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07 October 2009

Filofax UK - Questions and Answers

We see quite a few questions in the comments that we the Philofaxy team are not always able to answer. We are users as much as the rest of you. So when we were contacted by Jessica from Filofax UK recently, I thought what an ideal way of getting some of the questions answered and also getting more of an insight in to how Filofax as a company see their 'brand' and product line.

So we are grateful to Jessica for the time that she took to answer the questions.

Q1. What Filofax organiser do you use most?
A1. I have a Finchley personal in teal with City Dweller pack as my main planner, an A5 Siena for work notes and meetings and a mini Finsbury with a tube map in the back that is INVALUABLE when up in London.

Q2. Where do the designers get their ideas/inspiration from for new products?
A2. Our head designer takes cues from many different sources. She keeps a keen eye on trend forecasting to see what will be big each year. There is actually an archive of past designs as not all of the team's creations make it to retail!

Q3. Our readers are always asking, but how can you get your organiser to lay flat on a desk?
A3. We find that most A5s do! With time also, the leather tends to become more supple and will lie flatter.

Q4. We are seeing more and more people returning to Filofax after trying electronic solutions. What are Filofax doing to attract new younger customers?
A4. Every year we carry out market research on this topic , monitoring the different organiser solutions on the market. What we are seeing is that many consumers use both a Filofax and a smartphone (like me!). For this reason our approach is to embrace technological solutions and have lots of things in the pipeline, so watch this space! As for the younger customers... the last few years have seen a variety of different colours and designs that we've found to be attractive to the younger demographic. There will be more of this in 2010.

Q5. Why are there differences between the UK and US on-line stores?
A5. There are 7 Filofax subsidiaries globally and each is responsible for their own on-line marketing/ product choice etc, though we all work from the same platform. The main difference is in the range choices - US takes the 'Lizard' and 'Ostrich' designs that we don't here in the UK.

Q6. Why has Filofax discontinued so many old page designs?
A6. This is mainly a retail issue - stores have not had the space to stock all of the different types of refill which may not appeal to more than a handful of customers. However, the growth in on-line is providing the opportunity to restock these. Another 'watch this space'.

Q7. How can customers suggest ideas for new pages?
A7. We would LOVE to hear from customers about this or any suggestion! You can contact us through our site or on Twitter (Filofax_UK). We think it's great how people want to talk to us through Twitter and we really value all the feedback we get - good and bad!

Q8. How do you market differently in the UK vs the US?
A8. The central marketing department creates all the collateral and guidelines for each subsidiary to execute for their own region.

Q9. Is your customer demographic similar in each(UK & US), or do you find that your customer base is significantly different in one compared to the other?
A9. The two are fairly similar - female biased with a core group of users in the 25-45 range. The US is stronger in the student market with their 'back to school' campaign always doing very well.

Q10. How do you recommend we take care of the leather to make it last longer?
A10. Customer services have kindly provided me with the following:
Leather is a natural material and there may sometimes be textural or shading variations within the surface. These are natural characteristics and representative of the leather’s unique individual beauty and proof of its genuine origin. It is recommended, however, that you avoid exposing your organiser to harsh elements such as moisture, bright light or direct heat.
In the event that a Filofax organiser becomes soiled, the following care guidelines may be helpful.
  • Light scratches to waxy leather can be removed by rubbing softly with a clean finger
  • Smooth, porous leather can be treated with good quality, neutral coloured leather cream (subject to manufacturers instructions).
  • Textured (coated) leathers can be wiped clean using a damp cloth
  • Suede is treated with a dirt resistant finish. A dry brush or cloth should be used to remove dirt or stains
  • Fabrics can generally be cleaned by using a damp cloth.
  • Smudges on badges/metal edges can be gently buffed with a soft dry cloth

Q11. Do you repair organizers if the rings break?
A11. Yes we do if they are faulty. We also issue a guarantee with each organiser but we are aware that it needs some work!

Q12. Can you share some Filofax stories that you've heard over the years, like the legendary one about a soldier's Filofax stopping a bullet?
A12. The best stories we've heard are perhaps not as dramatic as that!! We really enjoy hearing the stories about how someone's Filofax has changed their life - helped them to be more organised or achieve something they'd always wanted to do. People contact us a lot with this kind of story and it may sound saccharine but we all firmly believe the 'It's a way of life' motto, and so often this is reaffirmed by the customer response we get.

