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Brand Innovation is a premier supplier of Moleskine notebooks and Moleskine products in South Africa. Moleskine is a legendary brand with a rich history. Read more about the Moleskine notebooks below.

The Moleskine Notebook – a Short History

In the early 21st century there was a new pulse of interest shown to the classic Moleskine notebook.

All relevant information and facts have been borrowed from James Harkin’s book, Niche. Be sure to read it!


What was even more interesting about this was that the sudden, excited talk of Moleskines was between different groups of people, especially the younger generation. 


“It was as if they were rediscovering the pleasure of direct experience, of going around writing things down by hand,” says Maria Sebregondi, the brain-power behind the resurrection of the Moleskine notebook.


According to his book Niche, James Harkin speaks of the creative and innovative Maria Sebregondi, who in 1995 had been helping out a company in Milan called Modo & Modo. She had been asked by the founder of Modo & Modo to come up with ideas to make the company grow.


At the time Maria had been reading a book, The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. Chatwin, a travel writer from England, spoke of notebooks that he used to buy in Paris every time he travelled there. These notebooks were called moleskines – hard covered, bound in cloth treated with oil, with squared paper and the end-papers held in place by an elastic band.


Chatwin writes in The Songlines, ‘I had numbered them in series. I wrote my name and address on the front page, offering a reward to the finder. To lose a passport was the least of one’s worries: to lose a notebook was a catastrophe.’ On one of Chatwin’s trips to Paris he had heard that the moleskines had become harder to get hold of. Chatwin wanted to order 100 of his favourite writing companions, but was sadly informed that the manufacturer had died and his successors had sold the company.


‘The real moleskine is gone,’ the French proprietor of Chatwin’s favourite bookshop had said.


Sebregondi was shaken by the retirement of the moleskine notebooks and wanted to bring it back.


She had seen similar notebook that had been used for inspirational sketching and jotting, by influential artists like:

  • Pablo Picasso
  • Henri Matisse
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • André Breton


After presenting her idea to Francesco Franceschi, the founder of Modo & Modo, they set off to revive the moleskine that had been used by forerunners of the experimental art and literature worlds. Soon they had found a manufacturer who met their requirements and after manufacturing these notebooks it had been sent to Milan for further detailing by hand.


Timeline of development and sales through the years have been increasing like crazy:

  • 1996 – Modo & Modo trademarks the brand as Moleskine
  • 1997 – First batch of 5 000 notebooks sold
  • 1998 – Sold 30 000 notebooks
  • 1999 – Expanded into European neighbours, sales skyrocket
  • 2003 – 3 million sales
  • 2005 – 4.5 million sales
  • 2006 – Sells the Moleskine brand to a French investment fund for 60 million Euros
  • 2013 – Now Moleskine sell about 10 million notebooks a year


Maria Sebregondi was an absolute genius by turning the memory of the experimental era into an elegant and sophisticated product that people could identify with.


As Sebregondi says in Harkin’s book, Niche, “In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, people took their identities from their home and their place of work. It was all very static. Now identity is more likely to be bound up with memory and culture, and with the things people can take with them – their notebook, their mobile phone, their Facebook page and their followers on Twitter. That’s their place.”


It took the committed and energetic gospel of Moleskine’s fans to make the brand come back to life. And boy, are these fans passionate about their oilcloth, hardcover notebooks?


Brand Innovation is a delighted supplier of Moleskine Notebooks. We take lovely care of our customers and their products. We deliver to your door, anywhere in South Africa.