Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 3, 2013.

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Notebooks and journals made from sustainable tree-free paper that is derived from the agricultural waste of palm oil production

Hi Kickstarters, my name is Peisy and I’m an art director, graphic designer, and jewellery maker. Growing up in Malaysia I have always been surrounded by palm trees and lush vegetation, and vividly remember when I was very young playing in my grandparents small rubber and oil palm plantation. There is something very inviting about palm trees, from their rich dark green colors, gracious textured trunks, endless shapes and sizes, and of course, their delightful and eloquent fronds (leaves) which always seem to add to the pleasurable ambiance of any environment.

As a design professional, I have the common tools of the trade including a laptop and an iPad, yet I still always carry with me a small paper notepad to quickly jot down notes, doodles and whatever else comes to mind when inspiration strikes. As much as I rely on my notebooks, however, I am also very aware of the impact paper has on the environment and that no matter where you live, the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – very much apply. With this in mind and under the name, Palm Republik, I have set out to create a line of simple products made from a new source of sustainable tree-free paper called palm paper.

What is Palm Republik?

Palm Republik (the Malay spelling of republic) is my desire as well as vision to create a line of notebooks and stationery paper products that are environmentally friendly, use a minimal design aesthetic – along with a dash of personality – while simultaneously introducing to the world a great new sustainable tree-free paper called palm paper which was recently developed here in my home country, Malaysia.

My project is to create and produce a small line of softcover notebooks which will come in three different sizes along with a hardcover journal, poster prints, note cards, bookmarks, and gift tags.


Notebooks and Journal

The initial Palm Republik offering consists of three softcover notebooks made with 250 gsm (100 lb. cover) palm paper while the inside pages are made of 120 gsm (80 lb. text) eco-friendly paper. Each book is thread sewn and contains 48 blank pages.

The hardcover journal is 2.5 mm palm chipboard laminated with 250 gsm palm paper, thread sewn with no spine cover, and has 240 eco-friendly 120 gsm blank pages.

Softcover Notebooks and Hardcover Journal prototypes
Softcover Notebooks and Hardcover Journal prototypes

All the notebooks and journal come in five color options – natural, black, blue, red and green – and are printed using soy-based inks by a small FSC certified printer with in-house bindery capabilities here in Kuala Lumpur.

Poster Prints

In addition to the notebooks, I have also designed three original unframed poster prints which depict scenes from Malaysian rural and urban life as they relate to my upbringing and the palm oil industry. Each painting is an original watercolor painted by my colleague, Jacky Chin, who followed my art direction. Jacky has a wonderful style and as you can see below he incorporates a lot of detail within his paintings which should look great in a frame on any wall. To see more examples of Jacky's versatile and high quality work please click: Jacky Chin

Three original watercolors by artist Jacky Chin
Three original watercolors by artist Jacky Chin

To compensate for the darker toned palm paper a solid white base is first printed and then the painting is printed on top of this layer. The prints have uneven borders but can be covered with a mat. All prints will be shipped flat.

Size: 12" high x 16" wide         Image area: 10" high x 14" wide

Print type: Offset press           Paper: 250 gsm (100 lb. cover) palm paper

“Kampung Playtime” – For some kampung (village) kids using a palm frond can be great fun!
“Kampung Playtime” – For some kampung (village) kids using a palm frond can be great fun!

Kampung Playtime larger view

“Harvest Time” – Oil Palm Trees produce on average more than 200 kg of fruit per tree a year.
“Harvest Time” – Oil Palm Trees produce on average more than 200 kg of fruit per tree a year.

Harvest Time larger view

“Bustling Old Town” – In Malaysia, almost every city and town is an electic mix of old and new.
“Bustling Old Town” – In Malaysia, almost every city and town is an electic mix of old and new.

Bustling Old Town larger view

Note Cards, Bookmarks and Gift Tags

The watercolor artwork is also presented on three folded note cards, plus there are three stylized bookmarks, and three gift tags.

Note Card: Printed on 250 gsm palm paper and includes recycled envelopes.

Bookmarks and Gift Tags: Both are die cut from 330 gsm palm paper.

