Moleskinerie @ NAMTA 2005 Report II

Product
news, users’ feedback and other Moleskine trivia

Nm20The
ladies had some kind of an oriental chicken salad and looked like they enjoyed
it although chopstick-challenged Cindy had to use a fork. Jeroen and I had the
salmon/bacon burger. Nourished in body we tackled the business at hand.

The
product news is that there are no new products. Unlike high technology,
journals and notebooks do not suffer from obsolescence for the most part. With
the release of the reporter, it may be a while for the next new thing to emerge
from Modo & Modo. Feedbacks have been mostly positive on the reporter except
for the price which may keep a number of customers from using it for daily note-taking. With the volants being phased out, the cahiers will face
more scrutiny as the new kid on the block. Speaking of kids, these nifty craft-covered
notebooks could become the entry-level Moleskine for the youth market. Nm21

Our
discussion shifted to paper after I brought up the fountain-pen and watercolor compatibility
issue. My impression on Kikkerland’s stand is this: Moleskine has been using
the same paper possibly since the beginning and does not have plans on changing
it in the foreseeable future. They may however, come up with notebooks
for specific uses such as watercolor, etc. Users have found ways of adapting
their product like Russell Stutler who discovered that his daughter’s
watercolor pencils worked better with his Moleskine sketchbook. As Laura
Kellner would have it, “I am an artist; I use anything that’s around”.

Knock-offs
are a threat to the Moleskine brand and they have not escaped the company’s
attention. With cheap labor from
China it’s only a
matter of time when a close enough copy comes along. Already there are passable
substitutes on the racks of many traditional retailers sitting next to real
Moleskine. I have a feeling that this contest will be fought not only on the
basis of price points but on branding and authenticity. Then, we may be seeing
those new reporter notebooks on Court TV.

Holding
court in his
Milan office, Modo &
Modo founder
Francesco Franceschi spends the day
poring over ideas. Jeroen refers to him as an “everyman’s philosopher” who met Jan
van der Lande (Kikkerland C.E.O.) on one of his visits and convinced him to introduce
Moleskine to the
U.S. market. The rest is history. Although the exact figures are
confidential, suffice it to say that they sell a lot of these things every
year.

Nm9xOn Hemingway, Chatwin, et al and questions of
provenance my Kikkerland hosts can only smile at insinuations of false
advertising and mythology. Actual notebooks from some of these personages do
exist and whatever transformed that proletarian writing pad to today’s hip
journal is pure marketing magic. I suggested a new crop of endorsers –
travelers, innovators and artists who are breaking new grounds but are still keeping
notes the old way, the Moleskine way. Only time will tell if they will make it
so.

By Armand B. Frasco
www.moleskinerie.com
Text and photos unless indicated © 2005 ABF

A quaint
factoid: Kikkerland means “Land of frogs”, a nod to Jan van der Lande’s native
country.

TOMORROW: Presentation and future projects

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in
the preceding article are solely that of the author from informal conversation
and does not reflect the official position of Modo & Modo and Kikkerland
Design.

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Photos @ Moleskinerie/FLICKR

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5 Responses to Moleskinerie @ NAMTA 2005 Report II

  1. Johnny G. says:

    Just curious: did you take notes for these posts in a trusty M?
    :^P

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m really enjoying reading about your adventures at the convention!

  2. Patrick Ng says:

    Can’t wait to see the presentation and future projects…..

  3. Armand says:

    “did you take notes for these posts in a trusty M?”

    Almost Jeroen’s words exactly when he noticed that I wasn’t writing. I mostly listened – and took mental notes.

  4. milesh says:

    What I’d like to see are a second line of Moleskines with page-numbers printed on them.

    Yes I could number them myself but it would be handy to have them preprinted. Plus I’d like to use it one for a lab book at work but printed page numbers are a requirement (for patent and security reasons I’m told).

  5. Alex C. says:

    With my first M I numbered the pages and dated each one too. Even if it was a quick & random sketch with no intent of being at all good, it was still dated, lol.

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