How a Fashion-Faved L.A. Artist and Her Sister Manifested this Stylish Stationery & Journal Line

Get to know the cool and creative co-founders of Adelfi.

Self-isolation or not, sometimes old-fashioned pen and paper are mightier than the keyboard. (Case in point: Cursive's comeback.) While a heartfelt email is always appreciated, scrolling through your inbox doesn't quite spark the same joy as opening a personalized piece of handwritten snail mail. And with all of us looking for ways to connect deeper than DMs (which we hope sticks after physical distancing orders end), stationery clearly won't become a lost art anytime soon — especially not if new L.A. brand Adelfi can help it.

Whether you're a to-do list master, a gratitude journaler, or a regular thank-you note sender, the artful label offers paper goods and writing accessories to help you harness your power of creativity and manifestation. While it's up to you to fill up Adelfi's blank journals, planners, and cards, their whimsical designs by L.A.-based illustrator and co-founder Phoebe Tillem won't fail to get your brain juices flowing.

The Any Week Planner by Adelfi, $29. Photo: Courtesy of Adelfi

The Any Week Planner ($29) will help you get your days sorted, while the Wildest Dreams Journal ($19) is best kept on your nightstand for when mid-slumber or morning inspiration strikes. There's also the Release & Manifest Kit ($43), which includes two notebooks with tear-out pages, a palo santo stick, matches, and a how-to guide for letting go of negativity and welcoming good vibes only. (You can also buy the notebooks individually.)

Thoughtful note senders can also stock up on colorful greeting cards ($5 each), while accessories like stickers, pens, matchboxes ($2.50 to $6.50) round out the locally-based label's debut collection.

Adelfi co-founders and sisters Phoebe and Freya Tillem. Photo: Courtesy of Adelfi

Phoebe and her sister, Freya Tillem, launched their brand online in February. "[Growing up], we were always collaborating on everything from imaginary games as little girls, to baking projects, to cultivating our group of friends," Freya tells Uncover LA. "Although we fought sometimes like all siblings do, we shared almost everything with each other."

Phoebe adds: "We loved a good craft — clay, beads, sunprint paper, you name it! Not much has changed." While Freya went on to become a lawyer after graduating from UCLA School of Law, Phoebe grew up to be an artist after studying fine art and graphic design at the University of San Francisco and Pratt University, respectively. Her stylish paintings have graced everything from HQs across town to the backs of cool sister band Haim and Victoria's Secret models.

The Tillem siblings' love of journaling (among other things) eventually brought them together as businesswomen. "Adelfi was born out of a combination of our shared love of all things stationery and crafting and that desire to work together," says Freya.

The duo also recently teamed with L.A.-based denim brand Mother (one of Phoebe's frequent collaborators) on free printable coloring sheets to help fill our quarantine time.

We recently sat down with the cool and creative sisters to learn more about their Cali upbringing, how their seemingly diverging careers led to Adelfi, how they use journaling as a therapeutic ritual, and the coolest things they've managed to manifest for themselves so far. Read on below, and shop the brand online here.

What have your separate career journeys been like, and what inspired you to join forces for Adelfi?

PT: Our career journeys have been very different until this point. I am an artist and illustrator, and Freya is a lawyer. That said, we have always loved to collaborate creatively. Things like crafting together on weekends or trying a new workshop together. I value Freya's creative opinion and guidance above anyone else's. I don't think I've ever sent off a project without showing it to her first! We always knew we would build something together, it just took us a while to decide what that would be.

FT: For years — I mean close to a decade — we talked about how much we would love to create something together that we could do for work. I'm a lawyer by training, but that never felt quite right. And before Adelfi much of Phoebe's work was one of a kind. We wanted to find a way to make her artwork accessible to a wider audience and realize our dream of working together. Adelfi came together pretty naturally from that place and luckily our different skill sets compliment each other in a really cool way.

What role has journaling played in your lives?

PT: Journaling has played an integral role in both of our lives. We both see it as a form of therapy and daily ritual, an easy release we can rely on anytime, anywhere. As a kid, I kept diaries, as I got older that turned into more constructive writing. For example, Freya turned me onto "morning pages," which have been a game-changer for me. If either of us is having an off day, the other will probably ask, "have you done your pages yet?"

FT: Journaling helped get me through some of the more challenging periods of my twenties. I write without stopping until I fill at least three pages, doing a kind of "brain dump" with no pressure to create anything that anyone else will ever see. After years of filling notebooks like this, my morning (some days, afternoon) pages routine is a tool that I rely on through everything, especially these days when our lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic. I come out on the other side of those pages calmer, lighter, and often with more compassion for myself and those around me.

How has your California upbringings inspired the designs?

PT: We love a warm, sun-drenched color palette, California wildflowers, anything beach or forest-inspired. We also grew up in a house full of books and eclectic religious and spiritual sculptures and talismans from our parents' travels.

FT: We grew up in a pretty idyllic little town, Sonoma. Our family home was up in the hills and we didn't have cable so we spent a lot of time outside. Nature, especially all the amazing wildflowers of California, touches a special place in my heart. We try to incorporate the colors and feelings we get being outside into our designs. 

Besides creating Adelfi, what's been the coolest thing you've manifested in your life so far?

PT: I have received some specific jobs and opportunities that felt like they hopped off the pages of my journal. If I also say my dog and my boyfriend, do I sound like a witch? I hope so. 

FT: I think it has to be rescuing my dog, Roxy! My husband and I were newly living together at the time and we had talked about getting a dog for a while and all I wanted was a puppy. One day he sent me a photo of this shaggy dog and then a week later we brought her home! Not a puppy, but the perfect dog for us. Morning pages and Roxy, those are my tools for quarantine.

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