Bookmark prototypes with a 1/4" metal eyelet and cotton string; Gift Tags with cotton string - the reverse side is blank for writing
Bookmark prototypes with a 1/4" metal eyelet and cotton string; Gift Tags with cotton string - the reverse side is blank for writing

Backstory

No matter where you live in the world right now there is a good chance that in the past few days you have either ate something or used a product which contains some palm oil. Many baked goods, processed foods, chocolate, soap, cleaning, cosmetics, and thousands of other products use palm oil, most of us, however, are unaware of this because it is usually listed as “vegetable oil” although this will begin to slowly change in the coming years as new packaging regulations will list palm oil as an ingredient.

The source of palm oil is the Oil Palm Tree (Elaeis guineensis) which produces a fleshy reddish colored fruit containing the oil. Palm Oil Trees have high yields and produce 4-10 times more oil than other crops per unit of cultivated land making for a highly desirable crop. Malaysia is the world’s second largest exporter of palm oil and has close to five million hectares (about twice the size of Vermont) of palm Oil Trees under cultivation with half a million people directly employed in the palm oil business.

Unfortunately, in the process of palm oil production there is a large amount of residue biomass waste (biological material from agriculture) generated and for every ton of palm oil produced almost five tons is waste (last year in Malaysia alone over eighty million tons of this biomass was created). For decades this palm oil waste was largely ignored and was either incinerated, mulched or just left on the ground, however, ever increasing pressure on the world’s resources combined with technological change and favorable economic factors, has helped to turn this waste into a range of useful products including pulp to be used for the making of paper and cardboard.

Tree-Free Paper

Palm paper is quite simply the result of years of research that has enabled palm fibers from the biomass waste called Empty Fruit Branches (EFB) to be made into a pulp before being turned into paper. The EFB is first shredded into thin strips and then mixed into pulp using recycled water with no chemical additives, and finally compressed and ground into a powder form to be used in the paper production process. Palm paper is 100% biodegradable, is not bleached, has a rougher texture with a very natural look, and is a great alternative to using pulp made from tree timber as it uses no timber fibers from the Oil Palm Tree itself.

Palm paper has only been available commercially in very limited quantities since 2011 and is produced at a single paper plant here in Malaysia. It is still undergoing development and currently is too thick to be turned into regular writing paper, however, it is an excellent material for notebook covers, paper bags, calendars, cards, boxes and food packaging. It is only a matter of time before the paper can be made thin enough for writing paper with an expectation for this to happen sometime in 2014.

Use of Proceeds

I have spent a lot time, effort, as well as expense, to get where I am now with my dream of seeing Palm Republik come to life, however, in order to move to the production stage I need enough funds to purchase the minimum order quantities from the printer I have chosen to work with, and with your help we can get there.

Funds received will be allocated towards raw materials, printing, binding, assembly, reward co-ordination and packing, and of course, delivery.

A Little About Me ...

My passion is all things design and I love to make things!

I spent my early years in Penang, Malaysia (wonderful food!) before moving to Kuala Lumpur when I was five. With an eye towards a career in advertising I enrolled in design school in the UK and graduated with a BA in Visual Communications. I have many hobbies and interests but some of my favorites include photography, painting, travel, beaches, all things food, and I regularly work out doing Muay Thai Boxing!

For the past 15 years I have been involved in the advertising industry and have worked at a number of large international agencies, starting as a graphic designer and rising to a senior art director. Longing to be an artist, a few years ago I started designing and making beaded jewellery for family and friends. In late 2012, I set-up my own shop on Etsy - peisyting - which was my first foray into business and has subsequently provided me with the confidence to forge ahead with Palm Republik. My intent is to complete this project with passion and vigor with a goal of turning Palm Republik into a full-time endeavor so that I can introduce more sustainably made products.

Thank You! : 谢谢你 ! (Xie Xie Ni!) : Terima Kasih!

I sincerely hope that you will support Palm Rebublik and share with me my vision of introducing to the world simple but useful products that utilise a new sustainable paper which has positive environmental implications.

