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Sustainable stationery; designed to minimise waste, and its impact on the world.

We’d love to hear the Coffee Notes back story, could you share the motivation behind starting the brand?

In 1991 our founders Sarah and Mark established a print business in Dorset. Passionate about sustainability, they made recycling part of family life as they raised five young boys while running a growing business. ‘I hate waste, so repurposing, upcycling and recycling have always been a family mission,’ says Sarah. ‘We pride ourselves on minimising the amount of the rubbish we put out each week both at home and at work.’

When lockdown temporarily shut the printing business in 2020, Mark and Sarah decided to use their experience in paper, print and design to create a genuinely sustainable, high-quality stationery range using UK and EU suppliers. Drawing on a pioneering process called Cupcycling™ that transforms takeaway coffee cups into paper, the couple embarked on an exciting lockdown journey. The result is luxury sustainable stationery that is both stylish, and beautiful to write on and even fountain pen friendly.

Our award-winning Notebooks, Planners, Notepads an Sketchbooks are ideal for writing, sketching or even doodling.  The covers are made from papers that are created by repurposing waste from food, drink, and textile manufacturing.

Today Coffeenotes™ reflects the joy and sense of purpose that comes with sitting down with a cup of coffee and a blank notebook. The Coffeenotes™ name and the sizes (Grande, Medio, Piccolo) are a nod to the origins of our signature cream writing paper which remains at the heart of our products. We aim to offer our customers genuinely sustainable stationery they can use every day and then recycle of compost so that absolutely nothing goes to landfill. Design elements are simple and minimalist, balancing function and style. Layouts are understated and flexible, providing structure without being prescriptive. We let the papers and their circular stories speak for themselves.

We love a bit of quality, thoughtfully designed stationery here at Circular HQ! In a competitive market, what do you think are the biggest opportunities for the brand?

Educating the customer and driving awareness will give us the biggest opportunity for growth.  We know when people see, feel, and understand Coffeenotes they repeat purchase and tell their friends becoming loyal.

Customers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental disaster the world is facing.  With 500 billion coffee cups thrown into landfill globally every year we need to drastically change human behaviour to make a sustainable future for the planet.  The opportunity to connect with customers to help them be part of the solution has a big impact whether that be buying your sustainable stationery from an art supplier, coffeeshop, art/museum gallery or gift shop.

There is big opportunity globally as well as the UK, to sell sustainable stationery to people who want to make a difference and be part of the solution.  US, Europe and Japan are also a focus for us.

We are running a great giveaway on our socials in collaboration with Coffeenotes. Check it out here:

From a daily habits perspective, do you have any advice on living a more circular or sustainable lifestyle?

We regularly challenge ourselves on this; to recycle, reduce and reuse everything that is part of our production process and the way we do business.  Whether that sourcing with sustainable raw material suppliers; repurposing wastepaper and cut offs for packaging; or encouraging customers to use every bit of our products, for example we have designed our list pads to have dots on the back  of every page so we encourage double use  reducing waste. In a recent blog on the site we shared our top five sustainability goals, they go something like this:

Reduce, recycle, reuse – at work and at home. We say no to single use plastics.

Travel responsibly – walk, bike and holiday closer to home.

Eat sustainably – reduce meat consumption, buy local, and grow your own if you can.

Support sustainable businesses doing the right thing, locally.

If you can, donate either with money or time – we are supporting the World Land Trust who are helping to permanently protect endangered habitats around the world. 

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced growing the brand and business?

We are a small start-up with limited budget up against large non sustainable corporates so getting our message and award-winning products in front of the customer can be a challenge.  But we love a challenge at Coffeenotes and we are working with likeminded challenger sustainable brands to drive awareness and build engagement with our proposed customer.  We have seen great growth over the last two years so we are hopeful this will develop and grow.  We’ve also great interest in the States and Japan.

What inspires the Coffeenotes Crew?

Coffeenotes is {re}writing our planet’s future and we want customers and stockists to join our sustainable stationery revolution to change the way the world buys stationery. This is why we get up in the morning!

What is the big dream for Coffee Notes, where would you like to see the business/industry in 5 or 10 years?

We want to create a sustainable stationery revolution to change the way the world buys stationery.  In 5 -7 years we want Coffeenotes to be the ‘go to’ luxury sustainable stationery brand that everyone is using whether that be as a notebook in a coffee shop writing your new novel, an office planner sat on your desk for organising your day or simply a beautiful sketchbook you take on holiday to relax.

The big dream is we will make the 500 billion used coffee cups into beautiful sustainable stationery so that we stop them going into landfill.

How can people support your work/buy your products?

You can shop our full range on our website coffeenotes.shop or join us on Instagram @coffeenotes_stationary