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Inside The Making of Your 2020 Diary (Part 1)

June 05, 2019

Inside The Making of Your 2020 Diary (Part 1)

This post is written by Saint Belford Co-founder Tomas Stanford.


We used to love the idea of “the big reveal”⁠—keeping everything a secret until our product launch in September. You may remember our Instagram feed was littered with posts hinting at new products we were waiting to unveil.


Saint Belford Instagram


And while we may repeat some of these themes for our 2020 diary launch in September, this year, we wanted to provide a sneak peek into the making of Curation 2020.

Whether you’re a current (or soon to be) Saint Belford customer, someone looking to learn more about the product design and manufacturing process, or a competitor performing some friendly stalking, we hope this three part series provides a valuable insight into what goes on behind the scenes at SB HQ. 


Beginning the design process

While the design process officially begins in late January, we’re pretty much brainstorming all year round to generate new ideas for diary features, materials and online resources. It’s safe to say that 95% of these ideas are often really bad, but occasionally we’ll come across one or two worth pursuing.

We take a good look at things that went wrong and how we can improve on these next year. Some embarrassing examples include:

  • A small amount of customers reported an issue with the ribbons coming loose and falling out (ouch).  
  • We had a few customers receive diaries with missing pages (not ideal receiving a diary missing your birthday).
  • Some customers commented the Cherry Blossom colour stained or became too dirty (pretty doesn't always equal practical).
  • Many diaries were shipped to us with scratches or indents on the front or back cover and had to be sold later at a reduced cost (if you purchased from our Almost Perfect collection, you'll know what we mean).

After plenty of tears on our end and many replacement diaries later, we pass this feedback to our suppliers and work with them to ensure a better build for our next edition.

We also focus our attention on the positive: what you loved most and how we can add even more value to your 2020 diary experience. More on this below.

Feedback and Reflection

Your feedback plays a massive role in deciding the changes that need to be made.

At the start of the year (February-March), we send out a feedback form to all customers on our email list.

It’s safe to say this is an extremely daunting process for us. We make the surveys anonymous and include notes like “Don’t hold back!” to encourage complete honesty from Curation users.

We press send, then nervously hit the refresh button on Google Forms awaiting your response.


So, what do we want to find out from this survey?


1. How happy you were with your overall shopping experience

We use the Net Promoter Score tool to assess your likelihood of recommending us to family or friends on a scale of 1 to 10. These were our results from 2019:


Curation 2019 Survey Results

We then use an online NPS calculator (nerd alert), which calculates the response into a final score between -100 and 100, which helps us set realistic goals for season ahead.


NPS Survey Results



2. What features you LOVE

Unsurprisingly, the Habit Tracker/Curator, Drawing Board, Weekly Meal Planner and Daily Self-care Planner rated the highest in the "most loved" category. 

With this input, we're able to make content based decisions (blog posts, Instagram stories, ebooks etc) to help you get the most out of the features you love, and educate on the ones you don't use as frequently.

The feedback we received this year also inspired our soon-to-be-released ebook, so keep an eye out for it!


3. How these features are helping you (specific examples)

This is by far our favourite question to read through. We LOVE hearing examples of how Curation is helping you live a better day.


Curation 2019 Feedback


4. What features you could live without

Ultimately, we’re looking for overwhelming majorities on this question. If a large number of customers tell us that they don’t use a particular feature, it will most likely be removed to make way for something more practical in the next edition.


5. What improvements can be made

This section seeds brand new ideas and ultimately tells us what you want in your 2020 diary. This feedback is invaluable to us and we appreciate it immensely.


Curation 2019 Feedback


We also receive dozens of emails and social media messages from customers letting us know what they love, and what can be improved.

After replying to each one with a big dorky grin on our faces, we file them in a “feedback” folder and review them along with the survey results.

We then use a “weighted” decision making model to ultimately decide what ends up in your 2020 diary. This means we try our best to weigh your feedback with what we believe are the right decisions to make regarding product features, materials and online resources.

When experiencing a classic case of decision fatigue, Instagram generally comes to the rescue...


Instagram polls

This year, we used Instagram polls to test new concepts and features with our audience.

As these are often visual elements, it’s easy to A/B test to get a general idea of what our audience would prefer. As Saint Belford is only Alex and I (Tom), it made decision making A LOT easier when we couldn’t agree on a particular design.

Sometimes this is a huge help.


Saint Belford Instagram

Other times, not so much…


Saint Belford Instagram


Another benefit of using Instagram for feedback is customers can message us directly regarding design changes, and provide specific feedback.


Saint Belford Instagram

Saint Belford Instagram


The final brief

All of this information is eventually collated into the final brief. We try to keep the process as simple as possible by using a Google Doc which is shared with our designer, Fanny.  She can then use the doc to ask questions about specific areas, making collaboration a super easy process. 


Curation 2020 Design process


While Alex and I aren't designers in the slightest, we work closely with Fanny (our design whizz and friend who lives in France) to bring the ideas and concepts in the brief to life. 


In Part 2 of Inside The Making of Your 2020 Diary we take a deeper dive into the design process, take you behind the scenes of our factory tour in China and discuss how we select the raw materials for your 2020 diary. 




What are your favourite Curation features? Leave a comment below 👇🏼