It’s taken us a little while to get this long overdue blog post written – we’ve been very busy since mid May when we took part in the London Stationery show for the first time. This was our second ever trade show and the first time that we’d taken part in a specialist show just for the stationery sector. Hosted at the Business Design Center in Islington (the same location as New Designers) it’s a relatively compact show compared to TopDrawer and can easily all be seen within a day, it’s also only on for a 2 day duration so all a bit of sprint in trade show terms. And it’s not called the London Stationery show for nothing – you can find it all there, there are brands including Caran d’Ache, Coffeenotes, Daler-Rowney, Diplomat, Esterbrook, Faber-Castell, Kaweco, Koh-I-Noor to name but a few and everything covered from pens, pencils, cards, notebooks, journals, desk accessories etc.
The London Stationery Show 2023
It had only been 4 months since our first trade show experience at TopDrawer but within that period we had managed to work on something new to launch at the event. Our all brass fountain pen was so well received back in January that we had decided to work on a couple of other variants. So new for the London Stationery show were an all stainless steel version and a black anodized and brass version. Both new versions have their own unique qualities brought mainly from the choice of material palette and continuing our love for all metal pens and both we provide with ink convertors to make them refillable with any ink preference. The stainless steel fountain pe n is crafted from such a resilient material and has such a great weight and presence whilst the black and brass fountain pen uses a combination of anodized aluminium and contrasting solid brass parts – resulting in a pen half the weight of its all brass equivalent, so suiting those that prefer a lighter option.
A highlight of the show is the annual Stationery Matters awards with winners announced at the end of day 1. The categories not only celebrate the best in product and stationery design but also a great category is the Independent Retailer of the Year – this year the prize went to Lead Tin in Clapham, a really great little store. We’d also been fortunate enough to be shortlisted for two categories; Working From Home Product of the Year (Hoop Sellotape Dispenser) and Writing Instrument of the Year (Method Pen Mini –Brass). It was an honour to be shortlisted amongst other such great pe n and stationery brands. In the Working From Home category we were up against Esterbrook, Once Upon a Tuesday, Perfect Planner Company, Sun-Star Stationery and the Pilot Pen Company.
In Writing Instrument of the Year we were up against some really great pens with the likes of Kaweco Original, Caran d’Ache x Paul Smith collaboration and the fantastic Lumos Pen from Tom’s Studio. So we really weren’t expecting much more than a free drink at the awards ceremony – but to our surprise we walked away with the award, it was a very humbling moment and great validation for the all the hard work we’d put into our compact edc pen – thanks to all the industry expert judges who cast their votes. If you want to learn more about our award winning pen you can see it here.
Our stand was towards the front of the building in the ‘Boutique Collection’, there is a really nice buzz in this area as it’s made up of a lot of the smaller stationery brands and it was great to get to know all the stationery designers and producers here and learn a little about what they do. For our stand we used the same familiar format for our stand with its A4 grids and elevated areas that are akin to reams of paper – though space is getting tight on there, come the next show we may need to rethink when we introduce new products and expand the range further.
We had a bit of time to go around and see the show ourselves, highlights included the Studio Pens stand who are the UK distributors for Kaweco, lovely folks & great pens. I wish that we'd had time to spend trying out the stunning pens at all the stands, there definitely was some great calligraphy going on and there were some great arts pens in use. Also showing for the first time were Moonducks who make fantastic sustainable notebooks from materials such as spent grain and bamboo. Great planet friendly products handmade in the UK, what’s not to love.