Source: Supermarket & Retailer 

The “latest month” (5 weeks ending 3 April 2022) shows sales of R53-billion representing a 10.1% month increase versus the same period last year.

This data emanates from NielsenIQ’s Market Track the largest retail (grocery) data source in the country and the only currency used by all South Africa’s major retailers.

This benchmark data comprises more than 10 000 branded retail outlets (e.g. supermarkets and garage forecourts) and more than 143 000 independent stores (e.g. spazas and taverns) across South Africa’s nine provinces and measures more than 80% of all retail grocery transactions.

Private label pounces

Total Private Label (retailer own brands) sales are now bigger than the two largest manufacturers in South Africa. This is borne out by NielsenIQ analysis which shows that the private label sector now commands 15% of all grocery sales in South Africa.

This equates to R77-billion in annual sales (12-months to 3 April 2022) and saw 8.6% growth in March 2022.

Inflation nation

Rising inflation has become a hallmark of the COVID-19 era and has been exacerbated by the ‘perfect’ storm of the war in Ukraine and most recently the floods in KwaZulu-Natal – a key South African manufacturing and logistics hub.

Annual consumer price inflation rose to 5.9% in March – from 5.7% in February – placing it just below the upper limit (6%) of the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range.

Transport, housing and utilities and food and non-alcoholic beverages were the most significant contributors, with transport contributing 2.1 percentage points to the annual rate. Fuel prices rose by an eye-watering 33.2% in the twelve months to March with petrol prices climbing by 32.6% and diesel by 35.1%.

Cooking oil prices on a slippery slope

Indonesia’s decision to suspend palm oil exports in the face of domestic shortages has pushed vegetable oil prices to new highs. The prices of palm, soybean, European rapeseed and even its Canadian GMO counterpart, canola oil, have also reached historic highs.

“Given that vegetable oil is a raw ingredient in a wide range of products, varying from prepared meals to personal care, we are likely to see a negative knock-on effect of rising oil input costs,” says Nooy.

NielsenIQ data shows that South African cooking oil sales figures have unsurprisingly experienced a massive increase of 21% over the last year (52% during the past month). It has also experienced the highest price increases amongst the top 20 products measured in its data panel.

As a result, the rate of price inflation on cooking oil is currently double that of the next category.

In addition, an in-store average shelf price check by NielsenIQ revealed that the average price of cooking oil was R42.76 per litre the week before the war in Ukraine started (20 Feb) and is now R54.70 per litre (vs the latest week 1 May) which represents an increase of R11.94 per litre.

Top products

Beer is South Africa’s number one FMCG product category in terms of sales and has experienced significant growth over the last 12 months, while soft drinks are down from the number one position, having experienced 8% annual growth and 12% in the last month.

Cigarettes are the third largest product category has grown by 63% over the last 12 months and 8% in the 5 weeks ending 3 April 2022. NielsenIQ South Africa MD Ged Nooy cautions it’s important to view the data in context.

“The globally unprecedented prohibition on the sale of liquor and cigarettes during the 2020 and 2021 COVID-19 lockdowns in South Africa have resulted in those sectors experiencing high growth rates off previous low, and in certain months, nil bases.”

The only product in the Top 10 displaying negative sales figures is sugar; sales of which have declined by 2% over the last year.

Adding to this bitter pill is that the South African Cane Growers Association reports that the local sugar industry has lost more than R223-million after the unprecedented floods in April 2022 that caused damage to thousands of hectares of cane crops.

Keeping a lid on it

Long Life Milk and Instant Coffee sales are currently experiencing flat sales and low inflation. This follows a boom in sales of these items during South Africa’s lockdowns when consumers were primarily working from home and were stocking up on these items, instead of the coffee breaks they would normally take at their offices.

Now that consumers have moved to a hybrid working model, or returned to the office full time, sales have plateaued. The Beverage category has also only experienced a 2% price increase.

This category has been able to curb price increases thus far due to a decision by Government to delay an increase in the sugar tax. There have also been considerable pack dynamics at play with consumers shifting pack sizes as opposed to forgoing their favourite cooldrink, for example.

