Planning a Planner, Part I September 3, 2015 08:00

We're not afraid to admit it: here at UPstudio we love a good planner.  We also love to make lists, be organized and to look at everything written out at the end of the day to see what we accomplished, and what's still in store for tomorrow.  We've both used a planner of some sort for the majority of our lives (Mary Beth still owns all of hers!) so it's natural that we'd have a conversation with each other about them.  It was the end of 2014, and we were comparing our newest planners:  I had a more traditional one with a monthly calendar and spaces for daily agendas, and Mary Beth was using one where you can write in a specific date, and use as much space as you need day by day.  We were talking about what we liked and didn't like, and what we would change about them.  It was later that day when we had the realization that we could create our own planner to suit our needs, and could change all of the things that weren't quite working for us.  We thought about it a little more and had the idea to design something that could work for more people, and then attempt to sell them.  Starting a business was exciting to think about, but then quickly became overwhelming.  Our husbands brought up some good points and asked us thoughtful questions about our ideas:  Who even uses a hard copy planner anymore?  How can you create a market for something that is only needed once a year?  Is there really a need for this product?

 Mary Beth's stack of old planners

We thought about these things individually, then talked about them together.  In the end, we still thought we had a pretty solid idea.  It was risky - a planner is typically needed only once a year, so repeat buys are few and far between in a year, but we felt strongly enough about what we wanted to do to pursue it.  We know plenty of people who use daily or weekly planners, and we both use them ourselves.  

Technology plays a huge role in the world today, and can absolutely take the place of a traditional pen and paper calendar.  There are many people who use only their cell phone or computer to keep track of schedules, or may use a hybrid system of these plus some sort of paper copy.  Maybe we're old school, but there's just something that's nice about writing things out yourself.  Writing things down can help the writer to remember them better.  With a hard copy planner, it is very easy to look at everything at once instead of clicking on multiple things to get different overviews or specifics on your calendar.  Our planner also incorporates ample room for list making, note taking, drawing, etc.  Just like sending real mail is a little more meaningful than sending an email, we believe that using a paper and pen planner is more meaningful than just using technology.

 Becky's iPhone calendar

There are tons of planners that already exist today.  Is ours really any better?  This question is extremely subjective, but of course we think ours is the best!  In reality, there are some great planners that already exist.  In future posts, we'll go more in depth as to what makes ours different and stand out from the rest, but for now, we'll just say that there are definitely differences. What we consistently found about the great versions were that their cost was out of our price range.  We wanted to create something that could compete on an equal playing field with some of these other great planners, but that would be more affordable for the every day person.  Some of the comparisons that we were looking at are upwards of $50-$70!  We have worked very closely with our printers to do everything we could to cut cost without cutting quality.

So the decision was made: we were going to start a business!  We knew we had A LOT of work ahead of us, and wanted to make really smart decisions.  We needed to create goals and really define what we wanted our end result to be.  In our next blog post, we'll talk more about our initial goals and our first shot at design.  Stay tuned!