Q13. Has any one had a lost Filofax returned after decades?
A13. I haven't heard this story but we do offer a personal organiser registration service that would help!

Q14. Will Filofax organisers ever be Made in England again?
A14. Not for the foreseeable future but never say never.... the quality is exceptional with our current supplier which is a hugely important factor for the Filofax brand.

Q15. Which size/style of organiser is the best selling at the moment?
A15. The Finsbury personal, especially Raspberry, seems to be a favourite at the moment.

Thank you Jessica and the team at Filofax UK for answering all of those questions. Please comment if you have any follow on questions.


11 comments:

  1. Wow, this has been a great blog entry!
    I am now curious about how both US and UK teams get organised and agree on design matters.
    Really nice of Jessica to take the time to answer so many questions, it is priceless to have such an important company actually care about their customers, something not many firms do.
    Jessica's answers have made me dream about working there even more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree! Is Filofax hiring? =) I would love to know the answers to these questions in regards to the US Filofax, assuming they are different of course. I would also love to see pictures of employees' Filos (since they are the experts!), as well as the designs that never made it retail. And is there a reason that there is no store in the US? I've also noticed that those retailers who used to sell Filos don't anymore (Container Store, for example).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Working for Filofax...definately a beautiful wish.... As I work in Corporate Branding I can really appreciate Jessica taking the time to talk to customers like us. I'm counting the weeks to receive my new Panama pocket that's not avail in the US. When I was in the London retail store, the store keeper was aware we no longer have US Filofax retailshops. There was a really nice one in my local mall for years. When I told her I've been keeping one since '92 she said I was now in my "mecca" where I could go and explore all the items... touch them, hold them.. I went immediately to a Finchley mustard A5.. oh well, maybe in 2011 for work..

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  4. Hi,
    My name is Lisa Boyne' and I am the Filofax Internet Business Manager in the US, located in Wilton, CT. We would be happy to answer any specific questions about the U.S. market that Jessica did not cover. Please feel free to contact me at lboyne@filofaxinc.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow - I had no idea so many people wanted to work at Filofax! I can tesify that it is a great company to work for. We're not hiring at the moment but I'll be sure to let you know as soon as we are!

    Oni - yup, we really do care about our customers! And there is a special place in our heart for Philofaxy enthusiasts.

    kanalt - We'll get to work on those photos of our organisers - I'll also take some of the office so you can see us hard at work. You may change your mind about wanting to work here when you see our messy cubicles!

    Michele - you will have met our Manager Brigitte at the store. She's lovely! Also, I'll send Steve some pics of the London store for those who haven't seen it.

    Great to hear from you guys - keep in touch :)

    Jessica

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  6. Lisa - are there any plans for a Filofax store in the US? I've heard a lot about the one in London, though I've never been. That's one of the places I do want to get to one of these days! Or, do any other stores carry the brand? I know some stores (The Container Store being a major retailer) and other small stores used to carry them. But from what I can tell, both the Container Store and a private retailer I used to go to in NYC no longer carry them. The website it great, but it would also be nice to see the Filos and hold them before deciding on which to purchase.

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  7. kanalt - There are no current plans to open a Filofax store but if you are in NYC I would try Sam Flax, Lee's Art Shop or any Kate's Paperie -- they all carry a pretty good selection of organizers.

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  8. Lisa - thanks for the info. I have been to Kate's Paperie a few times (love that store!). The last time I checked their website, I didn't see any Filofax selections, but they seem to have them again now. I'll have to check out the other two stores you mentioned as well.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have a personal Canterbury of 20 years old. It is still perfect BUT the close leather strap with snap button is so worn out that it will drop off any time now!!!

    Do you repair these and do I have to send it back to the UK to get it fixed properly!

    In Australia AlexanderBrands are too lazy to offer a repair in our throw away society!

    Recommendations welcomed

    ReplyDelete
  10. '@' Do you know of a leather worker or shoe repairer in your local town? They might be able to repair your organiser for you.

    Other wise you might be without your organiser for some time.

    Go to http://www.filofax.co.uk/contactus/and send them an email.

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  11. Simply order the kit in the base colour most closely matched to your leather. Our kit contains tints to mix with that base colour, making it lighter or darker, and giving you the perfect colour match.
    For more information kindly visit:- Mini Leather Repair Kit

    ReplyDelete

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