Nooy points out; “The retail sector has benefited from South Africa’s successive lockdowns. This stems from consumers prioritising in-home consumption, such as home-office related snacks and beverages and homemade meals, as opposed to out of home dining at restaurants.

“Government support measures including social relief grants have also contributed to boosting spending in the retail sector.

“However, the next 12 months will be interesting as the retail sector returns to normalised sales with the inclusion of liquor and cigarette revenue back into the mix which will allow for real year on year growth measurement and show a clearer picture of the true state of retail in South Africa,” says Nooy.

By Myles Illidge for MyBroadband

The Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) expects to clear the card printing backlog by end-June 2022 — two months earlier than transport minister Fikile Mbalula had promised.

According to the DLCA, the backlog currently sits at 550 000 cards, and it is running two 12 hour shifts to clear it.

“The current production backlog is 550 000, which is based on orders that are in the queue for production,” a DLCA spokesperson told MyBroadband.

“It is estimated that this backlog will be cleared by the end of June 2022.”

Mbalula had previously said that his department and the DLCA would clear the backlog by September 2022.

The spokesperson specified that the 550 000-card backlog only referred to those for which renewal applications had already been submitted.

It does not include all expired licence cards in the country.

The spokesperson said that the breakdown of the printing machine in November 2021 had further exacerbated the backlog caused by Covid-19 by piling on another 640000 cards. This has since been dealt with.

“The challenge occurred as a result of the machine breakdown in November 2021; however, the DLCA has put in place two 12 hour shifts in order to triple production capacity and deal with the backlog,” the spokesperson stated.

“The Driving License Card Account has managed to clear the backlog of 640 000, which resulted from the machine breakdown in November 2021. Since January 2022, the DLCA has printed over 1-million driving cards,” they add.

The backlog of driving licence cards initially formed due to South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown, during which many cards expired and holders couldn’t apply to renew.

Mbalula issued emergency regulations creating a grace period for licence cards that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021.

He then extended the grace period to 31 March 2022 to allow and encourage those who hadn’t applied to submit their renewal applications.

However, South Africa’s only driving licence card printing machine broke down when a power surge caused by flooding in an adjacent building damaged it.

As of 31 March 2022, there was still a significant backlog of cards to be printed, and applications to be submitted.

As a result, Mbalula extended the grace period twice more. The final deadline was 5 May 2022.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) raised concerns that traffic police could extort motorists who had applied to renew their licence, but hadn’t received it yet due to the backlog.

“If there is no further extension, millions of South Africans will be forced to operate a vehicle on a public road with an expired driver’s license card and may run the risk of being issued a traffic fine of up to R2 000,” Outa said.

“Outa contends that issuing a fine under the above circumstances is unlawful and that the motorist has a defence if ever prosecuted.”

Outa’s executive director for accountability, Stefanie Fick, recommended that motorists document their dealings with the authorities to avoid such fines.

“A driver must always keep a record of his or her interactions with the authorities. Keep a detailed record (date, time and places) of all your attempts to obtain a new driver’s license card and, where possible, take photos and voice recordings of events,” she said.

Mbalula has reaffirmed that his department was working on a new driving licence card on several occasions. However, the new card system pilot has been delayed until October 2023.


By The Bharat Express News

New data from Microsoft shows a clear shift in South African work habits over the past year, as what employees expect from work and what they are willing to give back has changed dramatically.

“We are simply not the same people who returned home to work at the start of 2020. Employees in South Africa are rethinking what they expect from work and voting with their feet when these new expectations are not met.

“The challenge facing every organisation is to adapt to changing employee priorities while balancing business outcomes in an unpredictable economy,” says Colin Erasmus, director of modern workplace and security at Microsoft South Africa.

Microsoft data shows four key labor trends in South Africa right now.

It’s not worth coming to the office

While most employees in South Africa are supportive of the idea of ​​a hybrid working model, data shows that people are generally unsure when to come to the office and why. Many employees also find the commute unnecessary and prefer to spend valuable time with family.

