Fatima Bheekoo-Shah: Explain to me exactly what a Stori Dori is?
Nilly Ilgüy: A Stori Dori is an artisan leather notebook. It incorporates an ingeniously simple method of interlacing elastic cords that gives you the flexibility to fill and refill your leather with notebook or planner inserts. It’s customizable by size, colour, and inscription which makes it something to be cherished for a lifetime.
FBS: How did the concept for Stori Dori come about?
NI: I was getting back into journaling when I decided to make my own journal and started researching different ways and techniques people used to make theirs, when I discovered the Midori Travellers Notebook. There were many others making their own version and I fell in love with the adaptability of this style. I needed a journal and a planner and decided to try my hand at making my own.
FBS: How did you go about developing the idea?
NI: After I made the first one it was clear to me that I wanted to build a collection. It seemed like the natural next step to take as I was starting to explore being more creative and making my own vessel, this then ended up inspiring more creativity and it all grew organically in tandem.
FBS: Is Stori Dori what you had initially visualized or better?
NI: So much more better alhamdulillah! The communities of Stori Dorians are growing and I’m always as enthused to gush about how much I love Stori Dori with Stori Dori fans! I love receiving messages and pictures of how others are playing with theirs and how it has opened up their creativity too. It’s so heartwarming to hear how some have even bonded with their children more through using their Stori Dori. It’s amazing! Alhamdulillah.
LaYinka Sanni discovers a whole new way to journal!
FBS: I noticed that you use leather, why specifically do you use this resource? And where do you source your material?
NI: Leather is one of my favourite natural materials. You can do so much with leather from dyeing, stamping, and carving it. There are many options for the types of leather too and for me having plenty of options gives me the space to immerse myself in creative freedom. It’s durable and also ages beautifully and as each one will never be handled identically, the leather tells its own story.
We use a leather supplier in the United Kingdom that works with reputable tanneries in Europe and beyond, the leather we use for our products are made from different cuts of cow and horse, the former is sourced from Italy and South America and the latter is from South America.
FBS: Have you thought about using other natural materials like hemp, etc.?
NI: I’m not familiar with hemp but have thought about making Stori Doris out of padded cotton fabric before. It could still be a possibility if we can get the design right.
FBS: Why does everyone need a Stori Dori?
NI: Gosh! I’m not sure everyone needs one, but I do feel that everyone should have a personal journal to record their thoughts, aspirations, du’as, plans, and achievements in a genuine keepsake of a life lived and to leave it with loved ones for generations to come. A Stori Dori would be the perfect vessel for anyone to do all that and more.
FBS: What feedback have you gotten from the product?
NI: Lots of joy Alhamdulillah!
FBS: Where does the name Stori Dori come from?
NI: I’d decided to start my own blog that would run alongside the journaling I wished to embark on. The name of the blog ‘Journeying Stories’ was all I had at the time. Midori Travelers Notebook is considered the original and those made by others are often referred to as a ‘faux dori’. I’d also seen others nickname theirs after the person or brand who made them by affixing ‘dori’ after their name – when it struck me that I could call mine a Stori Dori, after my blog, and it has stuck ever since.
FBS: I like how you have grouped them into collections, any insight into future collection designs?
NI: We definitely want to embrace our Islamic art heritage and build more collection around our traditions.
FBS: Are all of them designed and made by you?
Ni: Yes, every Stori Dori is handmade by us. It’s a tradition I’m proud to have started and look forward to continuing long into the future In Shaa Allah.
FBS: Who is Nilly behind the Stori Dori? Tell me a bit about yourself.
NI: Well, I was born to Turkish parents and raised in South East London. I’m married and a mum of two boys Alhamdulillah. I’ve always been creative but haven’t always channeled it in an authentic (to myself) way. Growing up I felt I had to compete with the mainstream definitions that surrounded me and that led me to feel and live a deeply unfulfilled life. I wanted to pay attention to re-building my inner world and making it a beautiful place to be. Having a creative outlet allows me to nurture the space I need to grow into the best version of myself, bi’idhnillah.
FBS: Have you thought of expanding to other products?
NI: Oh yes, so many possibilities. It’s about finding the right fit for Stori Dori at the moment. I’m a stationery nerd through and through and have so many ideas of things I’d love try.
Forever dreaming of travelling, LaYinka Sanni shares her thoughts on a travel journal.
Fatima Bheekoo Shah is a wife, mother, food blogger, foodie and breastfeeding activist, finally answering her calling to be a writer.