Cesar and Ruben are two young entrepreneurs located in Brunswick who arrived in Australia two and a half years ago. Their full-time jobs are very different from what they are currently exploring with their new venture. Cesar is a scientist who does research for RMIT’s School of Engineering while Ruben works as a manager in the fashion industry.
The business they recently started is called Hart Concepts and they combine their science and fashion skills with their hobbies to produce hand-made and eco-friendly stationery. Surprisingly, what they do resembles more a life philosophy than a business, let me tell you why.
To start with, Hart Concepts embraces the idea that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites. The project is born from the differences that Cesar and Ruben welcome to become stronger. While Cesar is the pragmatic one, Ruben brings the romanticism that always provides support and fuel to the logic behind a sound strategy. Ironically, while Ruben likes the stationery and its practicality, Cesar loves producing art and letting himself go with creative water-based paintings that capture Australian nature.
Giving is receiving is also a fundamental part of Hart Concepts. This start-up was born to help others. As a response to the bushfires that heavily impacted various regions of Australia, Cesar and Ruben wondered how they could help the wildlife that was affected by the fires not only with money but with their skills too. They decided to add a social and community component to their venture by contributing with 5% of their sales as a donation.
During our interview, we also talked about something that every successful project has as its core, living your passion. Ruben loves stationery and all the little details related to it. Talking about this brings him back to his childhood in Andalusia. He remembers going with his mom to buy all the things he needed for the next school term like pencils, pens, and notebooks. He proudly says “I still have notebooks of all sizes everywhere around the house!”
Cesar recalls how he spent his recess time at child care painting while other kids were outside playing games. “I remember painting the town’s priest’s portrait while kids looked at me doing it”. And the passion for painting runs in the family. Cesar’s father, grandmother, and cousin also enjoy capturing images with their drawings.
Hart Concept’s logo, a paper clip folded into a heart, embodies another component of their philosophy, enjoy the present and make the most out of what you have. Cesar and Ruben repeatedly mentioned how important it is for them to share this value with their brand.
The last element of Hart Concept’s philosophy that we talked about was to share with the world what amazes you. Having an outsider or immigrant perspective always grants you that extra awe! that new things can bring you. Australian nature will not stop to amaze them and it has become an intrinsic part of their design. Notebooks and greeting cards capture the flora and the fauna that only Australia can give to the world. “We want to be able to share our fascination for Australian nature with our design” Cesar tells us.
It was very refreshing to learn how powerful it can be to drive an idea based on such a positive and inclusive philosophy. In summary, Hart Concepts is a fashionable science. It is social enterprise that sells eco-friendly hand made stationery but it’s also an invitation to embrace our differences to become a better version of ourselves, it’s also a call to give to others in need, a request to live your passion and enjoy the present as it also is a petition for you to shout out what amazes you and makes you happy!