📢 📢 HELP!… the Dodo Pad is destined for extinction!!!

I’m Rebecca Jay, Managing Director of Dodo Pad.

This, by a long mile, is the hardest and the saddest blog post I have ever had to write in all my years at the ‘helm’ of Dodo Pad. And in case you are counting, yes, every single Dodo Pad diary ever produced is in the word HELP! below. All 54 of them.
The Executive Summary
In short, unless some magic happens and a fairy godmother or white knight appears in the next few weeks, the 2020 Dodo Pad diary will be the very last in the Dodo Pad’s proud 54-year history and the company will close in the Spring.

The Details
I helped rescue the Dodo Pad from extinction in early 1996 when my son was a tiny baby – an almost unbelievable 24 years ago. HarperCollins, the previous publishers, had sold their stationery interests to Debden who had no interest to continue with the Dodo Pad – it was believed to be a brand that had ‘had its day’.

The opportunity fell into my lap via a chance conversation which brought back fond memories, as a teenager, of my own 1968 Dodo Pad diary. It provided me with the opportunity, aged 40 and with my very unexpected and only child, to avoid returning to the fierce world of advertising in which I had worked for over 15 years. It gave me a chance to do something for myself, to become a ‘kitchen table entrepreneur’ and to be around to enjoy my son as he grew up. It was an exciting challenge to build a company from scratch and develop an already much loved and ‘indodispensable’ diary brand.

Exactly 23 years ago today, Sunday 8th December 1996, this article ‘Diary of a Somebody’, by Rachel Cooke (to whom I am forever grateful) appeared in the Sunday Times Style Magazine and it propelled us into the next stage of the Dodo Pad’s life.

Over the years we expanded the range with the objective of building a small but sustainable business. There have been a number of product successes – for instance our recently expanded everyday stationery range – and some failures too (like our Book of the Big Move launched in the week of the financial crisis in 2008 when house moving slowed to a tiny trickle), but here’s a quote from Winston Churchill that has been my mantra throughout:

I have no regrets. The last 24 years have been a rollercoaster with thrills and spills but since the 2008 recession it’s been increasingly tough. The parallel rise of Amazon/online retailing and the demise of the high street, coupled with increased production costs vs. retail price expectations (everyone wants something for less and is prepared to find a way to get it!) have brought us to a point beyond which we cannot go.

The past 3 years, in the wake of the Brexit vote and the massive fall in the value of the pound, have been the toughest yet, despite my sunny demeanour when I speak to customers.

2 years ago I started searching for potential buyers. After much effort, protracted negotiations with an ideal buyer had achieved what we believed was a firm sale. It came to nothing this summer when their board voted, instead of taking us on and building their publishing arm, to concentrate on removing their core print business from China due to the trade war threats emanating from the USA, courtesy of Donald Trump. Outside influences over which we had no control. 

It’s a wry irony that our 2020 Dodo Pad is Amazon’s best-selling family planner this week and we’ve just achieved our highest ever Trusted Shops website review score.

To those of you who tell me you couldn’t live without your Dodo Pad (and you are many) well, I’m afraid you’re most probably going to have to undergo some gentle withdrawal therapy over the next 12 months… unless something very magical happens over the next few days and weeks.

To those of you who have read this far and have been buying loyally for over 50 years; to those of you with a more recent habit or just some curiosity about what makes the Dodo Pad so special; to those of you who always buy Dodo Pads for Christmas in the knowledge that they will bring unbridled organisation with some gentle humour, please remember that…

And if you don’t happen to know any fairy godmothers or white knights (we’re gender-neutral here so we accept fairy godfathers too) please give everyone you know a 2020 Dodo Pad for Christmas and help us go out with a bang! We plan to hold a super sale in the early Spring when everything left will be on very special offer.

A little part of me will die with the demise of the Dodo Pad – I have given it well over half my entire life’s work and it’s the only job my son James has ever known me do.

We need HELP!
Please follow us on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram where we’ll be making a bit of noise over the next few days, hoping to be heard above the cacophony of the UK’s imminent general election!

