Alfabetika is the creation of Paris based designer Anne-Lise Borgen. Influenced by Scandinavian design, laced with Parisian whimsy, and inspired by a dog called Jakko, Anne-Lise’s Diginate printed, educational artworks are popping up in nurseries and on bedroom walls around the world.
Eschewing her own online store-front, Anne-Lise sells her Alfabetika prints via third party sites such as Etsy. This approach facilitates an easy route to market in different territories, dispensing with many of the headaches associated with selling overseas.
I caught up with Anne-Lise via email to find out more about Alfabetika:
What gave you the inspiration for Alfabetika?
Alfabetika was started when I was looking for a gift for my niece’s first birthday. Being a somewhat ambitious aunt I could not find something that fit my all my criteria: personal, educational, fun and something she could have with her for a few years. So I took matters into my own hand and started sketching her name in various ways. The best ones ended up being the ones that were based on the funny mannerisms and happy personality of my dog Jakko- and as I was doing this I realized how much fun I was having, and kept on going.
You are selling to Europe and America. Where are your products proving most popular?
Since I started selling in August, I have sold most to the east coast in the US and to Scandinavia. That is also where I have had the most publicity, so I think the two are related.
You were born in Norway, studied in America and now live in Paris. To what extent have these places influenced your work?
Growing up in Norway was great, I got exposed to Scandinavian design and crafts from an early age. The most important things was however two things, my family who always encouraged my creative endeavors and a teacher who told my parents that it was ok for me to learn how to read from Donald Duck magazine. The result was that age 10 I loved reading and had finished all 52 books of the Nancy Drew series. –This taught me an important lesson about learning: make it fun and you will be good at it.
Studying in the US was great. I love the attitude and belief that you can do whatever you want, just go and make it happen.
Paris is an interesting experience, and I think in some ways it has given me many ideas for Alfabetika because I barely spoke French when I moved here. Having to learn another language that is so far from the ones you know really gives you insights to what it is like for kids when they are first starting out learning.
You sell through Etsy and Society6. What have been the pros and cons of using a a third party rather that selling directly through your own site?
I use Etsy for all orders within Europe, because there is no customs between the countries so the post moves efficiently. I sell to the US through Society6 because as fascinated as Americans are they do like efficiency, and not the snail like speed that the French customs system operate at with shipments to the US. For Scandinavia I use Epla, simply for language reasons.
What are your ambitions for the future of Alfabetika?
I would like for Alfabetika to continue to grow, and to be a brand that can make learning fun for children, more of a game than work. On a short term this means that I would love to get into whole sales and completing the Animal Alphabet I am currently working on, and the long term only time will tell. If you want to stay updated on Alfabetika it is great if you “like” the Facebook page. I post news updates and specials for the fans there, as well as drawings I am working on.
You can find out more about Anne-Lise’s work at www.alfa-betika.com
Anne-Lise uses Diginate Matt Paper Posters.
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