On paper

Alisha Shinde
Sunday, 24 June 2018

The Papier Project, founded by Ayesha Ahuja and Sanaa Jhurani, strives to bring back the forgotten art of handwritten notes

There’s a certain romantic sensibility associated with a charming Parisian afternoon. An indescribable emotive response that has you going weak at the knees with a wistful charm of a forgone era that was dotted with letters of love, postcards from fondly remembered holidays, the yellowed pages of a favourite novel or a fading photograph that is testament to yet another fading memory. The Papier Project is an ode to this emotion. 

Based out of Mumbai, this startup was founded by two friends Sanaa Jhurani and Ayesha Ahuja. But before starting out on this entrepreneurial journey, both Ahuja and Jhurani were employed at the corporate office for a luxury footwear brand. While Sanaa handled marketing & PR for the brand, Ayesha looked after e-commerce. A lot of what they know today — with regard to the operations of a start-up, overcoming daily challenges, creating an identity for their brand --- has been shaped and nurtured by the mentors in the earlier organisation.  

Explaining the idea and the concept of the Papier Project, Jhurani says, “We wanted to bring in the Parisian romanticism to our products hence we decided to call it Papier Project. Paper in French is papier and our products are all about paper. Not the mundane 6-subject notebook paper, but the handwritten communication that aligns with our pursuit to #speakthroughpaper and to bring back the forgotten beauty of a handwritten note.”  

The Papier Project is every stationery and book lovers’ dream. It has everything related to stationery, from fancy journals, to notecards with messages, stationery sets, wrapping paper, gift bags and so much more including bows and key chains. They even have a designated customised studio which caters to the individual needs of clients. Jhurani mentions the special collection boxes, which contain postcards, letter pads, envelopes, pens and journals, are inspired by sailors, brides and bridesmaids, to name a few. The boxes and other products can also be customised as per requirements of the buyer.

Talking about the process that is involved in making the products, Jhurani says that she and Ahuja personally look into every step. “The designing is entirely looked after at our studio,” says Jhurani adding that they have a team of two graphic designers who help communicate all their thoughts on to the actual files that can be sent out for production. She also mentions that there is another part of their team which handles the production work and the coordination between the various vendors. “Before any product is dispatched to the customer, either Ayesha or I do a final quality check and make sure that we send out a handwritten note to thank them for their support of our venture,” Jhurani says.

Considering that they are still relatively new in the industry, the excitement and challenges of their start-up are fairly the same as others. “A major struggle continuing to plague our operations is the need to find good quality vendors, who are as committed to running a sustainable enterprise that minimises wastage without compromising on the quality of the finished product,” says Ahuja. 

She furthers says that when they started out, they had very limited technical knowledge and were intimidated by the sheer lack of transparency in this area of operation but as they went on to amass some experience and learnt what to avoid, what adaptations to make on a design level and so on, the same challenges seemed less daunting.

The products and the collections can be purchased from their  website www.thepapierproject.com or their store at the Domestic Terminal T-2, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. The price range of their products is somewhere between Rs 200 and Rs 3,500.

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