ALSO READ Suspect arrested for allegedly stealing diesel in Eastern Cape after paying with fraudulent card
“That means leaders face a key challenge – make the office worth the trip. The data reveals, however, that few companies around the world have created new team norms, such as hybrid work meeting etiquette, to ensure time spent together is intentional.

“The biggest opportunity for business leaders is to rethink the role of the office and clarify why, when, and how often teams should meet in person,” Microsoft said.

Is it worth it?

Perhaps one of the most valuable insights from the index is that employees have a new “worthwhile equation” and are more likely to prioritise health and wellness at work than before the pandemic.

This is particularly the case in South Africa, which is part of a region where 50% of employees report a high sense of daily stress, Microsoft said.

“It’s also clear that employees are acting on this new priority to achieve a better work-life balance. In fact, more than half of employees in the broader Middle East and North Africa region say they will prioritise a new job in 2022.”

Big disconnect

“Managers feel stuck between leadership and employee expectations. They think leaders are disconnected from employees and don’t feel empowered to help their teams. Employees agree, with about 84% of workers across the region saying they are not engaged,” Microsoft said.

The group noted that managers can help bridge changing employee expectations and leadership priorities, but according to the data, most lack the influence and resources to make changes. on behalf of their team.

In fact, nearly 70% of managers in the Middle East and Africa say they struggle to empower their employees, Microsoft said.

Flexibility versus always on

Although employees appreciate their new flexibility, there is still a need to combat digital burnout.

Leaders in South Africa are reporting productivity levels equal to or better than before the pandemic, but this has hurt employees’ work-life balance.

For the average Teams user, meetings, chat, length of the workday, and working after hours and on weekends have all increased over the past two years. In fact, since February 2020, the average Teams user has seen a 252% increase in their weekly meeting time.

“If leaders want to give employees true flexibility, they need to focus on activities rather than impact. Opinions about productivity are changing and according to the Work Trend Index, most employees believe it’s important for employers to reward the impact on hours worked,” Microsoft said.


Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Massmart, the owner of Game and Makro, says the Competition Commission has recommended the approval of a R1.36bn sale of its fresh-food assets to Shoprite.

The recommendation that the tribunal approve the transaction does come with conditions, Massmart said in a statement on Friday. The retailer did not go into detail, but such conditions often include commitments to avoid retrenchments.

Massmart announced the sale in August, and would see Shoprite acquire 56 Cambridge Food and Rhino stores and Massfresh — which comprises The Fruitspot and a meat processing facility — as well as 12 Cash & Carry stores.

Shoprite has indicated it is looking to beef up its interest in the low-income market, a growing retail space in SA as consumers hunt for discounts.

The sale forms part of a turnaround plan led by former Walmart executive and CEO Mitchell Slape to bring the ailing group back to profitability after three annual losses of more than R1bn.

Slape has shut down tech chain Dion Wired, merged four company units into two, outsourced software support to a Walmart centre in India, and accelerated investment into e-commerce.

Massmart had indicated on Thursday that the assets, being held for sale, had weighed on its performance in the 19 weeks to May 8, with discontinued operations seeing a 15.4% sales decline.

Cambridge was under particular pressure, with sales falling 18.6% to R2.2bn. This business has been directly affected by the civil unrest that took place in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July 2021, as affected stores had not reintroduced all product categories.

The discontinued operations accounted for less than a tenth of the groups total R30.4bn in total sales, down 0.2% for the period.


Yes, you can afford art supplies

By Vanessa Bentley

Have you ever wanted to try painting but the paper, paint and brushes are all just too expensive? What if you only paint once and don’t like it? Worrying about the cost of the paper might also make you reluctant to experiment – and after all, what is art without experimentation?

A product brand that seems to be available in many stores is Rolfes. They make sketchbooks for a variety of applications. I was looking for something really affordable for illustration purposes, and this was right up my alley.

