On Monday, July 27th, we woke up a bit later than we’d wanted. The previous day had been a long day of travel, and our bodies had not yet adjusted to the time change. We had to go down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast before we missed out on that before we showered because we’d gotten up so late. By the time we were ready to do anything, it was 12 noon. First on the agenda was to walk to Roterfaden!
I typed the address into my phone to get the route to the shop. Rosenstraße 11 was all I needed to type into the Maps app because we’d woken up IN Saarbrücken, which seemed so crazy to me and excited me more than you could possibly imagine. It was a seven-minute walk from our hotel. We had to make a left onto Faßstraße, a right onto Obertorstraße, a left onto Rosenstraße, and then there it was on our right. I was absolutely giddy when we found it, and I saw the red logo on the window.
I have kept a notebook, as an anchoring/coping mechanism for security, ever since I was a little girl. I have had all sorts of notebooks. I’ve used different notebooks at different stages of my life, for different reasons, but I’d always had one. When I was younger, I used those simple black and white composition notebooks and later Moleskine notebooks. For many years, from 2014 to 2020, I’d used a traveler’s notebook by Traveler’s Company, but by 2021 had made the decision to switch to an A5 notebook. After some trial and error, I discovered a bright sun yellow Roterfaden cover with a turquoise suede interior on Baum-kuchen’s website. I’d never considered using a Roterfaden, but I impulsively added it to my cart because the color combination was so uniquely pleasing. It was the perfect size, and the system aligned with all of my needs, and actually allowed me to be more creative in the way that I approached keeping a notebook.
I think it was November 2021 when my Tashenbegleiter arrived, and I immediately fell in love with it. I remember emailing Wakako about it, and in her response she wrote about the warmth of the covers and that they had a “soul.” And it was true. I 100% understood exactly what she meant by that and agreed. Prior to our trip to Germany, I ordered a bespoke Taschenbeglieter, not because I needed a new one, but because I wanted to actually pick up my notebook from the actual store. There is something so special to me that I got to walk INTO the shop IN Germany and touch my notebook for the first time. For that occasion, I designed a logo that was laser engraved on a new smoke blue cover. It is my name and then the boys’ names underneath to symbolize the horizon and a rising son.
When I walked into the shop, I was struck by its simplicity. It was so clean and simply decorated, just like the photos I’d seen. There wasn’t much inventory in the displays. The lack of comfort and simplicity is so relaxing. We were greeted by Nils, who went to get
Beate for us. It was such an honor to see her in her shop. After purchasing that first sun yellow Roterfaden Taschenbeglieter and experiencing its warmth and soul, I was lucky enough to start communicating with Beate, learning more about the ideas and mission behind her designs and her business model, and developing a friendship. I am so impressed with her commitment to quality and the use of local craftsmen, and her focus on the sustainability of her products.
The boys and I received a full tour of the Roterfaden headquarters, where we also met Beate’s other colleagues, Ulrike and Mojan. After the tour and introductions, I got to unbox my new notebook, right there in the shop. I was like a kid in a toy store or a notebook-loving adult in a notebook store. There’s video footage of this happy event, which I’ve uploaded for your viewing. I’m literally squealing and gushing, and it makes me happy that I can do that. Life and the world are so insane right now. I am grateful that I can still conjure that child-like excitement about something as simple as a notebook. In that respect, may I never completely grow up. If you’d like to see the video of my joyful unboxing, you can follow this link.
That afternoon, Jeffrey joined us, and we went out to lunch for burgers with Beate. Then we all returned to Roterfaden later that day at around 5 PM to do a Live on IG. Both Beate and I are fairly introverted and didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the Live, which I’d thought would last for about 20 minutes, but instead, it was like talking to an old friend, and the IG Live went on for a full hour. It was great, and as much as I loved Roterfaden and their products before my visit to Saarbrücken, I love them even more after that.
When we were planning our trip to Germany, most people that I told about it seemed a bit confused by our choice of destination. I was often met with the question, Why Germany? And then when I shared our itinerary in which the first stop on our trip was two days in Saarbrücken, a lot of people just thought I was weird and random. Why would I want to go to an obscure place in Germany? In retrospect, I could have stayed in Saarbrücken for longer. I would have gladly helped in the shop, packaging up orders, stocking the shelves, or greeting customers because the warmth and soul you feel when you touch their products is experienced exponentially once you walk into the shop and even more so once you get to meet and talk to Beate.
I hope you enjoy the photos that we took. You can find the link to IG Live by following this link.