Please help spread the word about Palm Republik through your Facebook, Twitter or email accounts, as well as sharing this Kickstarter project with anyone you think would be interested in learning a little about palm paper and my small but helpful contribution to the environment by trying to popularize its use.

Although I may seem to be a long ways away, in this digital age I am as close as your next door neighbor, and besides, I’m really easy to talk to, so if you have a question or just wish to chat about my project please feel free to reach out through this site or email me directly at palmrepublik@gmail.com, and I will be more than happy to connect and share some thoughts with you. Cheers!

www.palmrepublik.weebly.com

www.facebook.com/palmrepublik

Rewards

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I have based the project goal on the pricing I received for minimum order quantities and am confident the $8,500 goal is realistic in terms of total material costs, Kickstarter and Amazon fees, plus shipping.

In the printing world things can and do go wrong, however, when working with an experienced print shop with in-house bindery, combined with proper oversight and planning, the risks are minimal. Coming from the world of advertising I have participated in many print projects so do not expect any problems in the actual production of the notebooks and other products. Additionally, as you can see from the project photos, I have created a number of prototypes in order to test colors and bindery with only a few minor modifications being needed before the full production run.

The biggest challenge in a project like this, however, is the logistical co-ordination of accurately assembling and delivering all rewards to backers in a timely fashion. Once the production phase is done the often larger task is then to assemble all of the reward components to be packaged up and shipped off. Depending on the number of backers, fulfillment can prove to be a big undertaking and it takes a lot of planning and preparation in order to do it properly along with enough resources to make it all happen, however, I am very confident in my organizational abilities.

All rewards will be shipped directly from Malaysia by International Air Mail through Malaysia Post. There is some risk of delay due to each individual countries own postal delivery efficiencies, custom inspection, holidays etc. Rewards will be mailed simultaneously (or within a few days of each other) with a view that delivery to your designated address may take up to 40 days from the day which it is dropped off at a Malaysia Post depot here in Kuala Lumpur.

Depending on where you live (and with some good fortune) some of you may get your rewards fairly quickly after mailing, however, in my experience small parcels mailed from here to international destinations seem to take on average about two weeks (give or take a couple of days). Unfortunately, on occasion, parcels can and do get unnecessarily delayed or worse, therefore, if after 40 days and you have not received your reward please notify me and I will ship out another reward no questions asked.

FAQ

  • I have tried to offer a range of rewards and combinations that will appeal to the widest possible audience, however, if you have something in mind other than what is offered in the rewards please email me directly here or at palmrepublik@gmail.com and we can discuss. I am quite flexible so we should be able to put together something that works for you…

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  • Most notebooks have paper that is 80 gsm or thinner and when used with felt pens they can sometimes bleed through especially for more sketches with heavy ink coverage, for this reason I went with a heavier 120 gsm (80 lb. Text) which should not bleed through when using most pens and markers.

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  • Shortly after the end of the campaign you will receive a survey where you can pick which color(s) you want for the notebooks and journal from the five available color options.

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  • Palm paper is made from the empty fruit bunches (EFB) leftover after the extraction of the palm oil from the fresh fruit bunches (FFB). The EFB used for the palm paper come from Pennisular or West Malaysia and not from East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) where the Orangutans live. As there are no Oragutans living in the wild in West Malaysia there is no impact on them from the palm oil industry on Pennisular Malaysia

    Understandably, however, there is little doubt that the Orangutans have come under threat from existing expansion of new palm oil plantations in Eastern Malaysia and I am acutely aware of this, and have made sure that this paper is has no connection to EFB generated from East Malaysia. In addition, the source of the EFBs for the paper all come from plantations that are designated as RSPO-certified which stands for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. RSPO is an international organization that was established in 2004 under Article 60 of the Swiss Civil Code with a stated vision that "will transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm".

    For more information on the RSPO and its mission please go to http://www.rspo.org.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    10 backers

    THANK YOU for supporting Palm Republik! You will receive a signed thank you note card and a single bookmark both made from palm paper. Worldwide shipping included.

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    2 backers

    BASIC: Get started with some palm paper and choose either one set of six note cards (two of each design and includes recycled envelopes) OR one set of three bookmarks along with one set of nine gift tags, plus a signed thank you note card. Worldwide shipping included.

