Guest post from Mrs Brimbles

Hi everyone my name is Anna although most people know me online as Mrs Brimbles which is a nickname which, well, kinda stuck. So I am probably mostly known for my YouTube channel where I talk about all things Filofax related on Filofax Fridays. NoƩmi asked if she could interview me for her blog and of course I said yes! I love her blog and one of her newest fans. She very kindly sent me some questions and here I am with my answers.

1. You’re a graphic designer, filofax-enthusiast and entrepreneur, how and why did you start creating filofax inserts for sale?
I have used a Filofax since 2002 which back then was for social use only as I was working in a HR role and used outlook for everything work related. I decided that HR wasn’t the career for me and decided to go back to college to re-train so I did this whilst working part time and then eventually I took voluntary redundancy to work for myself. It was at this time that I needed to start using my Filofax for work as well as personal. I am a creative person and there are a couple of reasons that I created my own inserts. Firstly it was easier and cheaper as I had what I wanted on hand without having to buy a small pack of to do sheets I could just print them off. Secondly where I live we don’t have any shops that sell stickers or cute things to decorate my pages with so I started to doodle on them which then migrated into having the inserts with the doodles already on them. Lastly I found that I needed or wanted different things in my Filofax that at the time I couldn’t find so it was easier to make what I wanted. All of the inserts that I sell and giveaway are all inserts that have been designed for my own use, it was actually a couple of friends that gave me the push to sell them, I never thought anyone would be interested!

2. Does creating designs for people’s planners pay off? What tools do you use to advertise your products?      
If you mean in terms of do I make a living from it the answer would be no. I don’t think people realize sometimes how much goes into making inserts. Firstly I have to create the doodle and perfect it until I am happy with it, then I have to digitalise it and colour it in digitally and then I create the inserts. Once they are created I test drive them to make sure that they are OK and there aren’t any tweaks needed. Mostly Etsy ticks along nicely as people get an instant download but I do have to answer queries from people pre and post sale which can also be quite timely. I genuinely enjoy what I do though and being part of the planner community. I try and keep costs as low as possible for people and what a lot of people forget is that Etsy charge fees as does paypal and postage is also really high. I love doing what I do and I am truly grateful for each and every one of my customers as without them I wouldn’t do what I do! I hate selling, I am the world’s worst business woman at that! I genuinely and truly enjoy making YouTube videos and posting photos on instagram but I don’t like to hard sell or sell to people constantly. I like to think that if people like me and my inserts they will go find my Etsy store without me having to ram it down their throat. If I didn’t have an Etsy store I would still make YouTube videos and blog because I genuinely and truly enjoy doing it.

3. What would you say is the biggest difference between your life before you got in on planning and filofaxing, and now?
Oh gosh, I don’t know really. I have always been very organized because I have to. I am very scatty so if I don’t organize it then I can’t cope! Being at University I had to be very organized and actually at School I had a planner, we were all given a new one every year by the school for tracking homework and the like so it is just second nature to me. When I entered the World of work it just carried on, that is why I used to make a good PA and HR Administrator. I used to have to juggle a lot and had to have a place to keep it all organized. I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t have a planning system of some kind!

4. What sections do you have in the filofax you use to organize your life?
I am currently going through a process of change again due to the introduction of a new Filofax. I have a few lol! I will give you a brief run down of them and what I use them for…
Personal Violet Domino – Contains the health care notes and all the vaccination records for my two guinea pigs and two rabbits
Personal Purple Saffiano – Contains all information pertaining to my diet and exercise. I have a section for calorie counting and noting down what I have eaten each day, a section for monitoring my weight loss, a section for logging work outs and fitness and then a section for journaling about my feelings associated with food for example I am trying to log how I felt when I ate that chocolate cake to see if I can prevent it in future!
A5 Black Finsbury – My personal journal
Pocket Aqua Saffiano – My daily purse / wallet which contains my cards, money, receipts, coupons etc
Personal Nude Original – Currently just has my week on two pages and my to do lists in. This is a new acquisition for me and so I am still just setting it up. I still haven’t quite worked out what I want in it yet.
A5 Black Apex – This was my daily but then diary has been taken out so now in there is my home maintenance and management, work, blog & youtube, general health and medication.
Personal Red Original – Christmas planning.
I hope that has answered the question. Now I read it back it seems like a lot lol!

