April 30, 2021
Okay, not an actual human baby, but each time we launch a new product that we have poured our heart and souls into, that has been in development for, well, nine months, that we can't stop looking at because we're a little in love with it... it does sort of feel like we've had a new baby!
We're beaming like some kind of proud parents, can we introduce you to our new creation?
Notebooks may seem like an odd thing to get so excited over but think about how intrinsic the humble notebook is to our daily life. Despite the attempt to create a paperless office, or the very handy notes functions on our phones, there's still something so alluring about a good notebook.
Perfect for doodling, or ideas on the hop, or writing down your thoughts at the end of a long day, or planning your next business dreams, or keeping memories safe of your growing babies or your exciting travel adventure. You can stick pictures in a notebook, or press a wildflower between its pages, or spray it with the scent you wore that day. Try doing that on a phone!
Are you ready to dive deep into the world of Betsy Benn notebooks - it'll be a beautiful journey I promise.
Let's start with the heart and soul of a notebook; the paper.
Have you ever chosen beautiful correspondence paper? Or maybe been given paper by your mother to send a thank you letter after Christmas? Can you remember holding that paper in your hand and how comforting the thickness was, how something fragile could feel robust at the same time? This was the memory and the sensation we took with us when choosing paper for the inside of our luxury notebooks.
So, when you open our notebooks you'll find 160 pages of pale ivory 100gsm paper. We tested eight different types of pen on our paper samples to ensure that the one you love to write with will settle beautifully on the paper.
After a poll on our Instagram stories (thank you so much for taking part!) we went with lined paper over blank. Blank is great for sketching and doodles and we know some people prefer that (yes, even Betsy herself) so we specified feint lines to achieve a great compromise for the doodlers! And those lines, they're not too close together - your words need space my friend.
We weren't quite done there with the paper. We wanted to add some extra beauty so we ensured the corners were rounded and we coloured the edge of the paper to match the cover of the book. I don't know why such a simple addition makes an enormous difference but it does. A little bit like adding lemon zested buttercream to a Victoria sponge cake, not entirely necessary but oh wow does add it a zing!
When we thought about how you might use this notebook our list was almost endless. There were the ordinary lists and everyday reminders that you just need to write down to keep track. There were the sublime moments in life like planning a travel journey and researching all the places you wanted to stay. Or the simple but soulful process of keeping a diary. However you want to use your notebook, we decided it would definitely be beneficial to have a ribbon place marker, which of course has been dyed to match the cover of the book.
The big "thing" that a notebook has over any electronic way of keeping notes is just how wonderfully tactile a real book is. When you pick up a Betsy Benn notebook we wanted you to adore it a little. To just keep stroking the cover, your finger tracing the engraved details, and be rewarded with the pleasure area in your brain firing all over the place.
We're utterly delighted with the vegan PU leather covers that we sourced. Each book looks and feels like it's covered in a high quality leather, but no animals were harmed in the making of these books. Wonderful products should be wonderful for the planet too, don't you think?
And then, we were thrown a curve ball! The company that makes our books offers both hardback and softback covers. We loved both, but we plumped for the softback covers because they were a little more individual, stood out from the crowd, and just felt more us. So, why do we have both hardback and softback books now available on the website? We could spin some kind of customer choice story here, but honestly, there was a communication issue somewhere along the line and hardback notebooks were made instead of softback notebooks. And this was only realised on the day they were due to leave the factory - potential nightmare scenario!
We had the email confirming that we'd ordered softback notebooks so we didn't need to accept delivery of them and could've asked the factory to scrap them all and start again with the correct order - but that felt so wrong. They were perfect notebooks, not what we had ordered, but certainly not landfill fodder! And I worried that *someone* would be in trouble with a boss somewhere. So, we took both versions. We now have 3200 notebooks in a rainbow of colours instead of 1600 notebooks, but, you'll love them right? We'll sell them all before we retire, yeah?
So, they are both beautiful and now you really do have a great choice, but it was one of those happy universe accidents and not an actual plan. I kinda love that though. We’d love to hear which version you prefer.
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April 15, 2020
We thought for a long time about whether to have a break, how that would look, what kind of business we would come back to if we did and what our impact is on the other businesses we work with and our customers.