Originally published by VoyageMIA here.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Diego Orlandini.
Diego, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was an avid traveler and volunteered as an English teacher in impoverished villages in Cambodia, India, and Ukraine. I was inspired by what companies like Tom Shoes, Warby Parker, or State Bags do. I wanted to do my part and place at least one book in the hands of these kids that are so talented but sometimes don’t have the resources they need. Life is difficult as it is. Without education, the challenge is far greater.
When I returned from my travels I wanted to create a socially responsible company but I didn’t know what product to create. I was stressing myself out thinking about this until my girlfriend at the time gifted me with an adult coloring book as a mean to relax. I got immediately hooked and every chance I had, I would color a page. As a Miami transplant, I spent a lot of time in Wynwood. We thought it would be fun to color those murals, and that’s how the first book was born: I spent months convincing street artists who didn’t know me at first, to join me creating The Wynwood Coloring Book. It was a local hit. I received a lot of support and was able to create my first product.
Now we are launching Aimful Books as a platform for the adult coloring books we design that feature meticulously curated artwork by established artists from around the world. Our books are made from premium eco-friendly paper, crafted for you to cherish and keep for years to come, and the best part is that for every book we sell, we donate an educational book to children in need around the world. Currently, we are donating to schools in Peru. We are also launching our third book: The Ultimate Street Art Coloring Book which includes over one hundred artworks; our most ambitious project yet.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Teaching oneself how to do something on the fly, while you need to get that something done, is hard. Especially if you are a perfectionist and want to do it right. I had to teach myself accounting right before I had to pay taxes. I had to teach myself illustration right as I was designing the first book. I had to learn how to reach out to clients as I had the books sitting in my garage. These struggles are only the education I needed to get to launch a fully functional, highly efficient editorial of gorgeous books. Now I am in the process of learning how to make the donations well: How to place the book where they will be used properly and without disrupting the local synergy. It is a challenge I look forward to beginning to understand now.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Aimful Books – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
At Aimful Books we design coloring books featuring meticulously curated artwork by established artists from around the world. Our books are made from premium eco-friendly paper, crafted for you to cherish and keep for years to come. We are on a mission to place one million free textbooks in the hands of children and one million coloring books in the hands of grownups like you.
Our proudest work is the upcoming coloring book called “The Ultimate Street Art Coloring Book.” It is a gorgeous hardcover book that features over 100 of the best street artists in the world and I cannot wait to show it to the world. We are launching a Kickstarter campaign this week.
We exist with three goals in mind: To contribute to the education of thousands of children around the world by providing free educational textbooks, to help people relax and practice coloring as a form of dynamic meditation, and to spread the appreciation for urban art and street artists.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We want to increase the number of books to 10 quality, unique coloring books by next year. I want to have a set structure as far as running the company goes, and dedicate myself more to bringing educational books to children.