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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Beautiful new slipcover colours!

Hallooo Dear Dodopadlers! Miss Peabody here with some exciting ‘new-product’ news!

Our new batch of gorgeous slipcovers has arrived! There are new colours this year for the Italian leather slipcovers, and a new Nubuck line of covers that is positively divine.

Our slipcovers are uber-exclusive and there are very limited quantities of all colours, especially the natural hide covers in elegant Ecru and decadent Royal Purple (created in honour of the recent Royal Wedding):

Leather cover selection

The sensuous new recycled Nubuck covers have a suede-like feel making them wonderful to hold in your hands (and happily, unlike some suedes, are very stain-resistant):

Nubuck covers

The smooth recycled leather covers come in a variety of cheery colours:

Recycled leather covers

The faux leather covers are made of man-made materials and have a wonderfully leather-like look and feel. (You may have already seen my post about how much I love my iridescent lilac faux leather slipcover.)

Faux leather covers

You’re sure to find a colour that suits you!

The slipcovers come in the Desk and Mini sizes to fit your original or mini size Dodo Pad or Acad-Pad diaryClick here and scroll down to see all the colours for each size in your choice of leather, nubuck, or faux leather.

These covers are perfect for protecting your diary all year, or for keeping the exuberance of your Dodo under wraps for those more staid environs.

The front and back covers of your diary slip into the cover, then slip out again to be replaced by the following year’s diary so you can enjoy using your slipcover for years to come.

(Here’s a secret: some Dodopadlers own several slipcovers in various colours to match their bag, their ensemble or even their mood and swap them accordingly!)

Production took place in a studio on the banks of the River Arno in Florence – lucky Lord Dodo got to see them being made! It’s finished for this year’s batch of slipcovers, which means all of these beautiful covers are Limited Edition and when they are gone, they are completely gone. So don’t hesitate to order the colour you want, we wouldn’t want you to be disappointed!

Which is your favourite colour? I can’t decide which is more stunning, the Ecru or Royal Purple natural hide covers, or the Aqua Nubuck cover!  They’re all fabulous, aren’t they??

Toodle-oo for now!

Miss P

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