A Bookish November: Meet ‘Behind the Pages’!

Though, realistically, I don’t see myself as someone with a ‘type’, I do find myself drawn to the same snarky, vain, and frankly, too good to be true type of male characters in books. Case in point: Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles, Will from The Infernal Devices, Kaz AND Jesper from Six of Crows, Nikolai from The Grisha Trilogy, Jace from The Mortal Instruments, and yeah, you get the gist.

Alas, fictitious men have totally distorted my expectations of real men. I mean, who else would risk burning themselves in a fire to save my life? Will Herondale, that’s who, and I still have the nerve to test the same level of loyalty on poor acquaintances – acquaintances.

Oh well.

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image, courtesy of @conniereads on Instagram

I have a question for you, however. Why settle for a Will Herondale look-alike, when you could have the real deal? Because Behind the Pages promises to bring your ‘bookish boyfriend [and girlfriends]’ to life. Whether you want to take Rhysand into the shower, or taste Magnus Bane on your lips – or even settle for the innocent yet beautiful watercolour bookmarks that match their tomes,   you could have it, and not worry over the rejection or disappointment of real people – which frankly, is where I was sold.

Personally, I recognise Behind the Pages for its unique goats’ milk soaps and character-inspired lip balms, however, the roots of the store are centred around its bookmark designs – all originally made by Gina herself. The story goes that, the designs were originally posted on Gina’s blog (aptly named Behind the Page) as free downloadable templates, but were soon a big hit with readers who suggested she begin selling them. Upon posting her Throne of Glass bookmark designs, the requests sky rocketed to a new high, and thus was born Behind the Pages – a humble Etsy store that began with bookmarks and a title that paid homage to its blog, and a growing product range that now includes posters, soaps and lip balms, hand crafted by its hardworking founder, Gina.

Expanding further on this, Gina told us that:

My main reason for actually starting my store is so that anyone anywhere can get merchandise for their fave books/series. I live in Australia, and we
have hardly any authors come out here, and we don’t get any official merchandise, and I can imagine that it’s the same for most other countries as well. So I wanted to make things that are available to anyone, no matter where you’re from. 

Gina’s overall slogan for the store is ‘Maker of Bookish Things’, however, I think the slogan that caught me, and likely most others, would be Gina’s aim to bring ‘Bookish Boyfriends to Life’. When I got the chance to ask Gina about it, she stated:

It was only recently that I added this slogan to my instagram site. Honestly, I added it because I didn’t like how my profile was all links, I wanted some text there as well. So (literally) on the spot, I just wrote Maker of Bookish Things and bringing Book Boyfriends to life. I actually still love it and find it really fitting, especially because of the soap it’s like having a shower with your book boyfriend and the lip balms are like kissing them, so in a way I am bringing them to life. I use Maker of Bookish Things as my overall shop because I’ve got quite a few items now so that really covers everything and sums it all up quite nicely.

It’s little inspirations like these that often snowball into huge creations, and what I found out about Gina’s inspiration behind the creation of character-inspired lip balms and soaps was that they formed out of the misery of a reading slump.

reading slump.

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image, courtesy of @behindthepagesstore on Instagram

After reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (which shamefully, I have not, as yet), Gina fell into the biggest reading slump that also included fawning over Rhysand – and trust me, I may not have read the books yet, but I skipped right on over to chapter 55, and I see it. I kind of understand why. This led to her and her best friend brainstorming ideas on how to form his scent into a candle, and when researching the supplies, Gina found a local store that sold soap making supplies. And of course, when you’re inspired to create bookish soaps by Rhysand, he has to be your first soap. In that sense, Rhysand became Behind the Pages’ first.

From there, it wasn’t a huge stretch to create the lip balms, since they are, as Gina states, the ‘exact same range of boyfriends (and girlfriends) as the soaps, so the easiest way to find out if you want to spend the money on the soap is to grab a lip balm and test the smell with that’. Since the shipping of soaps was more challenging than lip balms, it proved to be a great solution for those seeking soaps, but couldn’t have one delivered, or for those who were unsure of the scents they wanted to purchase as soaps.

In addition to the unique lip balms and soaps, Behind the Pages was quick to catch onto the rising trend of adult colouring books, and found a way to combine Gina’s trademark watercolour style with the creative outlet by creating a colour-in bookmark! Now you can purchase a bookmark that’s styled in that classic Behind the Pages design, and be the master of its shading and completion! With this new collection comes the promise of more colour-in bookmarks to pair with books getting their own adult colouring books, such as Throne of Glass, The Lunar Chronicles, and etc., from Gina herself.

It’s no surprise that with the great demographic of fans for Sarah J. Maas’ book series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and Throne of Glass, that Behind the Pages’ best-selling products would be tied to the franchises. In particular, the lip balms have outdone all other products, mainly due to the fact that the soaps are more difficult to ship, however, after kissing Rhysand (or your bookish girlfriend of choice…perhaps a Shazi from The Wrath & The Dawn series lip balm?), I’d say it’d be pretty difficult to resist taking him into the shower with you.

