They say you should never meet your heroes – but they’re talking through their hats. While last year’s London Stationery Show introduced us to Tony, the founder of Pocket Notebooks, this year was an opportunity to meet Stuart, who has just staged a friendly takeover. We’ll be covering some of Pocket Notebooks’ pocket notebooks in more detail next week – but before then, here’s a little bit more about the company itself.
The whole shebang was started by IT people who needed a bit of a ‘digital detox’, hence the rather wonderful brand motto: “Forget the app – there’s a notebook for that”. It gradually grew an online following, selling analogue wares by digital means, and the usefulness of a nicely-crafted old-fashioned notebook in the pocket evidently still has quite a following – possibly even a growing one, as the mobile ‘phone becomes ubiquitous and writing with a proper pen (or pencil) becomes a way of quietly rebelling. The format includes some real gems, like the retro-styled Clairefontaine below.
Stuart came to Pocket Notebooks in true Victor Kiam fashion; he was a happy customer, and liked the products so much that, when Tony felt it was time to move on to new projects, he bought the company. Moving operations from the North East down to Hampshire has proved an opportunity to set up a proper stripped-back scaffold-rack hipster warehouse, with a vinyl record player and all retro conveniences – and with all those displacement activities now completed, the company is swinging into business.
Pocket Notebooks is now carrying an impressive range of handy A6 (or thereabouts) notebooks, most of them quite friendly to fountain pens, and our adventurous team of reviewers will be putting some of them to the test next week. To manage all the demand, Stuart has also employed a capable warehouse manager to sniff out the goodies…
There is a novel twist, too – as well as every-day customer-led retail, Stuart’s developing a neat line in subscription boxes to keep the discriminating scribbler inspired and, occasionally, surprised. Our very own Laura reviews one of the subscription boxes below, to give you a bit of flavour.
What this brief profile piece can’t really convey is quite what a personal relationship Stuart is building up with customers. In our experience that’s something only a true fan of the products can provide – there’s just no faking it – and that’s part of what grabs us too. There’s more to come next week on how some of the current product selections fare in the hands of our keen scribblers and scrawlers, but until then, here’s the website itself.