Is there someone out there to take the Dodo Pad into the future? It’s a great and much-loved brand and still has huge potential, but it needs a new champion for that future. If you are that person or know that person, then please get in touch.

I thank all our customers and supporters over the years, for your loyalty to and enjoyment of the Dodo Pad.

All best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year.

Rebecca Jay
CEO/Managing Director
Dodo Pad Ltd
The Old Stables | Liskey Hill | Perranporth | Cornwall TR6 0BB
T +44 (0)345 053 1166 / (0)345 634 6272
info@dodopad.com  www.dodopad.com
         
Since 1966 | Over 50 years of Muddle Management | Low-tech organisation in a high tech world

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Midsummer Madness? We made a mistake and we’re very sorry. But, if it’s your birthday…

This year’s Summer Solstice is on Friday 21st June 2019 and, alongside International Surfing Day illustrated the day before, the current Dodo Acad-Pad diary proudly displays this important day otherwise known as the longest day of the year.

2018/19 Dodo Acad-Pad

June 21st – nothing wrong so far but look a little closer. We’ve completely forgotten 22nd June (but all is back to normal the following week – phew!).

Mistakes do very occasionally happen and in our 53 year proud history there have been a few. Lord Dodo may by superhuman but the people who lovingly create his diaries each year are human. The Dodo Pad and Acad-Pad are hand crafted – first comes the mid year Acad-Pad diary, followed by the calendar year Dodo Pad diary using much of the same artwork. All artwork is checked not once but three times (by the designer, a proofreader and me, Rebecca Jay, and I’m ultimately ‘the buck stops here’ person).

So, in February 2018, whilst proofreading the 2019 Dodo Pad before it went to print, we spotted the error. We’d all missed it and we were pretty devastated. Not only was the 2018/19 Acad-Pad printed, it was already in the shops and available online through third-party websites.

We immediately created the correction sticker above, sent it to all our direct customers who had ordered Acad-Pads from our website and made sure all future copies were sent out with the sticker included.

It just wasn’t possible to recall all copies ‘out there’ and so, if you got one of those and have still not spotted the missing day, we apologise profusely.

And, if it’s your birthday on Saturday 22nd June, we wish you a very Happy Birthday! Email us a pic of your current Acad-Pad by Friday 21st and proof you were born on the 22nd and we’ll send you the new 2019/20 Acad-Pad completely free (and a correction sticker if you still need one…)

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Do-do you still use a Filofax Deskfax?

Maybe you’ve never stopped using yours or maybe you have one gathering dust in a drawer somewhere or on a high shelf elsewhere. Or you might have been (re)introduced to the wonder of this 9-ringed organiser more recently through the aptly named ‘Fraternal Order of the Nine Rings‘ on Facebook (it’s a closed group but ask to join…). The fact is that a Deskfax is for life. A bit like a Dodo Pad (ok, we are unashamedly biased) once you are hooked, it is hard to resist its charms.

The fact is that a Deskfax is for life. A bit like a Dodo Pad (ok, we are unashamedly biased) once you are hooked, it is hard to resist its charms.

Whichever category you fit into, whilst Filofax still produces diary pages for the Deskfax, they no longer produce regular writing paper to fit but, somewhat irritatingly, a search on their website would lead you to believe that they still do. (Grrhh!)

Here we have to thank Victoria at Filofax Customer Services for passing people onto us when they call to enquire as to WHY?  Panic not…help is at hand!

A little background – or skip straight to this link if you just want to get your hands on paper for your DeskFax!

Calf leather Red Deskfax orgniser

My old, but much loved, Deskfax

About 12 years ago, I came to the conclusion that I had to make our original Dodo Pad work in a loose-leaf format to fit my beloved DeskFax organiser. It was red and somewhat worn and getting on for 20 years old by then, but had been my organisational lifeline through the wide shoulder-pad days of the 1980’s when I started in the world of advertising. Move on to a spell in Prague as the head honcho of a certain rather notorious ad agency that fell from grace in the mid 90’s, through early motherhood and juggling paid consultancy (to pay for the nappies etc.) and unpaid work in the early days of saving the Dodo Pad in the late 90’s. It became quite clear that using a Deskfax diary and going to meetings for Dodo Pad was a bit of an unacceptable brand clash!

