We’ve all imagined characters from books coming to life and inviting us into their worlds. This now seems to have become a reality with MyBookmark! Olena makes a ton of colorful figurine bookmarks, from leggy witches to mermaids to fantastical creatures that seem to jump out of a story you are reading. It’s no wonder that MyBookmark has become a destination shop for birthday and holiday gifts. What character will you find waiting for you?
1. Why did you start designing “crazy” bookmarks?
I have always been creative and loved to make things. As a kid, I even used to build treehouses and create jewelry out of wires I found in my dad’s garage.
Later, I got a degree in architecture from the Kyiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture. I can say that attending college contributed to my creative skills.
The idea for leggy bookmarks came to me in a very visual way. One time, I was at my friend’s home when in the middle of the mess in the kids’ room, I saw a doll lying in a book with its legs sticking out of it.
2. What was your favorite book as a child? And what is your favorite book as of late?
As I child I loved Alice in Wonderland because the story is really fantastic and I’ve always believed in wonders. Now, I try to read more business books as I need to constantly improve my management skills to run my business successfully. But being a mother of two, it’s quite hard to find time for everything—family, business and reading.
3. How do you make your bookmarks?
In 2011, I used to sculpt the bookmarks individually from polymer clay, but soon I realized that it was impossible to handle everything myself. The sales grew and I needed helpers.
In 2013, there were 5 of us, and at the present moment in 2018, we have a team of 15 people. I still create the designs and control the process of sculpting, but my team makes them—modeling, painting, packing, doing marketing, bookkeeping, providing customer support, and so on.
4. How do you decide what collection to work on next?
Well, first of all I try to pick up the most popular bookish bestseller characters, and I also research the world’s trends. Our team creates 3–5 new characters in a year, and we also continuously improve the old models.
5. Please share a tip with us on how to give a great gift.
With gift-gifting, it’s very important to think about the tastes and preferences of the receiver. It’s great when a person realizes that a present had been particularly chosen for him or her. We all want to see true emotions, right? So don’t be lazy and try to find what really suits your friend, relative or colleague. Does your mom adore cats? Then go for the cat bookmark and pack it with her favorite color of wrapping paper.
6. What are the biggest challenges and rewards of running a gift shop?
To run a business successfully, one has to be ready for different obstacles. Surprises can occur with the postal service, especially during the holiday season. When our customers feel bad, we feel bad too, because it affects our status and trust. So first of all, we try to please our customers and satisfy their needs wherever we can—the quality of a bookmark, the shipping and delivery, customer support in case of product damage, and so on. The biggest reward? Getting many many positive reviews and having bloggers write about us.
7. How do you see bookmarks encouraging people to read?
First, I’ve checked the effect of my bookmarks on my kids. When they see a real unicorn sticking out of a fairytale book, they start taking reading as fun. We can play together while reading, too. I play out some parts of a story with a character bookmark, and then reading feels like a game.
For adults, this stylish, crazy accessory attracts lots of attention to a book. I believe that print books will stay around for a long time because they don’t have a battery life, they can be kept for years, and the feel of paper is fantastic.
Also, MyBookmark bookmarks can be also used in planners or notebooks as well.
8. What are some crazy ways that people use your bookmarks?
Some girls use them to put on makeup by using them on their faces to apply blush. Some people put them into flower pots as a funny designer’s item.
Olena calls MyBookmarks the craziest bookmarks in the world. And while hanging onto a library of printed books over a digital one may seem increasingly crazy to some, MyBookmark have created many reasons to enjoy printed books as a valuable family and me-time activity!
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