The Traveler’s Notebook craze has hooked me in at last! I’ve seen so many beautiful and intriguing Traveler’s Notebook posts from the Planner Community on Instagram over the past year and I wanted to see what the fuss was all about, so I looked into different companies that provide custom made leather notebook covers. In this post I share a detailed look at a few of the products from two small business artisans.
I settled on two of the more prevalently “grammed” companies, including Chic Sparrow (top left) and Foxy Fix (top right). Both companies were founded and are run by creative and talented women who saw an opportunity to offer custom leather pieces based on the ever popular Midori Traveler’s Notebook (which I will discuss in detail soon). The Traveler’s Notebook is a simple leather outer cover with a basic elastic strap and spine system that allows users to keep anywhere from one to three journals inside. Journals are easy to swap out and change up. The Midori Traveler’s Notebook comes in two sizes: regular at 5″ wide x 8.5″ high and passport at 4″ wide x 5″ high. It is available in two colors, brown and black, with no add-on customizable features to the cover itself.
One of the great things about small business Traveler’s Notebook providers is that they offer more than just the two sizes of notebook covers in a variety of leather types and colors. These are sometimes referred to as fauxdori’s. You can also opt in to add extra built in features such as pen loops, pockets, and even personalization with leather stamping. I wanted to get a sense of what kind of products Chic Sparrow and Foxy Fix offered, so I ordered a couple covers with different customization features.
Chic Sparrow is a family run business that was established just one year ago in February of 2014. They offer gorgeous high quality leather pieces, including traveler’s style notebooks as well as bags. It’s amazing to see how much their offerings have grown and changed even from the time that I ordered these pieces just less than two months ago!
Chic Sparrow currently offers five journal sizes: pocket, personal, narrow, wide, and extra wide. There are four types of classic leathers and five deluxe leathers to choose from in a range of colors. You can opt for additional features like custom stitching, a riveted pen loop, and even an inscription of up to 15 characters stamped onto the leather. You can also now order a completely custom journal using their VIP Service, which is made to your exact specifications, including beautiful artwork.
I placed two separate order from Chic Sparrow. The first one, a pocket size journal in the Creme Brûlée leather, took about two weeks to ship from the order date, while the second one, a narrow journal in Brazilian Bliss leather, shipped out in just four days. The discrepancy in time is due to the fact that I opted for custom add-on features in the pocket size. They arrived in bubble mailers via USPS. Both were packaged in a muslin drawstring bag with the Chic Sparrow stamp and came wrapped in tissue with a typed thank you note as well as a care card.
The pocket journal in Creme Brûlée leather measures 4.25″ wide x 6″ tall, making it slightly bigger than the Midori passport size. I opted for the creme brûlée color leather with white contrast stitching and added pockets in a dark brown leather to the interior, which includes a pen loop. I was also able to choose a center back closure. It came with four elastic straps to accommodate journals.
The Chic Sparrow pocket notebooks are fillable with both Moleskine and Field Notes journals. Here you can see what the notebook looks like with four journals inside. The pocket notebook is quite roomy and could certainly hold even more. When I ordered my pocket notebook, Chic Sparrow didn’t offer the pre-set deluxe option that they do now. My notebook cost $50.98 (the new pre-set option costs $54.99).
The other journal I ordered from Chic Sparrow is a narrow size in the Brazilian Bliss leather. This is the most comparable to the Midori regular notebook, measuring 5″ wide by 8.5″ tall. It’s just half an inch wider than the Midori. I didn’t get any extra bells and whistles in this one as I wanted to see what their basic notebook cover was like. Here you can see the structure is the same as the pocket, but with the closure strap located in the center of the back cover, as is typical in most traveler’s notebooks. It appears that Chic Sparrow now offers only center back closure (like shown with the pocket) for all notebook types. Notably, they are not offering this leather option at the moment. It is a much more stiff and rugged leather, with a beautiful soft finish in the stunning sapphire color.
The narrow notebook accepts standard Midori inserts. I put three in as well as a zip envelope sleeve, but I could have definitely fit a fourth, although this notebook cover is significantly less roomy than the pocket size. It cost $65.99.
