Monday, November 30, 2020

Review: Shibui Traveler's Notebook Cover


In August, the creative team and developers behind the world-class products at Shibui PH sent me a prototype of their latest product, a zippered traveler's notebook cover, to evaluate and review. The prototype for the Shibui TN cover is very impressive, it looked perfect to me then, and after several discussions with the team, they were able to produce their very own TN covers and Shibui PH is launching them today! (Read towards the end of this review and check the special launch discount that Shibui PH is giving  away.)

The Shibui Traveler's Notebook Cover is made from high-quality leather and shows excellent craftsmanship. It's classy, elegant, well-made, and I'm so proud that this product is made by talented and skilled Filipino leatherworkers. This TN cover has all the features that a traveler and TN user could ask for: high-quality leather cover, pockets for cards and all kinds of paper bits, Shibui's Pull-Tag™ for any pen size, sturdy built-in elastic, and a zipper to keep everything together.

Shibui's leather products are presented in large white boxes with the Shibui logo. Inside the box are the TN cover, a small flyer with leather care instructions, and a postcard. The inside bottom of the box contains the Shibui brand philosophy, contact details, and their social media accounts.

The Shibui Traveler's Notebook Cover inside the Shibui's simple and neat white box. 

I've been using a traveler's notebook for several years, and I love keeping several inserts in the TN together with my diaries and a lot of ephemera and paper bits. Now that I have the Shibui TN Cover, I will transfer some of my inserts to the zippered cover to tidy them and keep my ephemera and paper bits together. I also think that this will be very useful for when I can travel again because it can fit so much paper stuff inside. I can have a notebook, pen, passport, tickets, IDs, and other cards in one zippered sturdy leather cover! It's very useful and so handy for travelers.

Shibui's own Traveler's Notebook Cover in regular size.

The Shibui TN Cover is available in both regular and passport sizes and in several colors including Ocean Blue, Olive Green, and Saddle Brown, which is the one in this review. It measures 23cm x 12cm x 2cm and fits regular sized Traveler's Notebook refills/inserts.

This TN Cover is definitely a dream come true for TN users. Aside from the elastic to keep a regular insert, it has so many pockets and slots for cards, an extra insert, a pen, and other stuff. I was able to fit my passport in the pocket behind the card slots.

The prototype that I received in August did not have a built-in elastic and I found it was a bit of a challenge to put it in the cover's spine. I also thought that sourcing it may be a challenge to some users, so I suggested to the team to include an elastic band to the TN cover so that each product is ready to use as purchased. 

The Shibui TN Cover has a built-in elastic for a notebook insert/refill with each purchase so it's ready to use.

It's very thoughtful of Shibui to include the Pull-Tag™ in their TN Cover. The Pull-Tag™ is a unique feature of Shibui's pen cases. It's an adjustable soft leather band that holds pens securely in their slots inside pen cases. The Pull-Tag™ allows pens in any size and thickness to fit securely in their slots without any risk of pen damage due to tight elastic bands. A pen inside the Shibui TN Cover is held securely in place by the Pull-Tag™.

Card slots, pockets, Pull-Tag™ in the Shibui TN Cover.
The back cover has three slots/pockets that can fit an extra regular-sized notebook insert/refill, a passport, and some extra bits of paper.
Shibui PH now has its own metal zipper tag. I love this branding!

Shibui has definitely made some design changes to the TN Cover prototype. I noticed that they reduced the height by maybe a centimeter, which gives the contents, especially the inserts a tighter fit inside the Cover. They are basically the same, but I like the extra space in the prototype because I get more room for my stuff.

On top is the final product, the prototype is at the bottom. The final product is 1cm less in height, but both have the same thickness.
It seems that they also reduced the TN Cover's width by a centimeter.

Again, the Shibui PH TN Cover is an excellent product and a useful travel companion. Like their pen cases, the TN Covers have their own characteristics — no two pieces are alike and each carries its own look and personality. The passport size is interesting, too! Get both for your travels and memory keeping!

My Shibui TN fits two notebook inserts (one in the built-in elastic and another in the back cover), my passport, a standardized fountain pen, and several bits of paper.

Shibui PH products are designed and crafted by Filipinos whose vision has always been to create a brand that will promote Filipino leather craftsmanship to the world. Shibui's creators are firm believers of local craftsmanship and their goal is to enrich local industries and compete with other brands on a global stage. They envisioned a brand that will have a strong local and international following because they believe that providing jobs to Filipino leatherworkers means that more families can stay together and will no longer need to look for work overseas. This way, fathers can stay with their children, train them, and pass on the legacy of leather crafting to the next generation, a skill that is slowly fading as next-generation leather workers become interested in other endeavors.


Shibui also offers 3- and 5-pen cases, an 8-vial case, Hobo Weeks Cover, A5 or A6 Notebook/Journal Covers, A5 or A6 Life Organizers, Travel Wallet, and Travel Organizer. To see (and buy) these amazing Filipino products, visit the Shibui PH website (https://www.shibuiph.com/).

In the Philippines, Shibui pen cases and other leather products are also available in the following stores: Scribe.ph (SM Aura, Glorietta 4, and Eastwood branches), Analog, Noteworthy (Podium, Rockwell, BGC, and Alabang Town Center branches) and Everything Calligraphy.

And did you know? Shibui PH has now reached the global stage! Overseas, Shibui leather pen cases are available in Malaysia (Pen Gallery), Singapore (Cityluxe), Hong Kong (Pierre Cardin), and the United States (Endless Pens). 

The Shibui Traveler's Notebook in this review is provided by Shibui PH where it retails for PhP2,895 for the regular TN Cover and PhP2,350 for the passport cover. If you buy one now, Shibui PH is offering a 10% discounted price at PhP2,605.50 and PhP2,115, respectively. The promo runs until December 12, 2020. For more details on buying Shibui PH products, visit their website at https://www.shibuiph.com/.

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