A regular issue that comes up when purchasing body products, and I’m sure you’ll agree, is the ingredients and materials used, and how they’d react with our skin, or any allergies we may have. I know that I have pretty sensitive skin, so I can’t afford to switch between products freely, otherwise the results for me would be detrimental. So when I was perusing the Behind the Pages Etsy store, and the materials that came up for their soaps and lip balms, were, respectively, ‘goats’ milk’ and ‘coconut oil’ bases, I thought to myself that this was quite luxurious, but also natural compared to the chemical ridden soaps commonly found. I had to find out more behind the ingredients, and this is what Gina had to say on the matter:

I’ve always lived by promoting and making products that I would use myself and that I would be happy using and talking about. I have really sensitive skin and before I started making soap, the only soap that I could for myself is the soap designed for eczema sufferers. I think I knew from the start that I wanted to have my soap base as a goats milk soap, I’ve always heard people raving about how great that kind of soap is and how good it is for sensitive skin. I ended up buying a few test products, and after I tried the goats milk soap in the shower for the first time, I knew that’s what I wanted to use as my soap base…Now my entire family uses my soap in the shower and they won’t use anything else. Surprisingly enough, my boyfriend is the biggest advocate for my soaps (I know right)…

The same thing applies with lip balms to be honest, I tried quite a few different wax bases (vegan ones as well), but nothing worked as well as the beeswax did. As much as I wanted to make a vegan product, I didn’t like how the lip balm came out when I used alternative waxes. But, what I did want to do was not include Avocado oil or Sweet Almond oil in my lip balm, and it was great because my lip balm is better without them in my opinion. Even though I couldn’t make the lip balm vegan friendly, I wanted to at least make it allergy friendly. Although there is Shea Butter in my lip balm, the nut allergy factor really depends on each person and if you can tolerate Shea Butter or not.

For both products, overall I wanted to make products that were really great for the skin in addition to smelling amazing and representing book boyfriends and girlfriends

Not all of us have that avid reading significant other, but, if you can win your significant other with a bar of soap like this, then I’d say you’ve won.

If these products weren’t enough for your bookish hoarder hearts, then fret not, because Behind the Pages is coming out with a Christmas range for the upcoming holiday season that will be coming out on the 14th of November, and will be running until the end of December!

When we asked if there was anything else for us to be excited for, we were met with a thrilling yet cryptic answer of two new products that aren’t even in testing yet, but will come out sometime next year, and an upcoming bookish scents collection! Above all, if you don’t find that bookish boyfriend of yours in the list of soaps and lip balms, don’t weep, because Gina is always adding new scents and flavours to the collection!

Pricing has always played a huge criteria on which I base whether or not I’ll buy a product, so it was only fair that I express to you guys, that throughout this month, there are no products featured in A Bookish November that I wouldn’t be willing to pay for myself. With that said, Behind the Pages features a very flexible pricing range on its bookmarks and posters, mostly due to personal preference (such as the addition of foil detailing on the back or not). As for the lip balms, soaps and lip scrubs, they are all one set price, however, you may find that the lip scrubs cost a little more than the lip balms, due to the extra ingredients in there.

What I was happy about hearing is that these prices weren’t determined solely by Gina, but were determined through others’ advice, and how much they were willing to pay for certain products:

When deciding on pricing for my products, I ask a lot of my friends from around the world what would be the maximum they would pay for a product so that I know a rough guideline of what people are willing to pay. 

Behind the Pages, you can be guaranteed, will keep its prices ‘as low as I [Gina] can possibly make it’.

Currently, the store is closed due to the immense number of orders, and personal custom orders are not being accepted due to backlog, however, you can always contact Behind the Pages via social media for information! You can find them on Twitter and Instagram, where Gina’s most active with customers and book lovers, or even on their blog.

Speaking of social media, it has evidently played a huge part in the marketing of Behind the Pages‘ products, and can be huge for you too if you’re a regular discount hunter (me).

I have reps that apply to be part of my team when I host rep searches. All of my reps are on Instagram, most are on Twitter and have their own Blog or Youtube page, and they will all have their own discount codes for their followers to use on my store. My current reps that you can find on Instagram are @youngadultbookaddict , @bookstorefinds , @lizzielovesbooks and @seekellytse 

I host rep searches every 6 or so months so keep an eye out on my feed to see when my next rep search is being hosted.

As of this post, Behind the Pages has held another representative search that ended on Monday, and I can’t wait to see if some of my favourite bookstagrammers have been chosen to represent these products!

image, courtesy of @behindthepagesstore on Instagram

All in all, the holiday season is rearing its flashy head, and I know that a lot of us feel pressured to either have the perfect partner to bring home, or buy presents that are apt for the recipient, but I for one would encourage you not to be glum when you could endlessly fall in love with boys and girls in books, and could smell them on you whenever you wanted with Behind the Pages’ products, because you can always depend on your own taste better than others’!

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