Archive for The Inside Scoop

Retailer Spotlight – Anderson Pens

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This week on our Retailer Spotlight we have the lovely duo from Anderson Pens, Lisa and Brian Anderson! For our readers who do not know about Anderson Pens here’s a bit of background from their website and e-store

“Established in 2010, was developed to combine the efforts of Brian Anderson’s, and Lisa Anderson’s ProperPads to bring pens and paper together all in one place.”

They have become big enough to successfully open a brand new retail location in Appleton, WI which if you’re in the area you definitely need to check out! Continue Readering »

Rhodia Ice

rhodia ice 2

Rhodia has designed two new notepads for its 80th anniversary year (1934-2014): a white cover with silver logo pad, and a special 80th anniversary pad, with an interesting orange gold grid pattern on the cover.

We are calling the new “Bloc White” – Rhodia Ice.

Both pads will be featured at the National Stationery Show in New York May 18-21. 2014.  They will arrive from France within the next two weeks.

Rhodia Ice will be available in six sizes:  No. 11, No. 12, No. 13, No. 16, No. 18 and No. 19. The paper is 80g with muted silver grid or lines.

It is the most striking pad I have ever seen, with an elusive beauty and character. It is quite different from anything else–just like Rhodia.

rhodia ice

Retailer Spotlight – JetPens

Jet Pens

We are reintroducing the Rhodia Drive Retailer Spotlight!

To start us off in the inaugural spot is the fan favorite JetPens. You will find a large assortment of Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Brause and J. Herbin over at If you’ve never heard of them or you’re a long time customer here’s your chance to get to know JetPens a little better.


Thank you for taking time out of your day to chat with us about JetPens today. The website has really taken off in the past couple of years and your presence is felt throughout the blogging community and pen fans everywhere.

RhodiaDrive: How did JetPens get started?

Continue Readering »

New Email Newsletters


I have recently set up three email newsletters: one on, one on, and one for Rhodia, which can be accessed on

People who sign up can expect a newsletter every 4-8 weeks.  It will include new product notice and photos; where to meet us at pen or trade shows; and access to special sales or promotions we will host, including close-outs, samples sales and discontinued products.

Rhodia and Quo Vadis newsletters are more brand centric; Exaclair will include everything and everyone (Rhodia, Clairefontaine, J. Herbin, Quo Vadis, G. Lalo, Brause, Decopatch and two new brands from France we are introducing this year:  Maildor and Avenue Mandarine.)

Needless to say we will not give, lend, or sell these lists to anyone, nor use it for any other purpose than communicating news and offers to brand fans. The first newsletters will be sent in January 2014 once our new catalogs are released.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please post a comment.  Thanks so much.




J. Herbin News


Since many Rhodia fans have a bottle of J. Herbin ink, I thought I would pass along this good news on Rhodia Drive.

In 2014 J. Herbin will be introducing a new ink, and also making some other changes. I expect to make the announcement sometime in February, when the products are on the way from France to the US and other plans are farther along.

I will also make sure members of the Rhodia Drive community get first crack at the new inks with Rhodia Drive sponsored giveaway.

More news as soon as I have it.

Who’s on Rhodia Drive?


As you might suspect, the largest group on Rhodia Drive is from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and France.  This is pretty much the top five visitor countries every month.

But the fast-growing demographic comes from Asia.  India and Singapore consistently appear in the top ten monthly visitors.  If you combine China and Hong Kong, then China represents our largest demographic from Asia.  Taiwan and Japan round out the top five.

The biggest importer of Rhodia products is Japan, closely followed by the United States.

Perhaps one way to reach out to more people would be to write a post in both their native language and English.  Any volunteers?



Objects of Desire


I got a call this week from a well-known men’s fashion magazine. They were looking for particular Rhodia notebooks for photo shoot called “Objects of Desire.” The editor asked for A5 and A6 orange and black Rhodia pads with top spiral and also the “classic.”

The pads will be set on a night table by the bed.  I guess for easy reach when inspiration can’t wait!

If it was up to you, what Rhodia product would you suggest to the editor?



Top 5 Reasons to Try Life Noted for Free


On the fence about another digital app that says it will make your life easier but fails to deliver?

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should try Life Noted for free today and how we plan on making journaling and planning digitally as rewarding and fun as on paper.

  1. Life Noted had a unique Today View lets you see all of your notes, photos, videos and events for that day all on one screen.
  2. Syncs with iCal and all supported calendars. Paired with our note taking feature to create an all in one stop for jotting down ideas and planning out your days, weeks and months.
  3. Search all notes and events by keyword and never lose an important idea or appointment again.
  4. By merging calendaring, journaling, organizing, photo and video apps you can have everything in one place and stop juggling multiple apps.
  5. With our intuitive Month View you can plan ahead accurately and easily. Borders around dates for all day and multi-day events for quick identification. Special feature that allows you to highlight selected calendars to show up in the Month View in a shade of blue so you never forget an important upcoming event again.

