One of the most valuable things when I’m writing my blogs or writing my book is paper and of course a pen. I always make a draft on paper or write down some notes or keywords. It feels more personal when I see it written in my handwriting. Since I’m quite ‘eco-minded’, I wanted to use paper that was ‘eco’ in a way. The solution: ‘Ecojot’.
Ecojot is a B Corporation that creates eco-friendly stationery, paper goods and custom products that feature amazing designs. I had the chance to do an interview with Carolyn Gavin (and Mark Gavin), the creative director and co-founder of Ecojot. Carolyn has been studying art her whole life, but sometimes she stills feels like a novice. She had a wonderful fine arts training with the South African artist Nina Campbell-Quine and after that Carolyn went onto doing a 3 year graphic design course. She worked in Advertising and Design, left to go travelling and eventually landed in Toronto, Canada. Carolyn’s personal inspiration comes from travel, nature, animals, film, fashion and textiles. She loves reading, yoga, gardening, music and the great outdoors.
FG – How did the Ecojot story start?
Carolyn Gavin (CG) – “It was Marks idea to produce a ‘green line’ of stationery using 100% post-consumer recycled paper, vegetable based inks, glues and bio-degradable packaging. We launched May 2007 at the New York Stationery Show and it was an immediate and wonderful success. Recycling and environmental awareness at that time was new and exciting and we were right there in the thick of things! Since then, it’s been up and down and we’ve had to tailor products and designs as the years passed by. Now we’re doing lots of foil stamping, tons of inspirational quotes, useful and practical day planners, desk pads and we have an amazing app in development, which will make our products even more useful and FUN! It has been a long and evolving story to reach this point, but Ecojot is still going strong.
FG – What inspired you to start Ecojot?
CG – “We needed a new face for our company and Ecojot came at the perfect time. Recycling and using recycled waste was becoming a global issue and we embraced it. This inspired me as a designer to create a whole new range that looked totally different from previous work. It was fresh, fun, innovative, creative with an environmental message.”
FG – Who does what at Ecojot?
CG – “‘I am the designer and my brother Mark (co-founder) is sales. Having those titles doesn’t end there of course. We both are involved in many other aspects of the company. Plus we have a marketing and production team which keeps the wheels turning.“
FG – What is the meaning of the name ‘Ecojot’
CG – “‘Eco’ meaning ecologic, environment, global issues etc. ‘Jot’ meaning write, doodle, sketch, draw etc. Together we have ‘ecojot’. Write and sketch on environmentally sound paper made in a socially responsible way with a now added cause to give back.”
FG – Ecojot is part of the B Corporation family. How would you describe Ecojot as a B Corp? Do you personally think BCorps are important?
CG – “We source and make all our products locally. All materials are sourced either in Canada or the US and are either bio-degradable or recycled or both. B Corps are important because they highlight companies that are doing so much good and are not afraid to expose themselves and be totally honest about their practices. It makes for better, more informed choices. Hopefully the awareness grows and people get to understand what it really means.”
FG – What is your favourite B Corp besides ‘Ecojot’?
CG – “My Gosh, BADGER for sure. It’s my favorite sunscreen and the only thing that works in the tropics. Great products!!”
FG – Mark, there was partnership with Erin Schrode’s foundation ‘The Schoolbag’. How is working with someone like Erin Schrode?
Mark Gavin – “We partnered with Erin on 2 trips to Haiti in 2011 and 2012. Erin went to Haiti after the 2010 Earthquake and she was a witness of the terrible devastation and subsequently wanted to make a difference. We travelled to many schools and delivered school supplies to kids who cannot even afford pens and paper. Even if you have money, there is very little to buy in Haiti, so these supplies are critical for the development of these kids. The following video will give you a good insight into what is happening in Haiti.”
FG – How does the process go of making an Ecojot product (from scratch to a final product)? What is important when you make an Ecojot product? What is the focus?
CG – “We basically do 3 or 4 collections a year and we add new designs to the lineup as we go along. Once the designs of the covers are reviewed and chosen, we print them locally using veg based inks and 100% post consumer recycled paper, fsc certified. The 100% post consumer recycled paper is from a stock from a Canadian Mill, which is run on biogas from a garbage dump nearby. The journals are then assembled with the covers, which have been cut to size, punched and are ready to be transformed in a book, with printed, cut and punched lined sheets. The wire we use is sourced locally and is environmentally sound. The finished journals are usually shrink wrapped with bio degradable shrink film made from corn. Our workers in the factories are paid a living wage and taken care of in a responsible way. All our materials are sourced either in Canada or the US and are either bio-degradable or recycled or both. Our focus is on quality and sustainability.”
FG – What is your artwork inspiration?
CG – “I love animals, plants, textiles from Exotic locations, bright colours and inspirational quotes.”
FG – Any big projects planned in the future?
CG – “We have an amazing App that we’re about to launch which will be useful and so fun and its used in conjunction with our journals and sketchbooks.”
FG – Can you tell a bit more about ‘Petite Fleur’?
CG – “This is my 5th Fabric collection for the quilting marker and first with Windham Fabrics. I’m especially excited about this collection because it’s 100% GOTS certified Organic Cotton! The process, production and facilities of where and how it’s made is very important to me. Plus it’s so cute.”
FG – Any new Ecojot products coming up in the near future?
CG – “Holiday is coming up, new fresh designs for summer, back to school, App related products. But not yet completely sure what exactly.”
FG – Is there an Ecojot manifesto / mantra?
CG – “I guess it would be ‘Write for humanity’, we’ve used it before and we like it.”
A thank you to Carolyn Gavin, Mark Gavin and Daniela to take some time to do this interview!