It was only in January of this year that my mind was woken up to the wonderful new world of Filofax by my fellow business networker and dear friend, Rita Sedani. Well I never! I had no idea that a friendly war was erupting all over the world as to who had the best binder, the prettiest decorated inserts, the latest accessories, and so on! What a hidden community of ‘owners’ I have been introduced to. All I need now is to discover that the Borrowers are living beneath my floorboards and then my life will be complete!
I became an ‘owner’ in 1983 when I was 16. Back then, I didn’t know there were ‘names’ to the size or style range, but let’s say my first Filofax was a ‘pocket’. It was maroon (which I hated as it was the colour of my school uniform) with a pinkish floral fabric cover, which soon became grubby, but hey, it was a birthday present, so I wasn’t going to sniff at it. I used it as an address book and calendar. I kept this until last year (I still have the inserts), and it is now somewhere in recycling heaven.
I used this pocket one for quite a few years before I replaced it with another ‘pocket’. By this time it was 1997. Believe me, this new one was dead funky – oh yes, I was definitely the cat’s whiskers owning this little beauty. It wasn’t made by Filofax, but it had the same mechanism, the inserts from the old binder fitted, and so on. It had a transparent cover which was filled with purple liquid gel and that contained glitter. On reflection, it was a Del Boy mode of transport.
Way back then I was making my own inserts, just cut down pieces of lined paper and print outs for monthly financial tracking - unbeknown it would become such a big industry in which I would eventually take part.
Using a photocopier, I used to shrink down inserts to fit this binder, for example my local bus timetable.
OK, you can all stop laughing now (but I am open to reasonable offers for this binder!)
The binder has since developed a stench similar to candle wax, where the back cover has burst and the gel has leaked onto the pages. Although the cover didn’t last, the ring mechanism are still working.
I must have been leaving myself breadcrumbs because I replaced the gel binder for a black pocket Metropol Filofax, still unaware of any phenomenon surrounding Filofax. I am still using the Metropol (as a shopper) – I take it everywhere with me and it contains information such as presents I have bought my family; things I would like to buy my family; measurements of rooms, windows and furniture; an inventory of my Denby collection; loyalty cards and coupons; supplier/stockist information; it even references the colour of my hair dye. It’s in immaculate condition.
After the world had overcome the panic of the 1999-2000 computer date issue, I went up a size to a burgundy leather personal (yes, I had gotten over the school uniform colour by then). I used it solely for work appointments. A few years later, I ditched a paper diary in favour of a mobile phone, as the company I worked for required us to sync our calendars to the file server. It was a sad time, as I dearly love hand writing.
I was made redundant in 2010 and immediately started self-employment as a crafts person, making wedding invitations and general paper craft items. I had lots of bespoke orders and therefore needed to take lots of client notes. I could write up to 20 pages of notes depending on the client project. For this amount of writing, I used A5 notebooks – and then I used to scan the pages and upload them to my computer and store the notes in electronic client files. For me, the drawback to using bound notebooks is that once you turn the page, you have lost your ‘call to action’ without using visual reminders, such as sticky tabs, which I sometimes find irritating and untidy.
So, I decided to go back to a loose leaf binder in which I could easily sort and prioritise pages and shift around the running order. I cut down an A4 ring binder into A5 size and covered it in fabric and made my own inserts, such as a pencil case from an old piece of plastic sheet, dividers from old birthday cards, etc. I hear you all laughing again at my naivety! Again, I had no idea that such products for Filofaxes were available to buy anywhere. At this stage I was still using a mobile phone for diary appointments.
I met up with Rita again and she added me to some Filofax/planner related Facebook groups. She also very kindly gifted me a Blossom Personal Filofax, which I absolutely adore, and for which I made bespoke inserts especially for my craft business. I made client order pages, perforated shopping lists, a stationery dashboard and project tracking mini t-card system – and I am making similar products for other Filofax users.
I’m still not using a paper diary or any of the Filofax original inserts. So, although I don’t necessarily need these particular original inserts to organise my life, I do need a Filofax with a bespoke set up, all of which is inspired by the Filofax range of products. Rita has also gifted me with an A5 black zip around Filofax, which I haven’t yet set up. So, I am the owner of a leaky gel pocket and an A5 customised ring binder - and the very proud owner of 3 official Filofaxes.
Thank you Alison for your Guest Post, be sure to go and visit Alison's website http://www.craftyali.co.uk