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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
NAPO Expo 2011 Recap (Part 1): The "I Feel Pretty" Edition

Last week, I shared a bit about the conference portion of the National Association of Professional Organizers' 23rd Annual Conference and Organizing Exposition. From reader inquiries, it seems everyone is hankering for this year's recap of all the nifty products, but requesting an added element. Maybe it's springtime. Maybe it's an attempt to escape the last gasp of a frustrating economy. But email after email, people are agreed: you all want something pretty.

You may recall that last year, I complained about the dearth of attractive paper filing options, especially those of the mobile variety. Sure, there are lots of little, lightweight portfolio cases, but for the stylish person on-the-go with a heavy-duty load of papers, fabulous solutions have been hard to come by.

Whether you're a trendsetting mommy/PTA president/volunteer coordinator/investment club treasurer keeping all those (paper) balls in the air, or a mobile professional (pharmaceutical salesperson, real estate agent, community healthcare practitioner, event planners, outside sales rep, etc.), Paper Doll hears you loud and clear: you want something as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional.

Last year, in my NAPO 2010 Conference Expo Recap Part 1: Boxing It Up post, I noted that KC Streamline Concepts had launched multiple varieties in their Alpha-Omega Collection, including the stylish black zip-top Alpha Omega tote.

This year, the Alpha Omega Collection expanded, but in a different direction. The main products (the Standard and Executive desktop file boxes and the Alpha-Omega Tote) haven't changed, but there's a new little sibling.

Notable Xchange is a snazzy upgrade from old school assignment notebooks or even Moleskin notebooks, an analog departure from nouveau iEverything, and is designed for the modern networker. On the left side of the 4.25" wide by 5.75" high notebook, there's a slot for keeping business cards and a pocket for keeping the cards you receive, parking vouchers or receipts. KC Streamline Concepts notes that smart phones will fit in that pocket, too. I didn't have the chance to test that feature, in part because I don't own a smart phone (don't judge me!), but one assumes only a streamlined phone would fit.

In the center divider, there's a place to keep your pen (which is included). To the right, a stack of fifty note cards helps you track (and follow up on) your brilliant ideas or note the Twitter ID of someone you encounter in real-world networking (who has neither brought along a card or who has thus far relied on using his or her cell phone's "bump" feature).

The Notable Xchange comes in Black Iris (pictured above, closed), Black Iris with a faux croc finish, Terra (pictured above, open), Terra with a faux croc finish, Poppy, Bluebell, Sweatpea, Clover and Violet. To see the Clover in action, my colleague Jeri Dansky showed off her iPhone-matching acquisition in her own blog review. The introductory price is $24.95 and includes a subscription to KC Streamline Concept's tip-laden organizing-themed newsletter.

When I last wrote about it, the Alpha-Omega Tote came in blackberry, cherry or coconut -- currently the latter two colors are on a production hiatus. While I kvelled over it as the sole attractive paper toting option we'd seen in some time at the NAPO expo, I didn't really talk about fashion.

Sure, I recognize that not everyone is interested in understated elegance. Some of us -- OK, by which I mean myself -- opt for black for almost every occasion. My colleague, Geralin Thomas, noted my all-black wardrobe in the hotel closet at the 2010 conference and dubbed me "the organizing nun".

(Hey, being The Flying Nun didn't do any damage to Sally Field's career. And you like her. You really, really like her!)

But for those who want bright colors and a double-rainbow kind of wardrobe, there's now a bold, colorful option.

JamieRaquel offers an entire line of stunningly fun leather(ish) LifeSTYLE file totes designed for the fashionable users I've described. Although I believe function trumps aesthetics in the long run, for the purposes of this post only, form shall be followed by function. These totes are just too pretty not to show off.

Each of the eight colorful totes has a correspondingly fashionable lining. For example, going from left to right:

Pumpkin is lined in a pattern of vibrant vertical bands or strips of orange, white, cranberry and lime. (Note to Paper Mommy: this does not mean the orange plaid curtains in my childhood bedroom will ever again be in vogue. They never were. Really!)

Jet Black's lining is a jaunty black, white and burgundy plaid.

Ruby calls to mind the snappiest of raincoats with what JamieRaquel is calling a Burberry-esque taupe, red and charcoal print.

Royal Blue, Lime, Chocolate and Plum all bear striped linings with corresponding color themes.

As Paper Doll's favorite color is pink, I was delighted to snap former NAPO President Stephanie Denton modeling her raffle prize, the JamieRaquel LifeSTYLE tote in Hot Pink,

with the lining of zippy pink, plum and tan squiggly squares and oblongs.

