Many of us hoard notebooks; it’s not about the practical need for a notebook, but rather a calling that comes from within. Buying more notebooks for us hoarders is a given, and the cooler the design, the more we want to buy them. Stumbling upon Ro’ya notebooks at a local fair, it was hard to disregard the cool quality and eye-catching design. We contacted owner, Ro’ya El-Zanaty for more information.
“The idea for Ro’ya Paper Boutique [PB] was first dreamt up while I was an undergraduate nine years ago when I met a friend that had personalised and designed her own notebook to take notes in during class. I was instantly hooked to the idea and spent all four years of university personalising and customising my own notebooks,” explained El-Zanaty.
When El-Zanaty found her old notebooks by chance three years ago, she realised what her new career would be. She used fond memories as her inspiration for the catchy slogans on the notebooks, which range from well known Egyptian pick-up lines (“Your mum must have been a bee to create all this honey”) to popular English slang written phonetically in Arabic.
“We all have that one phrase that instantly rings a bell and makes you smile, giggle, or frown so I decided to use these sentences and make them live a little longer with people,” El-Zanaty said.
The small start-up is “a one woman show” as El-Zanaty explains it, but she enjoys great support from her family and friends.
The first thing that one notices after the design is the paper used: it is of very high quality. “I currently use a mixture of two kinds of paper for my stationary, however I am facing difficulties these days with finding the materials that I have been using due to the import/export problem that the country has been facing, and has affected the paper industry among other things. So, it’s a constant challenge to find alternative high quality paper without losing the look and feel that has now become associated with my products – especially the notebooks,” El-Zanaty said. She is also exploring the possibility of using recycled materials in the future.
El-Zanaty also relies on her circle of friends to find out the trend when it comes to catchy phrases. That is the first step in her design process. “I then work on the artwork for each phrase I am working on. I also seek the opinions of a few close people and tweak the design according to the comments I get. Then, I purchase the paper according to the quantity I need printed per item and take them to a printing shop.”
To ensure that the printing is up to par, El-Zanaty uses three different stores. “The print shop that prints my covers, the one that prints the inside pages of the notebook and the one that combines and finishes off the notebooks are all three separate print shops,” she explained.
She currently sells her notebooks on cirqy.com and at local stores Nuts@Nuts and Boho Gallery.