Two Interesting Filofax Articles

With the benefit of hindsight, what do you think of these 2010 articles? Were Filofax right? Did they misjudge the market? Does what they say in these articles still hold true three years later? Did they go too far down the girly/fashion route?

Sources for both article are at the end.

The return of the Filofax

Sales of Filofaxes are soaring
Harry Wallop

By , Consumer Affairs Editor

7:00AM GMT 25 Feb 2010

 It’s like the 1980s never ended. Electropop rules the airwaves, rolled-up jacket sleeves are de rigueur, Torvill and Dean are on the telly and the Tories have a spring in their step once again.

But the revival of the Filofax is perhaps the surest sign that we have entered a time warp.

Figures from Selfridges out yesterday suggested personal organisers – those big, heavy leather-bound symbols of aspiration and power – are flying off the shelves.

Sales of Filofaxes have increased 25 per cent over the last year. Smythson, ostensibly a stationery shop, but more a shrine to featherweight paper and calfskin extravagance, says sales of its diaries jumped last year too. Even Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue and arbiter of taste, has been scribbling into her organiser in the front rows of London Fashion Week.

In an age when an iPhone can tell you not only where you want to eat, but also translate the menu and map your taxi-route home via a cashpoint, it is curious that such relics to the pen and ink era are flourishing.

Users of Filofaxes say the reason is simple. They are easy to use and don’t ever run out of battery life.

Gemma Cartwright is a self-styled geek, who runs a celebrity fashion website,, and blogs in her spare time.

But she says she could not live without her pink, leather-bound Filofax.

“I find it so much easier to keep track of everything – contact numbers, diary appointments. If you are on phone to someone, you just jot down the date in your Filofax. You can’t do that with when your diary is on the phone itself. You have to stop talking.

“And my Google android phone doesn’t work on the tube.”

The colour of her Filofax is a bit of a give away to the identity of the new Filofax fans.

“In the 1980s, it used to be a City boy thing,” says Matt Watson at Filofax. “But we’ve seen a real swing to the female market. About two-thirds of our sales are to women, whereas in the 1980s, just a quarter were.”

Selfridges says its best-selling personal organiser is the Filofax Deco in Ruby, made from glossy Italian calf leather with a micro crocodile print, finished off with a polished diamond-cut clasp and a cream pigskin suede interior. Decidedly feminine, and far from cheap at £195, it costs almost the same as an iPhone or Blackberry.

But that’s the point.

Retrieving an iPhone from your pocket as you sit down for a meeting lost its allure once Tesco started selling the devices. Taking out a Filofax or Smythson organiser bound in Italian leather, filled with your inky handwriting, suggests you have class – a rare commodity these days.

Emma Wooley, at Smythson, says: “In the face of this technical revolution, organisers have become a real luxury. But because you use them every day they are a justifiable luxury.

“It’s the texture of the paper, the feel of the pen nib on paper, it’s the smell of the leather. People have an emotional attachment to their personal organisers, in a way that they never can do with a Blackberry. Does a Blackberry make you smile?”

And the Filofax is not completely trapped in the 1980s. You can now synchronise your Filofax with Microsoft Outlook and other email programmes. A £12.50 piece of software will convert all your numbers and emails and print them onto special Filofax paper, with the holes already punched. The ultimate back-up for when your computer crashes.

There’s even rumour of a Filofax application for the iPhone.

If the 1980s revival goes on any longer, the Sinclair C5 will soon be spotted on Britain’s highways.

and on a similar note:

The Filofax is back
The Filofax, one of the ultimate symbols of yuppie aspiration, is back, according to retailers who reported sales of the personal organiser have taken off after finding favour with women.

Harry Wallop

By , Consumer Affairs Editor

7:00AM GMT 24 Feb 2010

It is the latest relic of the 1980s to enjoy a resurgence, following big hair, shoulder pads and a disagreement over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

Selfridges said sales of Filofax personal organisers had increased by 25 per cent during January and February compared with the same period last year. Other organisers, including those made by upmarket stationery company Smythson were selling equally well, it said.

The retailer put the revival down women shunning iPhones and other electronic organisers, in favour of solid, easy-to-use stationery, which were more personal and distinctive.

A spokesman for Selfridges said: “Women now consider it as a fashion accessory. Blackberries and iPhones are quite masculine products, when you take them out of your bag and put them on the table.

“Taking out a Filofax is quite a fashion statement.”

Filofax, a British company, enjoyed enormous success during the 1980s, when the products were considered a crucial accessory for any up and coming merchant banker, along with braces, a brick-sized mobile phone and an invitation Annabel’s nightclub

However, according to the company it sold about half a million of its products last year, far in excess of the 150,000 it sold during its peak year in the 1980s, when the most upmarket versions cost in excess of £100.

The modern Filofax organiser, which starts at about £25, still uses a ring binder allowing customers to collect a diary, address book, maps, restaurant guides, note paper, business card holders and other stationery in one folder, usually leather-bound.

A spokesman for the company said: “We’ve seen a real swing to the female market. In the 1980s about a quarter of our sales were to females, it is now about 65 per cent. It used to be for City boys; many of our customers now use it to juggle their home and work life.”



Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

3 thoughts

  1. They are 2010 articles. I’ve heard that sales declined since then. Anyway, both sounds like paid advertisement from Filofax itself

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