Clean and easy to use Life Noted will make recording, retrieving and remembering simple again.

Try it today for free on the App Store.

Exaclair’s New App


Exaclair is in the final stages of developing an iPhone app. The app will utilize and expand on iCal, and bring to digital the free form notes people love in paper planners. It will have many other enhancements besides.  We are quite excited about it, and looking forward to sharing it with you.  It is designed to work with the upcoming iOS 7 platform.  We are testing the app on a beta version, and it is quite beautiful and elegant.

The app is is meant to answer the need of our former datebook customers for a digital product; and for those current customers who use both paper and digital, or are planning to move to digital.  We also hope having a digital presence will introduce our notebooks and other products to a whole new group of people.

The app – LIFE NOTED – will be available on the app store in September 2013.  We’ll let you know as soon as it is available.  The app will be Free; $2.99 with full functionality.

Exaclair will be at the National Stationery Show 5/19-5/22 in New York City


The National Stationery Show® held at the Javits Center in NYC, is the world’s most comprehensive collection of social stationery and related products for gift giving and self-expression. The show is open to retailers and wholesalers and if you are are going, be sure to stop by Booth # 2637 to check out a few new Clairefontaine and Rhodia products that we are thinking of importing. As always, we welcome and appreciate your feedback!

While at the show, we will be doing some live Tweeting and also sharing photos and Vine clips on our @Exaclair Twitter account. Karen Doherty (our VP of Marketing) will be at the show on Sunday, May 19 from 9-3 pm and Tuesday May 21st from 9-11:30am if you’d like to meet her, but please feel free to stop by the booth any time the show is open.

More good news: Pen World is publishing an article on Exaclair’s stationery.  The edition should be distributed at the show.

The show hours are Sunday-Tuesday, 5/19-5/21 9:00am – 6:00pm and Wednesday, 5/22 9:00am – 12:00pm


Update on Some Product Issues

I wanted to respond to some Rhodia fan comments/requests on two issues:  Rhodia dot spiral notebooks and the darker lines on Rhodia grids.

Rhodia Spiral Dot Pads

In 2012 we introduced spiral dot pads in the No. 13, No. 16 and No. 18 sizes, but discontinued importing the pads by spring.  The reason: we discovered the dots were larger than expected and the wrong color.  The large purple dots in the spiral pads were supposed to be small grey dots.  This was ultimately due to a human error in manufacturing.

Clairefontaine and Rhodia share paper (Clairefontaine paper) but have separate manufacturing facilities.  Spiral pads are usually produced at the Clairefontaine facility, since they have the expertise in this particular production process. For this batch production was done at the Rhodia facility, where they made a mistake and printed them in violet. They also used the wrong dye in printing the dot grid.

The mistake has been corrected, and when the stocks of purple dot spirals are gone we will resume importing them to the U.S.  There is no ETA yet, but I hope it is later this year.

Dark Violet Grid Lines

The violet ink is darker on Rhodia’s grids.  This has presented a practical and aesthetic problem to a number of Rhodia users.  We have been badgering Rhodia to see if this change is permanent, or, will Rhodia go back to the softer, faint-colored violet grids we printed in the past.

The answer from Rhodia’s product development, management and engineers: we heard you and we’re trying to get back to the old violet color.

Some background:  as per environmental policies, the ink used in Rhodia pads is 100% natural. In terms of the intensity of color, this means while the ink color is the same when printing, the “new ink” is not as sensitive to UV rays as the “old ink” was. The chemical additives in the old ink helped it to lighten within a short period of time.

The sources Rhodia uses for dyes are experimenting with different mixtures to try to reach as close as possible the standard violet they had until 2010. Since the beginning of 2011 the formula is slightly more blue because the company who made a base component of the violet closed.

In both intensity and hue, natural inks also tend to show more variation from one production to another. They are more sensitive to machine speed, direction of paper fibers and other variables. Each run of notepads requires its own fine tuning.

Restoring the notepads to faint violet grid is a company priority.  While I do not have an ETA on this change, when we last discussed the issue with our corporate parent a few weeks ago, they were confident a solution will be found soon.

Exaclair will continue to press on the importance and necessity of making the grid color change. We have conveyed your unhappiness and frustration to Rhodia. They heard you, and they are working on the problem.

Any news and updates will be posted on Rhodia Drive and Rhodia Drive Facebook.

Soft Cover Notebooks

We have recently received several requests for soft cover notebooks. 

“Any plans to make the webnotebooks in SOFT cover? I’ve been using the webby, and love them, but I wish it came in soft cover!”

Rhodia does not make a soft cover Webby.  Should we?  Do you think there would be a large enough demand vs. hardcover?

The Rhodia Unlimited pocket notebook has a very soft touch cover.  However, it has a lot less sheets than a Webnotebook, and only comes in pocket size. Our sales for the Unlimited continue to grow, especially since it is now available in ruled as well as grid.

