As you may already know, we’re closing down our Parisian atelier without having a sturdy plan on how to rebuild the production line. Not yet. This has nothing to do with the pandemic thing, on the contrary, January turned out to be one of the best months in sales in Soumkine’s history.
Why closing down then? And why feeling relieved instead of sad?
Well, to start with, I see big changes come as we enter 2022. And I’m not even talking about the soaring prices, team members getting ill, shipping chaos or paper supplies delay. We proved that we can deal with all these struggles.
As we entered 2022, I saw a whole new reality emerge with Web 3.0, blockchain, nft art and all the other ´wonderful’ things (grinning in here). So I felt I needed some time to pause and think, which is impossible when you have a production running.
That was also when I realize that it was time to choose whether to step into the unknown and survive or turn a blind eye to the change and keep playing music on the Titanic up to the very end. I revisited the movie recently and saw the musicians in a completely different light. Fearing the unknown and resisting the reality, they ended up… you know the rest of the story.
But this is not our scenario. We went through a lot at Soumkine and won’t give up so easily. All these hurdles only made us stronger and the products better.
Taking the opportunity to share my thoughts on closing the atelier, wanted to leave a note with my vision for Soumkine too:
Let’s face it, there’s little difference between our notebooks for 20$ and the cheap substitutes that one can buy for 2$. The truth is, you can buy anything for 2$, 20$ and 200$ nowadays, from a shirt to a mug to a lunch. I have both Ralph Lauren and Uniqlo in my closet and there’s little difference between the two. But I feel better in Ralph.
The same goes for us at Soumkine. Sure, I can find a leather cover for 25-40$ on Etsy but I don’t want it. I want to get older with a cover made of the best leather, manufactured locally, having all the eco-certificates and lasting for years. I feel good knowing that my supplier passes the recipe from generation to generation, that’s the thing I want to have. That’s why the cover price is 220$, fair for what it holds.
Given how many of you ordered our leather covers, I feel good knowing that we have such a big community sharing the same values. Welcome to the family.
Inside I have my horizontal 2022 planner and a ‘Dessin’ sketchbook made of 100% cotton paper on a paper mill that was founded eight centuries ago and supplied paper to such great minds as Michelangelo and Leonardo. I feel better that I know that.
The only thing I regret is that I didn’t have the time to share my philosophy with you more. For all these years I’ve been occupied with product quality and fell short on the communications side. Will take care of that for the next relaunch.
Not saying goodbye, a bientôt,