For the purposes of the illustration I wanted to do, I also purchased a set of watercolours. This set is perfect for someone who wants to try out watercolour paint for the first time and not worry about cost. These are also perfect for children – and in my case, for illustration purposes.

For the watercolour illustration, I decided that the Rolfes Watercolour pad would be the best choice. The first step was to draw my sketch in pencil.

Once I was happy with my sketch I could start adding colour. The lid of the paint container is lovely as it serves as a palette for your paints. Add a bit of water into the little lid of the paint tray, then add the colour to the water and your paint will be perfect for a wash.

For this painting I worked in layers, adding the colours until I had the look I wanted. To finish off, I waited until the paint was dry before adding details using pencil crayons and a bit of white gel pen.

By Conrad Onyango for How We Made It In Africa

Africa’s increasing population of school-going children, together with millions joining the job market every year, is significantly growing the demand for writing materials and other forms of stationery – creating a multi-billion-dollar opportunity.

By 2050, Africa’s total population is projected to reach 2.5-billion. Half of this population will be aged below 25 years of age, according to United Nations projections – and of that 50% of the population, a large percentage will be in different levels of education or just starting out in the job market.

That is set to create a huge demand for stationery goods on the continent, which will affect world markets, according to a report.

The Africa Stationery Market report by market information advisory, 6Wresearch, projects that the continent’s stationery consumption will reach a value of over $5-billion by 2027.

According to the report, the fast-growing education sector in Africa as well as upscale commercial sector investment will push up demand for writing materials – cut paper, writing implements, envelopes, continuous form paper – and other office supplies like printers and computers.

Education though represents 60% of overall sector demand in Africa and, though the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed demand with schools being forced to close, the report believes the sector will rebound by the end of this year.

In 2018, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) put primary school enrolment in Africa at over 80%, with this number expected to escalate in the race to achieve education for all by 2030. Kenya, for instance, is ramping up efforts to ensure 100% transition rates from primary to secondary schools.

The Africa Stationery Market report also shows that the rise in commercial office spaces will drive demand for the wide stationery basket that also contains markers, staplers, sticky notes, highlighters and sticky tapes.

The spiralling demand for paper-based stationery is also set to offer brisk business for Africa’s paper-producing markets.

South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, Algeria and Morocco are among key players in this segment. Countries like Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ghana, though small producers, also stand to gain through increased production capacities of their mills.


22 May is send a letter Sunday

The history of postal services in Southern Africa can be traced back over 500 years. In 1500 the captain of a Portuguese ship, Petro D’Ataide, placed a letter in a milkwood tree at Mossel Bay.

However, the first clear use of a device that could be called an envelope dates back to 2 000 BC in ancient Babylon. This envelope was made of a clay wrapping that could protect deeds, bookkeeping forms, mortgages, financial accounts and even letters from the elements while in storage.

Envelopes can also be used for other purposes, like:

• Scrapbooking / memory books – use the envelopes to create pockets and mini-folders in a scrapbook
• Wedding guestbooks
• Notebook/diary storage pockets
• Receipt organising
• Noticeboard organiser
• Place cards
• Advent calendar
• Budgeting

And so, as we celebrate write a letter day today, take a sheet, jot down a special message for someone you care about and send it in an envelope! The recipient will feel extra special, and you will know that you supported an industry that has been around for a very long time.


21 May is Stationery Shop Saturday

By Tercia Goh for Zafigo

Here are 11 beautiful boutique stationery shops around the world!

You can learn a lot about a city from the stationery stores you visit – from the local artists whose sketches and paintings adorn cards and stickers to the handmade inks, illustrated totes, and leather handmade pencil cases. Most local stationery stores take great pride in not only sourcing popular brands from around the globe, but they also shine a spotlight on local makers, such as those creating custom stickers, custom made coins, custom enamel pins, and the like; providing customers with more unique and personalised products. It also makes shopping for souvenirs a little more interesting than the usual fridge magnets.

