02 November 2017

PlannerCon Europe October 2017

Last weekend was the very first PlannerCon Europe event. It was quite an event, I'm writing this on Wednesday afternoon and I'm still recovering from it and re-living it in my head!

My weekend started early on Friday morning with a drive south to Poitiers to catch a TGV to Paris, that all ran smoothly and the train was on time. Having done the journey several times across Paris I know it fairly well. I had a short wait at Gare du Nord for my Thalyes train to Brussels Midi. Once I got there I negotiated the Brussels Metro underground to get to the event venue to help the crew get the place ready for the conference on the Friday.

Each of the crew had also been assigned two or three of the vendors to look after over the weekend. I was assigned Van der Spek and DodoPad, as I knew the people well in both companies, this made a lot of sense. They arrived later in the afternoon and we got their vans/cars unpacked and in to the hall in reasonable time with the help of a team of volunteers.

I was also allocated the 'Tech Man' job to make sure all the radio mics and presentation tools worked. The resident staff at Square were very helpful showing me where everything was and they could get every thing all set up between talks/workshops very quickly, so it all ran smoothly without any hitches.

All the crew were issued with red hoodie jackets so we could easily be spotted amongst the crowd!

We left the venue at about 6pm with a few things left to finish in the morning. But our priority was to get checked in at the hotel. I wanted to get unpacked and showered before going out for working dinner in the evening with the rest of the crew. Mella said 'Bring your planner' so I did! We discussed some last minute details like how do you get 300+ people registered with the minimum of fuss!

As people came in they were given their 'goodie bags' they also included vouchers to collect other items from particular sellers in the main hall as well.

The contents look something like this:

Both days were full of talks and workshops you can see the full programme here.

My own talk was the first on the Saturday about 'Choosing or Designing the Perfect Planner' My talk went well and was well received.

I hope to be able to make it available soon with a recorded voice track. It won't be exactly as given, but hopefully the same essence of the talk will be there along with the slides.

I also got to meet a lot of people in the planning community over the two days, some for the first time some I've met before. It was a wonderful experience being able to sit down and talk 'Planner' with someone or just sit and let them ask me questions.

I got asked some questions about rings and did a ring swap for Christina!

On the Sunday morning just before the raffle, Katie (one of the crew members) who in real life is a freelance music teacher had written a planner song, which she taught everyone to sing, it was so funny and quite up-lifting to see everyone joining in!

You can watch the two videos I did on the Philofaxy You Tube channel. Here is the rehearsal and the full song.

After the song the raffle was held. Everyone had a ticket included in their entry and the prizes were numerous and varied from Gillio planners, to unreleased prototype Filofax organisers (including a green Malden) to vouchers and all sorts of other goodies. We had a great team of volunteers helping to check the tickets and distribute the prizes in very quick succession. Full marks to those people for organising themselves so well.

I really enjoyed introducing the people doing their workshops and presentations. Helping out with the Q&A's afterwards and making sure things ran to time as closely as possible as well.

Julia Langhein from Filofax UK gave an excellent talk on the 'Perception and Reality' about how people Perceive that Filofax organisers are no longer in use, versus the reality that they are selling more now than they ever did.

Julia explained how the brand had changed in recent years and went in to the details on how new products are developed and tested. How they trial and select leathers for texture and colour.

We even got a glimpse of some new as yet not announced products....  The Questions and Answers session could have gone on for another hour on this talk, it was so interesting. I think Julia enjoyed giving the presentation to such an enthusiastic audience as we did listening.

The shopping area was very spacious and well lit. The hall was laid out with the trade stands around the outside with lots of tables for people to sit at in the middle.

The event drew to a close late on Sunday afternoon. The team helped the vendors get packed up and their things moved out of the hall in good time.

I eventually got back to the hotel to freshen up before joining some of the people that had attended the conference for a very enjoyable evening chatting about the event and planning in general.

It was an incredible experience, the whole weekend. Putting that experience in to words is not easy. But it has left me with a lot of happy memories.

I would like to thank Mella and her husband Lukas, my fellow team members Liselotte, Katie, Marie-Helene and Wendy. We all worked hard, but we had a lot of fun too.

And now to look forward to the next one... watch this space for announcements.


  1. Yay! Hopefully see you next year, Steve!

  2. Sounds wonderful! Wish I could’ve been there! Did anyone capture a photo of this green Malden?

    1. Check the facebook groups about the event and #plannerconeurope on Instagram!

    2. I've tagged Rebecca in the Ticket Holders group were the photos are.

  3. Congratulations on a very successful conference! Loved looking at the photos on Instagram!

  4. You had me at 'green Malden'! Awaiting a vintage pink one I won on eBay. Now off to check out the photos on IG!

  5. Steve, perhaps I’ve missed it—but how many attendees did you have in total?

    1. Hi Linda
      I think it was 304 although 325 tickets were issued. Only 12 men though in the 304 figure, most of those were on the stands! Yep we were out-numbered!

    2. Clearly hugely successful (well done to the organisers) but just scanning the audience photo confirmed that it was almost totally (96%) a female event. Nothing wrong with that, except one has to ask why men are now so overwhelmingly disinterested in planning with paper (and buying the products). I would love to know how Filofax, VdS etc. see the future market.

    3. Well the stats for Filofax sales in Japan lean the other way... 80% male, 20% female! So much so that they are considering bringing out a range for the Japanese market. Not sure if we will be able to buy them in Europe/USA or not, but I suspect we won't be excluded.

  6. Hello from France, hello Steve,
    I was so sad I could not participate. I knew I had my daughter in this weekend, and that I had to drive her back to Bordeaux on Sunday, so...
    When I look at all pictures and videos that have already been posted, my face turns to grey, then to green because of sadness, and jealousy !!!
    So you got your goodies bag too : how I envy you (and all the participants!).
    How much would I have liked to hear, see, touch, smell (not taste, but who knows ? Maybe one day there will be a fruity-taste planner ? Or "gommettes" like we used to have in France when I was a child, like stickers but you had to lick their back to glue them onto your notebook, and the taste of it was most of the time fruity!) so all but one senses in motion to live this event !
    Thank you for your summary, I loved to read it !
    Lots of nice greetings,
    Marie-Hélène (we met in Chenonceaux, last May !)

    1. Hello Marie-Hélène
      Yes we missed you there was at least two of our friends from the May meet up at the event, it was lovely of course to see them again.
      We are planning the next one once we have fully recovered from this one :)
      I hope you can make the next one. But we could of course start thinking about repeating the France meet up again in the New Year?
      Take care

  7. A brilliant, event, thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it xx