There are too few things made by hand, one by one, these days. The concept certainly drives the popularity of printing techniques like letterpress or screen-printing, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it used on a pocket notebook — that is, until now.

Most pocket notebooks are a dime a dozen, explained Dapper Notes creator Enon Avital, but then again, you don’t see made-from-scratch varieties featuring posh fabric covers and hand-sewn bindings of thick wax linen thread. When the world is a Wal-Mart, these are Bergdorf Goodman all the way!

So, how did these come about? “A paper lover for as long as I can remember, I got hooked on pocket notebooks around 2010 and sampled every brand I could get my hands on,” Enon told me. “The one thing I could never find is a pocket notebook that’s more than just paper sandwiched inside a cardboard cover. Giving friends and family a set of pocket notebooks is nice, but I didn’t find any that are made for gifting. Carrying one around all day is pretty much a given, but there were none I could take with me to formal happenings too.

“I decided to experiment. By a rough estimate of one bajillion iterations, I discovered the recipe that answered everything I was looking for: 70lb smooth paper inside, printed by a local fella (I’m in North Jersey), with a two-layer cover that’s made of fabric on one side, and book cloth on the other. Well-chosen patterns can pair as a fabulous accessory, and binding the fabric to a book cloth results in a strong cover that feels nice and looks even better, if I may say so myself. To finish each notebook, I also include an onion-skin-like paper inside (adding a pop of color and elegance), and then sew them using bookbinding wax thread (which also adds color, and serious durability). I trim the edges, round the corners, and package each notebook by hand, totaling around one half hour of work to assemble each notebook. 

“A lot of work goes into this, but the process of creating Dapper Notes from scratch, one-by-one is the most soothing part of my day. Getting lost in the details, and refining every notebook while listening to my favorite tunes is the best meditation I never knew I needed. Since this is a one-man operation, I make only a small amount of each design. 

“That’s the whole story. Boy seeks to make a product better, stumbles upon journey, discovers himself, err, I mean something really nice. Shares said nice thing with the world.”

Enon sent me the Puerto Plata design, inspired by a vacation in the Dominican Republic, and it is really, really special! Every detail is immaculate, and it’s even signed and numbered in pencil in the the back. But all the designs are definitely swoon-worthy, and live up to the dapper brand. If you are a writer or artist of any kind, these are the perfect repositories for your brilliance on the go. It’s not too surprising that these tend to sell out fast, so if you see something you like, don’t wait, get it! At $15 a pop, they’re the epitome of an affordable indulgence.

And, if you want to make sure you get each before they’re gone, consider a Bookhead Club subscription, now on sale for $75: It guarantees six editions, mailed every other month when Enon make a new design.

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