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📢 📢 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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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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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Me, myself and I…Oh, and the rest of the world

There was a time not so long ago when people kept their daily rants, moans, info on their latest weird crushes and philosophical thoughts on life to themselves and their diaries.

Then a little thing called Twitter came along and everything changed. Suddenly people thought that everybody else really cared about how their boss had spoken to them at work (we probably don’t), what they were eating for lunch (we REALLY don’t) and how cute their baby looks eating/sleeping/dancing (OK, we concede on that one, but just occasionally).

Dear-Diary

A page from the 2011 Dodo Pad diary

Worse still, the world of celebrity went into overdrive and egos already bigger than the stratosphere expanded even further as millions of people tuned in to see what their idols were getting up to at every second of every day.

Twitter provided an amazing platform for people to speak out and reach audiences they could only have ever dreamed of. But it’s become more a public forum for everyone to take out their beef with the world. And while it’s funny for the rest of us to sit and watch, more than one celeb has found themselves an international laughing stock as the result of a Twitter outburst.

Take good ol’ Kanye West for example – a man adored by millions with a successful rap career, pretty hefty bank balance, a stunning wife, two beautiful kids, numerous homes etc. etc. However, when Kanye was feeling a bit sorry for himself, he thought he’d share it with the world.

A few misguided tweets later (slating his ex, Amber Rose, and critics of his music, moaning about being in debt and begging Mark Zuckerberg for cash etc.) and the world just frankly thinks he’s gone bonkers.

His wife, Kim Kardashian West – who has proved herself quite the savvy businesswoman after being  thrust into our attentions with a leaked sex tape – joined her hubby in the public embarrassment stakes when she took to Twitter to pose nude (again) and then slagged off everyone who dared to criticise her on International Women’s Day.

The Wests are not the only ones of course. From Courtney Love threatening designer Dawn Simorangkir in a series of misspelled Twitter ramblings, to Alec Baldwin’s outburst against American Airlines, Charlie Sheen’s public meltdown and Aston Villa Joleon Lescott alienating fans by tweeting a picture of a £120,000 Mercedes after his side lost 6-0 to Liverpool (he later claimed it was sent accidentally in his pocket – but fans weren’t buying the excuse), celebs from all walks of life have learnt how easy it is to lose friends and alienate people at the click of a button.

Celebs – and humankind as a whole – please take note. Twitter is an amazing tool for voicing an opinion to the masses. But sometimes the world doesn’t need to know your thoughts (or what you’re eating for dinner). Before taking to Twitter, take a moment to decide if what you’re saying is really worth inflicting on the world – or if it’s probably best kept to yourself and a rather more private diary.

@lord_dodo

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Desk delight for wilting workstations

Dodo doodlers, splendid scribblers, joyful jotters and noble note-takers behold! The Dodo Jotter has landed!

Our brand-spanking new, generously sized A3 desk pad has been lovingly designed to alleviate boredom and keep even the scattiest desk-dweller on the straight and narrow.

Dodo Pad Jotter

The dodelightful Dodo Jotter!

The Jotter has all of the charm (if we may humbly say so) of our much-loved Dodo Pad diary paired with the functionality that fans of the Dodo Pad have come to rely upon over the last *ahem* almost 50 years. With a segregated doodle area for scribbling on whilst on the phone, to a three-month planner and even special zones for biscuits and coffee, the Dodo Jotter is the perfect adornment and ideal distraction for any desk.

In the 'biscuit' zone

A perfectly sized spot for a choc chip cookie or biscuit of your choice!

It also doubles, triples and quadruples up as a saucer, hangman display board and somewhere to rest your head when it’s been ‘one of those days’. (The paper smells nice too – we tested it! 😀 )

Are you looking at your own dog-eared desk jotter right now? Do you see those crinkly corners? Well, on Lord Dodo’s Dodo Jotter, it’s the bottom edge that’s glued rather than the traditional top, saving corners from rolling up and becoming unsightly. Sorry, other jotters, it’s nothing personal.

With every crook and corner of our own Dodo Pads covered with doodles, notes, telephone messages and more, we decided the time was right to create a large Dodo Jotter to free up space to be creative and expressive as well as note any critical daily ‘To Do’s –or ‘To Do-Do’s as we say on this particular product!

There’s lots of space for thoughts, ideas, doodles and dates. As you will know, there’s little more frustrating than finding you’ve scribbled smiley faces all over the back of a very important document. Having a Dodo Jotter on the desk will alleviate such problems, and that’s why you can grab one now from our online store.

