Do you remember school days, when teachers asked you to cover your textbooks, so you don’t damage them? The infamous plastic covers, trivial and uninspiring, now have the chance to be replaced by something way more creative and beautiful. We’re not talking only textbooks here, but our favourite books, too. These become more interesting when you cover them in handmade Book Sleeves from Gribook Accessories. Made out of a variety of fabrics with unique pattern, the sleeves made by Elena and her team give a new life to the dull covers of books, as well as other reading gadgets.
What inspired you to make handmade accessories for books?
Books themselves, actually. Although it was electronic books to begin with – the first sleeves we made were for the Kindle. My husband and I are a mix of bookworms and geeks – equally passionate about reading and technologies. An e-reader is the perfect combination of both: books and electronics. When we started in the autumn of 2011, it was difficult to buy sleeves for e-readers in Moldova. There’s more available in shops now, made of plastic or leather, but we’re happy that our fabric handmade sleeves are still bought and appreciated.
Our first Book Sleeves was made upon the request of a couple of dear customers. The very first Book Sleeve we made was sent all the way to the United States, where we are told it still gets compliments. It took us a while to settle on the dimensions, as books vary in sizes. Once we started making them, we were overwhelmed with the number of book lovers and their encouragement, even after we took a short break.
How long does it take to make a Book Sleeve or a Bookmark?
My friend Cristina does all our wonderful sewing. If I’m the one who takes creative decisions from the models, to fabric, to buttons, Cristina is the one who makes it come alive and does it extremely well! Making a Book Sleeve can take about an hour. Making a custom-sized sleeve takes longer, which is why we charge a little extra.
How do you find the fabric?
We’ve been working with the same lady for a while now, who brings her fabric from England and Germany. She already knows what we do and often sets aside fabric she thinks we’ll like. She proudly shows the Book Sleeve we gave her to her own clients, and I keep her company for hours in return. I’m somewhat addicted to fabric, colours, patterns – if I go buy fabric, that takes a big chunk of my day.
How was making the first accessory?
Our first attempt at a Kindle Sleeve was not very successful. I was working with a different lady back then, just as extremely talented. But the sleeve didn’t fit, it didn’t have the extra lining for protection, and it didn’t look that great, either. It was an experiment, though, so we kept at it. We only launched the project when we had a bunch of sleeves in stock that we were proud of.
The first Book Sleeves was much better, because we had a few months of experience under our belt. It still took us some time to decide on the size, like I already mentioned.
Do you have any guiding criteria when you make sleeves?
Our number one rule is to make sleeve we like ourselves. If I’m ready to buy this product, then I’lm gladly offering it to our customers. This can turn into a bit of a problem too, because we pretty much fall in love with every sleeve we make and it’s so hard to let it go!
Do you give your products as gifts?
Sure, although my friends usually beat me to it and buy them themselves. But we sometimes make unique products that we only give out friends and loyal customers, and we give them wholeheartedly. Besides, our customers already know that they can expect to get a small gift from us with every Book Sleeves they buy.
What’s your favourite book and what Book Sleeve did you make for it?
The book dearest to my soul is The Bible, and it’s the only one I have a special sleeve made for. Other than that, I have a bunch of sleeves I change from one book to another, depending on what I’m reading now. I’m in the habit of throwing a book in my bag and taking it with me everywhere, hoping for some minutes to dive into it. Now that they’re protected by Book Sleeves, they keep well, whether they travel or not. Besides, I never have enough bookmarks, which is why we make them for everyone who’s has the same problem.
What do your clients prefer when it comes to the fabric for sleeves?
Since starting Gribook Accessories, I’ve discovered that there are many young people who read and who appreciate handmade accessories. I like to brag about our customers, many of which I get to meet personally. Not only are they intelligent, but they have good taste: they like natural fabrics, that are pleasant to the touch. Speaking of fabric, the most appreciated are the minimalistic ones, with geometrical patterns as well as vintage fabric, with floral patterns. Polka dots are very popular, because they’re both classy and playful.
This article was originally posted here: http://allfun.md/article/24885
Written by Iuliana Mamaliga, for Allfun.md – I only provided the English translation. Thank you, Iuliana!
Special thanks to Daniela Balta from DLR Photography and Tina Uritu for the adorable photos! You rock.