05 October 2012

Important Notice - Please Read

Firstly I apologise for the length of this post, but I think it is important to share this news with you as part of the Philofaxy community immediately. 

A few weeks ago we highlighted this post which featured an interview with the current MD of SlamPR, the PR agency for Filofax in UK.

The bit people didn't like amongst other things was:
Following a usage and attitudes study, we identified that lapsed users and current Filofax users share the same common ground – they like to write notes and are very interested in fashion / stylish accessories. With this in mind we needed to make Filofax fashionable again to recapture this audience’s attention, so we set up a fashion-focused press office targeting key fashion and style journalists in aspirational and mainstream media, as well as influential bloggers with style focused tactics to change their perception of the brand.
After a few people moaned and groaned a bit, David Popely one of our readers published this open letter to Slam PR, about 15 other sites also published this letter that week, which was also London Fashion Week and the launch of new Temperley Filofax products.

SlamPR responded in the comments of the above blog post offering a meeting in November.

An email was received yesterday from Slam PR, the content is as follows:
Following on from the recent post by Filofax on David’s blog, we would like to invite you to a meeting with a Filofax representative/s on  the 19th November at 11am. Note 1

The Philofaxy community is very important to Filofax, however to ensure we make this session as productive as possible we think it’s best to limit the number of people attending. We would therefore like to invite five representatives to speak on behalf of the community at this meeting.   We will ultimately leave it to you to decide the representatives but we ask that whoever attends expresses not only their own points but those of the community. 

We would like to highlight that this meeting will be for Filofax to listen to your ideas and concerns and not to answer questions in relation to the company or its strategic direction.

The forum will be held at a central London location on the 19th November. Note 1

Over the next four weeks it would be useful if you could: 
  • Decide who will represent the community
  • Collate and filter the communities thoughts and concerns
  • Share the details of who will be attending with Dee at SLAM PR
Please pass this email onto anyone in the community that is not on this mailing list. Unfortunately we do not have everyone’s direct contact details.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Note 1:This date and time has since changed to the following week 26 November at 2pm at the Conduit Street Store. 
A few people were slightly 'upset' at the content of the email and did express their concerns back to SlamPR......

Then come forward to today, I received a phone call from the Marketing Services Department of Filofax itself.  It was like a breath of fresh air suddenly wafted in to the room! The frustration of the last 18 months of trying to make contact with the inner workings of Filofax melted away and it was like talking to a long lost friend again!

Well nearly an hour later on the phone, we had talked ourselves silly, but it has I think set the way forward from what was a low in our relationship with the company and I can only see it getting better, with us working together with Filofax with a positive attitude.

I discovered that we have quite a few fans in the company....who all got caught out by my French take over joke earlier this week... which made me chuckle!

So the climb to the summit isn't over.... but I think we have established a good footing at base camp.

So can you put your thinking caps on and come up with any ideas, thoughts, concerns you have with anything related to Filofax....

You can leave these in the comments of this post or. Email them to me at: philofaxy [AT] gmail (Dot) com

I will sort this feed back in to different categories so that it is given to the right people within Filofax present at the meeting.

I will be unearthing our 'wish list' from earlier in the year to include in our feedback for the Product Development Team.

David and I have agreed to attend on the 26th November, but would anyone else be interested in attending with us?  Again please contact me by email if you are free on the day. The number of people is limited due to the size of the meeting room, but another couple of people should be able to join us.

Again thank you for your time and patience.



  1. Steve you didn't specify the new date of the meeting

    1. It's in the small font can you not see that? I will revert it to normal font.

      I think the same small font caught out the folks at FF UK this week because I used the same font for the disclaimer!

    2. Oh there I see it, small at the bottom. Overlooked it, sorry!

  2. wow ... progress indeed Well done...proves that people power does work eventually...Good luck..

  3. Strange place for such a meeting... Conduit St store's place is pretty limited. Like Neal St or City Organiser. I cannot see how there will be a productive meeting, but I will send my thoughts and sugestions by e-mail...


    1. Thanks Thomas

      Apparently there is a meeting room in the basement and the product development department and international sales dept above the shop.

      I've never been, so it will be a first for me...


    2. Looks like they have more space since it is being the new, one and only store... ;-) But generally it's very nice there!

      I will send my wish list by mail!

