Going from an idea to an international brand is a long and rocky road indeed.
Business student Matthias Büttner made the first prototype (first generation) of the X47 organizer, at that time using pins to hold the inserts.
The second generation evolves. Now a modern spring-loaded rod solution is used.
The third generation evolves. Two size formats in our X47 Mabook style are available.
Product development has been put on the back burner. Matthias Büttner has completed his degree and starts working as a management consultant.
The notion to further develop the “Büttner Organizer” takes shape and a production partner is sought.
On May 15, patent number 1283783 “Paper Holding System” is submitted to the Munich Patent Office.
March: X47 GmbH is founded. Headquarters: Saarbrücken
May: The first delivery of spring-loaded insert rods including tubes arrives.
On September 13 the first Mabook is ready to go into production and is finished.
On September 22 the first official customer orders a X47 organizer: An Austrian customer ordering via the internet.
Sales via German specialist shops commence: 3 specialist stores have X47 listed in their products.
January: The first trade show appearance at Paperworld 2003; representatives for Germany, Switzerland and Italy are found.
October: The darkest day in the short history of X47: The tubes in the inserts disconnect from the pages for unknown reasons – we have to recall 10,000 inserts.
October: The cause of the problem is found, production can continue.
November: Thanks to a sleepless night due to Matthias' one year old daughter, a new idea emerges: attaching the paper to the tube. Production is immediately adapted. The old, expensive and delicate clasp solution is a thing of the past.
December: On a long weekend in Barcelona, the idea for our organizer-wallet combination DUO4 is born.
January: X47 is awarded the Saarland State Prize for Design 2003 and the iF Design Award 2004, and X47 is nominated for the National Prize in Germany.
The product range is extended with a further size format: Organizer Mini. In addition, DUO4, DUO3, DUO2 and DUO1 are added. DUO2 and 3 are later removed.
X47 is now also available in Holland.
Our product range is extended to include a daily calendar and a monthly planner with index tabs. Inserts with color covers are also available.
April: An article in the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sunday paper from Hans-Heinrich Pardey brings a breakthrough, the X47 stock room is cleaned out.
Designer Tina Sieg extends our product range with an elegant handbag as well as the TRIO, a practical, good looking combination of organizer, wallet and mobile phone holder.
X47 is available in France and Belgium.
The calendar concept “Time Circles” is presented for the first time.
Due to many requests from customers, X47 introduces our large size format: Organizer Professional is born.
The concept “Limited Edition”, in which various types of leather in limited batches are available, is introduced. With this new idea, X47 can provide the largest range of leather of any calendar supplier in the world.
Our product range is extended with a birthday planner and lined notebook.
X47 is now available in China.
Our product range is extended with an index register.
The X47 market presence is redesigned.
What were the challenges? How did we find the solutions? To read more about the start-up story of X47, please download our PDF.
Even while studying for his degree, Matthias Büttner was occupied with the idea of developing an organizer that combines the advantages of a bound calendar with the advantages of a loose-leaf notebook. Coming up with the idea of splitting the calendar up into small, bound booklets was quite natural. These booklets should then be held together in a leather cover using a simple, easily manageable system.
Starting with a small tube as a central fixing element on the spine of the individual booklets, several different options were considered. The only practical option was a fixture using a spring-loaded fastening mechanism, based on the mechanism used on watch pins. Simple, handmade prototypes quickly showed the feasibility of the idea in everyday life.
Before the official development of the X47 organizer, Matthias Büttner was working as a management consultant. Initially as an employee at the renowned consulting firm IDS Scheer AG where Mr. Büttner created business graphics as a student assistant, and later independently with his own management consultancy.
After nine years of consulting, Matthias Büttner decided that despite his positive economic situation, he would take a risk and found his “Büttner Organizer” company.
Together with a team of students, Matthias Büttner did what seemed almost impossible: He developed a new, innovate product for a saturated market. He solved the complex problem of the X47 mechanism, found a viable solution to the assembly of a metal tube on the insert booklets and developed a clever, efficient market concept that has been consistently implemented to date.
Currently there are 12 different X47 products, available in 25 different types of leather and successfully sold in five different countries. In 2004 X47 already had a sales volume of 350,000 Euros and had the potential to achieve a global corporate network.
