Original and one-of-a-kind, we meet David Miles from Funky Journals, who uses old, discarded books to create imaginative and memorable journals for people of all ages and backgrounds to record life’s journey.
Tell us about your Funky Journals product range. How did you come up with the idea to turn this into a business venture?
A Funky Journal is a new journal made from discarded books you see in every Op shop. I add 100 – 120 pages of writing and/ or drawing paper and to please my wife, who is also an avid journaler, a sturdy front pocket to keep things you collect.
The real difference in a Funky Journal is that you will find, in most cases, the whole of the story from the discarded book throughout the Journal.
About 3 years ago, I saw a similar item in an art gallery, which has always been in the back of my mind as a great idea for a journal. Being a keeper of journals myself, I always looked out for journals that caught my imagination and helped inspire the thoughts and memories of my life as I put them to paper.
So about 4 months ago, I decided to give it a go. I have been totally amazed at the response and now attend markets in Port, Coffs and Bellingen most weekends
Where do you get the inspiration for many of your hand-made pieces?
The inspiration comes on many levels. Firstly, in such a throw away society, we discard millions of books every year – and this is my way of upcycling a product in a useful and imaginative way.
Secondly, when choosing the books I am going to make into a journal, I imagine the types of people of all ages and backgrounds using my product to record their life’s journey.
Describe some of your designs; what makes them different and unique?
The books I use are as varied as the people who purchase them. Little Golden Books make great journals, as they can fit into your bag as you travel – and for many people evoke memories of their own childhood. If I had a dollar for every time I hear: “I had that book when I was a child”, I would be very well off.
The classics like Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and The Little Mermaid are always very popular.
For the boys, Superman, Batman – in fact, any Super Hero, are also snapped up very quickly.
The books from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s show a way of life that in many ways was much less complicated, and people from that generation seem to have forgotten what it was like when they were growing up. These journals hit a real chord for them.
Finally, I have started to do Personalised Journals, either for individuals or as presents. They either choose a book, some of which even have the year of their birth on the front cover, or ask me to source a book that reminds them of a certain time of their life.
To this I can add photos, horoscopes, lyrics from that favourite song – anything in fact, that can be inserted into the journal.
Where do you source many of the materials for your range, and what are some of your favourites to work with?
All the books I use come from Op Shops both up and down the Mid North Coast. This is an eternal spring of material to use, and many of the ladies and gentlemen who volunteer in these shops now know me and have started to put books they think will be great journals aside for me.
Original and personalised, why else do you think Funky Journals are so popular?
I think one of the things that have made Funky Journals so popular is that the books I use are an emotional connection to your childhood, and when you see a book you had as a child and have completely forgotten about, it gives you permission to own it again as a journal. Many parents also want to pass that memory onto their own children.
For others, having a product that is upcycled, unique and not mass produced is very popular.
They make fantastic presents for all ages and show the recipient that some thought has gone into the gift.
What do you enjoy about attending the wonderful Foreshore Market each month?
The Foreshore Markets are just fantastic. The setting along the water on a fine day is beautiful, and the range and diversity of products is as good as any market I have attended. I hope to see you at the next market in February.