      Best regards, Thomas

    3. Wonderful news! Kudos to David's letter!

  4. How exciting! I know some staffers at Filofax USA love you guys. Smart. Good luck!

  5. Interesting development Steve - I do hope it is the start of a new relationship. I think you have my comments from previous emails which are:
    Ring Quality
    Binder Quality
    Range of Inserts (ever reducing)
    Insert Paper Quality
    Website Management (not up to date)
    Difficulty in getting hold of time management inserts
    Marketing - introduce a planning /organising strand (I have loads of ideas around this - they could do a great blog as well)

  6. They need planners that can hold smart phones. They could even incorporate holders inside A5's for small tablets; I'd much rather have a planner/tablet holder then just a tablet and leather cover.

    I heard they closed a store in London? I think retail stores are a great way to promote a product and if run properly they could even break even or profit for the company; Erin and I'd be glad to help with on in San Francisco :)

  7. Oh man, I have so many ideas - tabbed months (grid style) that can be interleaved with the daily/weekly inserts being at the top. A daily layout more like FC. Inserts and tabs that have a little more pizzazz.

    But I have to say that while Filofax US does have great customer service when there is a problem (in my experience), they don't do much to reach out to their customers. They used to have their own Facebook page and twitter feeds but I believe they have been consolidated. And when they were separate, they didn't do anything with those pages. I wish there was more involvement from the company within the US. I wish they offered the same product lines as other places. I wish you could "borrow" items to test drive them since stores that carry their products are few and far between.

    I'm sure there are many more items on my wish list, but this is what is lingering at the top of my head.

    Great work! I'm glad to see that David's post has paid off (results as yet to be seen). Hats off to you!!!

    1. PS - I would love to go to the meeting, but obviously that won't happen.

    2. Yes PLEASE! I would LOVE a grid Mo2P tabbed!

    3. See our own diary inserts page Cruz they exist there.

  8. This sounds such a positive step forwards! Well done our Steve and David!! I'll mail you with my thoughts and 'hapenth worth of ideas for the meeting!! xxxx

  9. The difference in the ring mechanism between my vintage Winchester and my Malden is striking. The Winchester's rings are a joy to open and close- such ease and obvious quality. I love and use the Malden for its other qualities, but opening and closing the rings requires real effort and causes the binder to jump in my hands. The action on the Winchester's ring mechanism is smooth. I love to use it.

    1. I've been thinking about this a lot recently. With my Malden, papers can come off the rings when they open, depending on how much paper is on each half of the ring mechanism. Bit of a flaw, don't you think?

    2. Modern ring mechs open a lot wider than the old ones in Winchesters.

  10. Wow, Steve! If I could afford to go, I'd be there.


  11. Even in fashion, there are the classic big-spend 'investment' pieces (the suit, the designer jeans, the leather shoes, good underwear, well-fitted blouses, gold jewellery) and then there are the cheap, throw-away 'du jour' items that change each season- the colourful, plastic jewellery, cheap on-trend shirts, cheap shoes etc.

    A filofax is an investment piece. A classic. You don't mess with the classics, you mess with the throwaways.

    In my opinion, if the research has shown that users are often somewhat creative types who are interested in fashion, beauty, hand-drawn markings (or that creative types are drawn to the Filofax) and they (filofax/slam pr) are trying to market filofax to these people and a younger market then they are completely missing their target.

    Creative people want to be unique, individual, they're used to creating what they want. In addition, there is currently a return to old fashioned style.

    Surely the ideal way to approach this is to have the filofax as the investment piece- the GOOD QUALITY, classic timeless piece that harks back to yesteryear and grows with the owner. And the 'filling' is the throw-away (literally!) and can be super on-trend. Additionally, the filofax and it's range of accessories allow customers to build themselves a bespoke organiser unique to their style and life.

    My advice to SlamPR and Filofax would be to concentrate on the quality of the actual organisers which are naturally an investment piece and a 'label' people want to show off. And to also concentrate on the design and range of accessories- for both traditional and modern users. And to emphasise the ability to personalise and customise the filofax for modern users.

    1. That is such a sensible comment... The binder should be classic, well made and an investment piece, like a classic trench coat or a posh handbag, while inserts could be so much funkier, adapted to different ages and needs and give proper adaptibility.

    2. That is so true - surely the inserts are cheaper for them to make anyway, so it wouldn´t be a total disaster if a particular design didn´t take of fantastically well. I´d like the option of quality inserts, and also a bit of variety just so lighten up the day.

