Writing my future Stationery Story

The National Stationery Show over in New York this week has been hair of the dog to my National Notebook Day hangover. And by far my favourite part of it all has been following the Stationery Story hashtag in the run up to the Show’s opening day.

Through Stationery Story the NSS honour ‘the people who are the heart and soul of the industry.’  These short pieces tell the stories of inspiring stationery addicts who’ve made their passion their business.

Story time

There’s a Stationery Story from all the people/brands you’d expect. This includes two of my current favourites: Katie Leamon and Ben Treanor. The stories have been released at the rate of two or three a month. Confession, I’ve just binge-read a whole bunch of them. 

One of the most powerful is from Matt Nguyen founder of Jolly Awesome and now Paperboy London. Matt had little experience of the stationery industry when he first started out, but turned down an opportunity to join an existing publisher because he had total faith in his ‘hip hop animals’ illustrations. I think we can all see that his belief in himself and his work has paid off. It’s so inspiring.

The stationery addict’s dream

Like all stationery addicts I dream of owning my own bricks and mortar stationery shop. Unfortunately it would be nowhere near as hip as Present and Correct in Islington  – go check them them out now! But there’d be lots of pretty available – especially in the notebook section. So more or less the whole shop then as notebooks are my particular ‘thing’. Reading the Stationery Stories makes me think that there’s a small chance that it might be possible. Around 36% of exhibitors are new to the NSS this year. Of course I’d be buying rather than exhibiting, but that still counts, right.

There’s a quote about a dream being a wish without a plan or something similar. And as a graduate of not one but two Kikki K journalling workshops, I know that in order to make my stationery shop dream happen, I must start by visualising it.

To that end, I’ll spend this weekend printing out pictures from Insta for my vision board. As you’ll see, I’ve already planned out roughly what it will look like. In the meantime, I’ve drafted my own Stationery Story using the prompts on the NSS website. Maybe next year, I’ll be a genuine part of the stationery industry and able to submit my story for real.

A Notebook Blogger’s Stationery Story

When I reminisced with old friends about our school days, a lot of the moments I remembered were stationery-related. The time I received three St. Valentine’s Day cards – still not sure if they were all genuine. The time my pig-shaped pencil case was kidnapped and held hostage by the class clown. Poor Porky. He was returned safely in the end for a ransom of fruit pastilles. And the notebook that got confiscated by a teacher because I’d filled it practicing signatures in preparation for a proposal from my latest crush. 
Long after leaving school, I still bought stationery in line with the start of  every new school term. And my stationery hauls were legendary. At work, on the bus even, I’d find myself noticing and exclaiming over other people’s notebooks. From there my blog was born.

First stop NSS 2018

As I got more and more into the stationery scene, I wondered if there was a way I could follow my passion full time. I lacked the artistic skills to be a designer, but maybe I could curate a notebook collection on behalf of my fellow stationery addicts and share some of my favourites with them.
I located the perfect premises and set about filling my new shop with as many beautiful notebooks as I could find. My first stop was NSS 2018 and the designers and brands I found there formed my first edit. I’ll never forget the excitement of walking into the NSS and seeing all the booths laid out before me.
My shop has only been open for a few months, but I’ve started to build up a customer base. My advice to anyone like me who dreams of entering the industry is to just go for it. Be inspired by the stories of others who have gone before.  And make it happen by writing your own stationery story.
With grateful thanks to all those members of the stationery industry who’ve shared their inspiring stories.

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