The ePure line by Rhodia (which is currently not imported to the US since the paper is made in Asia, not France,) includes soft cover leather journals and a thin, flexible leatherette cover. Both are available in large and pocket. The leatherette version is thicker than a Webby.

I have a few samples of ePure available if Webby owners want to try them out and share what they experience with others on Rhodia Drive. Please comment and let me know of your interest.






Some Rhodia History

Rhodia originated as part of a family business “Papeteries Verilhac Freres” (Verilhac Brothers, Paper-Maker).  Clairefontaine (also a multi-generational family business) acquired Rhodia in 1987.  After the acquisition, some Rhodia family members stayed on with the brand.

Didier Verilhac, a descendant of one of the founders and a current employee of Rhodia, described Rhodia’s origin:  “Around 1880, Samuel and Albert Verilhac lived in Lyon and were wholesale merchants for printing paper.  At that time there was no direct distribution system  between the manufacturer and the printers. The company sold its product in the south of France as well as the French colonies of North Africa.”

“Albert had three sons; the oldest son died  in World War II, the second and third sons created the company Papeteries Verilhac Freres in 1932 in Lyon.  They started with 50 workers manufacturing various paper products. One brother had studied engineering, the other was very good in marketing.  Together, they made a powerful duo.  In 1934 they purchased an abandoned arms manufacturing plant and moved production from Lyon to Grenoble.”

“The first Rhodia pad was made in 1934 in Lyon. In Lyon there is the Rhone river. People born in this region are called Rhodaniens. The name came from there. The two trees in the logo represent the two brothers, these trees are epiceas (spruce). If you take a look at them, these trees are not identical. They are linked by a line to show that the brothers work together. The brand and the logo was invented by their mother whose name was Marie.”

Both brothers were close to 40 years old when World War II began.  They discontinued production of Rhodia pads during the war because they couldn’t get supplies of quality paper. In 1947 production resumed, and the brothers opened a warehouse and and office in Paris to be able to distribute all over France.



2013 Rhodia WebPlanners

Friends, your voices have been heard.

We are manufacturing a 2012-2013 Rhodia WebPlanner academic edition in pocket and large. They will be available in black or orange covers.

We are also bringing back the orange cover for the 2013 calendar year edition.

The academic year editions will begin to ship to retailers in early May; calendar year by mid-June.

We are completely sold out of the large 2012 WebPlanner….right down to the two samples we had in the office!

If you want the planner of your choice, please see your retailer early in the season.

Stephanie will host some WebPlanner raffles when they roll off the presses so stay tuned!

Rhodiarama Rhodia

A couple of people have written to us asking when Rhodiarama Rhodia will be available in the US.

Rhodiarama Rhodia is a new product for 2012 – it basically 15 colored versions of a pocket Webbie.  Colors include:  black, chocolate, taupe, beige, anise, turquoise, sapphire, iris, purple, lilac, raspberry, poppy, tangerine, orange and yellow.  The paper is 90g, and the size is 3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ or A6.

You can see them on the French Rhodia website here.

Here’s the biggest reason we are not carrying them now:  they aren’t made yet.  What you see on the French site is a prototype.

We expect the manufacturing to be done this spring, and hope to have some samples on hand at the National Stationery Show (May) and for Book Expo (June).

If there is sufficient interest by our retailers we may bring in some? all? of the colors to have on sale by June or July.

They are expensive—and will retail somewhere between $18.50-$20 each.  Are you willing to pay that amount for a pocket journal?

If so, what colors do you like?

Thank you!  Your votes make a difference!




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In Your Bag

Will you show us yours? Send us a photo of Rhodia in your bag to: stephanie at so I can add it to the page.  ... Read on »

Rhodia Customization Module

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Grab Your Camera and Show us Where You Buy Your Rhodia!

Target? Dick Blick? Borders? Art Brown? We want you to show us where you buy your Rhodia... The next time you are out and about,  snap us a picture of where you buy your Rhodia products so we can assemble an online gallery of local retailers. To... Read on »

Favorite Pens

Will you show us yours? Send us a photo of your favorite pen: so I can add it to the page. ... Read on »

David Allen of GTD on Rhodia

David Allen is a productivity consultant who is best known as the creator of the time management method known as “Getting Things Done”. David comments on the Rhodia Meeting Book: “I love this Rhodia pad. First, the paper stands... Read on »

Chef Hosea Rosenberg on Rhodia

Season 5 (Bravo Network) Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, originally from Taos, New Mexico, was always good at math. After graduating 3rd in his class at Taos High School, he moved to Boulder, CO to study at the University of Colorado. His dream... Read on »

Download the Life Noted App

Life Noted App

Visit the App Store on your iOS 7 device to download Life Noted

Would you like to be a guest blogger on Rhodia Drive?

If so, contact me via e-mail at stephanie at rhodiadrive dot com with your proposed subject matter. We are looking for posts ranging in length from 100-500 words. Photos to accompany the article are a welcome bonus. If you have been reading... Read on »

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Click here to read the story behind this video.


Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.