Story as marketing
This reads like a paragraph taken straight out of Seth Godin’s All Marketers are Liars, about the story you tell with packaging, distribution channels, and every other aspect of your product:
Field Notes has also taken an unusual approach to in-store sales by targeting clothing retailers instead of stationery stores. “We’re in 300 stores now — and in big places like J. Crew,” he explains. “But we didn’t approach it like ‘We made this stationery project, let’s get this into paper stores.’ We did exactly the opposite. Our first target was men’s fashion so we were selling them into stores that were selling interesting iconic American brands of shoes, belts, and pants. And it allowed us to bypass the whole idea of going to the paper show and competing against all the other notebooks in the world because we weren’t interested in it.”
By selling in fashion stores, they position it as a fashion statement, an accessory, and not just another piece of stationary.
Coudal have done very well indeed. I love their playfulness. I wish some of that for myself :)