Friday, 16 December 2016

From Quo Vadis to Start Bay in around 50 years!

My first awareness of notebook branding and marketing was long ago and far away when my constant companions and life management systems were an A4 Quo Vadis planner and a Filofax with spring clips that would nip your fingers with the ferocity of a cornered rat.

As my career[s] took various turns and made various demands so my choice of notebooks changed. 

I was suckered in by Moleskines back story which was soon exposed as a fable anyway. I nearly bankrupted myself by climbing aboard the Midori Travelers Notebook system and their regular updates ...and then turned off totally by their ever escalating costs.

By comparison though, the delightful Canadian Paperblanks collections seemed fairly priced, but both the cost and quality were too ambitious for my budget,

Then I discovered Field Notes and the amazingly astute marketing talents of the co-founders Aaron Draplin and Jim Coudal. Truly a lesson on how to take a simple product and grow it into a global brand and coveted collectors item as an affordable luxury.

Along came another small outfit creating another USA artisan's version Notepads Brand who almost, but not quite, jumped on the Field Notes 'me too' bandwagon ... as did the oddly named Word. which was openly and obviously run by a consortium, designed by a committee and produced by a team and therefore not my scene by a country mile.

Now my needs are so modest that I don't really need a notebook at all. But old habits die hard. I am happy with an A6 pocket notebook ... usually sold in packs of three for around £10. Then I rediscovered Moleskine who, with their Cahier range, amazingly, come in at the lower end of the price spectrum at around half that price [from]

I remain fascinated by Field Notes creativity but am happy with my Moleskine's plain matt black card covers. My elderly eyes enjoy the creamy toned paper with the last sixteen pages fine perforated for removable notes or messages without butchering the rest of the book. I like that the pages are sewn in with no glue to dry out in hot climates and no staples to rust in my dampish seaside home. I like the simple ephemera flap inside the back cover ... where I keep a calendar that I downloaded and printed myself,

I fully expect this pack of three to last me until this time next year!

[In the top picture you can see a small label on the cover of one of my notebooks. This is simply to help me spot the right way up easily]

Meanwhile, here in England, Peter Cattermole runs Start Bay Notebooks from Devon and Ray Blake offers some amazing services on his strangely named website

There is a great interview with Peter on [stand by, another RSI inducing address coming!]

On the strength of this I surfed a little more on line and placed an order with Start Bay Notebooks. More about this self-indulgent me-to-me Christmas present next time. Please be there.

The Planning Office at Start Bay Notebooks

Demonstrating how Peter used 4D Planning to launch Start Bay Notebooks