One of my best friends from school days is Turkish, and whenever I went to visit her in Istanbul, she had this great group of girlfriends. They all worked together in a big corporate company back then and through the years of visiting Istanbul I became friends with them all - they all went on to get married, have children, and start there own business. This was always an inspiration to me, as I am now a mother of 2 young children, and still somehow searching for my own identity… 2 of them went on to start Atelier Petit Pas which I wrote about in another blog. Then there is Meltem, who started Melimelo, which hand makes custom ordered notebooks.
When I first met Meltem I was amazed by her natural beauty, her stylishness, and her completely down to earth nature. When she mentioned she started Melimelo, I didn’t hesitate to ask her to make a notebook for Gaja’s ladybug birthday party I was about to have. When Soraya turned two, I also asked her to make a notebook for her cat themed party. In these notebooks, I asked all the guests to write a little note for both Gaja and Soraya, so that they can read it when they are older. Just something cute for them to always keep. I always concentrate on the theme of the girls birthday parties, so this has become an annual request for each themed party that I give the girls. When I started thinking about The Two Little Piggies venture, I also requested her to make a notebook with the piggies theme, which I love and always keep with me to write down any ideas that pop into my head regarding this venture.
I think these notebooks are a great gift for anyone. As it is completely handmade, the gift is totally original and no one else would have the exact same one. Meltem really tries to understand each client and what she/he wants, and as she says, she tries to create a story, I love all the work that she has done for me.
Here is my Q&A with Meltem:
Q. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started Melimelo.
I am 42 years old. I have 2 daughters and a wonderful husband who always supports me.
I graduated from Notre Dame de Sion French High School in Istanbul. I worked as an advertising manager for an international French automotive company for 13 years.
I was definitely a complete stationery freak since my childhood. I still am. I bought various kinds of notebooks from every country and every city I went to.
The idea of making handmade notebooks appeared 7 years ago. On my younger sister's birthday, I wanted to make the gift myself instead of buying a gift for her. I made a recipe book. I also wrote a recipe on the first page of the book. This notebook is the beginning of everything!
Q. Where do you get the inspirations for your designs?
When preparing designed notebooks, I get inspiration from current events, trends of the season, a book that affects me very much, an obsolete object in a movie I watch, and of course important days can be effective.
If I prepare a custom design notebook, the ideas and requests of the client is important to me. I am creating a world out of these ideas on the cover of the notebook. For example, he or she says “I would like to present a very special notebook to my wife. We are a family of 4, my wife likes owls, the sea, sand, sun, she loves vivid colors.” And I'm designing a world for this woman on the notebook. There is also an interesting side that I have noticed.. I know stories about people I have never met and that I probably will not have the chance to meet!
Q. Do you mostly have individual clients, or also corporate clients? What sort of requests do you get, as an example?
Melimelo prepares personalized notebook orders as well as corporate gifts. I also have special cooperations with Museums on exhibition based projects in Istanbul. Corporate orders are often new years gifts for customers, launch gifts or special gifts for press.
When I work with Museums, I prepare special designed notebooks parallel to new exhibitions.
Q. You have 2 daughters. Do they also get involved in the designs of the notebooks, or with some ideas?
My atelier is at home. For this reason, my daughters are very interested in my studies ☺ As all the materials (Papers, buttons, ribbons…etc) are under their hands, they have a chance to make small experiments. And of course, they use a lot of the books I have prepared☺
Q. I hear you are now giving workshops as well. Please tell me a bit about these workshops?
The place of workshops is special for me. Because, in 7 years, I studied, experimented, and learned a few techniques.. But I had such details that I could not figure out how to do it. I created the solutions myself. And now I share what I have learned, with the attendees. I think sharing information is important. The greatest fraud is to keep the information to yourself.
I teach different sewing techniques at workshops, like Japanese binding, French stitch, Coptic stitches as well.
Q: What are your future plans and projects for Melimelo?
Our new baby is “Proje Deposu” (Project Warehouse). This projects is born from our friendship and our cooperation with Evren Kıvançer. Since October 2016, as Proje Deposu (Project Warehouse); We organize Workshops, Fusion and Makers (stand assemblies with designers) in Tasarım Bookshop Café in Kadıköy - İstanbul
Our goal is to be able to bring together the designers and makers, and create a 'sharing' environment. Because we believe that we will multiply and strengthen when we are sharing our information:)
For anyone interested in Meltem's work, please see the contact details below.