It’s been a year since Evernote declared a cease-fire between pen and digital, and in that time, the company has put its brand on a bevy of physical goods, including Post-it Notes, Moleskine notebooks, scanners, styluses, backpacks, wallets, pencil holders, even socks.
At this year’s Evernote’s annual conference for fans and developers, the note-taking app is showing off yet another set of products: sleek plywood-molded stands for laptops, tablets, and monitors. Part of the Pfeiffer Collection the company debuted over the summer, the Bent Ply desktop products are an extension of furniture designer Eric Pfeiffer’s work. Pfeiffer has spent much time working with Silicon Valley tech companies to create more functional and collaborative work spaces for teams.
“What we try to do is bring a little bit of that softening of the office space into the desktop,” he told Fast Company.
Though the digital note-taking company surprised many with its foray into physical goods, the strategy has paid off. In the year since it launched the Evernote Market, the company has sold $12 million worth of physical goods, and vice president of design Jeff Zwerner said the online store helped convert many free users of the app into paying customers. Of the 51% of customers who have purchased from Evernote Market, 41% were existing free users.
Pfeiffer’s technique of bending plywood is inspired by the design work of Charles and Ray Eames, who used industrial processes from the World War II era to craft furniture from molded plywood. Applying heat and pressure, a press adheres thin pieces of wood veneer coated with glue and shapes the plywood with different angles. Because of how dynamic wood is, moisture in the air can affect the final product, making these products harder to scale than, say, molded-injected plastic vessels.
“You can only make so many of these things in a day or a week or a month,” Pfeiffer says. “It’s a natural material. You can’t predict what it’s going to do. Every piece of wood is different. Wood is this dynamic thing–the grain, the structure–it’s always different.” Evernote declined to say how large a run of Bent Ply products it’s planning at launch, but Pfeiffer said inventory control and forecasting should adequately prepare it for consumer demand.
Though the stands are designed to accommodate products such as iPads and MacBooks, the intention was to break away from Apple’s aluminum aesthetic. Pfeiffer says that he wanted to “bring the warmth of wood to the desktop” while making these pieces functional with optimized ergonomics that don’t strain the neck and shoulder of the modern-day worker, as well as providing storage tucked away in the angles.
Aside from this line of Bent Ply products, which range in price from $65 to $100, Pfeiffer is reissuing his book, aptly named Bent Ply Book (complete with plywood book cover), with details of how these Evernote-branded products were created. The new edition will be available in November.