I had been wanting to visit the Baum-kuchen studio since I heard about the shop from my friend Mary. She told me all about the Traveler’s Notebook, which she has in black. I really liked the concept of the TN and decided I needed a dark brown one. It arrived very quickly, and it was so nicely wrapped. I started following Wakako’s updates from Baum-kuchen and really enjoyed seeing how she and others use their Traveler’s Notebooks in their daily lives. In fact, after reading several posts (and after talking to Wakako… more on that in a moment!), I understood that the Traveler’s Notebook is one of the main reasons Wakako wanted to open Baum-kuchen. I love that she wanted to share this notebook, which has so many possibilities, with others.
As it turns out, after I heard about the TN and Baum-kuchen, we learned we were moving to Southern California. I had been in touch with Wakako and told her that I really wanted to come visit her studio soon. Well, six months later, I went (last weekend)! It was so nice to finally meet her and to visit the studio I’d read so much about already.
When I arrived at the studio, I introduced myself to Wakako, who immediately started showing me around. She asked to see my Traveler’s Notebook, so I pulled it out and showed her how I had it set up and how I typically use it. I also explained that I would like to use it more than I do and that I just wasn’t sure I had it set up in a way that was working for me. She asked me a few questions and told me about some of the new items in the shop.
After looking around for a while, I decided to add a few things to my TN and remove a couple of items as well. I think I finally have it set up in a way that will work for me on a daily basis. I have been using it daily ever since!
I already had the 014 Kraft Note and the 003 Blank Notebook, but I knew I wanted a third notebook, preferably with lines. Wakako showed me the 002 Grid Notebook and the 001 Line. I really liked that the 001 Line has college rule lines, instead of wide rule, so I went with that.
As you can see, the notebooks are not very thick, so it allows you to put several together in the same Traveler’s Notebook.
I also really liked the idea of having a leather insert inside my TN, since I knew I’d be more inclined to carry it if I could throw in some of my credit cards, cash and ID as well. So, I picked up the [Essential] Leather Zipper Case/Card Holder, designed and made by 1.61 Soft Goods in collaboration with Baum-kuchen. The card slots hold up to 4 cards (maybe you could put 5, but I haven’t tried) each. I use the zipper side for change and any loose objects or extra cards I don’t want to lose.
It’s perfect to grab my TN and my keys if I just need to run some errands and want to have all of my most necessary items with me, without having to carry a bag. I like the soft leather, and of course, the smell of great leather is amazing.
I also splurged and picked up a beautiful Dimension Leather Pouch / TN size in dark brown. It was also made by 1.61 Soft Goods in downtown L.A. and made to fit the Traveler’s Notebook. There is a Traveler’s Passport size, too, in case you prefer the smaller notebooks.
I was so excited when Wakako pulled out the other Dimension Leather Pouches so that I could see the character and look of the leather of each one. She’s right. They each have a bit of a different look. I love that about handmade goods–no two are the same! I can’t wait to see the look of the leather as it wears over the years. That’s the beauty of items like these. They change with you and become more beautiful over time with wear.
It was so nice of Wakako to take the time to show me the studio and to help me set up my Traveler’s Notebook in a way that works for me. I could really feel her pride in her studio and business. It is such a special thing for me to meet and talk to other small business owners. I think it’s because I have my own business and I know the time and sweat that it takes to run it. I could feel Wakako’s passion for her studio and the beautiful items she carries that are cherished by her customers for years. I’m already looking forward to my next visit. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a lovely phrase that Wakako and her family share and that really resonates with me: “The journey is the destination.”