First things first, I know I promised to get lots of pictures of new office supplies at the National Stationery Show, however I have to say it was not as easy as I had hoped it would be, so I left with exactly zero pictures, but I did get to see plenty of great new items that I am working on getting to review. I’ve got a bunch of items that I will be posting about over the next few days, no review samples yet though because for the most part the rules of the show are that merchandise is not supposed to leave the facility. All of the vendors were very receptive to shipping me samples to review, so I will probably introduce these items with some descriptions and links and then follow up with actual reviews once I have been able to get back in touch with the vendors and arrange for samples to be sent. In some cases the products just wont be available for a little while though.
So with all of that out of the way, I thought I would start with three office supply related products that I thought were among the most innovative that I saw at the show…keeping in mind there are over 1000 vendors though, Im sure that I either missed some, or there are some that just dont fall into what we cover here on this blog. Of the three office supplies that I found to be “most innovative” there is one notebook, one organizational aid, and one multi use pen.
At first glance, the notebooks by Revolver Bound Books and Journals, just looks your usual high end journal that you would expect to see at any office supply or stationary store. This is a case where you shouldnt judge a book by its cover though, and since I’ve already categorized this as one of the more innovative products at the Stationery Show, I am sure that you are expecting some sort of surprise here, and the Revolver wont let you down. The name alone should give you some hint as to what is going on with this unique journal. Although there are two journals in the picture above, the Revolver is actually only one journal that just happens to have two different covers. Sound confusing? Its not, its actually quite impressive. The journal is designed with what is described as a “floating spine” that allows the notebook to fold over itself, creating two distinct journals with two separate covers, all in one package.
It is hard to imagine exactly how this journal works without seeing it in action, however the above illustration shows a step by step walk through of opening the journal to the first writing surface, and then folding itself over to its second. Essentially what you end up with is one singular notebook that has two different covers, and also two different formats of paper, one side has ruled pages, while the other is unruled. The entire journal is held firmly shut with a magnetic clasp on its outer edge.
Getting to hold one of these and go through the motions of opening it, and then folding it over itself to reveal the second side was really interesting. I had my initial reservations before picking it up and seeing it in motion, with my assumption that it might have a less than high quality feel to it. I was expecting that with the amount of focus that had to go into the complex design, there would be a shortfall when it came to the quality of the journal and the paper itself, but I was proven wrong as soon as I had the journal in my hands. The cover and binding seemed to be of very high quality, and the paper looked and felt like that of some of the nicer journals that I have used before. I did not get a chance to write in it, as they had only a few samples there on display for the show, however I do expect that I should be able to get a review sample in my hands soon so I can do a full test and review. The target availability for these journals is July 27th, but in the mean time, keep an eye on the Revolver Bound Books and Journals website for more information, or to contact them directly for more information. Please note that the photos here are scans that I made from their press kit.
The second very interesting product that I saw at the show was the Dry Erase Real Wood, from Three by Three Seattle. They have a ton of nicely designed magnetic, dry erase, and organizing products to help you organize in the office, at home, or at school, but when I passed their booth at the show I pretty much stopped in my tracks and did a double take when I realized that their dry erase product was made from real bamboo. At first I thought it was just a dry erase board with a pattern printed on it, but when I looked closely I realized that it was in fact made from real bamboo. It was one of those situations where I didnt actually believe that the product was going to do what they claimed it did, so I had to try it for myself, and sure enough I was able to quickly and easily erase the letters that had been written on their display board. In addition to the dry erase working effortlessly, I was also surprised by how strong the magnets were, and how firmly they attached to the bamboo.
After chatting a bit about the product and its top secret design, I was also shown another of their products that uses the dry erase bamboo, which they call the Entry Butler. The Entry Butler utilizes the bamboo dry erase board, but also incorporates some storage compartments and hooks. The Entry Butler is the perfect item to place at the front door to so you can just grab your mail, and keys on the way out, and also see any important messages that someone may have left for you. This is a real upgrade from your standard white board, the elegant look of the bamboo makes it a much more appealing item to have displayed in the type of high traffic areas that it was intended to be used in. Check out Three by Three Seattle for more of their great products, and you can also become their fan on FaceBook.
UPDATE 10/28/09 – I received and reviewed a sample of the bamboo dry erase entry butler from Three by Three, its a really great product, check out the link for the review.
My final pick for being one of the more innovative office supplies at the show this year is from Everyday Innovations. The BookMarker, takes a pretty simple concept and goes one step further in being even more useful. It is a flag pen that not only holds your sticky flags for you, but it also serves as a bookmark and a closure strap for your book or journal. The flat design, easily accessible flags, refillable pen, and functional elastic strap make for a really handy tool in a compact and portable package. This seems like the ultimate all in one study aid, and is particularly great because when you are done you can just slide it in your book, slip the elastic strap around the outside of your book and you not only have a reminder for what page you were on, but you also dont have to worry about gathering up your pen and flags and then storing them somewhere.
I think this is one of those products that just sells itself. If you ever find yourself picking up and going from class to class, or from meeting to meeting, its hard not to immediately see the value of having this multi-function and super portable tool with you while you are on the go. Although final production versions are not quite ready yet, I did get to see a working model, and it seems pretty useful, but for now, Everyday Innovations also has some other portable stationary solutions besides the BookMarker, so check out their site and see if any of them suit your needs.
That wraps up my pics for the most innovative office supplies from the 2009 National Stationary Show, and hopefully I’ll have some samples to write up complete reviews on soon. In the coming days I will have some more groups of products to share with you that I am sure you will enjoy. Dont forget to check out the websites for all of these products, the folks behind these companies and products were all very friendly and generous with their time, and I am sure that any feedback or questions you might have would be greatly appreciated. You can also always leave your comments on the comments section here and I will do my best to answer them…anything I cant answer, I would be happy to try and find out from the people I spoke with.