Posted on August 31 2020
Maryna Bittencourt is our empowered and creative founder. She grew up in Florianópolis, in the southern part of Brazil, graduated in Communication and Media studies and moved to Berlin four years ago. Here, she worked in the hospitality business and as a tourist guide. Two years ago, she started Kuriosis after finding a beautiful jellyfish illustration in an old encyclopedia. That day changed her life.
Last week we had a lovely chat when she talked about her inspirations, her dreams, and why she loves her work so much. When you talk to Maryna, you can't help falling in love with Kuriosis. She is so passionate, puts so much effort in all she does, and is always in a good mood, raising the spirits of the team. We invite you to get to know more about Maryna with this pleasant interview.
What has inspired you to found Kuriosis?
I am fascinated by jellyfishes. My biggest fear in the summer was being stung by one of them. Even so, I love the way they move. Watching videos and gifs of caravels is one of my techniques to relax. So I decided to get a tattoo of this animal. I researched, drafted, collaged, but it was hard to find something I really liked. One day my husband bought some old books and said that the drawings were very interesting. The illustration that fascinated me most was Androzen and Rippenquallen. It was the perfect reference I had sought for years. From that day on, antique books and encyclopedias became my new obsession. For many people, these pages are just old books, but for me, they are like hidden treasures on shelves. And my wish is to bring these grimy and dusty pages to light and to the world. That's how Kuriosis was born.
Maryna and her husband João
What inspires you nowadays?
My parents are journalists and always encouraged my sister and me to watch documentaries. They made me love this genre. Currently, I am watching two Netflix originals. Highscore tells the story of video games. Wellness unveils the dark side of the wellness industry. I love especially documentaries which show creative processes, how people create things. I can also recommend Abstract: The Art of Design, Our Planet and Vox videos.
How about music? I have already noticed you always work listening to music…
I've worked many years creating soundtracks for brands in Brazil, and I still love to discover new artists. Since I was a child, I had trouble concentrating, and music was a solution to that. I was an indoor soccer player and before the matches I used to spend some time in the locker-room listening to music. That was how I used to prepare myself to play. Nowadays, music still helps me a lot when I have to stay focused. Right now, I am in a disco moment, but I love jazz as well and other types of music. My favourite album today is What's Your Pleasure, by Jessie Ware. But probably tomorrow there will be another one.
Maryna loves to work with music and cats
What's your favourite Kuriosis collection?
My favourite collection has always been the same since the beginning of the company: the Von Martius collection. His Brazilian expedition was incredible. He travelled during three years in the 19th century depicting our people, nature, geography. It was all made in a very primitive way, compared to all the tools and resources we have nowadays. I was always fascinated by native Brazilian people, because my mother is adopted, and her biological family is Kaingang, an indigenous tribe. I see myself in this collection. It's my ancestry.
How Brazil inspires you and Kuriosis' collections?
In terms of design, Brazil is very avant-garde, creative and diverse. Here at Kuriosis, we have an interesting mix of people, and each one has his own taste, his favourite collection. So we work hard every day in order to have posters for everybody and not only one kind of client.
Her favourite place in the world is Praia do Rosa, in the southern part of Brazil
What is your dream trip?
Japan. I have been dreaming about this trip since I was 15, for many reasons. One of them is my Japanese religion, the Church of World Messianity. I would love to study the Japanese language, but now I have to focus on German.
What's the best part of your job?
I love working with people, and this company allows me to get in touch with different creative processes, both from our team and the artists from whom we print posters. And I also love discovering new artists, works and collections.
Maryna and part of the Kuriosis team
How do you recognize a best-seller?
We have information and statistics about our client's behaviour, which helps us to identify potential best-sellers. The data shows us their favourite colours, the most successful collections, the keywords that customers are looking for in our online store, for example. But sometimes we get surprised. The Creepy Baby was one of our best-sellers for a long time, and I couldn't have guessed that before. And The Future Belongs to the Curious was also a surprise for me. Nowadays, it is a huge success!
What is your favourite home decor style?
I am not a minimalist person. I have a poster store, you know, of course I want to fill all my walls with posters! I am not into the Victorian style, the kind of person that mixes wallpaper, old furniture and more, but I do like colourful walls.
Empty walls: soon they will be covered by posters
How do you intend to inspire your clients?
Our mission is to discover artists and works that have been forgotten. We have been living in a digital era, which is obviously good for us, but it's fascinating to think about how things were made back in the past. We offer images that tell stories and a democratic way of thinking about art. It's possible to have the best quality at an affordable price. That's what we do.
What would you say to other female entrepreneurs?
Be intelligent and persistent, but never forget to listen to your clients and your team. When you have empathy and put yourself in someone else's shoes, you will be able to improve and adjust processes very fast. And don't be bureaucratic. If you are too slow, your competitors will quickly leave you behind.
Listen to her :)