And don’t forget to keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages as there will be a chance to win one in the not too distant future and there’s even a baby-sized version on the cards – it’s a fast developing twinkle in Lord Dodo’s eye!

Happy Easter weekend!

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That was the National Stationery Week that was!

Sorry we didn’t blog last week, we were on tour… No, not with Lord Dodo’s heavy metal band the Wailing Dodo’s (one for another blog, I’m sure *hemhem*), but to celebrate National Stationery Week at the London Stationery Show! Like Nelly the Elephant before him, Lord Dodo proudly packed his trunk (and we packed ours) and we transported our wares up to the big smoke to showcase the best of Dodo Pad at the Business Design Centre in London’s Islington. Though we did request from HRH Queen Elizabeth II Dodo Herethat The Royal Train be used to ferry His Lordship to the city, unfortunately the locomotive was in for a service on the 1 – 2 April and therefore we had to find an alternative mode of transport . The drive from Cornwall meant several pit stops to stretch wings and legs, but we made it to the capital in one piece and boy, was it worth the journey! From pens and sticky notes to little folding contraptions and staple-less staplers that – if it wasn’t down to the little perspex window that shows you exactly how it works, you’d surely mark down as witchcraft – the show was a feast for the senses; a true stationery lovers’ paradise. Taking place during National Stationery Week (a fantastic campaign to ‘Get Britain Writing’ – you can read more here) some of the nicest little companies – including us *blush* – showcased the latest and best products on their stands. We proudly displayed next year’s diary (it’s the one before the big 50th edition – hold on to your hats!), the new, blue and just for you Acad-Pad 2014/15 and our new Dodo Mini Blank Book along with our range of greetings cards and even our very special (and freshly hatched) Dodo Jotter! The London Stationery Show is a very special place, with the best of the best stationery on display for all to see, touch, sniff and peck at. We went, we saw, we made new friends and showed the stationery world what Dodo Pad is all about. We only wish you could have all been there to have a good laugh with us on our stand. You’ll have to save your giggles for Lord Dodo’s 50th birthday bash and bonanza, which you’re all invited to! Details to follow in due course, stay in touch with us here, on Twitter or on Facebook! Or if you’d  like to be ‘Kept Posted’ on the #DodoJubilee celebrations sign up here.

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The Mother’s Day Anti-Gift Guide

We didn’t really need to put ‘Mothering Sunday’ in our Dodo Pad to tell you that this Sunday is a Mum’s special day, did we? Surely the violent explosions of pink in every shop and the excessive flowers appearing at petrol stations all around the UK were enough reminder that the time has come around to tell your Mum how much she means to you.

Mothers have an exceptional ability to know what we’re going to do before we’ve done them, often before we’ve even thought about doing them, such is the power of maternal instinct. Lord Dodo himself was often caught feeding his dinner to the dog under the dining room table before the breakfast pancakes were even served at the table.

Dodo Pad, Flowers, Mother's Day

When you were small, your Mum cut off your crusts before she put your sandwiches into your lunch bag. She gave you ‘the look’ when you were about to say something embarrassing and she dutifully took you to all the parties you’d been invited to. She sent birthday cards on your behalf and stopped you from opening all of your advent calendar windows on the first day of the season.

We love our Mums here at Dodo Pad, and we felt that we could learn from the things that they’ve taught us over the years to give them priceless presents this Mothering Sunday. Here’s our anti-gift guide*. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Lick a tissue and wipe your Mum’s face with it before she goes out. She always did it for you, it’s time to repay the favour
  • Take your Mum out for dinner and cut her meal up into bite-size portions. If she complains, give her ‘the look’
  • Apologise to people on behalf of your Mum when she’s making a complaint on the telephone, to a neighbour or in a shop, explaining that she’s “tired and emotional”
  • Now you’re tall and grown, take your Mum’s favourite snacks and treats from the cupboard and put them on the highest point in the kitchen so she can’t eat them in-between meals
  • Follow your Mum into the bathroom in the morning and say “30 more seconds” once she’s finished brushing her teeth, handing her back the brush
  • Insist your Mum finishes every morsel on her plate at dinner
  • Point to the soap if she swear
  • Threaten to knock her and your Dad’s heads together if they’re in a disagreement about watching Match of the Day

* Lord Dodo accepts no responsibility for smacked legs, groundings, mobile phone confiscation, internet unplugging or pocket money retraction that may come as a result of our fun Anti-Gift guide.

Do you have any fun anti-gift guide ideas to add of your own? Comment here and we’ll choose our favourite to win a special something from the Dodo Pad for you or your Mum – you decide who 🙂

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