I asked Laurie the usual questions...
Meet the coolest person in stationery...
Name is Laurie. Parents like to joke that’s where I was conceived.
Age- don’t be ridiculous. I might tell you after a wine or so.
Lives- London, Bedfordshire and Worcester.
A week and then move, a week and then move. I have stuff scattered EVERYWHERE. And always want to wear what is in the home that I’m not in.
What’s behind your concept?
I’ve always been creative, and actually started my business a few years ago, without realising it, of course. I used to work in advertising; - let me tell you it isn’t at all like Mad Men. It’s more like meetings after meetings, after meetings. So, in these meetings, laptops were banned. Why? Well, because I, and everyone else would have spent the whole time on the Daily Mail, looking at yet another picture of Kim Kardashians arse, or Amazon, buying things we didn’t want. So, we could only have a notebook.
Having always loved a statement accessory and loud pair of trainers, I started looking around the room one day, (told you I was easily distracted), and thinking seriously; "every notebook is the same".
"We are the most creative bunch in the country, and yet our notebooks are boring."
The very place we record our actions, distractions and often our biggest goals or idea is just LINED PAPER. Or if you’re lucky as a woman you could get LINED PAPER with a cover which had some naff slogan on the front about “dreaming big” or “I’m a unicorn”.
I started designing my own. Taking a plain notebook before I started using it for meetings, I would draw on every page, rip out things from magazines, stick all manner of stuff to the lined pages and then take it into meetings, and write on it.
Firstly it was pretty cool because my notebooks looked different and had that old meeting room brag ability that no one else had.
But second, I started finding that they helped me remember what I had written, and how I could find it. So, much to the amazement of my boss I became more productive because I wasnt rummaging for my notes and trying to remember that I had written that note on that page with 4 bullet points on. I could instantly flick through my notebook and remember that note was on that page with a giant frog on it.
Now I’m not sure if it was because I started being better at my job or what- but - People started asking me if they could buy them off me, and the rest is sort of history.
I dipped my toe into production - and they sold out instantly.
I dipped my toe a little bit more, and they sold out again.
So I just though- oh bloody hell- go for it lol. I pressed print big time. And Comme Glom was born.
Who are your books for?
When I said to my family I wanted to get into stationery they threw a fit.
“But people don’t use paper anymore”.
“Everything is digital” “Develop an app or something” - to be fair I had no idea my mum knew what an app was - she used to call Youtube - YouPod. We think it's a combination of iPod and Youtube, but can’t be sure.
But I know people use paper. Every meeting I was in - people used paper. Every coffee shop I was in - people used paper.
There is something about writing things down. Feeling the page; creating a spatial relationship between your thoughts and paper that keeps us a bit loyal to paper- no matter what Silicon Valley would have you believe.
Sorry, I digress- so who uses my notebooks-
Creatives, story tellers, Interior designers, Cool kids, Wannabe bullet journals, magazine enthusiasts ( our pages resemble beautiful magazine spreads )
Office workers. Honestly everyone who likes things that are a bit unusual, anything but humble.
The name Comme Glom sounds a little like Condom - I will give you that. But is actually slang for conglomeration. Our pages, designs and notebooks are a conglomeration of paper, textures, patterns, lines, squares etc. All thrown together. The expected, with the unexpected. And it’s precisely that juxtaposition which makes us unique.
Do you take notes?
Would be pretty weird if I didn’t wouldn’t it! “Oh no I hate paper!”
But seriously - I do. I don’t use my notebooks for my Todos - I’ve designed a range of paper jotters which I use for that. I do use notebooks for my feelings, my thoughts, things I’m scared about, happy about etc. It’s not so much a diary, just things that I think of, or hear that I want to remember. I think this might be strange too, but I also just open my notebook on any page and write. I’m not one of those finish the page and start a new one. I love that each of our pages looks totally distinctive that I can remember quotes because of the page design.
What’s next for you?
