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/

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.

3 Side Hustles You Can Do in Your Spare Time

Tell me honestly now, are you really making the most of your spare time? Sure, you probably have regular catch up with friends and date nights with your partner. Some exercise happens in there, plus a bit of reading.

But I’m betting that a lot of your spare time is also being wasted on activities that don’t really add value to your life. Like watching far too much crappy television, arguing with strangers on the internet (why you no use correct grammar!?), and contemplating your pores.

You could definitely use that time more constructively. So why not use it to start up a little side business, earn some extra money and possibly even find a new passion in the process.

Women are doing Side Hustle jobs in their spare time

Side Hustles You Can Do In Your Spare Time

Teach Something

It’s almost guaranteed that you know something that someone else would pay to learn. You don’t even need to be the best person at it – just a moderate level of skill and talent can be enough to teach a beginner the basics. The great thing is you can set your own class times and choose whether you teach one-on-one or in groups.

If you were really good at a subject at school then you could tutor students in your spare time. Or maybe you are a wicked knitter and could use the local community centre to teach knitting classes on a weeknight. Great with technology? Offer to show seniors the basics of iPads, iPods and other iStuff at the library.

As well as earning a bit of cash, you’ll also learn how to teach and structure learnings, plus you’ll be getting more involved in your local community.

Run an Online Business

Starting an online business is super easy these days – thanks to sites like BigCommerce you can have your store set up and looking fabulous in under an hour. The hardest part is deciding what to sell.

Choose something that you have some knowledge about and are interested in. So vintage clothing is great if you regularly trawl the op-shops and vintage stores. Or if you’ve got a passion for wrapping and stationery then option up an online craft store.

Source your suppliers and develop a relationship with them. Decide on your stores policies (like shipping and returns) and communicate them clearly on your website.

If might take a bit of money upfront to start your store, or you could offer pre-orders with a discount in order to get some cash flow going into your business. Then all you have to do is wait for the orders to come in and head down to the post office once a week to send them out.

Sell Your Talents

If you don’t want to teach other people you can still make money from your existing talent or skill. This is a great way to make some extra money from something that you love doing anyway.

If you’re great at makeup then you could help people do their makeup for fancy events or weddings. Or if you can dance then people will pay you to perform at events like as Christmas Parties, store openings or nightclubs. Even something as simple as having a green thumb can earn you money by helping others with their gardens.

The easiest way to start is to place a free ad online on somewhere like Gumtree, or start calling related businesses to ask if they will refer you. Whatever you do, treat it like a real business by not over-investing and keeping track of your earnings and expenses.

Have you got any other ideas for side hustles you can do in your spare time? Share them in the comments below and help out a fellow diva!

Image source: Flickr/State Library of Victoria