20 March 2010

Do men carry Filofax organisers any more?

GregoryM added an interesting comment in this weeks FFAF comments, I thought it worth expanding the question in to a post so it can be discussed more widely..
GregoryM said:
I have a question? How many men carry a Filofax? If you go to the Filo USA website, what's the first advertisment you see? Two women, right? 
The cartoon like picture is of two women walking together. Does that mean Filo is more geared toward women than men? Is that why more women than men lean toward Filo and FC sells to more men. I looking for answers from my friends please.
You raise some interesting questions! It won't have escaped you that I'm in the minority when it comes to the contributors! Not that it bothers me.... and I suspect it doesn't concern Nan and Laurie either.

I think it's recognised that the Filofax was a very male product back in the 1980's, then we got all these electronic PDA's that came along, and I suspect most men went over to those... me included. 

Another well know statistic that 'generally' women do not like IT as much as men do... so I suspect they stuck with their Filofax paper organisers and they have been quietly going about their business using paper..

Someone at Filofax HQ noticed the demographics of their sales figures and decided to change their product focus and they have shifted it/targeted it more at the female market... May be we should ask Filofax UK or US ourselves.

Naturally I've made some very sweeping and generalised statements and I'm potentially tiptoeing through a minefield here!

It would be an interesting topic for a Philofaxy Poll, we could keep it simple are you male or female, or do you think we should be more specific?



  1. I carry one and I'm a dude. I'm almost a Good Ol' Boy and a Bubba, even.

    I'd be interested not only in gender, but age group and is your Filo your ONLY solution for dates, contacts, tasks, projects and "whatever".

    As to gender and the competition, FC's catalog leans pretty heavily towards a feminine market also. I suspect someone thinks that it's easier to win women back to paper and away from digital solutions.

    I love gadgets myself, but I've yet to find one that does a better job with grocery lists than a slip of paper or 3x5 card.

  2. I know a guy who loves Filos as much as I do. In fact, it was him who inspired me to go back to Filo after years of Palm.

    I agree with JJ re: grocery lists (and to do lists). It's no fun to tick items off and see it disappear from the screen.

    The only thing I miss from my Palm days is the Splashmoney apps cause it deducts expenses automatically and integrate the different accounts.

  3. I'm not afraid to carry, I do feel a bit self conscious when carrying a large A5 however.

    I haven't yet made the jump to Filofax, but I've been carrying a Time/Design for a couple of years - flipping between A5 and Compact, sometimes every few days :(

    The A5 Time/Design ( http://www.timesystem.us/PhotoGallery.asp?ProductCode=A580XX ) is huge, and the compact I use is smaller than the Filofax personal, and only has 3/4" rings.

    I am seriously looking at a Filofax personal as I think it may bridge the size gap a little - bigger ring options and a wider page.

    Does anyone here have a Scanda? ( http://www.filofaxusa.com/store/organiserdetails.asp?display=&sizeId=3&rangeId=135&dsizeId=3 ) How do you like it? It has 0.9" rings which I hope will be big enough to feel like I can actually add something - I wish some of the open binders had 1" or larger rings.
    I think other than the Eton (too expensive), the Scanda has the largest rings in an open binder. Several of the zipper binders have larger rings. I've always preferred the zipper Time/Design binders but the open Filofax binders look so nice!

    Another thing I like about Filofax is that it looks like the USA store will ship to Canada without shipping (at least when making a binder purchase) In the last couple of years I've paid an awful lot of shipping. I could have used that money for another binder! :)

  4. I've used a Filo for almost 17 years and I'm a male ( or so the wife says).
    Perhaps the distinction in the poll (if there is one) would be how many 'newbie' Filofax users, or whether most of the male users have used for a while and how many have taken to using in say the last 5 years-that would give an idea of audience.
    PS I also have a Psion 5mx & a Blackberry, but the Filo is the master to them both

  5. I think that although Filofax has clearly been marketing more lately to the feminine, overall, their product line is really still more heavily masculine, especially in the A5 size which I prefer.

    I'd really like to see them make more of a effort to provide more feminine A5 binders. Sure, black can be used by anyone, is will always be the most important color in my wardrobe, but it's really nice to have other options, like the NOS Classic Handbag is Pistachio I picked up from eBay. Since I was out of the Filofax market for several years until relatively recently, I completely missed the fact that the Cross/Classic line used to come in colors like Pistachio, Lilac, and French Navy.

    Even lines like Finchley, which has seen Mustard, Vintage Rose, and Soft Jade, not to mention the gorgeous handbags and briefcases, seem to have these colors falling by the wayside.

    The majority of more feminine options are relegated to smaller sizes and seem to be weighted more toward the more inexpensive series. It looks to me like most of the more expensive items in feminine colors are probably older stock that won't be replenished once they finally sell out.

    And what of the binder designs, themselves? What ever happened to Soho, Portobello, Pimlico, and Piazza? These were some of the most beautiful designs of the past decade that ought to be brought back!

    Filofax may market to women, but their product line is mostly gender neutral to masculine.

  6. Of the possibilities that could be made out of the current lines, I would *really* fancy an A5 Slimline Amazona in Almond...

  7. I'd like to add to my own question.
    I have only been a "semi" Filo user for less than a year. I have switched back from Filo to FC more times than I want to admit. It's not just the brand as much as it is the size. Although Filo and FC both come in numerous sizes, in my area (Pennsylvania) I don't see Filo at all. (unless they are hiding it). Everyone in my field that uses a planner uses FC (either classic or monarch). Even my company will pay for any FC product I may need. But I am an avid reader of magazines and Filo style and Louis V are common planners in pictures in those mags of men. Especially Esquire and GQ.
    I do like to be different and have read many times on this blog about people that want to do it "their" way rather than follow Covey or someone else. I like that but am definetly an outcast in my living area. Presentation is a big part in my line of work and having a good looking planner in your hand says you're organized and ready for the day. Or does it? So my final (yeah right) or next question is do you use a planner for organization and presentation? Do you as a man (sorry ladies) carry a personal because it fits in your briefcase or do you carry an A5 or classic because you spent a ton of money on it and it gives you confidence as well as keep you organized. If you use a personal and do a lot of writing notes during the day, how do you cope with the smaller size?
    These questions could go on for ever, sorry if that's not what you want in the blog.