By a stroke of extreme luck, the Dodo Pad diary was almost identical in size to B5 (176 x 250mm) Deskfax inserts.  So (with a bit of a print tweak to the barcode on the back cover and a cheat on the Frontispiece page to include both ISBNs) we produced a small quantity of loose-leaf Dodo Pads. Add to this a ‘DodoPOD’ binder into which you could ‘download’ it (we are talking early days of the iPod…), writing paper and some pouched ‘Dodividers’ and we had our very own ‘DodoPAX’ system… and you may see a certain verbal connection here!

Filofax was still producing writing paper and other inserts at this time, so for me (with my trusty 9 ring hole punch to punch my diary pages) it was perfect. A Dodo Pad diary, no more embarrassment at not using the brand I loved and had worked so hard to save and see flourish), and my Deskfax remained on my desk and in my briefcase for meetings…becoming increasingly battered.

Fast forward to early 2015 and we learned that Filofax was no longer producing Deskfax sized organisers and worse still… no more paper!

We leapt into action. Our paper fitted, it was an excellent 100gsm, perfect for fountain pen with no show through quality and we could produce it with DeskFax holes by creating a DeskFax Hole Punch Bespoke Service to punch our writing paper (and any of our B5 notepad products launched since!)

DESKFAX9-ddpx18

‘Deskfax-ify’ our paper, calendar year diary, address book and many other accessories

The process is quite straightforward. You purchase a single ‘Service’ and then as much or as little paper or other of our products that fit a Deskfax as you like. You choose any or a combination of the ‘Related Products’ on the page. We only charge for one hole punching service irrespective of the number of items you buy. If you spend £25.00 or more use the FDXFREE code and we send your order to you carriage free in the UK or take the equivalent off the cost of overseas postage. It is all explained on the page on our Dodo Pad website. If you prefer to phone in your order or have any queries, we always welcome calls during UK business hours – 0345 053 1166.

Simples really. And no need to give up your Deskfax for the foreseeable future! 🙂

Rebecca (aka Lord Dodo)

 

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When you just want to do anything to help… #GrenfellTowerFire

A week ago, last Wednesday morning, we woke up to the news of the unfolding horror of the dreadful fire at the Grenfell Tower block of flats in London. Some of us never woke up and that was and is, the horror of the reality of what happened. Hundreds of displaced people and a system that did not, from the official standpoint, kick in to help quickly enough. It is not for me to speculate here on the reasons why the fire happened – all I know is that I was moved that morning to do something, anything, to help.

I was travelling most of the day on a train from Cornwall to a meeting in Birmingham. During that journey, I resolved to donate a load of clothes I had stacked up ready to sell on Ebay or local Facebook groups to the survivor victims of the fire. I also decided to see if I could gather a group of other people in Cornwall to help with their own donations, which we, Dodo Pad, would arrange to be transported to London. By late evening almost 70 offers of donations had come in from people I have never met who also felt moved to just try to do something to help. I was overwhelmed with people’s generosity to reach out, but by Thursday morning we were being told by the media that the community was totally overwhelmed with donations and asking, please, not to send anything more but to send financial donations instead. So I did that.

But I still wanted to help in some tangible way that I felt would make a difference. So, having now made contact with the Grenfell Nursery who put out a plea for stationery and diaries (it is now operating from the Ilys Booker Stay & Play and Drop-In Centre for the foreseeable future), today we are sending almost 400 Dodo Pad diaries to help the families who have lost pretty much everything, reorganise their lives and move forward. I really hope they help in some small way and also make them smile.

A happy face - from the Grenfell Nursery website :)

A happy face – from the Grenfell Nursery website 🙂

Rebecca Jay, Managing Director.

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A Dodo Pad diary – Your Constant Companion

ddp66-ddp17rainbowLong term users of our quirky Dodo Pad have laid their lives bare and spoken of their love affair with it as part of celebrations to mark our milestone 50th anniversary.

