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.
“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.
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 email@example.com to make arrangements to get the cards to Maped Helix for distributing them to the schools around the country.
“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.
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!
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
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