The Crazy Suburban Mom: Filofax's amputated inserts

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Filofax's amputated inserts

As my choice of Filofax inserts dwindles I've had to look elsewhere.   I don't understand why  my choices get increasingly limited year after year, it doesn't make sense.  And I don't mean I can't make other things work, I do, it just makes no sense to me from a business model.

Just look at what Apple did with iTunes.    iPhones aren't cheap but people aren't buying them to make calls. I have an iPhone and love it to pieces but being an actual phone is what it does least well.  People want iPhones for the stuff beyond the phone.  I have no proof of my theory but seems to me that iTunes is the real money-maker.  

Who doesn't buy songs, apps, audio books, TV shows,... ring tones,  wallpaper...Whatever else that sparks their fancy the second the iPhone is activated... What you can buy is endless and gets bigger every day. 

 I'm sure Apple makes a profit on the iPhone itself but it's what people do to customize after that has to be the real windfall (or there would be no reason for an iTouch - Think about it).

There lies my confusion.  As Filofax decreases the line of accessories while expanding their line of planners they are doing the opposite.  Perhaps they will get a wider audience by expanding their low end models (Apex) and adding high end lines like the Temperley but where will these new customers go to customize their planner? 

Other companies fill the void left by Filofax.   

While making my recent Filofax Videos I noticed most what's in mine has nothing to do with the Filofax Brand.  I think it's a shame, I'd like to support them but what they put out beyond the calendars simply doesn't work, or is difficult to obtain, or doesn't take ink well...  Or.  Well, everyone has their own reasons so fill in that blank yourself.

I've got some examples of things that work for me, things I'd probably buy from Filofax if I could.

clairfontaine paper in a5

My to-do sheets are graph paper, there's a specific one I like and it's no longer available in the US.  I ordered some good quality graph paper, micro-perforated and top bound from Goulet Pens.

clairfontaine paper in a5 close

There are a lot of Clairfontaine Notebooks in A5, I got the graph.  There are 80 sheets, it's 90g paper - so ink doesn't come through the back and it only cost $6; cheaper then the Filofax paper and if you add in what I'd pay in shipping - Dirt Cheaper.

It fit's fine. As you can see it's a bit short on the bottom but it's simply a joy to write on.

I also bought a Rhodia dot pad, same size.

I didn't like  the feel of the paper nearly as much, but that's me.  It feels like a frosted drinking glass and I just hate the way they feel - It's a weird quirk.  There is nothing wrong with this paper, it's pretty great.   This is also 80 sheets and 80g weight.  I got the dot-pad and I like that almost as much as the graph.  

The Rhodia takes pencil better, due to the finish I'm sure.  The Clairfontaine seems to do better with ink, it's like writing on a cloud. And with gel pens it's heavenly.

I've got some Moleskine paper in there too.

gift section

You have to dismember a notebook (posted how I did it, Here)  to get it but I've bought quite a few I never used, or used up.   The nice thing about Moleskine is you can find some interesting things inside.  For my Gift Idea section I ripped out an entire section, giving me tabs.  

All I had to do was punch a few holes and add labels.  As you can see above there's a Birthday Idea section, Christmas, Random Gifts, and my own wish list.

random wo2p

When I switched to personal sized WO2P to save space I was missing all the pages after March.  I tried to find the Filofax Insert only to be told they don't discount calendars.  The store told me Filofax takes them back for credit so they don't knock the price down during the year.  I checked Staples and they wanted $12.47 for a DayRunner week on two pages, no discount during the year either.  

That's the silliest thing.  Why just collect them and...  destroy them?  What a waste of paper.   

I wasn't sure what I was going to do but was in a drugstore last week and the planners were heavily discounted.  I found one in the right size for less than a dollar.   I cut and punched the pages and they are just as good (sad isn't it?) as the Filofax branded inserts.


martha stewart office

There was a plastic book jacket over the whole thing.  I punched holes in that to keep my Martha Stewart sticky note planner from coming apart. While the notes are pretty sticky the part that sticks to the plastic insert isn't and my first one devolved. 

This is the one planner product I found that fit in an A5 Filofax without having to add holes or cut the corner.  If Martha is listening you have a whole Filofax Community itching for more things...   

martha office

The Martha Stewart tabs had no place to live either, there's no sticky on the back which seems - Kind of odd.  

I used these in my Personal Portand they now live in my Malden.  They are called Dayrunner Plastic Storage Pouches.

slash pockets

And my phone book fits in the other side.

midor insert in A5

My newest find was the Midori Traveler's Inserts fit perfectly if you manage to get the holes through them.  That was a real chore but not when you compare it to finding Genuine Filofax products in suburban New Jersey.  That adds a whole new set of insert possibilities and for art journaling this or one the Pelle inserts would be perfect, the paper is amazing.

This got much longer then I intended and my intention isn't to bash Filofax, I kinda love them.  I just think as they concentrate on expanding their binder line while amputating the inserts they are all but assuring their customers will go elsewhere.

And it makes as much sense and Apple closing iTunes and saying, "Hey! guess what? You got a nice $500 phone but all that  iFalala wasn't working so much for us.... "

No sense.  No sense at all.


Josh 3/8/12, 10:07 AM  

I've pretty much given up on filofax inserts at this point. They are too expensive and not particularly well designed for dealing with my time management challenges. I just ordered a DayTimer catalog to see what kinds of cool stuff I can buy from them. Their paper is also rubbish, honestly Filofax paper is superior, but the design is so much better and the prices more reasonable and they are made here in the USA and who knows where the filofax stuff comes from... They don't even mark where the binders are made, but I understand none of them are made in the UK anymore.

