Despite living in a world of constant connectivity and digital devices, it is evident that the roots of our paper past are stronger than ever. With an app to do just about everything and anything, we think that nothing can organise you more than physically writing it down with pen and paper. Old school style.
In an interview with our Managing Director, Kerri B Middleton, we talked about the of the paper diary, surviving in the digital age, and Busy B’s 20th Birthday.
How does it feel to be celebrating 20 years of Busy B/K TWO products?
KM: Fantastic! I’m so proud of all we have achieved as a team and I’m still as passionate about creating clever and beautiful stationery now as I was back then. I love how the Busy B brand is developing and I feel lucky to be doing something I love with such talented and committed people around me.
What first made you want to design ‘genius’ products?
KM: I am a product designer at heart, I studied product design at Glasgow School of Art and then worked for an entrepreneurial boss in my 1st job. It gave me the spark to try taking a product to market my self and I wanted those products to genuinely useful. I love creating products that are clever solutions to problems and the card tree was the first example of solving a problem with a compact and attractive holder which displayed the cards nicely on the wall, mantlepiece or on a table.
Tell us about your journey 20 years ago today. Any highlights/challenges/stories?
KM: LOADS of challenges, then and now! It’s part of running a business but you learn from each one and gradually make more good decisions than bad! There were a few times in the early years where it would have been easier to throw in the towel. It’s a journey, the key thing is to learn and never give up!
There have been to many highlights. Winning a big order or a new prestigious customer is always exciting. My first every large order from Museum of Modern Art in New York when I first started the business – for 10,000 card trees – that certainly felt amazing!
Our rebrand to Busy B in 2019 was a real highlight and a step in the right direction for the business.
What’s the best think about creating ‘genius’ new stationery products for women?
KM: We spend a lot of time at Busy B understanding the busy lives and needs of our customers and we want to give them a good solution to an organising frustration or problem. It gives me such pleasure to hear our customers wax lyrical about how much the enjoy our products.
What is it about Busy B products that have made them so popular?
KM: The combination of clever features, lovely quality and appealing looks.
Why is the paper diary so important/popular in this day and age?
KM: Digital diary solutions are often very practical. And that has a clear benefit in today’s busy lives. However, it seems that the appeal for the paper diary is greater than ever. I think this stems from the desire still, even for the younger generation, to interact with a physical planner and write things down. But diaries have to be gorgeous, they are a type of fashion accessory now, reflecting your personality and your style.
What can a paper diary give you that a digital one can’t?
KM: You can make it your own and make it personal. You can add stickers, your own plans and to do lists, store things, keep reminders and bits of paper altogether, and get more joy from organising on paper than on a screen.
What’s your go-to diary? How and why do you use it?
KM: I use our best selling diary, the Busy Life Diary. It’s hugely useful at the stage I am at in my life as I am busy juggling a schedule at work and one at home for my family too. It’s all about finding what format and look is right for you and your lifestyle.
What’s the future for the paper diary?
KM: As long as they keep evolving with the fashions, new gorgeous looks and materials are embraced and diaries continue to offer a practical function combined with useful features.
There’s no doubt that the integration with technology will be a key going forward but I think there is a digital diary bridge where people can enjoy using both tech and paper to stay beautifully organised.
Why is it so important to keep stationery and paper products alive?
KM: It’s a basic human instinct to make marks on paper, stone, fabric to record or communicate information. With such busy lives we all need a way to stay on top of all we have to do and remember. The thought of a future with everyone using their phone or a digital device to organise everything in their lives seems impersonal.