Over time, we've learned to pay more attention to our customers. We've always taken our notebooks and service seriously—but like any group of people, it takes time before we can see the forest for the trees.
If we've learned one thing, it's that you're endlessly fascinating people. For one thing: the types of customers we did anticipate, like programmers and designers, have shown us more depth and breadth in those subjects than we had imagined.
But then, there were customers we did not anticipate. There's a diversity of professions, hobbies, and creative talents (and combinations thereof) we never expected. We get to learn about new things all the time because people show them to us in their Code&Quill notebooks.
Eventually we realized y'all needed to see what we see.
So we created our Customer Spotlight!
Late last year, we bragged on behalf of two customers in particular: Caroline Amaba, a rock-climbing Buzzfeed-programming dungeon master, and John Grimshaw, a sharp data analyst and aspiring game designer.
Today we're pointing the spotlight on Samantha Miller, also known as Instagram's @OptimisticallyReal — take it away!
The following questions and answers have been gently edited for clarity.
1. What is your notebook philosophy?
"My philosophy is simple: quality and sophistication. I've been a lover of pens and pads for as long as I can remember. When I find a pen I love, I buy a dozen.
"With notebooks, it's all about the cover, the paper, the layout, and the binding. I HATE coil notebooks. I LOVE that people are going out and creating what they aren't able to find elsewhere. My must-haves are lay-flat binding and smooth thick paper, and then a hard cover with a nice design is a plus. I use dot-grid, lined, and blank pages depending on what I'm working on—each option is great."
2. What's your "creative weapon" of choice?
"I start all of my lettering and sketches using a pencil. A simple #2 usually, but I also use a Pilot G2 mechanical pencil.
"Once I've written out the basic outline or sketch, I'll start finalizing and detailing my designs using Staedtler pigment liners in multiple sizes."
3. What does being a creative mean to you?
"Being creative provides me with an outlet for using a skillset I'm not currently able to use professionally (although that is a life goal).
"When I am sketching or lettering, that's all I'm thinking about. My concentration is 100% on my project, which gives me a peaceful break from my everyday."
4. What do you do?
This doesn't have to mean your profession!
Do you design, create, build, dance, help, organize...?
"I concentrate on sketching, hand-lettering, and improving my handwriting. I would love to learn how to paint with watercolors, so that's a future goal. I also use my creative side to do interior and exterior home design projects."
5. What do you do with your notebooks once they're full?
"I save them for revisiting later. I want to build a library of my personal notebooks. Most of them currently sit on my bookshelf—but my super-personal ones are hidden away in a container for my eyes only."
6. What would you lose if you lost your Code&Quill notebook?
"I would lose a LOT of ideas. I tend to have a terrible memory... I think of something and then I have to write it down right away or I'll lose it. (Sometimes it comes back to me, but often it's gone for good.)
"So I write everything down! This helps me with my to-do lists, sketch ideas, writing practice, and much more. My Code&Quill holds some of my favorite sketches and outlines for future projects... I would hate to lose those!"
7. Why Code&Quill?
(And how'd you hear about us?)
"When I first entered the Bullet Journal community, everyone was big on the dot-grid layout because of the freedom it provides to create your own page designs (but with just enough guidance). My issue was that, when I'm writing a lot, I prefer ruled lines... actually, I need ruled lines.
"I like to think of myself as an even-sided brain user (LOL), 50% left-brained and 50% right-brained, which means I need the options for both structure (ruled lines) and non-structure (dots). Code&Quill offers me the perfect layout, with a place for both my sketches and my detailed to-dos and project outlines."
8. Last Things About Samantha
"My Instagram handle (@OptimisticallyReal) is a testament to who I feel I am: happy and hopeful, but without my head in the clouds. I am a wife and the mother of a beautiful 1-year-old girl—and I am a career woman. My notebook is a place for me to be creative and meditate upon one thing at a time."
Stay tuned for more Code&Quill Creative Exposés in the coming weeks!
Meanwhile, if you're curious about making your own "written meditation" and project spot, click below to check out our BuJo-friendly notebook collection.
If you're in the market for a notebook, head on over to our store!
If you want more than one, check out our discounted notebook bundles!
If you just wanna say hi or look at pictures, come see us on Facebook or Instagram.