We are Raquel and João, the makers behind the stationery boutique Arminho. We live in Portugal, in a small city near the coast called Caldas da Rainha.
We met each other at university while studying art and design. Since then, we’ve developed a passion for vintage – especially paper ephemera, illustration, stationary, and books. We have a personal collection of vintage notebooks that we found while hunting at antique stationary stores and flea markets. Soon, our love of vintage aesthetics, paper, and the feeling of something unique grew into a passion for making. We learned about letterpress, book binding, and other traditional techniques, and now we have our own letterpress studio where we make our notebooks and posters.
Our hands are involved in every step of our process — that is special and meaningful to us. Every sheet of paper has passed by our hands to be counted and folded, every letter is hand placed on the typeset, and every paper is hand printed on our letterpress machine.
We are always seeking inspiration for our designs, and are very thoughtful about the materials we use. We want our notebooks and posters to have a nostalgic feeling, but fill contemporary demands at the same time. We take care when choosing the paper, colors, types, and other materials used to make every piece. This attention to detail is what makes us unique.
We work with a Portuguese company that makes 100% recycled cotton paper from recycled clothing using ancient techniques, so most of the paper in our products is 100% recycled. Because we live in a small city with no big suppliers, all the materials that we use are from small local stores, which is a huge incentive for our local economy. Also, most of our work is handmade using almost no electric energy, which was something we kept in mind when we got our human powered letterpress machine. In all aspects of our daily lives (including our work) we try to leave this planet a little better than we found it.
Our work is the expression of what we love – nature, animals, wood, and most of all, the value of handcraft. For us, Etsy is a great place full of people who value work like ours, which is not always easy to find! Etsy has given us the opportunity to do what we love without having to move to a big loud city. Etsy is not only a platform for online shops, it’s a place where we can share our work with people who really care about it, and it’s full of inspiring objects and artists as well.
Making handmade products makes us feel connected to the real world, nature and to feelings of truth. It makes us feel bound with our work – that somehow, something that came from our hands becomes a small part of us.
All photographs by Arminho.