A mother keeping the memory of her late daughter alive through the pages of her notes and doodles. Two lost friends reconnecting over shared memories after years apart. A divorcee knowing they’ve always got someone to turn to. A priest wanting to stand out from the crowd at clergy meetings.

Their lives could not be more different. But they all have one thing in common – the Dodo Pad diaries they have kept as a constant companion to chronicle their lives over many decades, through good times and bad.

We recently launched a search for stories from our ‘superfans’ to give them the chance to share in the celebrations of our rich past. Renowned for its innovative weekly planning grid design, quirky drawings and witty anecdotes, generations have used the Dodo Pad to document their lives and keep their day-to-day goings on in order. So many people now treasure their collections of old Dodo Pads built up over the years, having filled them with their innermost thoughts and life milestones.

adp1112-spread3-jj

This Acad-Pad belongs to a student who started aged 13, is now almost 21 and loves it just as much!

Sarah Vokes said: “A friend of mine way back at university 40 years ago had a Dodo Pad and I envied it enormously. She was rather eccentric and I wanted to be too. I have recently been reunited with this friend, who lives in France, and on meeting again, we shared Dodo memories.”

rachel-rushent-image

Rachael Rushent couldn’t function this year without her Dodo Pad after her mother accidentally threw it away whilst tidying up – and she had no problem rummaging through the bin if it meant getting it back!

She said: “I broke my leg and my mum helpfully came round to help me tidy the house. She managed to scoop up dear Dodo and throw him in the dustbin. I was lost for three days before I decided to have a rummage. After delving through the bin, I found Dodo. My life was restored and I shared my story on Facebook.”

Lady Bridie Graham has been using Dodo Pad diaries since 1978, and can laugh at many a comical tale she has documented of her children growing up through the years.

dodo-pad-bridie-graham

Bridie Graham’s Dodo Pad – October 2016

Recalling one particularly funny memory chronicled within her treasured Dodo Pad pages, she said: “I used to put funny things my children said in it. For instance, I was carrying my two-year-old up to bed for her nap and she said ‘my eye is sore, mummy, we are just going to have to buy me a new one’.”

C of E priest, Cilla Hawkes, said her Dodo Pad stood out from the crowd during clergy meetings. She added: “I like to have my Dodo Pad out at clergy meetings to be a bit outrageous. The Church of England Diary is of course is very useful and good, but using my Dodo Pad lets me not be subsumed into the system. It really is an essential part of getting through life. Its light-heartedness and its mad ideas make me feel I belong to the Dodo Pad family.”

dodo-pad-jo-hidderley-collectionFor Mr Jo Hidderley, his Dodo Pad is a friend he can always rely on. He said: “It’s great fun. The design is brilliant in that it’s so practical and functional it keeps me organised, while still being a joy to look at. At 67, divorced and living on my own – It’s my best friend (Aaah!) It’s also house-trained, very clean, doesn’t take a lot to feed and once purchased it is exceptionally cheap to run.”

Jenni Staunton, aged 60, said: “I love everything about the Dodo Pad and it sits by my side for the whole year. I will keep every one of them forever. I have used my Dodo Pads to record every important moment in the lives of my five children.”

lifeinadodopad

Some exceptionally well-filled Dodo Pads!

The Dodo Pad has also proven to be a genuine friend and source of comfort through the most tragic of circumstances.

“The Dodo Pad means a great deal to me, having used it daily for 40 years.  I have kept all the copies over the years – quite a collection by now – and treasure them with all their memories”. We were very touched when Carole Scott told us: “It is especially poignant because my beautiful daughter Karen died very suddenly and tragically, whilst giving birth to her son in 2002.  It is something which I will never truly get used to, but I have so much of her life chronicled in the Dodo Pads of her youth, which I cherish, along with all my wonderful memories of her.”

dodo-pad-jenni-graham-holden

A proud collection of Dodo Pad diaries stretching back to the 1970’s…

Designed by the late writer, painter and illustrator, Sir John Verney, as a way or organising the hectic daily comings and goings of his family-of-nine, Dodo Pad diaries burst on to the scene back in 1966. With their unusual and family oriented theme, the Dodo Pad immediately became the must-have ‘uber-cool’ organiser.

