Tag: stationery

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.


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!


18 May is World Stationery Day

World Stationery Day was created in 2012 to celebrate written media and to encourage people to take up theirs pens and spend time physically writing something.

Why not surprise a family member by sending them a handwritten note this May?

There are several fun ways people can celebrate World Stationery Day:

  • Visit your local stationery printers and support them
  • Handwritten letters, poems and greeting cards will surprise family and friends
  • Get some customised letterheads , journals, diaries or other items printed at your local printing company
  • From a business point of view, inform your clients and customers of the role that stationery plays in our lives

Writing is an art form; a fundamental aspect of communication.

Stationery deserves to maintain an active presence in people’s lives across South Africa.

17 May is pen and pencil day

Pens and pencils are used almost daily by most people. As we observe “pen and pencil day” during Stationery Week, here are some fun facts about these important home and office tools.


  • Pens are at least 5 000 years old. Ancient Egyptians used reed straws and ink made of soot or red ochre mixed with vegetable gum and beeswax.
  • The largest ballpoint pen ever was made by Acharya Makunuri Srinivasa from India. The pen is engraved with scenes from Indian mythology and is 5.5 m in length and weighs 37.23 kg.
  • Modern ballpoint pens have metal balls as the writing point. These are made from tungsten carbide which is three times tougher than steel!
  • Ballpoint pens were very popular among World War II pilots because they did not leak at high altitudes.
  • Gold-nibbed fountain pens slowly adjust to your writing style. As the pen is used, the nib flexes and softens.
  • The United States is the largest manufacturer of pens, producing 2-billion pens in a year.
  • In 95% of cases, the first word a person writes with a new pen is their name.
  • The oldest surviving fountain pen is from 1702 and was designed by M. Bion from France.
  • The most expensive fountain pen is “Fulgor Nocturnus”. It is made by Tibaldi of Italy and is decorated with 945 black diamonds and 123 rubies. Its price is $8-million dollars.
  • There are five main kinds of pens used worldwide: ballpoint, fountain, soft-tip, rolling-ball and specialty pens.


  • Pencil leads contain no lead – just graphite and clay.
  • The longest pencil in the world is 323.51 m in length. It is made by Edward Douglas Miller from the UK.
  • In 2004, factories in China made over 10-billion pencils, enough to circle the earth more than 40 times.
  • Demetra Koutsouridou from Greece has a collection of 8 514 different pencils sharpeners – the largest collection of pencil sharpeners in the world.
  • The name “graphite” comes from Greek “graphein” which means “to write”.
  • The most expensive pencil is a limited edition of the Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil. It is made of 240 year-old olive wood and 18-carat white gold. Its price is $12 800.
  • Famed author John Steinbeck used as many as 60 pencils a day to write his novels.
  • Emilio Arenas of Uruguay has the largest collection of black pencils in the world. He has a total of 16 260 pencils from all over the world and holds a Guinness World Record for his collection.
  • Newspaper pencils have casing made from old newspaper. Each one is made from one sheet of newspaper.
  • The oldest surviving pencil dates from the 17th century. It was found on the roof of an old German house while it was being renovated.

Sourced from www.lincpen.com

16 May is ‘make-a-note’ day!

16 May is international “make-a-note” day.

There are several benefits to taking notes in your own handwriting:

  • Your ability to focus on the topic at hand increases
  • Your comprehension improves
  • You will be able to understand and process more information
  • Your memory will improve
  • It may inspire your creativity
  • It keeps your mind engaged
  • Your attention span is extended
  • Your information will be more organised
  • It is also a form of relaxation when you use a journal.

From diaries to journals

The modern diary has its origins in fifteenth-century Italy where diaries were used for accounting. Gradually, the focus of diaries shifted from that of recording public life to reflecting the private one. Leonardo da Vinci filled 5 000 pages of journals with ideas for inventions and astute observations.

Journalling is an art form that involves the writing down thoughts and feelings in a creative or beautiful way to try and understand them better. It can help you have more control over your emotions, and allow you to cope with stress, depression and anxiety.

Journalling has grown in popularity, with scrapbooking one of the best known methods of journaling. By making your memories or thoughts stand out, you tend to remember better and celebrate life.

Remember, you can get all your journaling or note taking material from a stationery shop near you! Visit our Product Source Guide to find suppliers.

By Bridget Mpande for Mpumalanga News

In a management plan towards schools opening and being ready for the 2022 academic year, the Mpumalanga Department of Education has stated that it is mandatory that all learners must have the stationery in their possession by January 12.

According to the Mpumalanga MEC for education, Bonakele Majuba, learning/teaching support material was distributed to all schools in November and December.

“The schools are expected to hand over the material to all learners equally before January 12 to enable teaching and learning to start in earnest from the first period of the school year. This includes stationery, workbooks, stationery for new schools/ grades, special schools and e-learning. The department has spent R266m to achieve this.”

Some parents have raised their concerns and they are facing challenges, saying they do not understand how some schools can refuse to comply when they are public schools.

According to them, they had sent their children to these schools to collect their stationery, however, they returned empty-handed. According to a person who wished to remain anonymous, her Grade 11 sibling was told that she would not receive her stationery until her fees were paid.

“This is not easy for us as a family, because our mother is unemployed and we do not have money. We were told that she needs to pay R450, but my mother managed to raise R300. We had hoped that the school would allow her to get school material. Our worry is that it is a public school and from what we know, they are not supposed to demand school fees before handing out stationery.”

The department said it has developed a deployment list for public representatives to visit various schools today to monitor the opening, to welcome all role players and to support the teaching and learning process.

The department remains adamant on its position that it is essential that all learners should have stationery in their possession by January 12. It had not given its response to the parents’ concerns by the time of going to press.