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    3 backers

    POSTER PRINT: Choose one 12"x16" poster print from the three poster prints available. Printed on 250 gsm palm paper. Shipped flat. Worldwide shipping included.

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    61 backers

    OUT OF THE GATE: One set of three softcover notebooks (one small, medium and large) OR one hardcover journal, a set of three bookmarks, plus a signed thank you card. Your choice of any of the five color options for both the notebooks and journal. Worldwide shipping included.

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    25 backers

    PLUS PACK: One of either: 1) Two sets of three softcover notebooks (6 total), or 2) One set of three softcover notebooks and one hardcover journal, or 3) Two hardcover journals. Each choice also comes with a set of three bookmarks, plus a signed thank you card. Your choice of any of the five color options for both the notebooks and journal. Worldwide shipping included.

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    3 backers

    POSTER PRINTS SET: Three 12"x16" (image area is 10"x14") poster prints (one of each design) printed on 250 gsm palm paper. Shipped flat. Worldwide shipping included.

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    11 backers

    JUST RIGHT: One set of three softcover notebooks (one small, medium, and large), one hardcover journal, one poster print (your choice of one out of three prints), one set of three bookmarks, plus a signed thank you note card. You may choose one or more of the five available color options for the notebooks. Worldwide shipping included.

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    1 backer

    LOOKING GOOD: One set of three softcover notebooks (one small, medium and large), one hardcover journal, one poster print (your choice of one out of three prints), one set of six note cards, one set of three bookmarks, one set of nine gift tags, plus a signed thank you note card. You may choose one or more of the five available color options for the notebooks and one color for the journal. Worldwide shipping included.

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    14 backers

    CROWD PLEASER: Mix and match the five available colors amongst the three sets of softcover notebooks (each set has one small, medium and large) and two hardcover journals, also comes with two sets of bookmarks and a signed thank you note card. Worldwide shipping included.

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    5 backers

    THE BIG ONE: One set of three softcover notebooks (one of each small, medium and large), one hardcover journal, one set of three 12"x16" poster prints, one set of six note cards, one set of three bookmarks, one set of nine gift tags, plus a signed thank you note card. You may choose one or more of the five available color options for the notebooks and one color for the journal. Worldwide shipping included.

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    5 backers

    COLOR PALETTE: Five sets of softcover notebooks (each set has one small, medium and large) in one of each color, five hardcover journals in one of each color, plus four sets of bookmarks. Worldwide shipping included.

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    1 backer

    CUSTOM COVER: Choose either ten hardcover journals with your own digitally printed full color front and back cover OR ten sets of three (30 total) softcover notebooks (medium 5"x7" size only) with your own custom front and back cover, plus four sets of bookmarks. If requested, an Illustrator template will be emailed to you for the artwork. Worldwide shipping included.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    KUALA LUMPUR DINNER (PLUS THE BIG ONE): Do you have plans to visit Malaysia anytime soon (or later for that matter)? If so, then join us for a fabulous Asian dinner at one on Kuala Lumpur’s most renowned and largest international (Japanese, Chinese, Seafood etc.) buffet restaurants in central KL. You’ll be simply astounded by the variety as well as the quality which will no doubt leave you stuffed to the gills – we’ll also partake in a little sightseeing to round out the day! Reward includes dinner for two, your choice of pre OR post dinner sightseeing, as well as the THE BIG ONE, plus a few other goodies when you get here. Worldwide shipping included.

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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    CUSTOM PAINTING AND NOTE CARDS + THE BIG ONE: One original custom 10"x14" watercolor painting which will then be digitally printed on TEN sets of six note cards (60 cards in total). You will need to provide a photo, sketch, or a rough idea to be used for the painting to the artist, Jacky Chin, who will then provide a pencil sketch to you first before the painting is commenced. You may also add a greeting/title etc. to the card. Also included is all the rewards from THE BIG ONE. The original painting and prints will be mailed separately from the custom cards and other rewards. For additional information please see the Updates section. Worldwide shipping included.

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Funding period

- (35 days)