Archive for The Inside Scoop

Rhodia Product Chief Visit

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I heard yesterday that the Rhodia product chief may pay a visit to the U.S. in early March to talk about product development.

I would like to share with her product ideas suggested by Rhodia fans and retailers. Can you please let us know via a comment on this blog post what new or enhanced product you would like Rhodia to offer.  Knowing the type of use you have in mind would also be helpful.

Thanks so much for your suggestions and support.


Exaclair’s 2015 Catalog

Exaclair 2015 Catalog Cover (3)

We have a slew of new products from France this year. New Rhodia products in the catalog include –

-Rhodia Pocket Notepad – dot grid, handy flap cover

-80th Anniversary Gift Set

-Rhodia Ice Notepads – ruled and grid – No. 11, No. 12, No. 13, No. 16 and No. 18 sizes

-Rhodia Pencil Case – orange & black

-Top Spiral Dot Grid Pads – No. 16 & No. 18 in both orange & black

See them all here.


Tuesday Talk Back: Leather Rhodia Covers & Pen Accessories


rhodia_leather_02_750Leather covers and pen accessories for Rhodia products is a fast-growing niche. In fact, we plan to dedicate a page on for fans to find the perfect cover or gift.

Artisans I have identified so far include – Gfeller Casemakers, Hidebound, JUL Designs, The Clicky Post, Inkleaf Leather, Sula Jane and Earl, Oberon Design, Quiver Pen Holders and Ateleia Craft.

Do you have other shops and craftspeople you would like to recommend?  Do you make notebook covers or pen accessories and would like to be included?  Please let us know!

Thank you for your recommendations.



Exaclair Holiday Stationery & Samples Sale


Once a year we open our doors to sell “shelf samples” to building neighbors and area fans.  This year’s sale will be held the first week of December, but we’re not quite sure of the dates yet.  I will announce it on the blog at the end of the month, or, you can sign up to get email notice by getting on the Rhodia mailing list.  Sign-up is at the bottom of the home page.

A hodge-podge of products from all our brands will be available, including Rhodia, Clairefontaine, and G. Lalo.  Some of the samples are French products we decided not to import, others we have discontinued, and some are slightly damaged.  You’ll find some treasures for sure.

Please come by to browse and say hello if you can.  Exaclair is located near Penn Station in New York City.  We are in what’s called the “Flower District” which used to be the “Haymarket” — a very colorful chapter in NYC history.  Our address is 143 West 29th Street on the 10th Floor.

More soon!


2016 Rhodia Weekly Planner Update


Your comments counted. We will be keeping the hardbound edition for 2016 and not changing over to refillable.

Since more and more people like to draft and make notes on graph paper, we may explore developing a daily pocket planner with this type of notes page.



993/1 is Famous!


One of our office mates, Jim Burke, spotted one of our Exacompta cloth bound journals on a promo for the new ABC television show, “Selfie.”   Here is a clip of the promo.  They show the journal at a distance and close up.

This journal is the cousin of Exacompta sketchbook that has been discontinued, much to the sorrow of its many fans.

The paper is off white, laid finish, 25% cotton and 100 g.  The line width is rather wide – 3/8″ inch, so if you have big handwriting or like lots of line room, this book is for you.  The journal includes a bookmark, and gold edge pages.

Available at Writer’s Bloc; Goulet Pen Company and Classic Office Products.






Goulet Pens -

“No. 80″ – Rhodia’s 80th Anniversary Pad

rhodia 80

Besides Rhodia Ice (which people love for the striking cover and the faint grey lines), Rhodia has introduced a second notepad to celebrate it’s 80th anniversary.  Appropriately called “No. 80,” this limited edition gift set includes a notepad in classic grid, plus an 80th anniversary pencil.  Copper-colored Rhodia name and logo appears on both sides of the pad with a special 80th anniversary emblem on the back cover.

The No. 80 is the same size as the No. 16 – 6 x 8 1/4″ or 14.8 x 21 cm.  It is made with premium 90g ivory paper. No. 80 will be available by August 15, 2014.

Sunny Huang of Exaclair will bring a sample to the DC Pen Show for people there to have a first-hand look. You can also see the “80” at the New York Gift Show later this month.  And, as an added attraction, Sunny will also have a bottle of the new 1670 ink – “Stormy Grey.”







