You must be waiting anxiously for the Chronodex July-December version to come out, believe that I'm working on it and to be released definitely this week. In the mean time, here's the excuses of being late.
Excuse 1: Obsession with Tri-Eye iPhonography
Can't stop, it is heavy, it is huge and it is fun. Usually when people I met get interested in the monster, I got chances to take their "The Dog" photos. Here's Claudia from Staedtler, whom I met in Shanghai a few days ago. She is going to spend the next 6 weeks in China, it is a long trip. Since I didn't go to Paperworld this year, I got good updates from her about Staedtler's new product release schedule from 2012 up to 2013. She speaks fluent Mandarin coz she studied in Beijing some time ago.
And yes self-portraits is fun too with Tri-Eye, here's me in my own toilet.
So excuse 1 the obsession continues everyhour, business or personal, it doesn't matter. Here's Mr. Flury the inventor of Cyberclean. Somebody said "I'm afraid of his nose poking me if it were a 3D photo".
Excuse 2: Shanghai Frequent Visits
We are going to have a new store coming up soon in Shanghai, our second store there (already 12 stores in Hong Kong and 6 in Taiwan). Management is sending long emails coz they haven't seen my input enough, yeah yeah yeah I'm working on it, I don't want to hand in rubbish just to shut them up but seems like I have to. Anyway, I'm confident my current composite of the Stationery section is interesting and strong, I just have to make it easier for people around me. So, I am travelling there a week or two every month.
The last Monday I bumped into The Amazing Race season 21 first shooting. They arrived Shanghai the same time I did, it was their first stop of the season and it was in Shanghai. The camera men were super sensitive soon as I raised my iPhone, a few crazy fans were in Shanghai too, I saw them running around with the crew taking pictures and posting to Reality Fan Forum in real time. Interesting encounter.
For a stay of just 5 days, the schedule was completely full, meeting after meetings. Just so happened there was the 106th China Stationery Fair and I went there between meetings, not enough time to see but I got a sense that the show is nice despite the fact that import products are a little rare and usually arrives 6 months to 1 year later than the rest of the world. Damn China import regulations and customs (sorry, don't ban my blog, I'm just saying it is not efficient).
Shanghai is definitely changing a lot and very quickly, IMHO it is one of the fastest changing cities in the world, after Seoul and Tokyo. I managed to stop by some of the smaller shops and found inspirations every time. Well, I just borrowed the toilet in this interesting wine cellar/bar, never had the luxury to enjoy a drink, must find time in June to do that.
Excuse 3: Experiencing for the Future Categories
Things won't be exciting at all if I were to order products from catalogs only. Yesterday's merchanise makes today's sales, many lacks the vision to create a future category thus constantly being bugged by management for lack of 'concept'. IMHO, the only way to create a future is to explore and experience as much as possible, inspirations will come. We have so much to learn from other creative people.
Thanks to Petit Morpho, a tiny place which the owner is obsessed with organizing art/craft exhibitions, I had a chance to learn from famous Japanese rubber stamp crafting artist Ms. Tomoko Tsukui (津久井智子). She has a pari of super steady hands and published several books (in Japanese) about rubber stamp crafting from erasers. Ms. Tomoko works for the original rubber stamp crafting supplier Hinodewashi and came to Hong Kong for promoting the art.
Ms. Tomoko carries a few boxes of her stamps, inkpad (she designed interesting sets of finger inkpads for accurate coloring) and signature stamps in various versions. Why is there no man in any of these workshops and demonstrations? They are probably playing with their cameras, iPhones or game consoles. Oh perhaps their bikes....
Excuse 4: Ride Along
Social cause. Well, not as grand as it sounds, but I enjoyed the Ride of Silence 2012 event with a borrowed bike. Yes that's an event with 80% male participants contrary to rubber stamp crafting's 100% female. People close to me don't get enough of my attention and went sour sometimes, cut back or manage better I don't know. I like the fact that we can ride together but in silence, for the same goal, well understood simple communications. And I'm not talking about a bike ride only, figuratively rides to somewhere with companionship, just enojy the rides, explore without sourness.
Excuse 5: Researches
When a shop/place is good, you keep hearing things from people and you keep wanting to find out more about it. What's the essense behind the apparent pleasant things you see? People in their beta thinking mode usually cannot see deep enough, I prefer to find all angles from word of mouth, a visit and a time to sit back and think.
Fang Sou (方所) claims to be the best lifestyle store in China, many suppliers said great things about it, so I paid a visit there on a day trip to GuangZhou. It is a bookstore with a fashion boutique, a stationery corner, a cafe, a home objects corner and an exhibition area. Like it, although anybody with sufficient amount of money and connection can build one as easily, it is a noble attempt to composite such a mix especially in China. It is a beautiful place to be. I managed to stop by a few other interesting small shops in GuangZhou, all these researches help me to orient and pick the right sets of values to convey to customers when creating the next merchandise mix.
Excuse 6: Personal Projects
The best advice to a Gemini is probably "to focus", and I'm still meditating on it. Leather projects for personal use and to gloat about are fun, creating something useful like GTD index cards and Chronodex to share with people is satisfying, blogging about products not available just yet is ..., ok some of these projects must go somewhere soon.
Excuse 7: Beautiful Hong Kong
Extremely proud of this city, such a great melting pot for many of the world-changing things to happen. Many wrote to me asking for interesting spots to visit, and I gave them a Google map if we have some common interests. Some day our Tourism Board should have independent agents like me all over the place, equipped by the coolest map and stationery travel kit....
Excuse 8, 9, 10...: Skipped
Yup, I'm just giving you excuses, getting back to work now. I hope you can have a sense of the "mess" I'm in.