Tackling a problem sometimes has positive side effects – including the creation of new products. This is exactly what happened with the DUO4.
You always need a pen to jot something down. It might be a telephone number, a flight time or simply a good idea. You can borrow a pen at such times from the waitress in the restaurant where you are eating or from the friendly cashier at the checkout. You can always find a piece of paper, if in doubt a receipt from your wallet will do.
Lots of people get a little inventive and offset this problem with a small pen that they carry with them in their wallet.
The DUO4 is the second product developed for X47. The idea arose in December 2003 on a trip to Barcelona. The impetus for the DUO4 was given by Matthias Büttner's wife, Bettina Sieg, on a long weekend away in Barcelona. “Why can’t we produce a mini booklet that we can clip into a wallet with your spring loaded insert rod? Then we would have the perfect solution: No more looking for paper – everything has its place!”
It was the birth of the DUO format, named after the two functions that are combined here: a wallet and an organizer.
At the beginning, we created four different models: The DUO1 without a coin pocket or cover flap, containing four credit card slots, a double pocket for bills and space for two or three spring loaded insert rods. The second variant, the DUO2 expanded the DUO1 with a coin pocket, fitting in the exterior perfectly. The point of contention: should the coin pocket be placed on the left or the right-hand side? According to use, many of our test customers wanted the coin pocket on the right, and just as many wanted it on the left.
The DUO4 is equipped with a cover flap, six credit card slots, a double pocket for bills and – unlike the DUO3 – also has a coin pocket. The DUO3 is only sold in Italy because, as the claim goes, Italian men always carry their small change in their pockets... After a lot of discussion, the DUO range was reduced from 4 to two models: the DUO3 and the DUO2 have fallen by the wayside; the few pieces that have reached the open market will surely soon be found on collectors markets.
Better is the enemy of good. Sometimes you can believe to have found the ideal solution, and then you go a step further. Tina Sieg has optimized her everyday life and made it better and more simplified.
I was already thrilled by the organizer, and then even more so by the DUO4, because the DUO4 kept its good looking, well-kept, slim form even with a coin and bill pocket, and several credit cards. Plus it still had space for a small booklet for notes. That impressed me greatly. From now on, I could write down my shopping list with ease. The unorganized paper chaos could finally find an end. Before the DUO4, I always had a piece of paper that would get lost, or that I would forget on the kitchen table, or at the office. Finally, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Not only could I jot down my daily fruit and vegetable list or "what do I need from the shops” list, I could even write down less common errands like a trip to the pharmacy, so I wouldn't forget it. If I want to go shopping, I always have my wallet with me, and therefore all my important information too. Absolutely wonderful. I can get used to that quickly. It is a real improvement to my everyday life.
And with the DUO4 you can even insert a calendar! That was the solution to all my unorganized confusion. Now I always had my calendar with me, without having to carry another book around, I could do what I wanted with my time and have all the information I needed with me. I was happy.
While eating in the cafeteria I had the ultimate idea: I had just put my tray on the conveyer belt and was quickly collecting all my things to prevent them from disappearing into the unknown depths of the canteen kitchen. I was holding my mobile phone against my wallet, and my car keys were between the two.
And then I knew: the mobile phone has to be integrated into the wallet!
It all has to be combined into one product! Then the constant searching in your handbag, for whatever you are looking for, is finally over. One movement and you have everything in just one hand. No more having to go back and get something that you forgot. No more having to clumsily pick up the things you have just dropped because your hands are too full.
It can be that easy to get a good idea. And then the ball started rolling: Starting with the prototype. The TRIO should be practical and good looking, it should have lots of space for credit cards, it should open quickly and safely at the checkout counter, it shouldn’t waste any space and it should combine all three functions (wallet, organizer and mobile phone) - hence the name TRIO.
There was a lot of handiwork to do: testing and performing functionality tests, making changes and then making some more changes. It required quite a bit of time until all the ideas had been tried and revamped, till the right handling was found, and all the functions had been tested and proven.
And then it was finished: The TRIO Grande. Now if I need to go to an appointment, I only need to pick up one thing in order to have everything I need with me. I don’t even give myself the chance to leave something behind or to forget something. Now I can carry a fashionable, extravagant and at the same time functional and high quality product with me where ever I go.
Actually, if I am honest, I developed it for me.