You don’t need to be an artist or keep a diary to appreciate a boutique stationery store. Let me first say that stationery shops are no longer a one-stop shop for your regular office and school supplies. There has been a shift in consumer needs, beyond just Sharpies and paper clips. Perhaps in a bid to balance the digital and analogue world, an increasing number of people have started to pen down thoughts versus thumbing their phone screens. Now even more so with all the alone time brought about by lockdowns.

It’s perhaps in this new refuge of ‘slowing down’ and picking up a new hobby that speciality stationery stores have started popping up around the world, offering a wealth of inspiration, from handmade paper, letterpress cards, decorative sticky tapes, customisable notebooks to 18-karat gold fountain pen nibs. Like an artisanal tube almond-scented glue, the list rolls on. Even generational stationery stores are now experiencing a new wave of craft-obsessed scrapbookers, journalling enthusiasts, and antique stationery collectors who are seeking something a little more unique, and are prepared to spend generously for a conversational piece.

Here’s my top 10 list of stationery stores that I’ve personally visited around the world! I hope it’ll inject some romanticism into your love for stationery. Or at the very least, invoke the curiosity to pick up a pen and send a postal letter to a friend.

1. Choosing Keeping, London

Perched right at the edge of trendy Tower Street in Seven Dials, sits this gem of a store that’ll leave you wanting more! The clear windows will offer you a peek into a dreamy world of gorgeous stationery, displayed beautifully within the warmth of wooden flooring and exposed bricked walls. Passers-by tend to slow down and take pause as they walk by the beautifully-merchandised windows filled with paper art, colourful pens, and handmade ceramic cups. Perhaps it’s called Choosing Keeping because try as you may to choose a few items, you’ll end up wanting to keep everything.

2. L’écritoire Paris, Paris

This place is one of the longest-standing stationery stores in the city of love and has become an institution in itself amongst Parisians and tourists alike. The shop’s been run by Sofie since 1975, and when it was opened, it was called L’Ecritoire – “The Parisian stationery store.” However, the name is somewhat misleading, because it’s so much more than just shop – it’s a homage to heritage, timeless craftsmanship, and handmade creations.

Many of their items are made by master French craftsmen. Expect the inkwell to be slightly crooked, the nib holders to be a little tarnished, and handmade paper to be slightly frayed and deckled, but behind these doors, affection is prized over perfection.

3. CforCalligraphy, Jakarta

One might easily miss this little store in the sprawled out and dusty roads of a city known for its unforgiving traffic. It took me about 40 minutes to get to this gorgeous little shop, an oasis and respite within the cluttered structures around it. Upon entering the beautiful exterior of a hand-lettered storefront – a stark contrast from the metal shutters of its neighbours – you’ll be greeted by soothing tunes, dried flowers hanging from the ceiling, and a buffet of rubber stamps, inks, and nib holders all lined up for the picking! Aside from providing all the supplies one would need for the intricate art of calligraphy, they host workshops – often flying in artists from greater Asia and beyond – who are masters of their crafts.

4. Salt x Paper, Kota Kinabalu

An unexpected delight in the tropical paradise of Sabah’s capital, Kota Kinabalu, or as I like to call it – the Hawaii of Malaysia! The store’s name is probably inspired by the ocean, where its close enough to smell the salt in the air. Tucked within a row of mom-and-pop stores, this quaint shop will have you retracing your footsteps thrice over in fear of missing out on camouflaged goodies amongst the plethora of stickers, rubber stamps, globes, notebooks, and cards. You name it, they probably have it in every single colour and then some! This is a great gift shop too, with novelty items and locally-crafted decorative pieces. There’s truly something for everybody here.

5. Melodies Graphiques & Ecritures Papiers, Paris

If Versailles had a stationery store in the 18th century, this would be it. This is a place for those who like to write by hand, and for those who appreciate forgotten objects and elevated desk accessories – think elaborately engraved brass pen trays.

