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About the Founder

Hi – my name’s Jenica Smith and I’m a Brisbane-based designer with 15 years of industry experience and a passion for art, creativity and sustainability.

I founded Notely back in 2014 because I wanted to create a beautifully designed range of stationery that was produced in a way that had minimal environmental impact. At the time, most eco stationery was made from kraft paper and came in various shades of brown – but I craved pretty planet-friendly notebooks with pure white pages that could best showcase my drawings, dreams and doodles.

After months of research into different paper types, printers and manufacturing processes, I launched Notely – a unique range of FSC-certified, Australian-made stationery. Although we’re super proud of what we’ve created, Notely’s sustainable practices are only one part of our story.

Showcasing and supporting Australian artists

I’ve worked as a designer in advertising and marketing agencies for many years, and have always believed in the power of collaboration. Before starting Notely, I ran a blog called Design Montage where I championed the talents of many Australian creatives, from illustrators, artists and typographers to designers and muralists. Interviewing these people and profiling their work was an incredible experience, but I wanted to find a way to collaborate to create something more tangible as a way of sharing their art with others.

These days, I’ve incorporated this philosophy into Notely, where our Artist Collection – notebooks featuring original artworks commissioned by amazingly talented Australian creatives – is a core part of our brand. We’ve worked with graphic designer and illustrator Jack Tierney, designer and illustrator Tiffany Atkin and children’s book illustrator Sophie Gilmore, and we have many more exciting collaborations planned for the future. Through the process of curating the Artist Collection and working with the artists, I’ve been inspired to further deepen my own creative practice, and have even picked up the pencils to illustrate a cover or two of my own.

My favourite thing about these collaborations is being able to share unique Australian artwork with people (at the fraction of the cost of an original piece), and for them to be inspired by it and interact with it on a daily basis. In a world where so much is experienced through our screens, I hope using a Notely notebook to jot down their thoughts helps my customers feel more grounded, more inspired and more connected to their local creative community. I also love interviewing the artists for the Notely blog to find out more about their creative process, because I firmly believe that the more we share our stories with each other, the more connected we are.

I hope that always having a Notely to hand means people will write down that amazing idea they have in the middle of the night, scribble that personal note to a loved one before heading off on a trip, and take time to journal about the things they want to achieve. Often in life it’s the little things that matter – and with Notely, you’ll always have a beautiful place to document them.