Stationery that Inspires – An Interview with Inspirationery Founder Cassie Dewar

Those who know me well know that I love stationery. So much so that I consider a trip to Kikki-K a special outing.

So when I heard about a new stationery brand that was not only stylish, but also helped empower women in developing countries, I knew I had to get on it.

Inspirationery is an eco-friendly stationery label that donates 50% of profits to empowering women and girls through education and leadership programs.

I had the pleasure of meeting Inspirationery founder Cassie Dewar at an event recently and just knew I had to interview her for this blog. Cassie is an incredibly passionate and enthusiastic person. You can tell she just loves what she does.

As well as bonding over our mutual love of stationery, I got the low-down from her on what inspired her to start her business and just what drives her.

This is the first in a new series that I’m launching on the blog all about cool ladies running awesome business. If you’re a cool lady with an awesome biz – or know someone who is – and want to be featured then I’d love for you to get in touch.

Q. Tell us more about Inspirationery.

Inspirationery is an eco-friendly stationery label that donates 50% of profits to empowering women and girls through education and leadership programs.

But it’s also more than a stationery brand. It’s driven primarily by the philosophy behind the brand, not the products itself, and is based on shared values and a desire to prioritise passion over profit.

It was important that the business be based on my values of social justice, be eco-friendly and be a simply beautiful product.

Interview with Cassie Dewar Inspirationery

Inspirationery founder Cassie Dewar

Q. What inspired you to start Inspirationery?

The idea for Inspirationery was hatched over four years ago on my living room floor. I’d just moved to Melbourne after finishing uni and was working in my first corporate job. It was my ‘dream job’, but after being there for a few weeks I realised that it just wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life.

I came home one night, took out my notebook and just starting writing. I thought about my values, what inspired me and the kind of things I was really passionate about. Staring down at the notebook and pens in front of me, I thought… stationery inspires me… so what about combining those things into… Inspirationery?!

So the name was born, but it was a few more years before I launched the business. In the meantime, I focused on learning as much as possible about my passions and the kind of business I wanted to create. I wrote down my values, gathered inspiration, watched numerous TED talks and spoke with other people about my idea.

It was especially important to me that the business had a social enterprise component to it. I’ve worked in the not-for-profit and social enterprise space and I believe that business can contribute a lot more in terms of delivering social value.

Inspirationery stationery that inspires

Image: Inspirationery/Pozible.com

Q. Tell us about how you’ve gone about launching the business. 

It was only at the start of 2014 that I felt ready to proceed with the business, and suddenly all the puzzle pieces started to come together.

I left the corporate world in order to take a chance and grow the business. Then I met a number of women who were just as passionate as me about the concept and, importantly, had the skills I needed to bring the idea to reality.

It was amazing that at the moment I was ready to build the business, all these people started appearing. But I think it was because I was just talking about what I was passionate about and that grew my network.

Q. What advice would you give to other women who are thinking of starting their own business?

If there’s something there that you feel like you need to do, then you need to just decide to follow that passion. Building a business is a lot of work and you want to be doing something that makes you happy.

Follow that dream, because when you’re inspired, you inspire other people. – Click to Tweet

Cassie has recently started a Pozible campaign to get her business off the ground and raise the money needed to make it a success. You can donate to the Pozible campaign (and get your hands on some gorgeous stationery and prints) right here.

How to Be a Considerate Flatmate When Your Boyfriend Stays Over

Relationships are great, aren’t they? You’ve finally found someone to curl up with on the couch watching movies on a Friday night. Who’ll happily make you bacon and eggs on a Sunday morning. Heck, you’re so comfortable that you’re happy to let them see you schlepping around the house wearing your daggy trackies.

Yep, being in love is great.

Unless you’re the unlucky flatmate of one half of the loved-up couple. Then it can get kinda. fucking. annoying.

Look, I totally get it. You want to spend time with your new boyfriend*. And his place isn’t nearly as nice as yours (I’ve seen some pretty nasty showers in my time).

And I’m sure your boyfriend is super nice to your flatmate. Offers her a glass from the bottle of wine he brought over. And always asks before changing the channel to the footy.

But when your apartment has become the love nest, all that loving can mean your flatmate starts to feel like the third wheel.

How do I know this? Well, I’ve been on both sides of the situation. So I wanted to offer up my little pearls of wisdom to make sure that everyone in the relationship keeps feeling the love.

How to Be a Considerate Flatmate When Your Boyfriend Stays Over

1. Housemates Get Priority Over Guests in the Bathroom. Always.

In the morning (especially on a work day) everyone’s trying to balance that fine line between sleeping in as long as possible, and getting optimum time in the bathroom to look half decent before rushing out the door.

Adding an extra person into the morning bathroom waltz is always going to be tricky and a major cause of friction. If you each have your own bathroom, then this isn’t an issue and you can move on.

But if your house guest needs to use a bathroom that’s also used by housemates, then I’m sorry but they basically have zero rights. They either have to get up and out before the other housemates, or wait until everyone else has finished.

You and your boyfriend can however get around this by using the 2-for-1 clause. If you can both get ready in the bathroom in the same time that it would take one of you to get ready, then go for it. Yes, this may mean showering together (hey, you’ve already seen each other naked, right?).

2. Regular Seating Arrangements Must be Respected

This is especially true if you’ve brought your boyfriend into a long established apartment. Everyone will have their favourite spot to sit around watching television. Make sure you’re boyfriend knows which seats are out of bounds. So you may not get to snuggle together on the comfy couch if the left corner is your flatmates favourite spot. But the harmony that will be brought about by separating from each other for an hour or so will be so worth it.

The exception is of course when your flatmate has indicated she’ll be out for the evening. Then you are quite welcome to occupy her seat for the entirety of your Breaking Bad marathon.

3. Give the Housemate a Break

Even the most respectful partner can start to feel as welcome as a weird rash on an tropical holiday annoying after a while. More so if you’re on the outside of the relationship and have no say in how the relationship progresses.

So no matter how much your flatmate says she’s fine with it, if your boyfriend is spending every waking minute (and the sleeping ones too) at your apartment, then she’s going to get pissed off.

Instigate a seven-three rule. That means that out of every seven days, your partner is only able to sleep over for three nights. The rest of the time can be spent at his place. Or why not give each other a little break and just hang out with your flattie like you did pre-relationship.

4. Have Him Contribute to Household Costs

Ah yes. The money issue. Sharing an apartment is often a decision based on expenses – namely, saving money. So when an extra person is seemingly enjoying the benefits of living in your share house, without contributing to the costs, resentment can build.

If your partner is spending a significant amount of time at your place, then he should be contributing at least something to the shared expenses. What that contribution is can be hard to determine, but might be putting money towards the utility bills (electricity, gas, internet) or paying a token amount of rent.

Even a small amount of money goes some way to acknowledging the fact that you boyfriend is somewhat of an inconvenience to your flatmate.

And if things are going really well, and you’ve been doing the sleepovers for a while, then perhaps it’s time to start talking about getting your own place together.

*Note: I use the term boyfriend because that is my experience, however this could apply to same-sex relationships as well. Just wanted to acknowledge that, y’all.

Have you ever had to deal with a housemate’s boyfriend staying over too much? What other things should I include to make sure everyone stays happy?

Image credit: Flickr/Library and Archives Canada