RD: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
BF: My name is Brian Furby – I am the founder of TitleBeard.com, and Director of Sales for CanYouHandlebar, a company that manufactures premium beard and moustache products.
The journey to get to this point has been an interesting one. I majored in English at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, and then attended Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law. I was a practicing attorney from 2008-2014, and when I left the small firm where I was a partner, I knew I wanted to take my life in a direction more suited towards my passions.
I founded TitleBeard in 2013 to provide some guidance about the large number of beard and moustache products available on the market. When I started growing my own beard, I had a lot of questions but could find very few answers, so I wanted to use my own experiences to help educate others.
I have since expanded beyond just beard product reviews to columns on a number of different topics, and then expanded the types of products reviewed to a number of everyday carry (EDC) items, and stationery products as well.
While I was in the process of conceptualizing TitleBeard, I met Doug Geiger, the founder of CanYouHandlebar. We quickly became friends, and he was a driving force in encouraging me to start TitleBeard. He occasionally had asked me to collaborate on work he was doing with CanYouHandlebar, and then asked if I would accept the position as his Director of Sales in early 2015.
When I’m not working on projects for TitleBeard or CanYouHandlebar, I compete in or judge beard competitions, occasionally do a little woodworking, and enjoy playing with my daughter, Samantha.
People always ask me about my beard, so let me answer a few of the more common questions.
1. I’ve been growing it for about three-and-a-half years
2. No, I didn’t grow my beard because of Duck Dynasty or Gas Monkey Garage, and no, I’ve never watched either show.
3. No, it’s not styled all the time like it is in the picture, I just do that for fun every once in a while.
4. No, I don’t usually carry my notebooks in my beard, but I suppose that I could.
5. To eat, I just lift my moustache up and yes, it gets annoying sometimes, but that’s the price you pay for having an awesome moustache.
RD: How and when did you first discover Rhodia products?
BF: I first ran across Rhodia on Mike Dudek’s blog, www.ClickyPost.com. Because I do a number of product reviews myself, I like to keep up with other websites that do solid reviews (regardless of the product type), and Mike is at the top of the game. I’ve always been a bit of a stationery fiend, so when I first found Clicky Post, I read through his entire archive and that was the first time I ever saw a Rhodia Dot Grid pad. I immediately thought to myself “That dot grid pattern is awesome, I have to get some of those”.
I visited the Rhodia website and was blown away by the vast number of products available. There are a lot of companies out there that make a good pocket notebook or a good full sized notebook, but very few that do both. Rhodia does both, and more.
RD: Which are your favorite Rhodia products?
BF: I do the majority of my work from home, so my daily driver is the A4 Spiral Pad – dot grid, of course. I am a perpetual list maker, and the dot grid pattern not only allows me to keep my lists neat and organized, but gives me the freedom to design my own page layout without being confined to lines. The “legal” size of the pad is one I have always enjoyed working with, and the perforated pages make it easy for me to ditch a page if I need to start over (something that often happens) or if I get everything crossed off of a given list (something that rarely happens). I also enjoy the freedom of a dot grid pattern as it allows me to do some sketching when I’m contemplating a new woodworking project, working on a design for promotional materials, or designing a booth layout when I’m planning on attending a trade show.
Despite the fact that I do the majority of my work from home, I never leave the house without a pocket notebook as part of my everyday carry. Many people find it easy to make notes on their phones, and while I do that myself, there’s nothing like putting pen to paper. I make lists, take notes in meetings, and pass along my contact information in the event I don’t have a business card handy. The two that I’ve carried the most are the Rhodia Unlimited (graph) and the Rhodia Pocket Notepad (dot grid). Both have great portability and don’t feel bulky in whichever pocket I choose to carry them.
I simply enjoy writing. Beyond work pursuits, I enjoy journaling, and I try to write something every day, even if it’s just a one page recap of the day. I do this journaling exclusively in pocket sized notebooks since I always have one on me or nearby, and I’ve found that my one page per day goal is easier to keep up with on busy days when the page is a smaller one. The Rhodia Pocket Web Notebook (dot grid) works great for this – I like the larger number of pages it has compared to some of the other pocket notebooks, and the pocket in the back is great for storing little mementos that I’ve collected in the timeframe that journal covers.
RD: Do you use Rhodia products in any way that is specific to your job?
BF: Absolutely. Again, I’m a list maker. Despite the fact that the majority of my final work product ends up on a computer, it starts with a pen and paper. Whether it is making a list of products awaiting review, taking notes when reviewing a product, making an outline for an article, or jotting down my editorial calendar or task list for the next month – I write it all down.
Some people would find that much writing cumbersome, especially when a lot of it gets typed up eventually, but I find it helpful and relaxing.
RD: Does using Rhodia products make your job easier in any way? (Do quality tools make the job easier?)
BF: Definitely. For example, I carry Rhodia pocket notebooks with me when I go to trade shows for CanYouHandlebar so I can jot down notes about new business connections or presentations I’m making. The size is great for portability, and it’s also handy for storing business cards I receive and makes it easy to keep all my information in one place when I need to refer to it later.
Being able to write everything down also allows me to cross things off said lists. While I generally do more writing than crossing off, when the crossing off happens, it is extremely gratifying.
Having a quality notebook, whether full sized or pocket sized, makes these tasks very easy. Without quality paper, all of the notes I jot down would smear and be useless. Having perforated pages makes it easy to cleanly tear out a page without compromising the structural integrity of the entire notebook.
Generally speaking, Rhodia products help me stay organized, and when I’m organized, I’m much more productive. A number of the projects I work on are long-term ones that may take six months or a year to complete, so it is helpful to have a written record that I can go back and refer to throughout the project.
In addition to making my job easier, having a quality notebook often makes my life easier. My daughter turns three in March, and her attention span is what you would expect from a child her age. There have been numerous times where we’ve been out somewhere and she gets distracted (maybe even a little rowdy) so I just whip out one of my Rhodia pocket notebooks and a pen and ask her if she wants to draw, and that gives her something to focus her energy on.
RD: Pencil, pen, or other? Favorites?
BF: 99% of the time, pen. My preferred pen is something that carries the Pilot G-2 refill, and I do the majority of my work with a Bolt (with blue ink) and Render K (with red ink) from Karas Kustoms.
RD: Is there any way we could improve on your favorite product?
BF: I love the A4 Spiral Pad – I would just like to see a larger one. 80 pages is great, but I would love to have a 160 page version of it. I would also suggest a side-stapled Rhodia dot grid notebook sized to fit the standard Traveler’s Notebook would be an excellent option for those who utilize a multi-notebook system. Lastly, I think incorporating a subtle tab system on the notebooks with a larger amount of pages would be great for organizational purposes.
If you would like to be featured in a Fan Profile here on Rhodia Drive (in exchange for a Rhodia product of your choice as a thank-you gift) email Laurie (at) Exaclair (dot) com. We’d love to feature you here on Rhodia Drive!