Source: IOL

A senior supervisor of a stationery store in the Eastern Cape has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for fraud.

In a statement released on Wednesday, provincial spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said Ntombifikile Kati, 50, was sentenced in the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court.

She said an investigation into the matter revealed that over a period between February 2013 and July 2019, Kati who was employed as a senior supervisor at the Ink Spot (a stationery store) stole R30,000 (US$2,180) from the company.

Kati was arrested by the Mthatha Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team on November 15, 2019, after they were tasked to probe the matter.

On the day of her arrest she appeared in court and was subsequently released on a warning.

Mgolodela said a series of court appearances saw Kati convicted and sentenced to four years direct imprisonment of which one year was suspended on condition that she does not commit the same offence during the suspension period.

Subsequently, she will be serving three years in prison.

Mgolodela said the conviction and sentencing of Kati comes after her sister, Vuyokazi Kati, 37, was sentenced to 15 years direct imprisonment on April 26, 2021 in the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court without an option of a fine for theft to the value of more than R2.3 million.

Vuyokazi was a store manager for the same company.


Back-to-school on a budget

Source: News24

Those lengthy back-to-school stationery lists are back in every student’s home by now and from the great expense (why is glue so expensive?) to the odd requests (toilet paper, really?) you might be pulling your hair out already.

Parent24 spoke to local stationery supplier, PNA, who offered parents some insider tips to save time and money when buying school supplies this year.


Budgeting for school supplies is a must, because it keeps you from impulse buying and encourages you to stay on track with your monthly goal.

If school supplies are going to cost a little more than you thought, adjust other areas of your budget. Take cash instead of your credit card so that you’re not tempted to spend more than you’ve budgeted for.

Second hand

Consider buying used or refurbished electronics. Thanks to the pandemic, technological devices are becoming a purchase you just can’t escape.

Check sites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace for lightly used or refurbished devices, headphones or laptops that won’t send you to the cleaners.

Be strict

Buy them what they need to do well. At the end of the day, your child won’t fall apart if they don’t have the latest sports team or celebrity-themed notebooks.

Do your research, make your lists, and then be focused and strict when you finally hit the stores for back-to-school shopping.

If your budget is tight, typically, the kids won’t need every single supply during the first few days of school. So you could also also buy these items one term at a time.

Generic versus name brands

Generic brands are known for their very basic packaging and labels, and lower prices. And in tough economic times, shoppers are naturally drawn to cheaper brands.

But it really does depend on the product you are buying, if your child is taking art as a subject for instance, it would be wise to invest in a name brand that is trusted as a well-performing product in the art community.

Speak to a store consultant who can advise and help you to make the best choices.

Label well

You don’t need to print a full name on pencils. Save time and labels by using your child’s surname only.

For expensive devices, label the machine in a few different areas, on top, underneath and on the electrical cables as these go to school to charge the devices.

Use silver permanent markers on items with dark backgrounds like school shoes, black markers on light backgrounds.

Write your child’s names on the inside of their school bag in black permanent marker.

And also give them a bag tag or fun key-ring to put on their bag so they can easily distinguish which one is theirs, especially if they all have the same bags.

By Manda Banda for Intelligent CIO

SA-based stationery retailer Bidvest Waltons and payments platform Karri have partnered to ensure a safe, simple and convenient Back-to-School experience for South Africans.

The partnership paves way for parents to purchase their Waltons stationery packs securely through the Nedbank powered Karri app.

Back-to-School stationery shopping was established by Bidvest Walton nearly 30 years ago, partnering with schools to give parents a simple and convenient purchasing solution for their children’s stationery needs.

Today, the iconic ‘Back-to-School Box’ is a household favourite for many South African families. Parents are able to order the traditional way by using printed order forms, through the Back-to-School e-commerce platform (backtoschool.co.za) or at any one of Bidvest Walton’s 53 retail stores.

Karri has created a cash-free school environment and has alleviated the administrative burden and safety concerns of schools to manually collect cash.

Parents are now able to buy their stationery packs directly through the Karri App in mere seconds.

The app also eliminates the administrative burden on schools, of handing out catalogues and order forms, collecting orders and handling cash.

Olivia Rungasamy, National Schools Manager, Bidvest Waltons, said: “We always aim to simplify our customer purchasing experience and we are excited by what this innovative partnership with Karri affords our partner schools, parents and learners. It solves the all-time hassle of buying Back-to-School stationery. We have a responsibility to our customers to ensure that their Back-to-School shopping experience is safer and more convenient now and long into the future.”

Douglas Hoernle, CEO, Karri said the changes to the school terms as a result of the pandemic has put a lot of pressure on everyone.

“We are in the fortunate position of being able to do our bit to take away some of the administration that would otherwise take away from valuable teaching time,” said Hoernle.

CNA pins hopes on 2021 BTS

According to a recent BusinessLive article, CEO of CNA, Benjamin Trisk, “only expects a recovery for the stationery business when back-to-school shopping starts in 2021”.

Edcon bought CNA for R141-million in 2002; it sold it for R1 to Astoria Investments in February.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the five-week nationwide lockdown, consumer spend is under pressure on the back of a weak economy and a rise in retrenchments.

Growing digital platforms are selling competing products, often at better prices.

Trisk believes an improvement in CNA sales would come when consumers returned to shops. Foot traffic at the larger malls remains down, though some mall owners say while shopping fewer times a month, customers are buying more each time.

Trisk has reiterated his plans to revive CNA by:

  • Improving the retailer’s book selection and adding more local African literature and books in local languages
  • Improving the signage, curation and display in-store
  • Cutting CNA product lines
  • Removing chocolates, snacks, and tech products including laptops, cellphones and chargers
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