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Joe Guest Is Pen Poised To Leave Paperchase To Join Cult Pens

Paperchase has pulled out the stops to drive customers back into its stores in the all important run up to Christmas, with what it is describing as ‘The unprecedented early up to 50% off Christmas sale’. 

Above: Paperchase is going all out to publicise its mega sale.
Above: Paperchase is going all out to publicise its mega sale.

The sale is expected to run until the new year, but the savings will only be available in its stores, not online.  As an extra incentive, anyone spending over £30 will receive a free tote bag in a variety of designs.

Joe Guest (pictured top), senior card buyer for Paperchase confirmed that the retailer’s “Christmas trade [on greeting cards and wrap] has been in line with our expectations”. He highlighted that the retailer has “not had to use any additional promotional levers on the cards and wrap areas this year.”

Above: Diversity is reflected in Paperchase’s Christmas card selection.
Above: Diversity is reflected in Paperchase’s Christmas card selection.

This will however be Joe’s last Christmas season with Paperchase as he is ‘pen poised’ to take on a new role, leaving the retailer to join the online pen site Cult Pens as its head of buying on 16 December.

“I will very much miss being part of the Paperchase team and wish them every success for the future,” Joe told PG Buzz.

Joe has 12 years’ buying experience of cards, pens and stationery – five years with Fenwick, three years with Fortnum & Mason, joining Paperchase almost four years ago, spending two and half years buying pens and desk accessories before taking on the senior card buying role little over a year ago.

Above: Cult Pens offers over 24,000 different products.
Above: Cult Pens offers over 24,000 different products.

Cult Pens ( which was started in 2005 by husband and wife team Simon and Amanda Walker was acquired by WHSmith in 2018, though the founders remain with the business as directors.

Cult Pens claims to offer ‘the planet’s greatest selection of writing instruments’, stocking over 24,000 different products. ‘Basically, we’re just a bunch of pen geeks,’ states its consumer-facing website. ‘If someone shows us something shiny or cool or interesting, we’ll stock it.’ first online retailer to open those annoying boxes of 12 and start selling all pens individually and the first to bother stocking the rarer colours and refills. You can still buy any item we sell in almost any quantity you like. We also made a commitment to stock every available refill, and we’ve stuck to that.’

The site has expanded into including some general stationery, but at present no greeting cards.

Ooh, that’s interesting…

Some personal revelations about Joe Guest’s life and loves.

What have been the key lessons in business that you have learned over the last 12 years?

“Trust your gut instincts. Always know who your customer is. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always remember that you are only as good as the rest of your team.”

If you hadn’t become a buyer, what occupation would you have pursued?

“I was training to be a teacher and had it not been that I loved working in retail so much – having caught the bug as a 16 year old working in Laura Ashley – that is what I would be been.”

What three words would your best friend use to describe you?

“Energetic, inquisitive and shopaholic.”

What or who are your guilty pleasures?

Hotel Chocolate’s Florentine-topped pralines and Rick Astley – I’m never going to give him up!”

Above: Rick Astley is Joe’s guilty pleasure.
Above: Rick Astley is Joe’s guilty pleasure.

As a self-confessed shopaholic, where would your dream shopping splurge be?

“In New York, going to Bergdoff Goodman, Saks and Maceys. You can’t beat a NY department store!”

A flying carpet is waiting, where do you want to go?

“For dinner in the hills of Tuscany.”

You are a massive film fan, which movies top it for you?

Calendar Girls, Father of the Bride and September Issue.”

Above: Calendar Girls is a fave film of Joe’s.
Above: Calendar Girls is a fave film of Joe’s.

Top: Joe Guest is leaving Paperchase to join Cult Pens.

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