This is not a place of needs, but a place of wants. You’ll notice rows of antique ink bottles proudly displayed on the top of shelves, a reflection of the owner’s personal collection. Try as you may, but you won’t be able to leave this store without feeling visually seduced by the luxurious and opulent feathered pens, textured papers, and everything in between celebrating French culture and craftsmanship. “Draw me with one of your French pens…” *fans self*

6. Zetta Florence, Melbourne

A charming family-run stationery wonderland from the Land Down Under. Imagine high ceilings in a heritage building on the trendy and artistic street of Brunswick where good coffee flows aplenty. Zetta Florence will draw you in with her dressage of Italian posters, photo albums, archival boxes, illustrated notebook covers, and rolls upon rolls of colourful yarn.

Whether you’re a hardcore DIY crafter or a noob seeking a new hobby, this place will scratch your creative and curious itch. If you’re lucky, you can even catch one of their bookbinding workshops. And since you’re in the neighbourhood, make a day out of it and explore other small independent businesses like Kami Paper just next door (home to speciality paper experts and personalised journals to capture your passions).

7. Scriptum, Oxford

Take a step back in time and get lost in the endless wonderment of Scriptum in the charming town of Oxford. You’ll have to wander through cobbled stone lanes before you’re greeted by objects of curiosities such as oversized magnifying glasses, marbled globes, nautical compasses, and lion head bookends. This isn’t your typical stationery store. Upon entering, you’ll be greeted in true Oxford style – with classical music and Azeem, the gentleman owner, who’s always dressed to impress. And just when you feel that it’s all too much with the sensory overload, you’ll discover more upstairs.

Double the levels, double the happiness! It’s floor-to-ceiling of endless discovery. Blink and you might miss something. Scriptum, much like the majestic timeless architecture surrounding it, is keeping alive the traditions of journalling and writing through its beautifully-curated selections of analogue pieces. We’re sure that you won’t leave here empty-handed, but you may very well leave with empty pockets.

8. Stickeriffic, Kuala Lumpur (KL)

Ask any stationery enthusiast visiting KL, from near or far, and their eyes will light up when you mention Stickeriffic. This is where the local community of creatives congregate, huddle, shop and socialise. Not too bothered with stocking mainstream, popular brands, you’ll find a wide variety of stationery staples that’ll suit your scrapbooking, bullet journalling, painting, sketching, calligraphy, and crafting needs.

This is where the boyfriends come to buy their lady a special notebook or anniversary gift. A place of thoughtful and purposeful objects that’ll bring its user endless joy from creating. The cats here have become an attraction too, as the store’s ‘paw keepers’ are often seen sitting atop the tables or sunning by the window. So sit back, order a cup of coffee, whip out a book, or journal. This is where time slows down.

9. BomoArt, Budapest

Established in 2000, BomoArt has garnered a cult following amongst creatives from around the world, and it’s not difficult to see why. Best known for their speciality prints, paper quality, and leather-bound journals that use traditional book-binding techniques, you’ll find BomoArt’s pocket-sized shops peppered around Budapest.

They stock a wide variety of their own vintage-inspired designs, making them truly unique. And beyond selling branded stationery from other cult brands, BomoArt designs and produces their own collection of items, from maps, photo albums, bookmarks, and accordion folders to art boxes and kaleidoscope. You won’t find their products mass-produced and stocked in many other stationery stores – at the very most, just a handful.

If customisation is something you appreciate, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can customise a notebook from the colour of the leather-bound to the design print of the book and embossing of words or initials. With all the options available, expect to be spoiled for choice!

10. Il Papiro, Venice

I first stumbled upon this store by pure chance. This is where you will find precious pieces of Venetian Murano glass pens, produced in the Venetian island of Murano since the 13th century. This material’s also artistically made into ink wells and wax seal handles. Aside from that, you’ll find famous Italian marbled paper, Amalfi and Florentine paper (sought-after Italian handmade paper), as well as premium leather-bound journals.

They have shops all over the country, from Rome to Florence and Siena. You can even visit them in major cities around the world, like London and Melbourne. What one can acquire overseas due to their popularity, though, can’t compare to the actual experience of walking into an ‘original’ Il Papiro store in Italy. The store just exudes a timeless beauty that has to be felt in person.