Proposed Paper Comparison Project


Some during August-September I will be organizing a project to compare the different Clairefontaine, Rhodia, Quo Vadis and G. Lalo paper surfaces and how they interact with different writing instruments and inks.

We will collect the comments of as many people as possible on their experience with an individual product paper–how it feels to the touch, how their pen (pencil or other writing instrument) moves across the surface and interacts with it; basically–what is their experience, and what they like (or don’t like) about it.

The summary of the comments can be a good reference not only for people getting started with journals and notepads, but also for expert practitioners to exchange experiences with each other.

The products I am thinking of including for this comparison are:  classic Clairefontaine notebook paper; Clairefontaine Triomphe pads, R by Rhodia pads, classic Rhodia notepads, Rhodia Ice, Rhodia Webbies, Quo Vadis Habanas, G. Lalo Verge de France pads, and G. Lalo correspondence cards.

People can test each sheet with their favorite writing instruments (fountain pens, rollerballs, pencils, etc.)  and contribute feedback via an online form.  We will publish the results on both Quo Vadis Blog and Rhodia Drive  either in December 2014 or January 2015.

Each person would be limited to three or four different sheets per month (that I can send in a first class letter), but can sign up each month for other papers to sample and add their thoughts.

What do you think?  Are there specific questions we should ask?  Are there any other product papers you would like to try?  Your input at this stage is very much appreciated and welcome.  As always, thank you for your thoughtful suggestions, help and support.













The company that imports and distributed Rhodia to the United States is called “Exaclair.”  Some of you may wonder who or what exactly is “Exaclair.” I have never written about the company and thought I would do so now,  as more and more people seem to be searching for “Exaclair products.”

The name Exaclair is a combination of the company, Exacompta Clairefontaine–our umbrella corporate parent based in France. This conglomerate includes 30 or 40 (I’m not sure of the number) different companies.  We import products from 11 of those companies to the U.S.  We are the exclusive U.S. importer and distributor of Exacompta Clairefontaine products to the United States.  Our corporate website can be found here.

Exaclair was founded in 1984 — 30 years ago — by Christine Nusse, a fifth generation family member of Clairefontaine.  Her father, Charles Nusse, also founded Exacompta, which originally started out making accounting ledgers and now makes a variety of office supply products sold throughout Europe and North America.

Christine Nusse literally started out with a suitcase of Clairefontaine and G. Lalo samples, showing them to (then) the many stationery stores on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side of Manhattan and Midtown.  From there, Exaclair products have expanded to stores throughout the country where fine writing and paper products are sold.

In my 15 years at Exaclair, I have seen major changes in the stationery industry. Chief among them were the rise of  email, smart phones and big box stores.  The 9/11 disaster also eliminated many small stationery and office supply stores in Lower Manhattan, and much of the local printing industry.

I would estimate that 80% of Exaclair’s retail customers on the books on May 1, 1999 — my start date with the company — have subsequently gone out of business or been taken over.  At that time, Palm Pilots were starting to impact sales of address books, and email was just getting popular.  These changes dealt a cruel blow to social stationery.

When I started with Exaclair, G. Lalo and Clairefontaine were the most popular brands.  It is now Rhodia, Clairefontaine and J. Herbin.

We are very proud of our products and stand behind them.  If we get questions on any products, we follow up immediately with the parent company in France and the consumer. We are all very appreciative of the loyalty and support of consumers and local retailers.

We are very optimistic about the future.  Our sales are growing, and we believe it’s because of the quality of our paper and the company’s good environmental record.  As people return to paper to create, relax, express themselves or just slow down, we are confident that they will find our brands, and enjoy the pleasure of writing the way all of us do.

Rhodia Weekly Planners – August-July


We have gotten a couple of requests and emails asking where to find Rhodia planners for the academic year (August-July). This edition has been discontinued in both the large and pocket size.

However, the Rhodia Weekly Planner in calendar year (January-December 2015) will start to ship to retailers the first week of June, and should be on shelves in July.  It is available in both pocket and large in black and orange.

As an alternative, our most popular Quo Vadis academic edition is the Scholar.  Like the Rhodia weekly, it has plenty of room for notes.

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

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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.

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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 »

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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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Testing a vintage Mabie Swan fountain pen with a lot of flex - on a Rhodia Pad

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.