Every season, Moleskine introduces a selected number of Limited Edition notebooks, the famed Italian stationery brand’s way of embracing and celebrating the artistry and imagination of figures and characters that have become contemporary pop icons – an ecosystem created to enhance the expansion of knowledge, creativity and individual expression.
Besides that, Moleskine has broadened the opportunity to accessorise with its capsule collection of bags made in denim-inspired technical fabric. Designed to inspire and nurture creativity and function symbiotically with a modern nomadic lifestyle, the bag collection is essential and functional: the front pocket on the backpack is unexpectedly spacious, and as it wraps around the bottom of the bag, it also becomes a structural element which allows the bag to stand upright instead of tipping over as most backpacks are wont to do.
The digitally savvy may delve into Moleskine’s Smart Writing System that bridges the analogue and digital worlds. Previously, there has been a selection of Smart tools available, such as the Pen+ Ellipse, and Smart notebooks with specially designed N-coded papers that allow users to move seamlessly between their paper and digital realities, helping them capture, develop and share contents – regardless of where they are. The Fall/Winter 2018 seasons welcome a set of new tools: a pencil case with a slot for re-charging the Pen+ Ellipse, and a new Smart Planner called the Pro, which will become a complementary part of this growing ecosystem Moleskine is nurturing.
How does the brand go about the selection process in choosing which pop culture to focus on, from the abundant references available year in, year out?
The reason we do the special editions is because our limited edition collections are a way for us to promote brand awareness, and expand our target audience. It’s a way for us to increase our storytelling process, and in a way, engage in even more stories we may not have been able to cross paths with otherwise.
We are always looking more towards the literature, before we look into those of TV series or films; the meaning of the book, and what the book meant to the society at the time of its popularity. Whereas for special editions like the Super Mario collection, it’s a completely different story, as we are celebrating the anniversary of the iconic video
In this modern technological era, how do you see Moleskine still keeping true to its pen and paper module, while moving forward with the digitalisation of writing, without compromising on the brand value and identity in analogue?
We are still maintaining the paper aspect we have built throughout all these years, and we have no plans in neglecting it, but at the same time, we notice that our customers, besides writing on paper, are also emailing and sending documents online. So, we are always looking to bridge the analogue and the digital experience. We acknowledge the benefit of the digital platform is the instantaneous sharing, and the possibility of countless editing.
The Smart Writing System is to have a Moleskine experience upon paper, but the convenience of linking the written text directly to the digital amenities. In the future, we are keen in adding more digital tools, while at the same time, we don’t want to lose the essence of the paper, as our brand’s promise is a promise of inspiration. So, no matter where the inspiration comes from, whether from the paper or digital devices, we are always looking to better empower the consumers on their day to day process.
The origin of Moleskine started with the “little black book” that renowned writers were using. How does something as simple as a piece of paper inspire such creativity and such vision?
It comes from the history we have, and the consistency in delivering the idea of telling a story to the consumers. In the beginning, when we launched a notebook, we positioned it not in a stationery shop as one usually would, but in a bookstore instead; a positioning that was built upon the idea of “a book yet to be written”. In that way, we were already speaking volumes to the author that resides in every one of us.
Nowadays, we just have to deliver iconic products of pure design that allow people to achieve their creative or productive potentials. It’s all about empowering people through an ecosystem of products, to achieve the best in what they are doing. We may have a lot of competitors, but we are proud to say that Moleskine has already established itself as a brand known and recognised across regions, the best companion for your creativity process.
What would you say is the basis of such success for Moleskine?
The success, I would say, is due to the meaning that we carry as a brand: pure design, and the story of self-expression and empowerment – one that our audience acknowledges and recognises us with. Basically, we sell the most difficult thing to sell: a blank page. But we don’t sell a blank page per se, but instead we sell the moment we start using a blank page. That moment may make you feel uncertain, yet empowering at the same time. I believe that when people use our products they start feeling more empowered, and safer in getting their creative process started.
Often times, aspiring artists feel insecure in working on their creativity, but with Moleskine, there is already a built standard there that makes them feel safe in an environment often visited by more renowned artists. It all comes down to the sense of belonging. It’s mostly emotional (laughs), but I suppose, creativity is all about the emotions, eh?
Moleskine has established two standalone stores in Singapore, and a café in Beijing. What more can we look forward to in terms of brick and mortar expansions and beyond for Moleskine, particularly in the Asia region?
We are always looking back to our past to get inspired for the future, to find a solid ascension for the next step of the journey. Moleskine has been present at literary cafés across Europe in the last century, where renowned writers used to sit back and talk to each other. Nowadays, we get inspired from those kind of cafes, and we want to duplicate the same experience. The creative experience is not something collective, but something more individual to each person: you enter the café and you sit down at a favourable table to enjoy a cup of good quality coffee, while using the café as a workplace to get work done. There are also exhibitions of artworks and sketches by local artists, to complete the immersive experience.
For Moleskine, we have the products, we have the service, and now, we have the space. While retail is not one of our utmost priorities, but plans to open up new stores are definitely in the pipeline, alongside cafés, which we have already established in Milan, Hamburg, Geneve and Beijing – the first in Asia. On top of that, of course, bettering the performance of our e-commerce platform.