Tracy Reinhardt 3/8/12, 10:15 AM  

Josh, I think everyone has to some extent given up on the inserts from filofax. I doubt even people who are brand loyal can find with they want . The beauty of a filofax is that you can customize it - it seems silly to make a customizable planner, market it, try and build up a customer base while assuring people will to someone else to fill it. Unless that is their plan, but that's hard to imagine.

Sandra 3/8/12, 11:52 AM  

I have 2012 wo2p inserts in CC OR plain paper (long story, don't ask) I can send if you still want them, Tracy. ;)

I also find it frustrating and downright stupid that Filofax does not consider what its customers want in inserts. Apparently the profit margin it too low on inserts to care very much.

I may try Smythson or Kate Spade for giggles in future years, or I will buy nice paper and print my own. It's a hassle, but you both know how annoying the wrong inserts can be day after day after day...

Ray Blake 3/8/12, 12:44 PM  

I couldn't agree more, Tracy. I'm still using FF diary pages in my Personal but used by business A5 today for the first time in a while. That has pages I printed myself and it's so nice to be able to use a proper pen. Just regular, cheap printer paper but a thousand percent better than FF. i just wish the FF hole punches were a little more ergonomic.

lee 3/9/12, 4:22 PM  

can you do a post about how useless day-timer crap is? they pushed that stuff down at our throats at our last job! after i left there, i ended up giving most of the junk to my granddaughter, who is now the most organized 9 year-old i know.

she keeps trying to talk me out of my moleskine reporter that i use for notes in church. she just bought a kindle and is pushing for an ipad now.

i got your birthday mixed up, so consider this an entry for the bag. my birthday is 12:01 A.M. MARCH 29, SO WE ALMOST HAVE THE SAME BIRTHDAY!

kanalt 3/9/12, 6:41 PM  

I completely agree! While the binders are more money per item, you would think the bigger money would be with the inserts, if only because they are bought every year, not to mention often if it's non-diary inserts (like to do sheets, etc).

I am still using the Filofax inserts only because I have yet to find another brand that allows me the space between lines I need and that don't have a lot of design (flowers and such) on the pages. I have tried them all though - Franklin Covey, DayTimer, Day Runner. I don't love the layout of Filofax pages but I am used to their imperfections and at least I can set them up in a way that works for me, as pitiful as they are. Hopefully the new line up will show us something we want and like.

Forgive me if you've already mentioned this, but what brand of inserts are you using?

HM 3/10/12, 6:52 AM  

I agree so much with you and the other comments! I never bought inserts from Filofax, i just punch the sheets from my old notebooks that i accumulated during my BF years (BF standing for Before Filofax of course) but never used entirely. I'm gonna start printing my own diary inserts too.
Concerning Filofax's strategy, i agree with you too. I think they should let you choose the inserts you want delivered when you buy a binder, too. They could "force" you to have pages delivered with the binder (like they do know) but allow you to choose which type, from a much bigger range that they have now, of course. That way they would hook us up to their products, inserts included :) I don't remember where i read that (somewhere on Philofaxy?) but 2 bloggers who were trying to make their DodoPad work in their Filofaxes got contacted by DodoPad, who listenned to their ideas and needs, in order to design the ideal Dodo for Filo inserts. Is that good customer relations or what??

(sorry, this comment is awfully long...)

Tracy Reinhardt 3/10/12, 10:35 AM  

First, sorry it took so long to respond!

Sandra, I've got the ones I bought for less then a dollar and then found the rest! So I have two sets now!

Ray, Isn't is crazy that plain printer paper is better?

Lee, I haven't used daytimer in a few years, but I hear you! And everyone says the same thing especially if they try a fountain pen. PS gotcha on the giveaway

Kanalt - right now I'm using what I have left from filofax and I also use clairfontaine graph paper, the a5 size is just short a little when you take it out because I'm using top bound notebooks - you lose a little. I also have things in there from a Moleskine I cut apart - also close to the right size. and Midori travelers notebook inserts. I use the whole book just put holes in it - hard but worth it.

HM - I've heard that about dodo and they actually did comment on one of my posts, a good lesson for filofax don't you think? PS I love long comments :)


indigogarden 3/10/12, 2:54 PM  

I like the look of those pockets. I see that Mead makes them in Personal size as well. Thanks for the heads up on them.

Tracy Reinhardt 3/10/12, 3:46 PM  

Indigogarden - I'm using the personalize size in my A5, the rings fit but I did have to clip the bottom

Laurie 3/13/12, 1:07 AM  

Tracy you are my Filofax hero!!! This is sheer genius. I love how you've hacked the notebooks you like and punched the pages to use in your A5! This is seriously tempting me into some A5-Clairefontaine delightfulness possibilities!!

Tracy Reinhardt 3/13/12, 10:39 AM  

Laurie, I was really overwhelmed what I read what you wrote because you're well... YOU! Plannerisms Laurie, Philofaxy Laurie... I'm, well -verklepmted.

Thank you so much for that comment, made my day!


Cruz Johnson 5/27/13, 8:29 PM  

I LOVE the Martha Stewart tabs, and can't BELIEVE they're being discontinued! I never even got a chance to try them. :(

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