by Soraia Martins
It’s hard for me to imagine a life without patterns. I’m not quite sure where this comes from exactly, but my eyes feel more comfortable when looking at compositions. Albeit abstract, they bring me the joy of order, of organization. I don’t mind a neutral monochrome surface either. Both worlds have a place in my heart for sure. That’s why o beija-flor has always been such a visual pet-peeve of mine – at one point I even asked Susana, the co-founder and current owner, if she would make bespoke notebooks just for me, but that’s not how it works, I came to discover.
This lovely stationery brand has been around since 2011, back when there were still two people carrying the weight of creativity. “We wanted to use this as an escape from our usual graphic design work behind a computer all the time. We needed more creative freedom, more opportunities to make something with our hands and merge that with a passion of mine for all things paper. We started by making notebooks, which we were already making for ourselves. We redesigned patterns from tiles, tested different techniques and materials, and basically started producing. After 2014, it was only me taking the wheel, and my main purpose was to turn o beija-flor into a full-blown stationery brand”.
In love with everything that involves paper, Susana collects envelopes, cards, stationery paper, notebooks, labels, and much more. This is immediately clear once we get to know her and all of her products on display on her website and on markets here and there around the country. “There’s always an intention behind every product, and that’s what keeps the creative process going as far as production, collaborations and materials are concerned. I admit sometimes the springboard for what I make comes from a personal need – there are things I realize I want to have, and I take on that ‘glitch’ to create a new collection, but most of the time I’m on top of what’s around me and what the market demands”, she says.
What makes o beija-flor stand out from the crowd is definitely the way Susana makes things. It’s not just for the sake of making, but because it makes sense to her and her followers. Also, she usually chooses the best partners she could dream of to make beautiful pieces, like the DIARY collection, a set of limited hardcover notebooks that are launched every year with the help of amazing artists – Mariana, a Miserável, André Letria and Catarina Sobral are the lucky ones so far.
Sit back and enjoy o beija-flor in all its stationery glory, whether it’s beautiful notebooks, cards, calendars, posters, and a myriad of other paper-based products designed and made exclusively in Portugal – to the world.
Pictures © o beija-flor