18 June 2014

Gillio Think Tank 14 June 2014

It is just over a year ago, since Mella discovered the Gillio Firenze organisers in a local shop in Antwerp. This 'discovery' has turned around the company in many ways. This took everyone in the company by surprise and naturally there were a few teething problems with adapting to this different form of selling (on-line vs in-shop).

I got to meet the team at the Antwerp event in November last year and we have been in constant contact over the last year. I also got to spend some time with Tom during the trip to Italy as well and it was great to talk openly about things and have a free exchange of ideas.

I am also one of the members of the admin team of the Gillio Facebook group and naturally I get to see lots of things that Gillio users are saying about their organisers, the service from the company, news about new products etc.

Using this information I put together a semi-formal presentation about where I saw the company in terms of its organiser customers and their products. I was treading carefully of course... I didn't want to upset anyone, and I wanted to also make the presentation as balanced as possible.

One of the suggestions I made in my presentation was to consider a 'Focus Group' to get the view of a group of customers as to what colours should be released, what people thought of the organiser designs and any improvements they could incorporate, and finally what suggestions customers might have to improve the customer service experience, the website etc. 

And so with the help of Mella once again and the Gillio team, the idea came together in the form of the Gillio 'Think Tank'. We managed to find a suitable venue at the University of London. Tom, Mella, Chrissie and I gathered there to prepare and set up at just after mid-day on Saturday.

Tom had brought three boxes of organisers and goodies with him in addition to his normal luggage!

Tom did some introductions and gave a presentation on the company and how sales had changed in the last year compared to previous years!

I did a revised version of the presentation that I'd had given to Tom and Mella in March to the attendees, which seemed to be well received.

We had already decided to split ourselves up in to teams to talk with groups of 5 or 6 attendees at a time for about 20 minutes, so it didn't drag on too long and we moved around the room. The notes from these sessions are still being gathered together, but from the sessions I did there were a lot of useful and helpful suggestions.

Tom had brought along some new unseen products with him and we all gathered around one of the tables for the reveal of the new products.

Tom also introduced the 'Gilliodori' a prototype Gillio Travellers Notebook.

We also had another table which was the centre for all the Gillio organisers people had brought with them, so there was a huge selection of colours, styles and leather types to look at.

I did a few ring mechanism swaps and showed people how to swap the rings in such a way that you would be able to reuse the rings afterwards. Having tried out the method several times on Saturday and learnt from the experience I will be doing a video of this method shortly so you can see how it is done and it only requires a couple of basic hand tools and a suitable work surface. It only takes a few minutes to perform so it shouldn't be too bad to watch on video!

I think you will see from the photos what a fantastic afternoon it was, a big thank you to Tom and Mella for all their behind the scenes organisation and thank you to everyone who came along, that was the best bit for me, to meet or to meet again people I have exchanged messages with in this last year on Facebook and on Philofaxy.

We took a group photo, of everyone there on the day, everyone was holding or trying to hold all their Gillio organisers!

I loved seeing Mella and Chrissie again, we form the admin team on the Gillio Facebook groups. As we are spread across three different countries it was great to get the three of us together for a photo opportunity!

Mella, Steve and Christina

Next week.... oh I'm home again!!! Steve's World Tour of UK is over for now!


  1. great review Steve and some very interesting products

  2. I absolutely ADORE that buttercup yellow ostrich-looking leather. It is SCRUMPTIOUS!

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  4. How refreshing, a company that not only listens to their customers, but actively seeks there opinion!!

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Many companies can learn from this!

  5. That looks like it was a wonderful afternoon. Thanks for sharing!

  6. What a fantastic idea & what a great afternoon! And I agree that the ostrich ones are gorgeous... must not get tempted away from my Malden :)

  7. I think I'm right in saying Steve was the only man (apart from Tom representing the brand) at the think-tank? This seems to follow the pattern that around 80% of paper organiser/ planner sales are now to women. A few years ago it was the other way around! This must dictate future design policy, colours and sizes as men and women have traditionally opted for different styles and functionality from their binders. Many of these organisers have universal appeal and I'm interested if this was discussed at the gathering. That is - how more men might be attracted back?

    1. Yes Tim, just Tom and myself on Saturday and the two previous meet ups in London and Glasgow I was the only man! I'm not sure what other people make of this older guy on his own with a bunch of younger ladies... I suspect they mark me down as being the father of one of them... there to make sure she is safe from all these strange people on the internet!

      But you raise a few valid points. Gillio up until last year if you look at the colours of their range didn't really have a female flavour to it at all, very subdued colours, natural leather colours.

      How we attract men back in to the fold I don't know. A topic in itself I guess. Not one that was discussed on Saturday, but I know it's been mentioned when I've been with people from Filofax UK.

  8. Why don't Filofax UK, and in other markets, look and listen to this, and then create something like this to re-invent the range? This needs to include rationalisation of the range, finding ways to increase in availability of products in all markets, how to increase awareness in the product to other demographics, and how to show Filofax as the leader (and inventor) in paper organisers.

    I would put myself forward as a candidate for inclusion, as a male user, in such a venture.

    That's my thought for the day....

  9. I wish something like this would become an opportunity in the US. I have yet to buy a Gillio, mainly because of the expense of the binder to begin with, but also due to the amount it costs to ship to the US. But they are beautiful binders and I covet every picture I come across. Looks like it was a fun and fantastic day!

    1. I agree! All the fun is on the other side of the pond :(. I too covet thos Gillio's and am constantly on the look out for a promo code or discount to help offset the high shipping costs.