11. Traveler’s Company, Tokyo

Every journaller would know the famous Traveler’s Notebook from Japan. The brand pioneered the TN journal notebook, a beautiful collection of leather cover notebooks with interchangeable notebook inserts, amongst many other popular brass tools and retro items. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the brand, you won’t regret making your way to one of their stores.

They have a few around Tokyo, but if you’re tight for time, you can visit the outlet in Terminal 3 of Narita Airport. There are regular busses that go between all three terminals, and if you’re lucky, you’ll score some limited-edition pieces that are so coveted, they often sell out online and in the main stores around the city. Here, you’ll be able to do some last-minute shopping and squeeze your haul into whatever space is left in your hand carry!


20 May is Fountain Pen Friday

A fountain pen is a type of pen that delivers water-based liquid ink through a nib. The ink flows from a reservoir through a “feed” to the nib, and then through it. The nib has no moving parts and delivers ink through a thin slit to the writing surface by means of gravity.
Fountain pen reservoirs can be refillable or disposable. A pen with a refillable reservoir uses a piston-like mechanism to draw ink from a bottle through the nib. Alternatively, it must be refilled with an eyedropper. Refill reservoirs, also known as cartridge converters, are available for some pens which use disposable ink cartridges.

Who invented the fountain pen?

  • Peregrin Williamson, a Baltimore shoemaker, received the first American patent for such a pen in 1809.
  • John Scheffer received a British patent in 1819 for a half-quill-half-metal pen that he attempted to mass manufacture.
  • John Jacob Parker patented the first self-filling fountain pen in 1831.

Ten facts about fountain pens:

  1. With a fountain pen, you can write upside-down. It may sound strange, but you can write in a very finely. The writing won’t be perfect (it will be scratchy), but it’s definitely possible. This is a cool trick to impress your stationery friends!
  2. The first records of a so-called fountain pen date back to around 950AD. The pen was created by request, as previous designs would leak over the user.
  3. Every fountain pen is unique! After using your fountain pen for a long time, the nib slowly personalises itself to your handwriting. The tip wears out exactly to your style, making it challenging to lend your pen out to other pen pals!
  4. This might come as a surprise, but left-handed people more often use fountain pens than right-handed people.
  5. Fountain pens come in all sizes, shapes, and colours; the largest dip pen ever produced measured over 7 feet and wrote surprisingly nicely on a gigantic piece of paper.
  6. More than 100-million fountain pens are sold annually. The biggest markets are China, India, Pakistan and the Middle East.
  7. In the last few decades, a fountain pen has shifted from a piece of necessary writing equipment to a luxury item. Even though people are using digital writing tools much more, the sales of ink pens have been on the rise for five consecutive years!
  8. Writing with a fountain pen reduces hand pain, cramps and hand fatigue. Because an ink pen writes more smoothly and flows over the paper, you have to use less pressure while writing. The pen writes by using its own weight, relieving your hand from doing the heavy work.
  9. When you give a unique fountain pen to someone, the first thing they will write is their own name. This is true for over 95% of the people!
  10. With a standard small ink cartridge, you can write around 2 500 words.

Source: Wooden Gifts and More 


Join our cybersecurity webinar!

shop-sa, in conjunction with My Office, will be hosting a cybersecurity webinar on Thursday 26 May 2022.

The guest speaker will be Junaid Amra, partner in the Advisory division of PwC South Africa and leader of the Forensics Technology Services practice.
Amra assists clients with digital forensics investigations, incident response and proactive cybersecurity reviews and implementations.
He will speaking on the topic of current cybercrime trends.

Event details:

Time: 10:00
Date: 26 May 2022
Topic: Current cybercrime trends
Cost: Free for shop-sa members; R100 for non-members.

Non-members to please send payment to:

Standard Bank
Acc holder: shop-sa
Acc number 200581082
Current account
Branch code: 004305

Proof of payment to be sent to Wendy on

To RSVP please contact Wendy directly on (012) 548 0046, 082 963 7441 or

Follow us on social media: 


View our magazine archives: 


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective