My First Personalized Notepad

I got my first personalized notepad back in first year high school. If I am not mistaken, the Marian Missionary of the Holy Cross was the organization that sold the personalized notepads to our school. Each section was given a copy of a one-page catalog printed on a long white piece of cardboard. In between subjects or even during classes, the piece of cardboard was discretely passed around. Even though there were only a few designs to choose from, all of us were very interested and excited to purchase. The designs of the notepads were actual pictures of male and female kids. The pictures I remembered looked like those old Hallmark cards.  The pictures occupied the entire notepad and are watermarked in color pink, violet, and peach.  Apart from the choice of design, we were allowed to have our name printed in the notepad.

The odd thing about those notepads is that everyone was so excited despite the limited choices for design. I ordered one pad and I must admit, I was not contented. 😦 I really wanted to order more. Each notepad costs Php 50, equivalent to my daily allowance. During those times, I was not given spare money unless it is needed for school related expenses. Since I have only one pad, I have to use my notepad wisely. While all of my classmates were using their notepad everyday, I left mine at home. I was very reluctant to use my very first personalized notepad. But ask me where and what happened to that notepad? I don’t know. All that’s left for me is the story of my first personalized notepad.

Diane of Notepads Unlimited, just sharing my notepad story

First Pieces for Notepads Unlimited

I admit that Notepads Unlimited had a sluggish start. I wanted to start Notepads Unlimited since June 2009, barely 6 months I started to become addicted to Facebook ;-)! I am from the Philippines who used to be a Friendster country.  😉  I started searching for supplies and materials for producing a notepad. The first supply I searched was a padding glue! I do not even know that time that the material used to bind the leaves of the notepad is a padding glue. (Now you know it too ;-)) It was only early this year when I accidentally discovered the term padding glue and where to purchase it. One lunchtime, me and my lone officemate went out to purchase catalog envelopes. I found a red liquid material contained in a small translucent white jar. I asked my friend if this is thing you use to bind pieces of paper to a pad. That is when I learned that such material is called a padding glue.

Apart from the padding glue, I soon got to purchase a paper cutter. If not because of my spare income as a defense panelist, I would not have been able to purchase a paper cutter and a new ink cartridge. After that, I felt I am ready to get things moving!

As soon as I went home, I printed one notepad sample and tried to produce one pad. My first notepad attempt? Not really that disastrous but definitely needs a lot of improvement :-))! The first notepad I printed was a “mommy notepad.” A notepad for my friend, Wella, who happens to be a mom of two beautiful kids.

I was unhappy of my first output. I produced another notepad, this time for my friend, Lani. I was improving! It wasn’t anymore as awful as my first output.

Later on, I printed samples for my other friends and other close workplace buddies. I gave out the samples, took pictures of the notepads using just my lousy 2mp camera phone, uploaded them in Facebook to take advantage of free promotion and was hoping to get orders from immediate contacts.

My promotional strategy in Facebook and my give away samples went a bit successful. My first clients were my workplace friends, Tinee and Abigail. I will never forget you guys; you started business for Notepads Unlimited!

Gradually, I am starting to get orders from my Facebook Contacts. They particularly include former students, long lost friends, and former college classmates. Although I was hoping to get more clients through my multiply account,

Most of my orders came from my immediate contacts in Facebook. Through this blog and “word of mouth” I am looking forward for more orders for Notepads Unlimited.

Great Achievement and Lessons…. in a Notepad

I consider my college years as one of the turning points in my life. I happened to  feel and understand the real meaning of  “life” and “world” in the four years I stayed in the university.

I initially did not like the idea of going to PUP Manila for college. I was hoping for either UP or UST. Unfortunately, I did not pass the UPCAT. Financial problems were the main reason why I did not pursue UST. My plans and ambitions did not materialize so I was left sad and upset during my first month in college. I never wanted to be in PUP so I made an alternative plan. I will study for a semester at PUP, make good grades and later transfer to UP.

I remain dedicated to my plan. For the first time, I saw myself as a diligent student. I left home 2 hours before classes (LRT2 was not yet operational in my college years. This meant that if I have 730 am classes, I should wake up as early as  430am and leave home at 530am) and comply to all requirements even before the deadline.

However, as months passed, I slowly become detached to the idea of leaving my school. I learned to love my course, classmates and friends. I felt that all my efforts are being paid off. I started to have my own circle of friends too. My college classmates were better because the  mean girls, discriminators and dictators were gone.

A new start, a new chance, a new opportunity… this was the best thing about my college life.

I managed to maintain good grades. This was something I never experienced in high school and elementary years.My efforts in studying gradually paid off too. I was starting to get small academic recognitions, which I never ever had in my 16 years of existence. I believe I was likewise beginning to earn the respect of my classmates.

Too long introduction? So what was that great achievement showcased in a notepad?

When I was in my senior year in college, the Philippine Council of Economics Students (PHILCES) organized a national Economics Quiz Bee. Our college is an active member of the organization so a representative for the individual category should be named. I was luckily recommended by some of my classmates and professors and I honestly didn’t want to take the challenge. I was contented with my academic standing and I felt that I wasn’t good enough to beat students from other schools. I love my quiet life and I wouldn’t do anything to place myself in a bad light of making the school as a sore loser.  

Me? join a quiz bee? I have never been into one. I had no choice though. There came a point when everyone was pushing me to that cliff. I accepted the challenge and everything was history.  The venue of the quiz bee was guess what… in the school where I am currently employed. Coincidence? Early Signs?

I luckily and surprisingly surpassed the elimination round. On the final round, did i make it? I did not emerge as the champion but I landed as the first runner-up. I can’t believe it!!!! Call me boastful but I am proud to say that a PUP Economics student was able to beat an Atenean and Thomasian! The PLM student was declared as the champion. But for me, even though I wasn’t the champion, I felt I was one already!

After the competition, our council officers organized an assembly of all the Economics students. I never expected it, but on the latter part of the program, I was recognized. Our area chair acknowledged my humble win. At the end of the program, I was called on stage and was a given a simple gift of appreciation. This is another first time for me. As a result of successfully representing the school, I was given a small gift? One of the “firsts” in my life.

I opened the gift at home and it was a  stack of a small white notepad! Call it coincidence or exaggeration, but perhaps it was God’s way of telling me that notepads will mark a significant trace in my life. That small stack of white notepad will always remind me of  my perseverance and hardwork in college. It reminds me of the following lessons

1.     The best things in life are free.

2.     Success tastes better, if it was a pure product of patience, perseverance, determination, honesty and faith.

3.      Lastly, to get something you never had, you have to do something you never did!

Packaging Notepads Unlimited – An Internet and Divisoria Learning

Business is already starting for Notepads Unlimited. However, I wasn’t contented with my first few outputs. When I gave out my first notepads, I simply wrapped them on plastic covers for books. Although the plastic cover is already sufficient to protect the notepads, I felt that the notepads do not look presentable with the scotch tapes and folds on the edges. Using again the Internet as my primary source of information, I searched for stores that sell resealable plastics. I tried searching for supermarkets and bookstores through their websites.Unfortunately here in the Philippines, supermarkets and other shops do not really take advantage of the Internet. This is something I want to suggest among supermarkets and even small shops. They would be in a better off position if they establish an active online presence. All businesses should maintain a website that updated contact numbers and the products and services they offer. Apart from providing a list of product offerings, it is important that prices and specifications are available. I think customers would also appreciate having an online inventory. This means that stocks of different shops would be available online. Customers would already be directed to the right branch or store. Customers could save time and shops would experience better sales too. Some shops such as National Bookstore has already implemented this concept in their books and a few common office supplies. However, the concept of having an online inventory for customers is I think not yet implemented in the Philippines.

After almost a day of searching the ‘net, I was directed to the forum of Entrepreneur Magazine. I found a thread that discusses the importance of finding durable packaging materials for products such as T-shirts. A participant asked where to purchase resealabe plastics. One respondent mentioned that there is a store in Divisoria that specifically sells plastic products and other packaging materials. The name of the store is Plastic Queen and situated in front of the Tutuban Center Mall.

I searched for Plastic Queen in the listing of companies in the Philippines but I got no results (See the importance of Internet suppliers. I’m sure I’m not the first person who made this attempt). I decided to seek help from my workplace friend, Abigail. I asked her to accompany me to Divisoria to search for Plastic Queen. I cannot remember the exact date when we went to Divisoria. But on that day, as soon as the clock hit 5:30, I rushed out of the office and we took a ride to Divisoria. We walked the busy, narrow and populated streets of Divisoria to search for Plastic Queen. Along the way, we found some stores selling plastic materials. We dropped by two stores and unfortunately they do not sell resealable plastics. 😦 I was beginning to feel that I’ll end up going home with nothing.

We finally reached the street of Tutuban Center Mall. I was beginning to become hopeless since we are nearing the end of street. After the long walk, I saw the sign! The sign reads Plastic Queen Marketing. I walked as fast as I could  fearing that the store will already close at 6pm. Praying while walking, the store was still open!

The saleslady was fairly patient and accommodating, an improvement of my previous encounters. She immediately showed me different sizes of resealable plastic and whew! There were too many sizes. I cannot decide what size to purchase. If I am not mistaken there were more than 20 sizes of resealable plastics available. What’s worse is that I forgot to bring a notepad sample. However, when I looked in my bag I saw folded pieces of short bond paper. A good substitute!? I tried the folded paper and it fits 2 or 3 sizes. Which size to purchase? One thing I noticed about the resealable plastics is that only the length adjusts. The width was less likely to change. Three to five sizes have the same width but of different lengths. With the help of Abigail, I chose two sizes, one for the 4 X 5.5 (half bond paper) and 1/4 of a short bond paper size. By the way, Plastic Queen is a wholesaler. The minimum number of purchase is 1 pack containing 100 plastics.

I was the last customer of the store. After I made the purchase, they pulled down their accordion and closed at 6:30 pm.

It was a mini-adventure for me. After the breathtaking walk, we went to Tutuban Center Mall, had dinner at Jollibee and talked about some work related issues 😉

The Story of Notepads Unlimited (A Repost)

I am sharing to you the story of my online business, Notepads Unlimited.  I originally drafted this post for Notepads Unlimited’s blog at multiply and blogger. As you could see. I’m kind of a blog addict ;-). However, with a recent not-so-good experience with blogger, google and adsense, I am thinking of transfering Notepads Unlimited’s blogger account here at Word Press.  

The idea of establishing Notepads Unlimited came when I wanted to purchase personalized notepads from a Facebook contact. Upon learning the price of the personalized notepad, I refused to make the purchase. After some time, I realized that I am capable to produce such personalized notepads. Using the Internet as my primary source of information, I searched for procedures, materials and suppliers on how to produce a notepad.

Another reason that prompted me to pursue Notepads Unlimited is my two-year-old-idle printer at home. Two years ago when I was still writing my masteral thesis, I was forced to purchase my own printer. After I finished my MBA, that printer became a mere piece of useless equipment. I was thinking of already selling the printer. However, when the idea of selling notepads came I realized that my idle printer would serve as my stepping-stone in experiencing my own real business.

Around January 2010, I earned spare money from being a thesis defense panelist. I used my spare income to purchase a paper cutter and a new ink cartridge. With that initial investment, I started printing sample notepads for my friends. Those give away samples, opened the first orders for Notepads Unlimited. I considered my friends and contacts as my initial target customers. Right then, I also constructed a Facbeook fan page and a multiply account for Notepads Unlimited.

Notepads Unlimited is still new in the business. I also admit that I’m still learning the ropes of having an online and direct selling business. But I believe that there are more opportunities waiting for Notepads Unlimited and me! In the near future, Notepads Unlimited is looking forward in offering more paper related products such as personalized notebooks, organizers and calendars.

My Notepads Unlimited’s site: