Protect Yourself when Shopping for a Traveler’s Notebook Cover

I belong to twelve different Traveler Notebook related Facebook groups and run an additional one.  Recently there has been a rash of consumers of fauxdori covers being scammed and taken advantage of.  Many of these victims were new users of the traveler notebook. There are probably hundreds of fauxdori vendors on Etsy, and the internet in general, selling20150226_115218 their wares.  There is a much smaller number of craftsmen and craftswomen who create ‘artisanal’ covers – reputable dealers who provide prompt communication, clear ordering instructions, and have a proven track record of sales and satisfied customers.

So what do you do if you are new to the world of TN’s and are overwhelmed by the choices of vendors?  There are a few things you can do ahead of time to lessen the chance that you will be disappointed in the end.

1.  Join Facebook groups related to the TN world.  Often consumers first become aware of an active scam on there when someone posts their negative experience…and others then validate they had the same experience.  The largest groups are: Traveler’s Notebook Forum, Lady Falcon’s Traveler’s Notebooks, Midori Traveler’s Notebook Resources, and the newest addition – Planner Swap Feedback – specifically created to provide a space for buyers to provide feedback on various vendors.   My group is Inserts, Inserts, Inserts – however it doesn’t specifically provide scam info regarding vendors of covers.  Note that all these groups are closed groups so you must join in order to see posts and information.

2.  If you are going to buy a cover off Etsy check these things:  How new is the shop?  Is there information about the shop owner?  How many buyer reviews are there and are they positive?  How new are the buyer reviews?  Have you asked on the various Facebook groups if anyone has dealt with the vendor you are interested in?  When planning your cover, is the shop owner responsive and communicative?  What is the refund policy?  (Custom covers are not normally refunded if you are dissatisfied – especially if you pre-approved the design).

3.  Always pay through PayPal or a credit card as there are dispute processes if you feel something shady is going on or you are being scammed.  Your purchase is protected with these payment methods.

Covers cost anywhere between $20 and up….the upper end being well over $100.  Covers are an investment that those of us in the TN world hope will be well made and stand up to years of service.  TN fans become emotionally attached to their covers.  It pays to take the time to do your research, study and understand what you want, what you are going to use it for, what kind of wear and tear it will get, what material you want it made of, and what size it will be.  The more front end research you do before investing, the happier you will be when that new cover is finally in your hands.

Show Me how to do THAT!

youtube_logo_stacked-vfl225ZTxThe world of traveler’s notebooks looks pretty cut and dry at face value – a chunk of leather with holes and elastic, some little booklets and more elastic.  Not so fast.  The love of traveler’s notebooks is complicated when you really dig your heels in.  It isn’t because that chunk of leather is complicated, it is because of the nature of the TN – you can make it anything you want, you can tailor it to your own life, hobbies, dreams, health needs, school, work, family – literally the TN can hold your life in your hands.

Once you start grasping the full potential of the TN that is when the fun really begins.  So how do you do that…make it your own?   One way is to see how others have done it before you.  With the advent of YouTube, there are hundreds, no thousands of how-to videos regarding aspects of TN supplies and design.  That in itself is a problem because do you really want to sit down and watch a thousand videos on how to make a folder or particular booklet?  Luckily we have Jennifer Faber, who has done the hard work for you!  She has compiled all those videos from various YouTube channels for your viewing pleasure!  You can subscribe to her channel and get the best instructional videos for making your TN your own.  You can also just occasionally visit her channel if you don’t have a YouTube account and don’t want to subscribe.

Not only does her channel have instructional videos but also videos from some of the industry’s most creative artists.  If you want to make your own clear folder, refill, restring your cover, creative challenges for your planner, get ideas on an art booklet, see setups for different size TN’s, comparisons of leathers and so much more.  If you are trying to learn a new skill or see how others do something check out her channel right here.

Next week, I’ll review the many Facebook groups out there – which are a wealth of inspiration and creativity as well.

Are You New to the World of the Traveler Notebook? Some Basic Information…

The original Traveler Notebook has been around since the early 1950’s.  Called the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, it is an import from Japan and actually made in Thailand.  Fans of the traveler notebook style call anything not the Midori a 20150308_081525“Fauxdori.” There are a lot of Faux’s out there and many have rightly earned their own names and own fan following because of the high quality of workmanship that goes in to each one.  Almost all of the Faux’s are made by hand, one at a time, and often customized by the creators.  I don’t actually know of ANY genuine leather Faux’s that are not made by hand, hence the cost of the cover which, depending on size, can run anywhere between $30 and $100 and higher depending on how much customization you want to your cover.

What sets ‘Dori’s apart from other types of planners such as Filofax, Erin Condren, Cocoa Daisy, etc is that the ‘Dori is very versatile in how you choose to use it and set it up.  There are literally no limitations when it comes to how to use it.  The basic principle behind the ‘Dori is this:  it comes with elastic bands down the spine that hold your inserts inside.  The inserts can be changed, moved around, and you can make your own inserts.  Midori original fans call them refills….

The number of elastic bands down the spine vary with style and customization.  The number of bands does not limit the number of inserts you have in your Dori as there are ways to hold more inserts…see TheResetGirl on YouTube for more on this.

There is a whole world of artists making inserts, dashboards, folders, pockets, stickies, clips, and more so that you can make your ‘Dori exactly the way you want it for your exact needs.  Many ‘Dori fans have more than one, I myself have three and use all of them.  Which brings me to size.  The original Midori is considered the ‘regular’ size that other ‘Dori’s are compared to.  There are also larger ‘Dori’s and smaller ‘Dori’s, clear down to the cover that is the size of a standard passport.  Many ‘Dori fans use this size for a wallet.  You can look here for exact measurements of the cover and the inserts for all the different sizes.  This chart is from MorganLeFaesTrinkets blog, which also gives new users a host of information on setting up notebooks.

I would go so far as to say that ‘Dori’s have a cult following and people who use them are extremely passionate about them and protective of the artists who create them.  There are a multitude of blogs, Facebook groups, Instagram Profiles all centered around the ‘Dori.  I have a lot of links on my blogroll on the right side of my blog that will link you to cover artists, supplies, and blogs.  If you have questions feel free to post them.  If you are a longtime fan, please share this post with those who are contemplating their first ‘Dori.

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