say hi to_ Maxime and Agathe of Papier Tigre
| say hi to_ | Please Introduce yourself, for instance- If you just met a stranger at a party from a different industry altogether, how would you briefly explain to them what you do?
| Maxime | In brief, Papier Tigre is a brand for stationary, objects for the office and decorative objects. We're an independent French brand based in Paris and we've recently established our second branch in Berlin.
| say hi to_ | What’s a normal work day?
| Maxime | Every day is different but generally, we start around 9h30, we drink one coffee, then two, then three, go through emails from the pervious day and start to work on our running projects. We have lunch together around 1:30 pm at our neighbor restaurant NeoBento. Very often we have meetings with external people in the beginning of the afternoon, we continue with our projects in the late afternoon and we switch our computers off at 7pm. Nothing really special :)
| say hi to_ | What did you do before you created Papier Tigre?
| Maxime | The three of us worked together in a creative studio and we thought that we could have our own project and be our own clients.
| say hi to_ | Do you think having a university degree has been crucial to your success and has helped you to fulfill your dreams or do you think it is more the coincidence of meeting people with the same vision, rather, that is necessary?
| Maxime | This has really helped us, we all have our special know-how, Agathe is the specialist in art direction and stock management, Julien is the pro in design and the administration and my strengths are marketing and development.
| say hi to_ | Where did you get the inspiration to do stationary? How do you see its changing role in a society where electronic devices like computers, electronic letters like email, took over a lot of the traditional stationary market? What is the re-defined role of stationary in our society? Is there a come-back for stationary?
| Maxime | In the beginning we wanted to fully utilize our know-how that we developed for the work that we did at our creative studio: printed supports. We also wanted to fully develop a brand in its entirety, from the logo to the packaging. The web helped us a lot in the development of our brand – we are not at all against the digital, it’s the opposite. It’s the development of the virtual that refurbished the image of the traditional stationary. Paper developed from an everyday necessity product, to exclusive luxury status. It’s exactly this structural change that allowed us to develop ourselves.
| say hi to_ | On a to-do list for opening up your own company, one normally finds a lot of things such as do marketing research, make a business plan, find investors, etc. What did you do or not and why?
| Maxime | We are not the best to give tips for starting your own business. We left a lot of things to our intuition and common sense, which helped lead a lot of the way.
For example , we didn't do a business plan when we started the company but we had make one later on in order to get a loan from our bank before the shop opening :)
| say hi to_ | What do you recommend people who have a business idea to do to move forward and how?
| Maxime | Our advice would be not to worry about competitors and to renew yourself/ try something new regularly.
| say hi to_ | A lot of creatives are worried they won’t be able to support themselves. When did you start really making money and how long did it take?
| Maxime | We started when we were still working in another creative studio where we offered service solutions for other companies. We were able to live from that income while starting to work on our project. Without that you’d need to count on having a period of down time in the beginning where you won't be earning anything, the time that it takes to set the brand up. Once we had our first order we were able to use that money to produce our first line of products, that helped a lot.
"Our project has been entirely self financed up until opened our own shop, where we had to take a loan from the bank. We all put money from our personal savings into the project as well. We have never had any investors, we prefer for the moment to develop at a human rhythm, take our time in order to make sure that we don't take a wrong road and to continue in the same way that we started the project."
| say hi to_ | Until then how did you finance your project and your living expenses during that time?
| Maxime | Our project has been entirely self financed up until opened our own shop, where we had to take a loan from the bank. We all put money from our personal savings into the project as well. We have never had any investors, we prefer for the moment to develop at a human rhythm, take our time in order to make sure that we don't take a wrong road and to continue in the same way that we started the project.
| say hi to_ | How did you know what to charge for your notebooks? How did you finance their production in the beginning?
| Maxime | The first collection was paid for by our buyers. We presented some samples to our resellers and asked them to pay in advanced, before sending their order. As we produce in France our furnishers allow us to pay 45 days autre delivery of the products, that way we have been able to finance ourselves - this is how we were able to initiate the project to let the company take off!
| say hi to_ | How do you see the future of Papier Tigre?
| Maxime | We hope to develop our shop network.
We just initiated a new selling point in Berlin last month where we will have also an office for selling in Germany and in East Europe.
We are also working on opening of a shop in Berlin - but this takes longer and is more complicated. Meanwhile, we are always trying to broaden our product catalog to propose new things regularly.