Fast forward 50 years with me Rebecca Jay, mum-of-one, at the helm, we’re still making waves. We’ve just been included again, for the 5th year running, in The Independent’s IndyBest Top Ten diaries for 2017. Not bad for a 50 year old – and still as relevant today as in 1966.

I’ve been overwhelmed with the response from our ‘Super Fans’ for the heartwarming tales they have shared and the fact that so many people treasure their Dodo Pads as lifelong friends. It really does have a personality and people relate to it. It’s funny, it’s warm, it’s witty and it’s quirky and creative. It’s a unique brand that people love. What other diary brand have you ever heard people say they ‘love’ or ‘couldn’t live without’??

It has been especially moving hearing what an important part the Dodo Pad has played in so many lives over decades. It is more than just a diary – it is a true friend. People use it to tell their innermost thoughts, share milestone moments from their lives and those of their children, remember the happiest times, and use it to comfort them in their worst times. Think of all the things you value in a true friendship – loyalty, dependability and companionship – and that is what people say the Dodo Pad brings them.

I saved Dodo Pad from extinction almost 21 years ago and, when I read what a difference it makes to people’s lives, I feel incredibly proud.

The 2016 50th anniversary diary range was created with a decadent gold and purple cover to mark our ‘Golden Jubilee’. The new 2017 diaries feature a bright and beautiful zesty lime design to stand out from the crowd and welcome in the next 50 years.

ddp17rangewith50yrslogo

 

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Dodo Pad paper now available for your planner (Very proud reblog)

This post originally appeared on the very influential Philofaxy blog on Monday 11th July 2016. Since I’ve not worked out how to reblog a blog from Blogger on WordPress, here it is in its entirety. Suffice it to say we are a just bit proud of the fact that our new paper was given a resounding A* in comparison to the other papers tested for ink showthrough! Ours is the only paper with absolutely no show through at all! And we were up against Filofax and Rhodia Pad papers.

“You might recall a few weeks ago we featured a post asking for thoughts on Dodo Pad making packs of paper available. Well on behalf of Rebecca at Dodo Pad, thank you to everyone who responded to the post either in the comments or by email to Rebecca at Dodo Pad.

After some hard work the packs of paper are now available on the Dodo Pad website for purchase. Rebecca kindly sent me some samples of the paper to try out and share the results with you.

New Dodo Pad A6, A5 and Personal size 100gsm paper for 6 holed planners

Whilst I’ve done some paper tests in the past I sat down and thought about this one a bit more than the previous ones. I wanted to present the results in a fair and balanced way as possible.

As we all know what pen you use and what paper you use can often bring about some compromises as to what pen you can use with what paper you have in your organiser. We are always on the constant hunt for paper that will take fountain pen ink or gel ink without feathering or bleeding through.

So for this test I set out with a selection of pens, which are predominately fountain pens with medium or fine width nibs. My hand writing is not the best for broad width nibs…. or just bad in general! Yes I know! I included a couple of gel pens which I use on a daily basis and a standard Bic ballpoint as a ‘control’ standard.

I scanned in each sheet using a flat bed scanner and without manipulating the images in any way at all joined the front and reverse sides so you can see the front and reverse in one image.

The scanner of course uses a bright light source to perform the scan, of course on white paper this will show up writing on the reverse side depending on the rate of ink absorption and paper thickness etc. But as each paper sample was scanned in the exactly the same way the results should give you a reasonable assessment of each paper sample.

To give you a better idea of how well the Dodo Pad paper performs I conducted the same set of tests on Filofax white paper (approximately 70 gsm), Filofax Cotton Cream paper (80gsm) And Rhodia lined pad paper (80gsm) as well of course as the Dodo Pad paper (100gsm)

So here are the results starting with Filofax white paper:

Filofax White (60-70gsm)
Filofax Cotton Cream (80gsm)
Rhodia Pad (80 gsm)
Dodo Pad (100gsm)

The results are not too surprising. The Filofax White thin paper can not take any form of wet ink without bleeding through, it is almost like blotting paper!