Damn that’s a hard one. This year has been a real high, and low year. Starting your own business - amazing. Hiring people- we are now a team of 3 - challenging, oh so scary, but oh so exciting. Personally - it’s been tough this year. In the Summer I had a big accident which has, even months later, proved life changing and makes me feel weird at times. Business wise this couldn’t have come at a worst time. The accident ( helicopter engine failure ) really set timings back and the plans for world domination. Timing plans are laughable when you can’t even get up from bed.
I was lucky to have a team behind me to pick up the slack and leave me to be quiet, cry and design things in my own space. The good news is that I’ve worked on lots and lots of new designs which I probably wouldn’t have had time to do if I hadn’t have had an accident.
What next - I’d like to have a team of 10 people by the end of next year, selling internationally, winning awards, doing brand collaborations and generally just being a nuisance to the stationery world. Perhaps a dog or two.
Describe yourself in three objects
I’m drawn to colour, clashing textures and patterns. ( hence why my designs are all unexpected, ever changing and anything but paired back)
My brother can’t stand walking around with me wearing my favourite neon yellow kimono. I think I wear it more because of that.
I love my Adidas NMD trainers in the most vivid red you can imagine. Every time I wear them I get a compliment.
Third- I have a naughty amount of colourful statement bright earrings.
Notebook, Notes App or both?
Two notebooks- one for my thoughts, one for business.
Notes app for things like - dog and baby names or a quick note on a podcast someone recommended. I’m probably going to have to have about 48 children and 19 dogs based on my name list.
What’s in your pencil case right now?
Oh per lease- I am far too disorganised for a pencil case. I am a pen thief. I steal from anyone and everyone. My pencil case is a handbag, which always has a bottle of water, apple, and lots of lip balm in. And a couple of stolen pens.
Pencil, ballpoint, gel, or fountain pen?
I'm a leftie so fountain pens bring back a bad time in my life. Smudge city
I cannot stand a ballpoint. Tell me how people like these??? They make my handwriting look real bad.
One thing - it has to be blue ink, or green. Life is too short for black. I love colour.
I do all of my drawings and sketches with sharpies. That smell just makes me creative.
Which three famous people, (living or dead) would you like to have dinner with?
I’m not for that famous world. I’d be too shy to talk to anyone famous. I’d just like a big family dinner really, with wine, and unlimited hot freshly baked bread, followed by a gin and a game of cards- accompanied with lots of loud bickering about my dad trying to cheat and look at everyones cards. (You don’t want to sit next to him in cards)
What’s the best thing about the place you live?
My boyfriend and I have a wonderful life. We love travelling around and waking up in new places. It’s meant that I’m an expert in packing.
London- amazing food, amazing gyms to work off the food.
Bedfordshire - dog walks to clear the mind, crap internet- great to focus on designs without getting bombarded by emails and life. I do all my designing in Bedfordshire.
Worcester - A bathtub in the bedroom.
What’s your most treasured possession?
Everyone in my family wears essentially a thin piece of crappy red cotton thread with a gold heart charm on their wrist. I want to say it cost less than a quid. It was bought when one of us was really ill and spending a lot of time in hospital ill, and alone. We've been wearing it every day for 15 years and just looking at it makes me know that I have 4 other people in the world who adore me, and visa versa. That was what it was originally bought for too. It means the world to me. And when I was hanging upside down in a crashed helicopter a few months ago, it was the first thing I reached for.
Where are some of your favourite Stationery spots on the Internet?
I get annoyed with stationery by and large. Particularly as a woman. I’m a bit fed up that most of the stationery brands are doing the same thing. I’ve never really felt anything was personally reflective of me. It annoys me that everything is so slogan dominated, because truly, I’m yet to find anyone who says- oooooh my notebook says I’m a girl boss so I must be. I also don’t like committing to one design for a whole notebook, it seems too much. It’s like having the same breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. What happens if I don’t want flowers on my notebook today! I love that our range every page changes, depending on mood, the note you might be taking, where you’re writing, andneven, the outfit you might be wearing.