Old-fashioned diaries prove a hit in a hi-tech, modern world

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 July, 2009, 12:00am

Arnault Castel is quickly becoming the don of diary books in Hong Kong.

The Frenchman quit his stressful banking career in 2005 to concentrate on his unusual paper fixation.

His company handles popular notebooks from such makers as Rhodia and especially Moleskine, which in three years has already built a following here.

'When I started, all my friends thought I was crazy,' Castel (pictured, right) said. 'Especially in about 2004, everyone was using PDAs [personal digital assistants] and they wondered what I was doing with paper products. But each year, I would always pick up a new Moleskine diary when I went back and my friends would ask me to get them one too, so I thought I should bring them here to Asia.'

Castel added: 'I find the people who are the most connected are the ones who use Moleskine - like designers and people in hi-tech. Originally, I had some doubt myself about diaries, but they are 30 per cent of our sales. People don't want to share everything [in a blog].'

However, he is collaborating with a blogger, Leon Ho (left) - whose Stepcase Lifehack website offers ideas for living and working more creatively - for a new Moleskine exhibition at City'super stores in Times Square, Harbour City and New Town Plaza, and Log-On stores in Festival Walk and APM. It is at these locations until July 30.