  12. Steve----are you sure this wasn't another one of your dreams?? It almost seems to good to be true!! Kudos to you and David, maybe it is true that the squeaking wheel gets the grease. I am going to make a list to pass along to you over the next week or so, but maybe we are making progress after all.

    Maybe it is me that is dreaming!! Just too good to be true.

  13. I would really love the opportunity to represent the Philofaxy community too, although I think I´d struggle to do the 26th as we have our monthend close 2 days later... the 19th would have been perfect for me. I´m sure I can just work more hours the rest of the week if you need me, although there are probably plenty of willing volunteers based in the UK to attend the meeting. LJx

  14. If Filofax want to be serious about being seen as an "Organiser" and "Time Management" company, they need to not only re-instate the Time Management system, but market it properly on the main website (not hide it away so that no-one knows it exists) and they need to make the excellent inserts available to all users, not just the Time Management system users.
    Filofax say the Time Management system doesn't sell and that they are discontinuing it, but it is an excellent system and I am sure it would sell well if they bothered to market it on the main website.
    The Time Management inserts - diarys and excellent inserts like monthly objectives - are my inserts of choice and would make Filofax stand out from the crowd as a company serious about planning and organisation, not just some fashion toy to be used at London Fashion week and then sold on eBay!

    Can you point out to Filofax, please that I bought a Personal Osterley which had been given to someone for London Fashion Week and promptly sold on eBay because the person had no interest in a Filofax. I got it for a bargain, which was good for me, but ultimately it shows that Filofax's new fashion branding is just not working.

  15. Wow wow wow well done! I think they should look away from collaborations with fashion designers like Temperley and towards limited editions with other stationery and organizer names like Moleskine, Franklin Covey etc. If H and M can collaborate with Karl Lagerfeldt and Jimmy Choo, then anything is possible. Also to repeat the pleas we have made over and over again - better paper and better inserts.

  16. Most people don't collect Filofaxes. They buy one and then change the inserts once a year. I don't know about you but when I'm going to buy something that is going to be used every day for years, I don't buy it in highlighter pink. My partner is thinking about offering me an iPad this Christmas. The second I knew that, I went to check the new Pennybridge with iPad holder. What a disappointment that was! Launching an organizer/iPad holder is a good idea but the colours available are a joke. Black is standard, but violet and bright red? Are you serious? I wanted a saddle brown, a smooth cream, something that would stand the test of time and still be beautiful. No Pennybridge for me, then.

    I'd also like daily cotton cream inserts or just better paper really and for them to offer the option of either having the days printed back to back or not (that would mean twice as many pages, then so be it). If they offered that I wouldn't need to print my own. Same with a good time management system and a productivity/goal oriented insert. I want to buy printed inserts from them so bad but the range is very limited and the paper quality is so poor.

    I have little hope for all this though as I know their marketing strategy at the moment is all about new fashionable organizers with a limited range of inserts. It's a shame as I don't know of any other company that makes flexible leather organizers with rings.

    Oh and I'm a 24-year-old woman if that helps any.

    1. Ruby your beautiful, of course people collect filofaxes just because you and I don't doesn't mean other people don't...like people collect shoes and handbags....But you see I hate saddle brown and black there boring just as purple, pink and other colours are boring to you... maybe it's because I work in an accounts firm and lets face it often accountants = boring and sometimes to stand out means colour...Saddle brown means cautious never going against the tide well my job means sometimes you have to..

    2. Deborah Jane, collectors are by definition rare. The majority of people who buy planners buy one planner, I think, and I said 'most people'. Of course there are going to be collectors but I don't think they're the majority.
      Steve asked for our opinions and that's mine, I think that if you agree that most people will buy just the one planner and then buy inserts (I don't fall into that category, but I notice what people buy and I'm sure Filofax does too), it makes more sense to have a vast range of colours for a few quality planners, as opposed to a tonne of planners in just three colours that have a very limited range of inserts.

      I disagree with you about saddle brown but that's a matter of taste :) To be honest I prefer chestnut but oh well.

