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Development Process of the Kwaderno Classic Edition (#liveastoryworthtelling) By Jacinto & Lirio

March 31, 2012

It’s been around 10 months since we first developed our first Kwaderno Line and I’m writing now to share with you guys my personal experience in the development process of Jacinto & Lirio’s refillable plant leather journals.

It all started one GK CSI night when Noreen and I got to meet Tony Olaes.

Tony Olaes is a local business man in San Diego who has become a champion of the Gawad Kalinga movement.

Gawad Kalinga which in Tagalog, means ‘to give care’ is a grass roots organization started by Tony Meloto to help eliminate homelessness, poverty and hunger in the Philippines.

Tony Olaes is championing the revival of the Bayanihan spirit by getting Filipino and Filipino-American community members to recognize the need to come together as one community to assist our countrymen in the Philippines over come homelessness, poverty and hunger by proving them tools to become self sufficient. (Sourced from:

Noreen happen to bring one of our Elegante Collection clutch bags and showed it to him. Mr. Tony encouraged us to create a fast moving product like a notebook. Many people have already been suggesting for us to create a cheaper line in order to enjoy volume orders. It was only months after this conversation that we finally decided to prioritize making one in order to tap the corporate and bulk buying market (like debuts, events, etc.) as well.

During the creative process, my first step is usually to look up the same or similar products out in the market. It’s amazing how a simple product like a journal can be designed in so many ways. Check out some of my favorites. Which is your favorite?

I tried to take inspiration from what is already in the market and from there I either think of something that is not yet sold out there, or conceptualize a fusion of the design and functionality of the journals I loved from my market research.

I wanted the journal with a stitching by the side of the paper, but our current bag manufacturer cannot make it.

The side stitching on the side leather part of the journal on the other hand was too labor intensive which would add up to the laborious process of our water hyacinth plant leather, consequently adding up to the cost. Our goal was to create a more affordable line so I disregarded this.

Our plant leather costs pretty much like genuine animal leather, so Mhyke, our architect board member (and also my boyfriend) suggested that we make it refillable.

It’s always best to seek advise of people who know better than you in whatever field you are embarking. This is one of the important lessons I have learned the hard way.

I’ve never taken up a bag making course, so I also consulted our manufacturer’s opinion re the design I made. (yes, our first batch of journals was made by a bag maker hehe). Below are the first prototypes we had:

As you can see from the image above, the leather cord placement is different from the 2nd version below.

Finally, after numerous changes in notebook refill sizes. We came up with the final production mock up.

The box is a classic design that my partner Noreen Bautista came up with. I love it so much because not only does it look elegant and classic, but it’s also very unique and functional. The purpose of the bottom box base it to make it stand whether its close or open. Ofcouse it will be displayed in such a way that the journal can be seen while inside the box.

Now here’s our pitch for you.

Jacinto&Lirio Statement Plant Leather Journals | Kwaderno

Kwaderno is Jacinto&Lirio’s special line of journals made from water hyacinth leather.

We feature simple and elegant journals that stand out with the unique innovative material in a REFILLABLE JOURNAL NOTEBOOK.

Apart from that, we believe the story must be told more — of how a plant pest turned into an amazing innovation and can bolster economic opportunity for communities in the Philippines.

Through this Kwaderno, we share our story
and we invite you to share it as well!

Now available at NBS, Powerbooks, Echo store Serendra, Fullybooked. Human Nature Commonwealth Branch, Enchanted Farm Bulacan Souvenir Shop

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