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Stationery geeks enjoy week of fun

Co-ordinator Sarah Laker praises ‘wonderful’ NSW event – and meets her Korean fan!

 

A wonderful week of stationery fun has come to an end for another year, and NSW coordinator and indie retailer Sarah Laker is over the moon at the annual event’s success.

After 15 weeks of planning, the festival for stationery geeks had finally arrived with headline sponsors Maped Helix, Pentel, Snopake Brands, Edding, Zebra Pen, and Staedtler coming up with promotions, ideas and prizes, after Artgecko Sketchbooks, Esterbrook, Jakar, Kaweco and Silvine covered the countdown weeks.

Above & top: National Stationery Week was totally crazy for Sarah and the team
Above & top: National Stationery Week was totally crazy for Sarah and the team

“I was worried I’d wake up last Monday morning to see tumbleweed rolling through the socials,” Sarah, who owns Stationery Supplies in Marple and Wilmslow, told PG Buzz. “But at 6am I turned my phone on and the pings started – and they didn’t stop all week!

“It’s been totally crazy and amazing and really rather wonderful to see so many people, retailers and stationery brands taking part. Far more than I dared to hope for my first time leading the campaign.”

Helped by daughter Molly, who works in the family-run stores, on the busy social media side, she even managed to spring a surprise on Sarah with the presentation of a special pen from Esterbrook in her favourite colour red as a reward for “her unwavering dedication to the National Stationery Week campaign”, as can be seen in the video below.

While launched as the kick-off promotion for National Stationery Week, which ran through to Sunday, 21 June, Maped Helix’s Pen Pals 4 Pupils project is carrying on to get kids writing letters and greeting cards over the whole of the next school year.

And the writing equipment giant has asked for the help of the greetings industry with this initiative so youngsters learn the joy and importance of sending both cards and letters, and prove the truth of NSW’s hashtag #WritingMatters.

The free project has been set up to link youngsters in Years 3 to 5 with their peers in other parts of the country, offering them a safe way to swap handwritten letters and build lifelong friendships. All schools now signed up will be notified by 5 June of their partner school, and Maped Helix will provide support throughout the 2023-24 academic year.

Above: Maped Helix is after greetings industry help with Pen Pals 4 Pupils
Above: Maped Helix is after greetings industry help with Pen Pals 4 Pupils

To help the youngsters enjoy their correspondence, Maped Helix is hoping card publishers will send a few notecards and birthday cards suitable for children aged seven to 10, which it can distribute to the schools.

Publishers with spare birthday cards and notecards are asked to email marketing@mapedhelix.co.uk to make arrangements to get the cards to Maped Helix for distributing them to the schools around the country.

Above: Newbies Curlicue and Jennifer Tune were among the greetings and wrap exhibitors
Above: Newbies Curlicue and Jennifer Tune were among the greetings and wrap exhibitors

“It was perfect that Pen Pals 4 Pupils started off the 2023 NSW campaign,” Sarah said. “It will help children’s social, communication and handwriting skills and also let them experience the joy of both sending and receiving letters and cards – the true spirit of National Stationery Week.”

In the middle of the seven-day stationery fest, on Tuesday and Wednesday, 16-17 June, came the London Stationery Show at the Business Design Centre in the capital, which covered nigh on all the pens, pencils, highlighters, crayons, art materials, notebooks, journals and everything else you could think of plus greeting cards and giftwrap, with all the developments and designs proving the truth of the “stationery is never stationary” adage.

Above: Sarah thoroughly enjoyed London Stationery Show
Above: Sarah thoroughly enjoyed London Stationery Show

For Sarah it was one of the “most crazy, surreal” weeks of her life, and she thoroughly enjoyed the show: “It was amazing. So many stands to look at coupled with talking to all the sponsors I’d been liaising with over National Stationery Week, catching up with suppliers, seeing new products, placing orders, and meeting both old and new friends who own stationery shops, checking on how NSW was going over social media. It was full on and bonkers. Amazing how many people were wanting to talk to me over NSW and just generally.

“I even met a guy selling stationery from Korea who follows my social media and wanted a selfie with me – who knew I had a fan, let alone one from Korea!

Above: Genialityart won Gift Packaging & Wrap, and Danilo and IG Design Group were finalists in Licensed Stationery Product
Above: Genialityart won Gift Packaging & Wrap, and Danilo and IG Design Group were finalists in Licensed Stationery Product

And show organiser Ocean Media announced the Stationery Matters Awards winners, picked by an external judging panel of industry professionals from B&M Stores, Design Museum, John Lewis, London Graphic Centre, Museum Of London, National Trust, Royal Opera House, Scribbler, Tesco and Waterstones.

Stationery Matters Awards winners

Independent Retailer Of The Year 

Lead Tin

 

Arts & Crafts Product Of The Year 

Stamptitude – Custom Wax Seal Stamp

 

Children’s Stationery Product Of The Year

Maped Helix – Maped Color’Peps Infinity Colouring Pencils

 

Diary/Organiser/Calendar Of The Year

Perfect Planner Company – 2023 Family & Lifestyle Planner

 

Filing & Storage Product Of The Year 

Exacompta Clairefontaine – Exacompta Aquarel Store Box Multi

 

Gift Packaging & Wrap Of The Year

Genealityart – Perry Wrapping Paper

 

Licensed Stationery Product Of The Year

Exacompta Clairefontaine – Clairefontaine Inkebana Notebooks

 

Notebook/Journal Of The Year

This Week’s Little Tweaks – Sleep & Rest Journal

 

Novelty Stationery Product Of The Year

Stone Marketing – Legami Erasable Pen Set Of 3, Wild Savannah

 

Social Stationery Product Of The Year

From You To Me – Personalised book Of Giftable Tickets

 

Sustainable Stationery Product Of The Year

Edding – Edding 24 EcoLine highlighter

 

Working from Home Product Of The Year

Once Upon A Tuesday – Rainbow Colour Block Notepad, daily time blocking planner

 

Writing Instrument Of The Year 

Andhand – Method Pen Mini, Brass

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