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London Stationery Show: Day One

The stationery industry turned out in force yesterday (Tuesday 14 May) for the first day of London Stationery Show.

Retailers, buyers and dealers of all shapes, sizes and locations flocked to the show, which continues today (Wednesday 15 May) at the Business Design Centre in London; and the word on the show floor was that this was the busiest first day of the show that people could remember.

“It’s been very busy right from the start of the day,” said Graham Craik, director of sales for Pentel UK. “We’ve seen lots of our customers, as well as plenty of new faces. There’s been a real air of excitement in the air. I’ve been to every one of these shows since they started and I would say that this is the best one yet!”

StationeryNews caught up with Lizzie Atkins, marketing assistant from Studio Pens as she was photocopying more price lists, having run out: “We’re having an amazing show. There’s been so much interest in the Kaweco range, not only from our existing customers, but new ones as well. The DIY pen press has been a definite drawcard on our stand and we’ve had a lot more retailers sign up to have the pen press in their stores this year.”

Studio Pens capped off a successful first day by winning the Icon Award for the Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen at the Stationery Awards, announced in the evening to a packed audience.

Above: Nikki Devine, Ian Jeffery, Lizzie Atkins from Studio Pens accept the Icon Award from Rob Willis (far left) and Chantell White (far right) of Max Publishing.
Above: Nikki Devine, Ian Jeffery, Lizzie Atkins from Studio Pens accept the Icon Award from Rob Willis (far left) and Chantell White (far right) of Max Publishing.

A highlight for many visitors was Theo Paphitis’ Q&A session in the middle of the day when he told a packed standing-room-only audience that a business will only survive “if it has a reason to exist. You must know what you are in business, what will you do differently, why will someone come to you, what is the reason they will buy from you. There is no substitute for hard work.”

Theo then spent the afternoon at the show in meetings with suppliers, but also walking the show floor.

Above: Theo spoke to a packed audience at the show.
Above: Theo spoke to a packed audience at the show.

Retailers were enjoying the show as well, with Heidi Early, co-owner of Earlybird, Stoke Newington, commenting: “There’s a great buzz here this year and I particularly love the village green area where there are lots of new indie companies. I’ve found four new companies here that I think we’ll order with, which is more than usual – and we got to hear Theo Paphitis speak as well. A great day.”

Fresh from chasing Theo Paphitis in the aisles for a selfie Sandra Jervis of Creative Cove in Lampeter said: “It’s a really refreshing and upbeat show, and I’ve found a few new people and am in the process of talking to LEUCHTTURM1917. I’ve been eying up them up for a couple of years and I’ve now been persuaded to go for them. The one thing I came here looking for was crafts and craft kits with a specific £10-£15 price range and I’ve found at least two or three, including Robert Frederick and Go On Make Me.

Above: Sandra Jervis and Theo Paphitis.
Above: Sandra Jervis and Theo Paphitis.

“I loved Theo’s talk. His thoughts on the reforms for business rates were given with absolute honesty, he was brutal and blunt about what needs to be done and resonates with all retailers across the board. It’s nice to know that someone like him thinks the same way as us – and he isn’t afraid to say so.”

A first-timer at the show was Nigel Williamson, co-owner House of Cards, who has seven shops in the home counties. “It’s our first time at the show and we’ve found probably three new companies for us, including Coach House Publishing with its puzzles and mechanical construction kits, Pocket Mountains regional walks books, as well as Legami pens. I think it’s a good show, we’ve done well today and I was quite surprised. We always find something at a trade show but it’s given us food for thought.”

London Stationery Show continues today (Wednesday 15 May) at the Business Design Centre in London. It is not too late to register for free and visit the show today, which is open until 4.30.

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