As we approach the one year anniversary of the introduction of our Palomino Blackwing pencil we are nearing the next step in the evolution of the Palomino and Blackwing product ranges as we get set to introduce our first series of journals, sketchbooks and notebooks. In addition, we’ll also be complementing our ForestChoice FSC certified pencil range with a selection of FSC Certified notebooks. So, here is a first look at the overall range, though we are planning feature posts on individual product group selections leading up to our official launch near the end of September.
When we first conceived the idea to introduce a range of notebooks in some of our top brands, we had several goals in mind. First, the design and quality had to be fully consistent with the high standards for each of our relevant pencil brands: Palomino, Blackwing and ForestChoice. This meant using superior materials, as well as partnering up with an experienced and reliable supplier with all the capabilities to produce outstanding products on a competitive basis. We wanted a collaborative partner to guide us in understanding and learning about the notebook market, but that was creative and adaptive to our concepts and needs as well. After several months of research, we found just what we were looking for in Istanbul, Turkey. As it turns out Istanbul has a long tradition of artisanal printing and bookbinding. Our new partner, Talat Printing & Leather Products Company, has over 50 years of industry experience and is now into its third generation as a privately held family business. Thought primarily a producer of premium customized planners and notebooks for large commercial clients, they introduced their own Fabio Ricci brand range for retail distribution in the past few years. As part of our partnership we will also be taking on the North America distribution of the Fabio Ricci brand, initially introducing their Elios line of their notebooks this fall, along with our own California Republic family range to retailers and distributors.
Our next goal was that our notebooks needed to have a functional partnership with our pencils and a design that supported your creativity, whatever the specific activity: writing, drawing, sketching, composing and more. For this, I spent 4 days in Istanbul in early April working with Talat to develop our initial product range with adaptations of Talat’s items. All the materials utilize premium acid free papers and covering materials from European suppliers in Spain or Italy with appropriate weights for each notebooks intended purpose. ForestChoice products include FSC paper as well as cover stock. This was supplemented with work from our branding design team to come up with a belly band and packaging design theme that was informative and helpful. In all, we’ve got a great line up we are very proud of as an initial launch and we received very positive feedback when we showed the samples to potential customers at the National Stationery Show back in May. Getting everything done in time for the NSS was a challenge, but we were very encouraged by the feedback received. Production of our initial stock has been completed and the shipment is currently on the water expected to arrive in California within the next two weeks.
In the coming weeks leading up to the launch we’ll cover each of the products in more detail. We’re very excited about this next step in our evolution as a broader range supplier of premium writing pencils and notebooks that support a creative and enjoyable experience of putting your ideas to paper and pencil. It’s not just a pencil and a notebook. It’s an experience.