5. If a non-filofaxer would ask you why you use a filofax, what would you say to them?
For me it is all about the flexibility of being able to move pages and sections around, adding and removing to suit your needs. You can’t do that with a bound diary. I personal don’t like to use an electronic diary. I like to flip through my diary whilst I am on the phone to someone or I like to have an offline planning session in the garden with a cup of tea away from the screen. I can take it everywhere and never have to worry about battery or signal! I love Filofax for the designs and quality but other planners are equally lovely.
6. Have you found a fool-proof planning system that works for you? If so, what’s your secret?
I think so! But then I am always changing it up mainly because I like to do that and also because I tweak my inserts all the time as and when I develop a system that I think will work. I think it is quite a personal thing because people have all sorts of things going on in their lives. I guess I would say to people don’t be afraid of trying a different system if it is not working. There are loads of inserts out there that have different functionality, mine are just one of many so find the ones that work for you! I also change because I keep going from Personal to A5 and back again depending on what is going on.

7. If your house was on fire and you had to quickly save a couple of objects, what would you save and would your filofax be one of them?
I do often struggle with this question  and I often think about it. I don’t know what I would grab. I often think about the photo albums but then the photos are backed up online and most things are just ‘stuff’ that can be replaced. I often think I would probably grab my camera and computer so that I could get back up and running but then I could easily get them back on the insurance. It would most likely be my journals and yes probably my daily diary so I wouldn’t miss any appointments. Such a tough question that one!
8. Where do you get your filofax-inspiration from?
A lot of the time from my own head. Particularly as I blog and YouTube I am very conscious of creating new content rather than ripping someone else off. I would hate for my stuff to be copied so why do it to someone else. I do find YouTubers inspiring and if I think ooooh I will try that I always say where I got the idea from. I do love YouTube and also instagram. I am rubbish with other social media. I rarely go on Facebook even though there are loads of Filofax groups on there.
9. Is there anything you think you’d need in your filofax but was either too expensive or not on the market? If so, what would that be?
Hmmmm I don’t think need but maybe want! I get jealous of all the Target Dollar Spot stationery that I see online and also of the Kate Spade stuff. I want them but I don’t need them. I also would like to have a fountain pen, something to ask Father Christmas for! I can’t think of anything not on the market but you never know if you need something until you see it.
10. Would you say your planner reflects your personality, and if yes, how?
Probably not! My planners are nearly all black or shall we say, more on the conservative side whereas I bet everyone expects me to have a brightly coloured one. The inside is very understaded and that is because I need my planner to be quite clear so I can see the tasks, I don’t do clutter in my planner. I do occasionally decorate but not too much. I do always have a nice dashboard and inserts though. I go through stages of how much I decorated.  I use my journal to get truly creative and my journal gets more of a make over than my planner does.

11. If you’d make a time capsule containing your present filofax that would be found 100 years from now, what would the people who’ve found it learn about you?
Probably that I was an over thinker and tried to organize way too much lol!

12. What do you love most about your filofax?
I am so in love with my nude original. I love the smell, the colour, the feel everything about it. I love it so very very much, the best Filofax I have ever had.

13. What would your main advice be for someone trying to start making filofax goodies for sale?
I think be you and do what you would use not what you think other people would like. If you like them and they work for you then they will work for someone else. You can easily see when someone is being fake so be authentic to you. People have different tastes so whilst not everyone likes my stuff they may like yours. Stay at it and don’t be disheartened if you don’t get many sales. It takes a while for you to get noticed but you will get noticed. When you list on Etsy there is a lot of competition so I would suggest implementing some marketing to drive people to your Etsy store – YouTube and Blogging is one of the best. I started my Blog and YouTube way before I even had an Etsy store. There are many people selling things for planners out there so try and be unique and stand out from the crowd, provide them with something different that they can’t get elsewhere.
I hope you have enjoyed learning a bit more about me and how I got into selling items for the planner community. If you are interested in seeing more of me, here is where you can find me...

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