  8. Plaiditude: I know what you mean. I've never has an A5, but I've used plenty of FC Classics (and 3 hole 8.5 x 5.5 generics).

    It's close to the perfect paper size for writing, but it not an ideal binder size. It doesn't fit easily in a backpack and when I carry the binder in public I feel like I am toting around a pulpit sized Bible.

  9. As far as Filofax's marketing campaigns - "You can't attract bees with vinegar". That said, I'll continue using and carrying my Filofax until it's no longer cool to be seen with one for a guy like me. And I hope that that day never comes!

    I just placed an order for a black Scanda! Of course, I will be in trouble when it arrives (I will hear: "Don't you already have _enough_ binders?!")

    I am soooo excited to join the Filofax fold (Time/Design was really great and has lots of great stuff, but it costs so much to ship, and Filofax has so much more choice in binders!)

    Ok, I admit it ... the real reason I ordered a Filofax was because of all of YOU. It's YOUR fault! :)

    Now I want to know - anyone else here have a Scanda that can tell me more about it? Does it lay flat? Does it stay closed without a snap? Can you put enough in it? The rings are only a few millimeters bigger than what I have (my TD compact is 3/4", this one seems to be 7/8"). I'm a bit worried that I'll be disappointed in the ring size - I'd love 1". I will also make the attempt to live with the week per two pages. I've always had a page per day or two pages per day.

    Ok, now I'm too excited to have my Sunday afternoon nap!

  11. Notice on the Filofax USA website front page, a small block on the right side advertises the "family organizer refills" and who or what gender is leading this pretend family, a woman of course. And you want me to believe that Filofax leans toward a male dominated world? Who are you guys kidding, only yourself I'm sure. By the way it's backround is a "pretty purple"! Also the FC website listing under binders for men lists 20 binders specifically for men. They list 24 specifically for women. Some cross over for both genders. How many binder covers does Filo list specifically for the male gender? This is exactly why I struggle with Filo and their lack luster way of producing binders and especially refills that actually work for you.(the male part of this blog) I can buy a "noteboook" with a nice leather cover anywhere. What I need is something that looks expensive, acts the way a "planner" should, and makes me proud to carry it. Especially if I want a size other than a personal to shove in my briefcase. I'm not trying to belittle anyone, I'm just trying to have a structured conversation with you guys and ladies so I can understand what would be best for my situation.
    Thanks for all your help ahead of time!

  12. Hi Greg,

    Excellent point about the Family Organizer being directed to women. I own it, and the fonts and blue background on the pages are quite feminine.

    1) Yes I'm a woman and a mother, but I am definitely not girly. I have an issue with so many "Mom planners" being too childish-looking. The Filofax one doesn't veer into childish, but I definitely don't see a man using it.

    2) Which brings me to: in the US at least (I can't speak for other countries/ cultures) there's the stereotype of the mom being the one in charge of the family organizing, specifically of kids' activities and needs. But, I know plenty of single fathers who could use some organizational assistance with planning out the family's activities. How are the dads supposed to keep track of everybody? (Maybe they use their Blackberry?? Just to continue the stereotypes theme!)

  13. I disagree that the overall look of the Filofax Family Organizer Pack is feminine. I'm not that fond of it, but a blue-tinted background and a modern sans-serif font doesn't make it feminine. That said, Filofax certainly designed the Family Organizer Pack with mothers as their target. The mere fact that you can see "Mum's Mobile Number" listed before "Dad's Mobile Number" in the promo pictures, and the illustration of the woman larger than the man, and leading the entire family on the packaging, is going to turn off a lot of men who might very well in our modern society and economic downturn be the primary homemaker/caregiver.

    Now, the MomAgenda company at least has the sense to make a MyAgenda product that is similar, but more gender-neutral than their namesake product, which I find childish in design and ill-befitting an accomplished professional like myself, but the MyAgenda is not available as a loose-leaf system.

    Which, of course, is why when I designed a similar multi-person planning set for the Paige Paigen line, I very carefully left off any mention of gender or familial role.

    It is also in my mind that this sort of multi-person diary is highly suitable not only for families, but for managing smaller work teams. It baffles me that the existing planner companies haven't seemed to pick up on this.

  14. Filofax is swaying more towards the female market now because that is where the sales are. In our store we carry the full range of filofax and our sales are 70% female and 30% male. So that's why they are now focussing more in that direction.

  15. Mine is either on the desk (flat) or in the brief case. I never carry it...

  16. I am male and I'd be lost without my filofax. However I am the only person my age (20) using a filofax. I've used one since sixth form and I have tried PDA's but I prefer everything written down. It goes everywhere with me and I don't mind carrying it around. I have the finsbury personal size one. I tried the A5 but it was far too big for my liking.

  17. I'm male and I'd be lost without my filofax. However I am the only person my age (20) using one. Everyone else uses their phones; no-one uses PDA's. I prefer everything written down. I have the Finsbury Personal size one. I never carry it around though. Even when I had an A5 sized one. Feels like a purse if you carry it. It's either on my desk or in my bag.

    I have a BB Bold 9900 and tried using the planner but I hated it, it didn't match up to the filo in anyway.


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