    3. Ruby...Ruby ...Ruby...Believe it or not, we are on the same page, just approching it from different ends...thats all.. and it is ok to like any shade of brown black etc... just like I like colour... I guess down to age when diaries were nowhere near as colourful as they are today is why I have an aversion to those colours and yes your 24 and its fine to like chestnut brown as I am near the magical age the number which is allegedly the answer to everything....42....I'm not saying your boring, and as this is a free country (allegedly) you can like whatever you like and so can I...regarding collectors I have no idea on percentages and how many would you need to become one(but on the fb pages there does seem a lot). Yes, there must be choice on materials used and inserts that goes without saying....and what I'm about to say does taste like vinegar even to me...but a company and not just filofax has to make a decision regarding how many colours they do with a new product...so they met three people like me.. forgetting that the basic colours..ie chestnut brown...black ...navy...cream ( I agree on cream like that one)The reason I said saddle brown is because you mentioned it...Moving forward...LOL..I bought my sweet filos( 3 with the comined cost of £45) bearing in mind no one would ever make the inserts I would like,( november to january day to 2 pages and the rest of the year week to 2 pages) so I when the time comes in 2014 when my inserts end I will make my own...and I wouldn't be surprised if a percentage do that do too ...which means less demand, which is sad because it ends up no one happy..The reason I call black and brown safe colours because they go with everything, theres nothing wrong with cautious, dependable, stable and wisdom. These colours some would say are no brainers because they do probably last never the height of fashion but never out of fashion. But what you have to realise my sweet young thing is I don't read your messages with your voice and you don't read mine with my voice. So may we agree to disagree and may the odds be forever in your favour in finding the nirvana of personal organisation... it is out there somewhere...honestly it is...even in chestnut brown and even in purple..Peace love happiness

  17. Quality Inserts and Compact A5 in a range of colours is all I ask for oh and never discontinue the Holborn!!

  18. I would love Filofax to be the Birkin of organizers. Just with no waiting line and less zeros, that is.
    Good quality binders and better paper. It is my understanding that FF- users are often interested in stationary. Perhaps the answer to infuse the fashion forward- ideas would be to create a set of inserts ( and update those at will ) for color-seeking, sticker friendly folks and another, more subdued line for professional use, menfolk and us grumptastic peeps with no sense of humor. Or stickers.
    Just a thought.

  19. I suppose you'll have to do a long standing poll to get democratic results from a large group of people?

    These are issues I think are very important:

    1) The ring defect problem has to stop
    2) The guality of the ring mechanism as a whole must improve.
    3) Since many planner users do in fact like to write, the quality of the paper must improve. I'm not particular about it being fountain pen friendly, in fact I think this may be a problem because the pages would have to be so thick that you would be very limited by the amount of pages you can put in your binder, unless there are thin paper alternatives out there. More importantly, I want the paper to be pleasing to write on with a quality ballpoint pen.
    4) General craftmanship and build quality needs to be improved.
    5) The thickness and quality of leather needs to be improved with less processing with an eye toward longevity.
    6) More functional interiors like notepad pockets in the rear and a secretarial pocket in the front that you can actually easily slip odds and ends in.

    There are alot of little particulars that might be perceived as preferences that I won't be including at this time.

    I wish you luck and am happy that your activism may get results.

    1. Savannah.... spot on!!! As are the folks that say quality and longevity should remain in the binder but bags of fashion and traditional alternatives in the inserts, tabs and diaries, to suit male, female, young, old, pastels, vibrant, cream and white paper tastes. Bespoke. Creativity in the contents and tradition, class, style and hard wearing in the binder. Form and function.... and PLEEASE every style in every size and colour and ring mechanisms that work smoothly and align. Oh, and *grovel, grovel* an A5 crimson Malden!!!!

  20. I agree with pretty much all the comments, especially those regarding paper and binder quality. They need to be more adventurous with their diary formats and take note from Steve & Ray's designs. I really think though that they're onto a winner with the slimlines (personal and A5), yet they're so overlooked. See my comment at point 3 of my Spotlight post here for further details:


  21. I also agree with all of the above, just to reiterate
    concentrate on the quality control, a prioity, ring mechanisms misaligned how many times has that point been raised and paper quality let's see something in the order of 90gms

  22. Good paper quality. I don't especially want the weight of the paper to go up, just the quality. For example, I can write perfectly well on BOTH sides of Basildon Bond airmail paper in fountain pen, and the paper is nowhere near 90gsm. Conversely, I have some 90gsm paper which soaks up ink like it's blotting paper. I would like to have thin/light paper which allows me to write in pen. Other companies manage it! In fact, the £1 cheapo diary I bought recently had thin paper and did better with fountain pens than filofax paper, so it's not even the cost!

  23. Time management inserts...it seems as if they are being discontinued. The TM week to a view diary are nearly perfect for me...FiloFax is about time management...keep producing these inserts and advertise them on the main site!

