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Pocket Page Notebooks - THE BACKSTORY.

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I cannot begin to put into words my absolute excitement and bewilderment that these notebooks, these brand new concept notebooks designed by me, are actually here in the physical.

Here is how they came about.

This concept came to me during my attempt to complete a prompt in a One Little Word August Class in 2016. (One Little Word is a year long class taught by Ali Edwards).

I had stopped documenting my word at the end of February. 2 months in. That was it. Life got rather busy, a Guide Dog puppy arrived in May, life got even busier and then I blinked and it was August. I pulled out my 6x8 pocket page album and you know I just could not find the motivation to document anything. I had been diy'ing my Traveler's Notebook inserts for some time, I had been making Traveler's Notebooks commonly called fauxdori's as they are fabric based, and selling them in my etsy store. I thought a TN insert might just be the way to go for catching up One Little Word. I pulled out everything from the pockets in the 6x8 album and set about making them fit into a TN Insert format. I tried for hours and I just did not like it. I liked both - the pockets from the page protectors and the paper pages of a Traveler's Notebook insert (I fit into the 'wordy' class of journaling!). 

And then the light bulb went on. I can have both. I can have paper and I can have page protectors. 

Totally excited I immediately set about making that idea a reality. I grabbed a bunch of copy paper sheets (100gsm) and 12x12, 8.5x11 and 8x8 page protectors and flipped page protectors for some time working out how they would best fit once cut but still utilise pocket openings. I have a fuse tool but I was trying for the least amount of fused seams necessary. The closest I could get to were 8x8's but they fell short on height and slightly on width. So I cut the papers down to fit the page protectors and got caught up on One Little Word! This whole process took a few days to arrive at a stapled notebook, it cost quite a bit to achieve also. I figured I would just buy them in future as the time spent messing around and the ensuing cost just wasn't viable.

I then searched for them to purchase online. Many many hours of searching revealed zip! I still cannot believe they were not available commercially! 

Next was a search worldwide of patents and also trademarks.

Next I approached Midori Japan. I got a lovely series of replies to each email but the bottom line was they were not interested. I have kept those emails from the head of their Design Department. They did say they found my idea 'interesting'.

I figured if Midori Japan, infamous for Travelers Notebooks and a whole swag of inserts, had not heard of them then they really did not exist already.

Next I began the patent process. And that takes ages!

Next I went looking for a manufacturer.

Next I found one, or rather he found me, and we got to emailing back and forth. This was by far the lengthiest time frame. They had never heard of this type of notebook either.

Next I sent samples of the quality of materials I wanted.

Next I sent a second set of samples as the first lot went astray.

Next they sent me 2 sample notebooks.

Next we tweaked the paper grade, I wanted crisp white and I upped the weight to 110gsm. It had to pass various pen and ink tests. Bleed through is perhaps the most annoying part of any notebook! Disclaimer: it does not pass a medium or thicker Sharpie pen test... in fact I don't know any that do unless you go to a sketch notebook paper weight.

Next we went into production. And I barely slept for the next week or two.

Thankfully my contact had amazing communication and that helped.

{ Sometime around this point I approached my beautiful sweet friend  Sue Ko who is my graphic go to lady and happens to handscript beautifully. I would recommend Sue Ko of Script by Sue Ko on facebook to anyone.  It only took a few days to arrive at the final design. That final design Sue presented me with exceeded the design I had in my head, she translated my ideas better than I could have imagined. I then ordered 1000 gold font white background labels. Rather unexpectedly these took longer to have printed than it took for 1000 notebooks to be made and shipped! }

Next my contact messaged to say my notebooks were finished, they are packed, boxed and they are leaving tonight.

A few days pass including a weekend, the time went so slowly for me.

And then they arrived!

And now they are instore... a crazy rollercoaster ride and I could not have travelled on or got off that rollercoaster without the help and support of my amazing family and close friends, a couple of which are facebook friends and we have never met in real life!

Already inspiration is popping up on instagram - search #pocketpagenotebook and see what I, a bunch of Creative Team expressions of interest ladies along with fabulous customers, are sharing.

I did say I was the 'wordy' type, thank you for reading the backstory to my Pocket Page Notebooks.

I have another blogpost underway that is purely to show, with lots of photographs, what these Pocket Page Notebooks are all about. I thought I might do it all in one post but it would be far too long. 


Michelle x.

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