Working with Partners
| say hi to_ | How did you all meet one another and when did you decide to work together on this new project?
| Maxime | We worked together and we realized very, very quick that our project together could have a lot of success after our first presentation to buyers like Le Bon Marché, who trusted in us from the beginning. The project when to the next level when we opened our own shop/office Rue des Filles du Calvaire – a real display platform for our brand.
| say hi to_ | Have you been always optimistic regarding the success of your company? What did you imagine to come out from your work together when you first start to collaborate? Did you have a clear vision where you wanted to go?
| Maxime | Nothing was clear in the beginning. We were five at the beginning of the project, it wasn’t easy to work towards a common goal with so many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. It was at that moment that things became more serious (especially when we had to sign our rental contract for our shop) that the vision of what Papier Tigre will be has been precised and things became more concrete. When we decided together to separate from the other two people and stay just the three of us, everything developed faster and better even if the future of our project was still uncertain. Today, we know a little better where we all want to go together.
| say hi to_ | What are your different roles in the company, what are your different strengths?
| Maxime | Each one of us has his own talents and roles, Agathe is our specialist in the Art Direction and in managing the stock, Julien is the pro in design and the administration and Maxime’s competences are marketing and development. As we are no longer able to juggle everything our own, we hired Maïwenn, who is in charge of our Parisian shop, Pierre-Antoine who is in charge of external orders of our resellers and our internet clients and Jérome, is the new guy on the team with whom we are working with to break into the German market.
| say hi to_ | You are a small company but you are in the process of growing. Are you worried that you might lose your control as a trio when introducing new people to your company? That you may not be able keep your vision, your standards and your fundamental principles alive while expanding?
| Maxime | With the fast development of our brand, we saw very quick that our competences are limited in the domains of international commerce, storage, logistics, web development for instance - and we needed to get help from specialists in these areas. That didn’t scare us at all! The important aspects of the business development for the three of us are to maintain the art direction and to have control over the larger developmental decisions.
| say hi to_ | How is your stationary different from other existing brands in France? In your opinion, what made them successful?
| Maxime | This is difficult to say, we don’t look too much at what our colleagues are doing, we prefer to drift according to our desires, ambition and ideas. The creation is at the heart of our brand, for example, every season (every 6 months, bi-annually) we change the design of all of the covers of our notebooks. We also try to increase the selection in our catalogue in order to propose products that set themselves apart from the universe of stationary and office supplies/products. We think that all of this plays into how we ultimately set ourselves apart from other contemporary stationary brands.
| say hi to_ | I’ve read that your travels to Japan, the US and to the UK have been very inspiring for your work. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
| Maxime | These countries and cultures are very receptive to stationary and to the sensibility of well thought out design objects. Japan is also one of our most important export markets.
We really like to spend time there, it also helps us to develop new ideas. Sometimes a weekend 2 hours away from Paris can be as inspiring as a week in New York too. ;)
| say hi to_ | Can you recommend one person from any other creative discipline that has an interesting story to tell that is worth sharing?
| Maxime | Our friends from Kerzon and Macon & Lesquoy are from our entourage of friends and they have similar creative paths and aesthetics to us. We also know 'Waiting for the Sun', who make sunglasses, they started a bit before us and they gave us some good tips. We are a little family of entrepreneurs who help each other where we can.
| say hi to_ | What is the most amazing apartment that you have seen in Paris or or around that would be nice to showcase?
| Maxime | The house Louis Carré de Alvar Aalto in the Yveslines, in the Parisian neighborhood - a beautiful mix of simplicity and effectivity.
| say hi to_ | What is the essence of Paris and how does this reflect in your work?
| Maxime | It’s a style without effort, a bit of nonchalance is the core to the image of Parisians.
Maxime and Jérome talk a walk in the neighborhood around the Papier Tigre Shop in Paris 4ème
| say hi to_ | At what places in Paris do you get inspiration for your work?
| Maxime | Everywhere, always, in every corner of each district, in the touristic districts, at our friends, our families homes. Everything about it is inspiring.
| say hi to_ | Could you imagine living in another city and why?
| Maxime |It’s difficult to imagine living in another city other than Paris even if (this is contradictory ;)) you do need to leave from time to time to come back and appreciate the city at its best.
Best café in Paris_
We keep this for ourselves! :)
Best bar for drinks in Paris_
There are so many, but as you need to make a choice: Experimental Cocktail Club.
Hotel where you would stay if you didn’t live in Paris_
Grand Pigalle Hotel
Best place to bring clients_
If they are foreigners you should to take them to Benoit, the restaurant of Ducasse, next to Hotel de Ville, or to L’ami Louis, rue Volta. If they are from here, you should make a them a good dinner at home :)
Best place to have a good diner or a nice evening with friends_
We have been to 52, rue du Faubourg Saint Denis and we spent a really nice night there.
Berlin Mitte, Germany
5 Rue des Filles du Calvaire
75003 Paris, France