Back in 2021 I had grand plans of having a really good, informative, and regular set of posts on this journal page, and to finally send out a newsletter regularly. Do you think it lasted long? If your answer is no, then you are RIGHT. In fact, it’s been so long since the last post that this is a reintroduction. Yep, you might not have even known about us the last time I introduced us so here I am again. Hi there, thanks for following along.
So reintroduction… I (Jana) started The Completist at the beginning of January 2018 with my husband Marko. I had recently finished my last miserable fashion job to go freelance, and Marko suggested I find something to do with the other days of the week I wasn’t freelancing or I’d go stir crazy (and he wasn’t wrong). I’d been (sort of) keeping a fashion illustration blog going for a few years, so I thought ‘why not start an Etsy, do some markets, see if anyone wants to buy prints?’ Well, fashion illustrations are pretty niche (as I quickly realised) so then I started making these colourful little prints and putting them on cards, and got a really good response. But what really changed everything was a little email that had gone to junk mail, that I happened to see at just the right time. The company I printed my cards with had a ‘business booster’ competition (first prize was a partial stand at a trade show) and I had seen the email about it the day before entries closed. ‘Why not throw my hat in the ring’ I thought, and then promptly forgot about it. I won’t bore you with the full timeline of events, but it was really lucky I checked my junk mail that day because we ended up winning that competition, and it was really the proper start of The Completist.
(That’s not to say we didn’t spend 6 months before this testing out all sorts of product that didn’t make sense together, without any proper direction for the brand! I’m still surprised at myself, (the former product developer who made design teams work to range plans) that I did not start off with any kind of product plan. It was a lot of false starts before we actually sat down and thought about what we wanted the brand to be, but winning this competition really made us see we might be onto a good thing, and we wanted to make sure we knew exactly what The Completist was all about).
ANYWAY. We did our first proper trade show in May 2018, and launched probably our best known product, our daily planner, in September 2018. That handy book got us in stores like Papersmiths and Goods for the Study in New York, as well as countless other amazing independents that we continue to work with to this day. Oh yeah, did I mention we started all this in our spare room? We started all this in our spare room. But there’s only so many boxes you can stack in your hallway (and your bedroom, and your living room, and sometimes the bathroom) until you realise maybe you want your space back. So, in April 2019 we moved into our first studio space which we outgrew by… October. Even during the pandemic, more and more of you have joined us on this journey, and we’ve continued to grow. We moved into a bigger space last year, that even had a little space for a little store! So now instead of admiring from afar, you can drop past Peckham any time to see us, the cats, the store, or all three.
So, I guess that’s the official reintroduction done (sort of) (for now) but now it’s not just me running the show (and by the show I really mean… the designing, the orders, the accounting, the everything… at least two of those things have been taken off my plate) we all have some great posts and content to share with you. And not just about stationery (though a lot of it will be stationery!) but guides to our favourite cities (including our favourite local haunts), our top organisation tips, our favourite brands and stores, business and trade show tips (you all loved that super boring post about IOSS) and of course, our monthly playlists. Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to get all this delivered straight to your inbox. See you soon, yeah?