The Foxy Fix Etsy shop is run by Kelly who started her business just five months ago in December 2014. Kelly’s offerings have also grown and changed in that time and she now sells leather iPad and Kindle covers as well as journal inserts in addition to her beautiful leather notebook covers. The traveler’s notebook market is booming!
Foxy Fix currently offers nine notebook sizes: extra small, passport, pocket slim, pocket, regular, regular extra room, slim, wide, and extra wide. There are three leather options including regular, bay, and wanderlust. You can opt for custom add-on features such as a built in pen loop, a charm on the strap, or monogram stamping (only available on some types of leather).
I ordered two notebooks from Foxy Fix at once so they arrived in one shipment. They came packaged in a flat rate USPS Priority Mail envelope. The pocket size notebook was placed inside the regular one, which was wrapped in tissue and tied with a leather bow. This bundle was set in a plastic bag for protection in transit. My package arrived exactly one week after I placed the order.
I purchased the pocket size notebook in the brown Wanderlust leather. It has such a great feel and smell! With Foxy Fix journals, you can customize the binding (number of cords along the spine: one, two, or four), strap (one or two), and the elastic color. I thought the mint color (option N) would be a nice pop against the chocolate brown leather. For additional fees you can also add a charm to your strap and a built in pen loop.
The pocket size is 4″ wide by 6″ high and accommodates 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebooks. I filled it with a combination of Moleskine and Field Notes journals. Four fit comfortably inside the notebook cover with room to spare. My pocket notebook cost $35.
I also ordered a regular size notebook in Foxy Fix’s standard leather which is thinner, glossier, and more rigid than the Wanderlust. I love this bright blue color! I thought azure would pair nicely with the light blue elastic.
The regular size notebook cover measures 4.75″ x 8.75″ and accommodates 4.5″ x 8.5″ notebooks. I filled it with three Midori journals as well as a credit card holder and there is still room for more. It cost $45.
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One of the things I love most about these notebook providers is that the pocket size allows you to use Moleskine and Field Notes inserts. They come in a variety of stylesand are significantly less expensive than Midori notebooks. Sadly, they’re not interchangeable because of the difference in size. Here are a few of my favorite pocket size notebooks:
Both Chic Sparrow and Foxy Fix offer beautiful, handmade pieces in a variety of colors and styles that can suit all personality types and notebook needs. I highly recommend both companies. As you can see, they are quite pricey, with Chic Sparrow pricing a bit higher than Foxy Fix, especially with the deluxe options. I find that Foxy Fix has the most comparable prices to Midori for notebook covers. Please keep in mind when ordering that these are small businesses that make each piece by hand. Store stocks are updated as available and you have a better chance of getting what you want when you place your order earlier in the day. If the leather you had your eye on is out of stock, keep checking back.
It’s giveaway time! I wanted to share the Chic Sparrow and Foxy Fix love since I ordered these mainly to review and not for personal use (you’ll see the Midori I am using soon!). The Chic Sparrow & Foxy Fix Giveaway will run until Friday, May 8, 2015 at 6 PM CT. The giveaway is open internationally. All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter. FOUR winners will receive one of the bundles in the photo below. You can specify when entering which bundle you would like in the event that you win:
1. Chic Sparrow Pocket in Creme Brulee leather with four Field Notes inserts and Moleskine Daily Planner
2. Chic Sparrow Regular in Brazilian Bliss leather (sapphire) with three Midori notebooks and one Midori Zip envelope
3. Foxy Fix Regular in Regular leather (azure) with three Midori notebooks and Midori credit card sleeve.
4. Foxy Fix Pocket in Wanderlust leather (brown) with 9 Moleskine notebooks, one Field Notes notebook, and extra elastic.
You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (check out this blog post for more information on entering Rafflecopter giveaways). I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog post and contact them directly through email, as always. Good luck!
Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties. If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it will probably work.
As I mentioned, I’ll be sharing a closer look at the Midori Traveler’s Notebooks next, including a coordinating video where I compare Midori to Chic Sparrow and Foxy Fix. Stay tuned! I would love to know if you use a traveler’s style notebook, what you use, and how you like it if you care to share.
* Post contains affiliate links. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *