brother-in-law Mikail’s turn to give us our gifts. Farzana, my cousin Jane and I sat expectantly on the sofa by the tree as he gave us three identical beautifully wrapped parcels, instructing us to open them together.
“OK!”, we cried and then went about tearing off the packaging and pausing when we got to a tan, cardboard box.
Looking at each other with expectant delight, we began our countdown: 3, 2, 1! Lifting open the lids in unison, we gingerly removed our gifts from inside. Inside lay a beautifully soft, felt case, each of ours in a different colour. He excitedly told us how they were hand-made from fabric made out of recycled, chemical-free plastic bottles; incredible since they looked about as far from a bottle of Coke as you could imagine. Since then, my multipurpose case has become my handbag’s saviour over the years. I use it to organise my life (and my crap) so the days of rummaging around for my phone, wallet, keys are a distant memory.
Fast forward a few months later, my sister and I were brainstorming over lunch in D.C., throwing out plans for how we wanted HappyWiseWell to grow and who we could collaborate and share ideas with. Whilst reaching for my case after the bill arrived, it got me thinking. How could something so pretty be vegan, eco-friendly, biodegradable and organic? Who were the people behind this? Would they be keen to work together? Their products were thoughtful, ethical and unique…who were they?
After reaching out to them online, we were delighted to learn more. PaperchainG was founded by Brigi and Alex. Two females, friends and design powerhouses. Our hunch about them was right. They are just the sort of people we want to work with. We have a number of exciting projects coming up soon including our giveaway (see below) and a design collaboration in the pipeline.
Read our interview below to get to know the brains behind PaperchainG a little better.
How did you guys start working together?
Brigi: We met in school when we were 6 years old in Cairo, Egypt, when both our families were living there, and we became best friends. Even then we shared an enthusiasm for arts, music and dance classes. Naturally, when both our families moved away after a few years, we lost touch since we were so young. Fast forward 10 years, Alex coincidentally moves to the US and starts at the same school that I had just left! Small world, eh? She then heard about me through mutual friends and with the help of Facebook we were absolutely ecstatic to reunite.
After a decade of (adult) friendship under our belt, and many international moves, we found ourselves living together in London! We had a great time reconnecting with our love for dancing, singing 90s pop music, and exploring yoga. We also shared a new interest in living a healthier, spiritual and mindful lifestyle with a strong connection to nature and we were striving to put this energy into something we were passionate about. And that is how the concept of PaperchainG came about.
What does PaperchainG offer?
Alex and Brigi: PaperchainG produces stationery and organisational products that are eco-friendly, ethical and cruelty-free. Our paper goods are made with 100% recycled paper and printed using environmentally friendly technology. The product designs are hand-drawn and inspired by our own interests, mostly revolving around healthy eating, arts, travel, nature and spirituality. Our illustrations and designs are simple, delicate and light-hearted, sometimes even with a bit of cheek.
Eco-Organise includes cases and small bags to help buyers stylishly organise their handbags and suitcases in the same simple and earthy style, inspired by our own likes and interests. We are also working on a new handmade line dedicated to desk decor. The most special part of the Eco-Organise collection is that we only use ethically sourced recycled, upcycled and sustainable materials, and all the items are handmade by our team. Only a limited number of them are produced, which we hope encourages and supports a slower and more mindful consumer culture.
What is the vision behind PaperchainG?
Alex: Our purpose now is to delight our buyers with mindfully created and ethically produced items. We hope to inspire people with our designs to consider a healthier lifestyle and diet, instill some curiosity about nature and spirituality, and to live a more sustainable and environmentally conscious life.
We align our values with our business, slowing the pace of mass consumerism by supporting small ethical companies that create quality products with a conscious effort to produce less waste.
In the long term our vision for PaperchainG is to become a business with a real, measurable, societal impact through encouraging the mindful consumption of environmentally friendly, ethically sourced products on a large scale, for example in schools, universities and organisations.
What's your favourite part of the job?
Alex: I love when we get to meet and work together! Brigitte has normally come up with a new product idea, or has sketched some designs and we can discuss what works, what doesn’t. We are still early on and our business and brand is growing so we get to experiment with different ideas.
Personally, I’ve been more involved in the final stage of design. For example, creating a pattern from the hand-drawn elements, retouching and preparing our stationery products so they are print ready. It normally takes much longer than expected as I enjoy perfecting each design and spending hours on Photoshop – even though it might mean I see avocado patterns everywhere for the rest of the day!
Brigi: I thoroughly enjoy most of the processes we work on, but I would have to say my favourite part is coming up with the product designs. This includes the many things we’ve fantasized about that haven’t been brought to life yet. I enjoy it when ideas pop into my mind and I can’t hear or think about anything else – I just want to focus on that one thing until I am able to pour it out of myself and create it. It’s magical!
What's the quote you live by?
Alex: “Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.”
Brigi: I always tell myself “things will work out if they’re meant to be”. I’m a true believer in that! Apart from that I think another one would be “take time to make your soul happy”.
Currently, we’re teaming up with design duo PaperchainG and running our Instagram giveaway. Check it out and be in a with a chance to win one of 3 gorgeous notebooks from their stunning collection. In the mean time, enter HAPPYWISEWELL to get an exclusive 25% their entire range at their online Etsy store.