Years in the making
Before I started selling Dapper Notes (which were then called Hebrew Type Books), I was already experimenting with making notebook covers. No, not the kind that are hand-sewn into Dapper Notes notebooks, but rather covers that can hold a craft-covered notebook and can be used time and time again.
My first attempt was working with a manufacturer who prints, sews, and finishes all types of products. I had samples made to my specifications, and after a few back-and-forths I decided that effort was futile. They just weren't able to pull off the kind of quality I was hoping to see.
After taking a long break from the idea (during which I started selling Dapper Notes), I followed up with more attempts at two other manufacturers. While what they were producing was certainly acceptable, the final product just didn't feel like something I'd want to put my name on.
Taking matters into my own hands
Seeing no success through partnerships, I decided to try my own hand at making notebook covers. Mind you, up until this point I never used a sewing machine, and since the design I came up with required sewing along a straight edge, I had no idea if I could pull it off.
I was right to be doubtful. As it turns out, my machine sewing skills are better left unmentioned. Pictured above is one of my better attempts at rounding a corner, and needless to say it would take years before I'd be able to work it out.
Fail until you don't
Ah, yes, the mantra of failing knowing you'll eventually succeed. Not to put false hopes in the hands of the incapable (I'm speaking to myself and my own hopes of one day being able to machine-sew a straight line. Never gonna happen), but sometimes failing enough at one thing helps you discover a new way that actually works.
I was near the point of giving up on the cover idea altogether when I realized I was approaching it all wrong. All of the samples, and attempts, and designs, and whatever I tried in between, all of them would have potentially made a fine notebook cover. The reason none of them were working was that they were just the same old cover you've seen a million times before. I was mimicking an existing concept, with the only difference being the fabric patterns.
I needed to find the thing that made mine Dapper Notes covers. Not just...covers.
So I took it back to the basics, considering the three ingredients that make Dapper Notes unique: fabric, book cloth, and glue. It took me several more rounds of experimenting and tweaking my measurements, but I'm delighted to announce that I'm in the middle of creating my very first batch of thread-less craft book covers. I think they look amazing; they fit 3.5x5.5" pocket notebooks like a glove, there are pockets for holding credit cards, and most importantly: the truly feel like a Dapper Notes item and deserving of the name.
I have seven different designs in the works, all of which are going to be available early December 2018 when the holiday gift shop opens.
I'm super excited about the new covers, and cannot wait to hear what y'all think of the final product.
UPDATE: The new line of Billfold wallet covers is now available