If you’re a stationery lover and can spends hours together browsing through a stationery store to find the best of pens, diaries and other things, imagine this: A journal’s cover has a beautiful silver filigree. Now when you open it, it says that the pattern on the cover was originally designed and handcrafted in Germany in the 1800s. The base layer of silver sheet was first die cut after which elaborate grooves were etched on it. Who wouldn’t be fascinated by a piece of art such as this?
Sukriti Jiwarajka was equally intrigued. This was a journal her mother’s friend got her from Ireland in 2015. Looking at a journal that looked more like a piece of art, the idea dawned upon Jiwarajka to be able to bring such journals to India. A subsequent visit to the USA made her realise that all the artistic journals she was coming across – mostly made by a company PaperBlanks – needed to enter the Indian market as well.
Once back in India in February 2016, Jiwarajka got in touch with Ireland-based PaperBlanks and told them she wanted to bring them to India. With a partnership in place, Chambers of Ink was started in September 2016.
Chambers of Ink is a website that exclusively sells fine stationery. It has partners like PaperBlanks, Paper-Oh, eXchange, Premium Paper Hartley and Marks. It also has a few Indian designers on board. Additionally, the company makes its own leather journals, which are designed in Delhi. The complete collection includes journals, notebooks, planners, wall art and gifting accessories. The writing journals have licensed works of art, historical manuscripts and literary pieces reproduced on their front cover.
“A lot of drawing-board hours go in the design phase of the making of the journals. The selection and licensing of the right artwork and the conceptualizing of every product is what takes the most time. Each journal has its own unique story about its inspiration and conception,” Jiwarajka says.
Journals made by the company are bought at standard distributor rates and resold in India. These journals are not sold only on the website. Chambers of Ink has tied up with bookstores and gifting stores to distribute their products. William Penn stores, Full Circle BookStores, Gifts of Love, Junglee Billee, Maal Gaadi are some of the stores that Chambers of Ink has tied up with.
And in the online marketplace, it has tied up with some Indian stationery designers who list their products as well.
The journals start at a price of Rs 600 and go up to Rs 2,000. Licenses are paid to the art houses and museums to reproduce works of famous artists of the past. Even manuscripts used are authorised.
Chambers of Ink was incorporated under NSE-listed conglomerate Salora International, which is promoted by Jiwarajka’s family. But Jiwarajka says that Chambers of Ink was started with an initial investment of under Rs 10 lakhs. “We will take a call about COI becoming an independent venture at a later stage,” she adds.
The growth is currently only organic and no money is being spent on marketing. Chambers of Ink is currently seeing a 100% month-on-month growth. “Our sales are very organic and honestly, our customers have been our biggest marketers. We see a large amount of word of mouth references and repeat customers,” Jiwarajka says.
The five-member team is now working on bringing a number of global stationery brands to India. It is also looking to extend their collection to a number of offline bookstores as well. Kitab Khana in Mumbai is next, where Chambers of Ink’s journals will be available from next month.
And in terms of collection, the company will soon be introducing pens and desk-accessories. The idea is to make Chambers of Ink a one-stop fine stationery destination.