This year I was able to go along to the London Stationery Show and I’m so glad I did. It’s a trade show for all things stationery and where a lot of retailers choose their stock for the coming year. I went along as a visitor to check it out in case I decide to exhibit there in the future, but I got a whole lot more out of it than that.
There were so many amazing products and brands there – it was very inspiring. However as a bit of a stationery addict it was sort of like torture not to be able to buy anything on the spot… I did take away a lot of pamphlets and business cards though so I can look my favourites up and buy after the fact as a consumer.
My Fave 3 Brands at the London Stationery Show
I thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the stationery tools and equipment, but it was especially inspiring to walk around and see all the fabulous paper stationery brands at the show. I was very conscious that as I wasn’t a buyer I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. After all they’d paid a lot of money for their stands and were there to sell. But even once I’d explained why I was visiting so many of the brands were still incredibly friendly and happy to share their tips and experience for exhibiting at a trade show.
These were some of my favourite paper stationery brands. Please excuse my awful photography skills…
I was drawn to the Dodo Pad stand by the fabulous doodly illustrations on their products. Their main product is a very entertaining planner diary. It has lots of hilarious content and space for doodling as well as all the stuff you’d expect from an ordinary planner. They also do notebooks (blank, dotty, grid and ruled). All their products are made in the UK, vegan friendly, sustainable and plastic free. The lovely lady who owns the business was so friendly too and a pleasure to chat to. She even gifted me a 2022 planner which I know will brighten my days up for the rest of the year 😊
Aaruthra is a pretty stationery brand that includes journals, greeting cards and more with inspiring messages. The designer and founder Aaruthra herself was manning the stall (all the way from India!) together with another fabulous lady and the two of them couldn’t have been more inspiring and positive if they’d tried – I had a huge smile on my face after chatting to them!
Okey Dokey Design
Samantha from Okey Dokey Design was in the Launchpad section, having won a stand there. Her stand was just as lovely as her stationery and she was too! Okey Dokey Design makes pretty paper stationery products including greeting cards, writing paper, wrapping paper and more. Most of the designs are floral and so gorgeous you just want all of it! Samantha is clearly very talented and I noticed Okey Dokey Design had won at least one other award at the show too.
Live Talks at the London Stationery Show
All the speakers in the Retail Matters Live Talks at the show were brilliant. I feel like my head is bursting with all the inspiration and ideas they shared!
- Martha Keith did a talk on Building a Stationery Brand: The Good, The Bad & The Pretty. She founded Martha Brook London and it was very inspiring to hear how she started and got to where she is now!
- Colour Hive did a very interesting talk regarding Colour, Material and Finish Forecast: Spring Summer 2023.
- Catherine Erdly of The Resilient Retail Club (which I’m a member of and love) spoke about 360 Sales Techniques for Independent Retailers. Unfortunately I missed this as the times on the board were incorrect. I did get to have an Indie Matters session with Catherine though (see below) which was incredibly useful.
- Rachel Emma Waring spoke about Creative Content Strategy: Finding Your Style. This one was especially useful as I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed about content creation lately.
- Nerrisa Pratt of Untld Project did a Mini Masterclass on PR. She made PR seem a lot less scary and gave some great tips. And she was completely hilarious and had me giggling the whole way through.
- Therese Oertenblad of Small Business Collaborative and Elizabeth Stiles did a joint talk on How to Sell on Instagram. This was full of good ideas and included loads of examples to inspire.
The best thing was that some of my favourite podcasters were amongst them and it was a real highlight to meet them in person – though I did have to try and remember that they didn’t know me as well as I felt like I knew them 😁 They were all so warm and friendly to chat to as well and I love them all even more now than I did before!
Indie Matters Business Advice Clinics
Catherine Erdly, Rachel Waring, Nerrisa Pratt, Therese Oertenblad and Elizabeth Stiles also provided one-to-one sessions. These were by appointment, to give advice on their various areas of expertise.
I met up with Catherine Erdly and Therese Oertenblad for a session each and got so much out of this time. Both gave me brilliant advice for my own greeting card business. And I left feeling inspired and motivated, with practical steps to take to move forward. They are both amazing and it was totally fabulous to meet them in person!
So I had an absolutely terrific time all round at the London Stationery Show! It was fabulous seeing new stationery products, meeting other paper stationery and greeting card business owners and getting great advice and wisdom from the experts at the clinics and talks. I was so excited I managed to survive the whole day on two coffees and a brownie, which isn’t like me at all! And who knows, maybe I’ll exhibit there myself in the future 😃