Local graphic designer Olga Martinez, along with her mother Maria Martinez, has watched O.riginals: Design and Stationery, her boutique gift and stationery studio, flourish in South Florida.
Martinez attended Our Lady of Lourdes Academy High School near South Miami and in 2003 graduated summa cum laude from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science in Communications, double-majoring in Advertising and Graphic Design. In 2005 she completed a Master of Arts in Communication Studies.
Begun as a fun pastime, O.riginals specializes in designing and producing personalized items for schoolaged children and teachers including notepads, backpacks, pencil cases and folders.
“O.riginals is a hobby turned business. Several years ago, a friend asked me to illustrate her kids on gift stickers,” Olga Martinez said. “My friend then found herself giving my contact information to others who wanted similar gift stickers with custom illustrations of their little ones.”
The illustration on each of the products is personally designed by Martinez to resemble the recipient. By choosing the skin tone, hair color and style as well as school uniform or attire for the illustration, Martinez is able to provide customers with customized, one-of-a-kind products.
“I never imagined the appeal would be what it is. Sometimes I stop to think about how amazing it is that I’m drawing illustrations and making products for people I’ve never met,” Martinez said.
The brand initially took off when Martinez participated in a trunk show to benefit La Liga Contra el Cancer on Oct. 8, 2009.
“I was humbled and amazed by strangers’ reactions to my illustrations. People kept saying, ‘This is so cute, so original,’ which was not only flattering but also affirmed I had aptly named the company,”
Martinez said. Martinez is thrilled to share the studio’s new website which launched on Monday, June 17.
“The website allows our customers, both new and old, to see the scope of our product line and customize accordingly. On the site, people can see the individual products along with the customization options for each product. It’s very visual and intuitive.”
Before the site launch, customers would either place orders at trunk shows or over the phone, and products could be picked up at the Martinez home or delivered to the recipient’s address. “Before the website, we relied heavily on trunk show marketing and social media networks, but this wasn’t enough,” Martinez said.
In addition to the new website, which will feature the perfect “o.riginal” supplies for this back-toschool season, Martinez hopes the business will expand to new areas.
“I would love to include more schools and, overall, to see the products in the hands of a more diverse market,” Martinez said. “We are always thinking of new ideas and products to keep the line current.”
Martinez believes that at the heart of the company is the originality of its products, which is appreciated by each customer.
“Like the company name implies, each customer receives an ‘O.riginal’ product made exclusively for him or her,” Martinez said. “The custom illustration, coupled with the personalization, makes each product unique. This is what our customers love.”
Visit O.riginals’ website at http://originalsds.com to start the new school year with customized and trendy merchandise.