Some time at the end of the last century, I discovered the classic Moleskine notebook. I think my brother introduced me to them. I was charmed by its origins (or, at least its origin myth), and used them loyally for five or six years.
But, like so many things in life, Moleskine went from being something I thought of as a little secret to something everybody knew about. Of course, it was probably never actually a secret, but perception is reality and all that. Thinking of myself as a special snowflake, I shunned the mainstreamed Moleskines and turned to other notebooks.
I usually lose notebooks before I finish them. That was the case with my latest one, and I found myself downtown at Chapters in earnest need of a new notebook. Chapters has become a gift store with some books and magazines instead of an actual bookstore, so I approached the large ‘Journals’ section with confidence. Maybe, I though, I’ll try a Moleskine again.
Here’s what I saw:
Three big shelf units full of Moleskine notebooks. There must be 50 different varieties–soft cover, travel journals, address books, pink, royal blue, baby blue, azure, on and on and on. Visit their online store–they have categories within categories. Need an 18-month weekly horizontal planner in red? They’ve got it. I wonder, what would Bruce Chatwin think?
That, dear readers, is the face of brand extension run rampant.
Ironically, I couldn’t actually find the original model that I wanted. I asked, and a helpful clerk found one for me in the, uh, discount rack.
I know this is one of those ‘you kids get off my lawn, things were better when’ blog posts. But I always feel offended kind of commodification and exploitation of a narrative. But then, that’s how little companies get big. See also Vera’s Burgers. Sadly, apparently the shack on the West Vancouver beach where that franchise got it’s start is gone.