  24. Oh, and make *all* of the products available on *all* of the websites. I just don't buy the argument about cost-analysis and it being too expensive to produce some inserts, when some of them are only produced in French or Danish etc. and (no offence AT ALL to the French or the Danes or the etc.s) that just HAS to be a smaller market than all of the UK and all of the US.
    So if an insert can be made for those markets (French, Danish, etc.), surely it can be made available to all markets?
    Mind you, it wouldn't have taken a genius at Filofax to have realised that Philofaxy exists and frequently asks us what we would like, thereby providing exquisitely valuable focus-group feedback *for nothing*! And that we have asked for this a zillion times already.
    Okay. Rant over. For now.

    1. Or even better, ONE website available in multiple languages, with every different insert offered! A lot of people are multilingual these days, so certain inserts being offered only in particular languages needn't be a problem! For instance, I'd love the chance to have a fully-Frenchified Filofax, as it would offer me the chance to learn a bit more of the language and keep me thinking about it even when I'm out of the classroom.

  25. Hi

    I would like to see some 30 or 32mm rings on Zipped Personal Size Organisers as per the now discontinued Durham.

  26. Firstly, I agree with all the comments here about the general quality of manufacturing - the ring issues, zip issues, fading issues... all need to stop. I also think the quality of the punches needs to improve radically.

    Following on from the brilliant post on student FF users, I also really think that FF should focus much more on the student market - with binders, inserts and accessories all tailored to the academic year and market - and do all the binders really cost so much to produce that even the non-leather ones need to be so expensive? And my own personal opinion here; student shouldn't equal Apex!

    Good quality paper - Another fountain pen user here who would like to be able to use up any inserts I have without being restricted to that single magic ink Noodler's BPB (Which I *love* but I want more colour in my FF!).

    Accessories - more colours please! Can we please have things like coloured page markers? And top-tabbed dividers?

    Supply binders empty at a lower cost or with credit to choose inserts - We like to make something that suits us, and surely there's a lot of waste from the supplied diaries in particular - especially if you buy from a shop where the binder has been sitting for a few months so that half the inserts are out of date.

    I also agree - the Time Management inserts are one of the most worthwhile FF make, and probably the only FF diary I would consider actually buying because of the time saved on printing, cutting and punching, though I still think the prices are too high.

    A5 slimlines that don't cost the earth - PLEASE!!!

    Organise the UK website (I can't speak for the others :) ) Why don't the compacts even have a section of their own, why are TM inserts tucked away where no one can find them?

    I apologise for the laundry list and I'm sure I've missed something...

    1. If you want more colour - check out the range of Taschen diaries. If Filofax want to be more 'fashionable' they should have a tie up with Taschen. Their diaries have really beautiful photography. The only pity is that incompatible size.... I would re-punch them in a filofax...

  27. I am frustrated with Filofax. They produce A4 filofax binders, which are expensive and heavy as a brick. They don't make a lightweight / flexi A4 filofaxes. The A4 Filofax range is not very portable.

    I used to carry around a seperate (personal) Filofax and A4 notebook. But I want to combine these into one. But options don't exist.

    I want 'week per page' in A4 format. My diary needs are not that high. However, I produce a lot of A4 notes and I want to file a lot of A4 papers / bills to pay / letters to deal with in a filofax. It would be nice if Filofax produced something to meet the needs of people like me.

    For instance, I have printed e-tickets for an event, and it is nice if I can file it in a A4 Filofax.

    At the moment, I have bougth a cheap flexi A4 binder from Rymans. I like the fact, that I can roll the binder, but it does not provide support for writting (so need rigidity).

    1. Have you looked at our own Diary inserts? They are all in A4/A5 format. Easy to print in A4 format and cheap to punch.


  28. An option to choose from a list what inserts you receive with a new binder. I personally do not need A-Z tabs and address sheets, nor will I use the WO2P vertical that comes standard with A5 and A4. Apart from being a waste of paper it also ends up costing me more because I have to then go ahead and buy a separate diary insert for more money. The 4 sheets of colored paper, the 2 financial sheets. These are all 'testers' for the new to Filofax user (which I believe most filofax users aren't). They could off the 'starter pack' (testers) or one could CHOOSE a diary format with a new binder, and CHOOSE what color note paper they want.

    Plus as everyone else said, insert range, paper quality, COTTON CREAM range.


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