Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am Brigitta Surjadi, and born and raised in Amsterdam. I am someone who loves being with friends, having chats, dinner and coffee, at home but preferably in one of the nice restaurants, bars and so on that I frequent. I like going on trips, discover new places, and get totally absorbed by the atmosphere of the new, however I also love the familiarity of a city when visited more than twice.
After university I worked as a forensic psychological researcher. I did this for three years and during this period my little company I had during university (in importing/producing jewelry/accesories from Japan) evolved into Miscellaneous. At the end of the first year of Miscellaneous I decided to fully embark on this exiting adventure and am leading Miscellaneous full time. Although I absolutely loved my work as a psychologist, and I miss reading scientific articles every now and then, I am happy I’ve made this decision. It was a tough one, but a good one nonetheless.
How did your affinity for stationery begin?
That must have started during university, you see I like my own handwriting and with making notes during classes, I developed this almost OCD thing: I always had to write with a black pen (preferably a MUJI fineliner) on white blank paper. Being on the chaotic side for the main part, I take my notes and scribbels very serious. The same goes for organizing them. So I went on shopping sprees and bought my pens and notebooks in bulk.
I also think the relative lack of stationary in Holland (years before people could care less about their notebook and used that ordinary spiral ring you can get in
the local supermarket), sparked this interest a lot. With parents from Indonesia, I had my share of Hello Kitty pencils, pens and what not, so for those years after, the range of products were kind of dull.
What was your first encounter with Midori`s Traveler`s notebooks?
My first personal encounter with Midori’s Traveler’s Notebook was in Japan in the LOFT ( a large department store with an impeccable stationary segment that just goes beyond the stationary corners we have in Holland). I was captured instantly by its packaging and intuitively bought some refills with it. It was only upon returning
> back in Holland that I realized what a treasure this notebook series was. I felt even guilty not to have bought all my dearest friends one. And at first I cherished it so much that I did not even want to use it, but slipped it in its package after showing it off to friends.
What makes them different from other notebooks?
Traveler’s Notebook is a notebook 3.0, it goes beyond the ordinary ones. I mean, other brands are developing the same system nowadays as well.
What makes them so different, also from those brands recently using the same system, is at first the design. Simple, yet sophisticated and ‘rich’, due to the quality of the leather. The leather itself is also just really beautiful, I always love to see the notebooks of my customers used and all, because the leather cover really tells something about the user too.
Besides the design, the quality of the paper is superb. Midori is a leading paper and stationary producer, which has an incredible know-how when it comes to paper. The various paper-refills are a prime example; Your pen just dances through the pages.
What I really like is that you can personalize your notebook with the plastic refills. It is such a smart feature, and I see it works well too. The way Midori has designed and worked this concept is brilliant. And importantly, the packaging is exquisite. It is very detailed, and you can see that Midori cherishes its products and are putting much love and care into all of it. The packaging (the Traveler’s Notebook comes in a kraft box and cotton dus bag) makes it a treat to open, so it is the perfect gift, anytime.
How did Miscellaneous then come to life?
Miscellaneous was born out of the desire to do anything, as long as I personally was triggered by it. This means either distributing, producing, designing products that could range from a napkin to a lamp. This would result in a group of seemingly incoherent products and activities, hence Miscellaneous.
Recently, we decided to specialize in the stationary niche group and dedicate ourselves to it.
Why do you think, do people go back to analog notebooks in a digital lifetime like this?
I feel that regardless of our developments in technology, we are still brought up with paper and pencil, letters, postcards and books. Therefore we will always feel reminscent and nostalgic over those kind of products. Like with vinyl, whereas a wide consensus exists over all benefits of MP3s or cd’s, I believe playing vinyl records still has a romatic glance over it for everybody. As if listening to a vinyl puts a sepia layer on all. I think the same goes for all other analog products.
Furthermore, some things can still not be replaced by our digital gadgets. An iPhone to-do-list cannot beat the feeling of your pen drawing a line through your to-do list. And I still have not found the way how I can easily type out my brainstorming ideas on my computer in a Word-document.
Second, with an analog notebook I feel you can define your identity a bit: it shows your handwriting (using Arial does not say much about you), and the kind of notebook can also say lots about you like what you are wearing, compared to your PDA, even with a certain case.
What will be the next steps for Miscellaneous?
As a ditributor Miscellaneous will now distribute Midori Traveler’s Notebook, BRASS, KRAFT and Spiral Ring Notebooks in Germany and Scandinavia. We are now researching the regions for appropriate points of sales. For our b2c activities we want to bring our shop to a new level, bringing our clients the products we want ourselves. Besides a selection of the products we distribute, we will also add new brands to our product range. For example, we will be stocking TAJIKA scissors
and Roberu Leather Factory iPhone 4 cases and camera straps end of May.
Will there be retail stores in Germany?
Yes, we are working on finding the best retail stores in Germany, please keep an eye on our corporate site and blog for any news about