Today I would like to introduce you to Andrea from We Are Bound Together – an Etsy shop offering hand sewn books and card sleeves. The first thing that strikes me about Andrea’s shop is her vibrant use of colour and wonderful product photography – her journals really jump out of the page and grab your attention!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and where the inspiration came from to start your Etsy shop.
I started my shop a little over a year ago. I have long had a desire to help people who are discriminated against in some of the most violent ways, namely Christians who are being imprissoned or worse for their faith, and their families who are left behind. I have a very painful disease with hinders me from being able to get a job so I wasn’t able to donate any money that way. (Although my husband and I have made personal donations from time to time, I wanted to do something more). I have always been artsy, and a few years ago I had picked up the art of bookbinding in an effort to steer away from sweat shop produced items. I had made a few books for myself and as gifts and enjoyed both the making process and the results immensely. Hence my Etsy shop was born. I called it “We Are Bound Together” for the double meaning of the bookbinding process as well as being bound in purpose with those whom I seek to help. 100% of my proceeds go towards charities such as Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs. I like that I can pick specifically where the donations go. For example after my Christmas sales, I was able to donate towards a fund that helps the families (especially women in countries where they are not allowed to support themselves) of those who are imprisioned or killed as well as some survival packs equiped with emergency food, medical and basic supplies.
I love working with leather, it’s such rewarding material with it’s depth and texture. When a new leather journal is completed I tend to just sit back and look at it and feel the softness of the leather. In an age where things are becoming electronic, sometimes it’s nice just to hold a good book, especially if it’s one that you can fill with your own thoughts and dreams. I also am really proud of my RFID protecting sleeves. It’s such a practical item that everyone could use and I believe mine are built to be so much more durable than the pre-made credit card sleeves.
3. What is it that makes your shop unique?
Besides the RFID blocking sleeves, there are a few items in my shop that I have not seen anywhere else. I developed some funky, colourful duct tape books. These are brightly coloured, small blank books, great for sketching or journaling. Don’t think that because they are covered in duct tape that they are cheap craftmanship. Each book is made with the same care and techniques of fine bookbinding. The only difference is that I take advantage of the spontaneity and playfullness of the duct tape by using them as my covering material in the same way I would use leather or expensive, decorative paper or fabric.
I also started a line of nostalgic, little books using floppy disks for the front and back covers. I have these both with blank and lined paper. The lined paper I printed myself using binary code for the lines to add the extra geekiness. I love people’s expressions at craft sales when they see these. So many people start reminiscing about the days gone by. Of course I have fun asking the younger kids who come by if they know what these things even are.
4. What’s next in the pipeline?
Very soon I will be introducing leather card holders to my shop. It’s a natural step. I am already working with leather and have much of the tools I need. I also already sell credit card sleeves, so this new addition will fit right in. The idea came from my brother who asked me if I could make him a leather sleeve for this cards. He says that he doesn’t carry cash around anymore and that a simple sleeve would be so much nicer in his back pocket than a whole wallet. I hope to be launching my new products in the next few weeks.
5. Tell us something about you or your shop that you haven’t previously shared!
I have other passions besides bookbinding, many of them artsy. If it’s something that I can do with my hands then chances are I will enjoy it. I love painting in both watercolours and oils, as well as other “arts” such as music, cooking, and gardening. Basically you could say I love creating. Creating gives me joy, especially creating something beautiful that I can share with others.
6. And finally, let us know where we can find you.
As a special thanks to readers of this lovely blog and to Emma for this wonderful opportunity I am offering 10% off any purchase in my shop! Simply use the coupon code FEATUREBLOG10 at checkout.
Thanks for sharing your shop with us, Andrea. It’s wonderful that you are using your skills to raise money for those in need – it must be so satisfying!