16 March 2016

3rd Gillio Meet Up - Brussels March 2016

I have done more meet ups over the years than I can count, I honestly can't remember what the total is now, but this last weekends meet up in Brussels is going to be one that I am not going to forget in a hurry.

Meet ups are not just about looking at other peoples planners and enjoying good food together, they have become quite a social occasion with lots of fun and laughter and dozens of photos of course!

The organiser/planner is just the thing that links all the people together in a way. I've always found the experience of a meet up difficult to describe to others that have never attended one. They are very special in a lot of ways.

On Thursday, I travelled to Brussels by train via Paris, the idea of going early was to help out the team on the Friday and also to make sure there were no last minute travel problems. After all it is not like I have to 'take a day off work' !!

My plan was nearly doomed when the French TGV trains stopped running for a 24 hour strike on the Wednesday. The strike ended at 08:00 on the Thursday morning and my train that left at 09:07 left on time and I got to Paris in good time. A quick journey on the Paris Metro and once I was through security I was on my next Thalys train heading for Brussels.

I knew a lot of the people attending the meet up from previous events or from Facebook, but it was lovely to meet new people as well. Some were relatively local, but some of the people attending had travelled some considerable distances (USA East and West Coast)

Enough of introductions, I'm sure you all want to know about what was announced at the main event on the Saturday.

Gillio listen to their customers and at their regular staff meetings they bring together these ideas and discussions and they discuss these ideas with their artisans in Italy, what can be made and when. Prototypes are made and tested out before items are put in to full production.

One colour in the palette of leather colours that was discontinued has been re-introduced. It is a yellow leather, Gillio colour number 771. After several trial hides they managed to get a very close match to the previous colour. They have produced a whole range of items in this leather and these will go on sale later this week, see the Gillio website for full details.

And here is a comparison in daylight (afternoon sun hence the long shadows) with top left my Gillio Wallet in Gold, top right a Gillio A6 in Rust and the two items at the bottom are in Gillio Yellow (771)

Gillio also announced some new bags which will go on sale also later this week, here is a sneak peek of them whilst they were still on the shelves. They are in tri-colours that match their other leather items in these same colours. Full details will be on the Gillio website by the end of the week.

Theresa trying out the bags to see which one she likes best... so difficult to choose
Finally Gillio revealed the Appunto notebook covers in A5 and A6 sizes in five colours initially. Although I suspect the colour range will expand over time.

This product was a classic example of interaction with their customers who have gone from ring bound to Hobonichi type bound planners, but still wanting to use a high quality leather cover.

Looking at the design in detail it is similar in a lot of ways to a ring bound planner with a full suite of pockets, just no rings in it.

This is the A6 model.

Note the full width back pocket

The internal pocket layout is similar in someways to the Filofax Holborn

The A5 is the same design just a few extra credit card/business card slots in the left hand inside front cover. The Auppunto will also go on sale later this week, see the Gillio website for full details on availability and prices etc

We all got a turn to have our photos taken for 'Gilliobook' I did check it first to make sure it didn't say 'Wanted for serious enabling offences' !!

As you might know I'm one of the admin team on the Gillio Facebook groups and whilst I had met Kariné Tovmassian before face to face apart from on Skype in Washington, this was the first time she had met Mella and Christina the other admins. Kariné had travelled over from USA with her husband Bobby. So we had to have a photograph or two together...

Steve, Mella, Chrissie and Karine in front
Then this happened.... well it was my birthday!

We moved on to a restaurant outside of Brussels for lovely meal and more talking and discussions...

Paul Van Haelen gave a speech to thank everyone for coming along and read out some quotes from the Facebook Groups, which were all very amusing. But before he could sit back down I leapt in to action and informed him that we were both members of a very exclusive 'club' in fact I think he might be the only member of this 'exclusive club' in Belgium. He looked at me a little confused at first.

Then I presented him with a copy of the book and a certificate of membership for the Dull Members Club of Great Britain and pointed out my own entry in the book! He took it in good humour...phew!

There was of course a Planner Tower to build.... carefully and without it collapsing!

Mella asked me to join her again and announced that they had a very special gift for me from everyone at Gillio for my birthday and also for all the work I had done in the planner community... I for once was totally lost for words when I opened my present. Here it is in day light at home, it is a Gillio A6 organiser in the new yellow leather, but how special is the front cover.

I immediately put some blank page in to it and a pen in the pen loop and passed it around the people and they all wrote some lovely messages in it.

No (birthday) party is complete without goodie bags to take home? Once again Mella and the Gillio team shocked us all by handing out some goodie bags with some lovely gifts in them.

Finally I will go back to Friday evening, Mella had hosted a party and after our food she asked me to stand with her and she explained that for some time there had been some confusion between me Steve Morton and Steve Benois.

In the past I have received messages asking me when they might be receiving their order or had I processed their refund yet. Someone even pointed out on the group, 'Did you know Steve Morton is on the pay roll now, his email address is steve@gillio.eu' !!!! Err... news to me!

At this point I was given a t shirt... and Steve #NotMorton appeared in his t shirt! So funny...

Thank you to everyone who made this weekend a very special one for me and for everyone else who attended the events over the weekend. Lots and lots of happy memories to think back over.

Thank you to Steve #NotMorton for some of the photos in this post.

And in case you didn't see the video's they are on the Gillio Facebook page.


  1. Love, love, love this post. Wish so very much I could have attended this meet up. But I feel like I was there from this very thorough and entertaining post. The Gillio yellow leather 771 looks very similar to vds' mustard janet leather. Is that true, or are my eyes playing tricks on me?

  2. Great post! Thank you so much for all the lovely photos. I'm loving that Gillio yellow leather! How awesome that there were those in attendance from the US. I'm in Texas. I lived in Germany for several years back in the late 70's early 80's. Wish I lived there now as I'd certainly attend these fun meet ups! Alas, I have to enjoy them through these posts and photos so thanks once again for a wonderful post. I enjoyed reading about all the fun and gazing upon the beautiful leather binders!

  3. This looks like so.much.fun! Miss meeting planner peeps in person. <3

    1. and seriously, beyond this world that gift!!!! You sooo deserved it! :)))

  4. Thanks for a great write up & looks like it was a wonderful time. Your A6 is awesome & you deserve it for all the time & hard work that you put into Philofaxy :)

  5. Looks like everyone had a great time. Those shirts, #notmorton and #notbenois, are a classic!