Filofax Cotton Cream is slightly better. But paper weight isn’t obviously the only factor for the performance of paper with regards to wet inks. Compare the Filofax Cotton Cream with the Rhodia Pad paper, it is the same paper weight yet the Rhodia pad shows no bleed through at all. On the Rhodia paper there is a faint shadow of the writing of all pens, but in every day use I doubt if this would bother most users.

And finally a clear winner in this test the Dodo Pad paper, no bleed through and no shadow at all.

The Dodo Pad paper as you can see is square ruled on one side with a discrete logo in the lower right hand corner and plain on the reverse side.

It comes at present in three sizes, Personal, A6 and A5 sizes. It is available in packs of 25 sheets or at a discount if you order it in packs of 50 sheets.

So how much does this wonderful paper from Dodo Pad cost?  A pack of 25 sheets of Personal size or A6 size will cost £3.75 per pack or £4.50 for 25 sheets of A5 paper.

If you buy two packs at the same time you save 10% on the overall product cost.

Dodo Pad have also given buyers a special offer on their delivery charges.

Their standard UK postal/processing charge is £3.50. They realise that this is quite high if you just want to try the paper out, so they will reduce the UK delivery cost for up to three packs of paper or a shopping cart value of £10.50 (whichever is the greater) by 50% to £1.75. Enter 16PPR at checkout This code will work until 31st March 2017.

You can find the whole range of organiser compatible products including diary inserts on the Dodo Pad website.
Thank you to Rebecca for supplying the paper samples. I’m sure this new line is going to sell well.”
Thank you to Philofaxy for their review. The paper is available with the discounts on our website and also Amazon (but no discounts there I’m afraid!)

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Lord Dodo (sorry, Kitchener) WANTS YOU!

#DodoPadFact File A series of occasional posts bringing you a little more background about some of the more unusual or unexpected facts recorded in Dodo Pad and Acad-Pad diaries…

Lord-Kitchener

Who is Lord Kitchener? Horatio Kitchener was a national war hero in WWI born on this day in 1850 in County Kerry, Ireland.

He is perhaps most famous for the iconic recruitment poster:  “Your country needs YOU”. This famous advertisement was responsible for the enlistment of millions of men and has since become one of the most recognised propaganda pieces of the war.

Despite its huge success, only 10,000 copies of the poster were made and now, sadly, only three survive. Two hang proudly on display in museums on different sides of the world – one being the Imperial War Museum, London, and the other in the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. The third poster was put up for sale in 2014 and fetched a staggering £30,000. The previous owner bought the poster for £100 in 1983 – we’d call that a pretty good return on investment.

A bit more than a face on a poster…
Horatio Herbert Kitchener wasn’t just a face on famous poster though. He was a British military leader and statesmen in the First World War. He foresaw the war lasting several years, rather than months, and planned accordingly, despite being in the minority among his colleagues who thought this. Thankfully, due to his military prowess and foresight he was able to organise armies on an unprecedented scale.

He vastly expanded the army from 20 to 70 divisions within two years – known as Kitchener’s Army. Kitchener effectively oversaw war strategy for the first year-and-a-half of the war. After the Battle of Mons in 1914 he traveled to Ypres to stiffen the weakening resolve of Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

Sadly, his cabinet colleagues did not share the public’s love for Kitchener and following an attack by Lord Northcliffe’s newspaper in 1915 over a shortage of shells, responsibility for munitions was taken from him; later that year he was stripped of control over strategy.

His involvement with the Dardanelles campaign led to a further tarnishing of his reputation in the cabinet. In June 1916, Kitchener was sent on a mission to Russia to encourage Russian resistance to Germany. Kitchener’s ship, H.M.S Hampshire struck a German mine off the coast of Orkney and sank. Kitchener sadly drowned on 5th June 1916.

#DodoPadFact File

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