The LifeSTYLE Tote has a sturdy box-bottom construction, making it less likely to tip over, and it won't collapse in on itself (like a backpack or oversized purse), which could put files and papers at risk for wrinkling or shmushing.

Because the LifeSTYLE tote is designed to carry standard letter-sized hanging files and has an open-top box style to offer easy access to those files, it's as simple to use as your desk-top file box or file drawers. Vertically arraying papers eliminates the paper pile-up, making work (or the work of life) easier to file or retrieve and prevents anything from financial and legal documents to field trip permission slips from getting lost at the bottom of the tote.

The tote measures 11.5" high by 14" wide by 6.5" deep. The core body is constructed of sturdy, modified-density fiberboard to ensure that the two six-inch hanging file rods --  embedded directly in the core -- can withstand any heavy hanging files and prevent wobbly loosening. The bottom of the LifeSTYLE tote has reinforced cleat footing to protect the fabric from scratches and nicks.

The outer fabric, handles and security straps are covered in a PVC-based leather or patent-leather style. The handles are cross-stitched and reinforced with studs to increase durability. The interior linings are cotton, cotton/nylon, PVC-only, or PVC-backed cotton/nylon, depending on the pattern selection. There are three interior pockets (to hold your glasses, phone, business cards and other incidentals) on the long front wall (opposite the wall with the JamieRaquel label).

The JamieRaquel LifeSTYLE Tote sells for $59. Although the totes do not come with hanging folders included, if you're the kind of person who color coordinates every bit of your life, you can purchase five-to-a-package sets of coordinating color (Pendaflex-brand) hanging folders for $5 in black, blue, burgundy, green, navy, orange, pink, red, teal, violet and yellow.

The main drawback I see in this initial iteration of the LifeSTYLE tote is that although there's a snap-closed security strap to keep files from sliding out if you take a tumble over a tricycle or your flight experiences turbulence, but there's no full-enclosure lid to protect from either the elements or askew glances of prying eyes. However, I was assured by JamieRaquel's founder, Diana Peck, that this is merely JamieRaquel Version 1.0, and that future varieties will include other functional and stylistic elements.

For those wondering about the name, Diana told me that when she was pregnant with her fourth child, after three boys, she was so certain that she'd have a girl, she'd picked out the name Jamie (after her husband) and Raquel (after her mother, Rachel). When Diana learned this baby, too, was a boy, it only made sense to give the name to her "other" baby, the company that birthed the LifeSTYLE tote, and give her son another name. (Because we all know what Johnny Cash told us happened to the boy named Sue!)

From the minute Paper Doll walked into the expo at this year's NAPO conference, I was excited to share a new product line from Rubbermaid that fit all my criteria for Best-in-Show. The new product is:
  • Durable
  • Aesthetically pleasing (both in color and form)
  • Able to serve multiple functions
  • Flexible (in terms of both usage and, to some extent, form)
Thus, the last item in the "I Feel Pretty" edition of the NAPO Expo 2011 Recap is...


Seriously! Everything about the product line, from what it looks like to its description to its name has been embargoed until the August launch of the line. And although I share most of the same first name as Julian Assange, I'm no Wikileaker (or OrganizingProductLeaker?), and though a few industry members may be unaware of the press embargo, my contact at Rubbermaid has confirmed today that we're still all to be Silent Sams and Samanthas until the official word is ready for release four months from now.

So you'll just have to trust me. It's pretty, it's classy, it's nifty and Paper Doll wants it already.

Certainly there were other visually arresting products at this year's NAPO expo, including:

-- new file folders that made me say, "Wow!",
-- devices for corralling gadgets (some, which made me wonder, "How?")
-- and some other not-yet-ready-for-purchase products (I'm looking at you, Pliio!) that made me plead, "Now?!"

Be assured, readers, you'll get more than a glimpse of these items, too, as we continue our look back at the delights of the 2011 NAPO expo. See you next time!

posted on: 4/19/2011 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Discuss This Post

by Janet Barclay on 4/22/2011 6:31:49 AM:

When I saw "I Feel Pretty" in your title, I immediately thought of all the gorgeous B&W photos I've been seeing of people who were at the conference. But this is even better! When I gave presentations about office organization and/or paper management, I always stressed that you don't have to use boring old manila file folders and olive green hanging files. There's no your organizing supplies can't inspire you and motivate you to use them! And that Pliio is very cool, isn't it!

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 4/22/2011 12:50:49 PM:

Whether its color or cute-itude, aesthetics definitely increase the appeal. As for the pretty but top-secret Rubbermaid item, even Paper Mommy is begging to know what it is. I can't wait until August!

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Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles

by Julie Bestry

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