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My Stationery Story: Sarah Laker

As the owner of Stationery Supplies in Marple and Wilmslow and the co-ordinator for National Stationery Week, Sarah Laker is a self-confessed stationery geek. We catch up with her and find out more about her stationery journey.

How did you get involved in the stationery industry?

I trained as a nurse when I left school but after 17 years I wasn’t happy and I felt that I needed to do something that would give me more joy and fit in with my, then young, family. So, I took the brave step of leaving a secure job to buy a stationery business with no idea how to run it! I just knew that I loved stationery and had always wanted my own shop.

Just over 18 years, two shops and a website later I still wake up each day excited to see what the day will bring.

What is the best part of being involved in the stationery industry?

Being surrounded everyday by amazing stationery, the smell of pen and ink, the colours of pens, notebooks and getting to indulge my love of stationery by buying new stock is top of the list.

But also I love people so the community I’ve built up around my shop, including my customers and suppliers, fills my soul with joy daily.

What is your favourite industry memory?

In 2015 I was invited by Maped Helix to be one of the founding members of their premier partner scheme and invited to their head office in Annecy, France. The whirlwind trip included a tour of their factory and offices, stationery, lots of cheese and a trip up a mountain in a vintage Citroen 2CV. It laid the foundations for the close relationship between Maped Helix and Stationery Supplies which still continues today.

Above: Sarah on a visit to Maped Helix in Annecy, France.
Above: Sarah on a visit to Maped Helix in Annecy, France.

What does 2024 hold for you?

It will be a busy one, as always! I run two independent stationery shops alongside my all-female staff including my daughter, Molly (who we jokingly refer to as my stationer-in-training). Molly and I are revamping our website: giraffegifts.co.uk this year

I’m also the coordinator for National Stationery Week, the biggest marketing event in the stationery calendar encouraging people to put pen to paper and indulge their love of stationery.

And I run a Facebook group for independent bricks and mortar stationery shops.

Three interesting facts about me…

  1. My dad was a vicar so I was helping to run stalls at church fairs while still at primary school and where my love of buying and selling started.
  2. In 2020 mid-pandemic, in the first lockdown I shaved my hair off live on Facebook to raise money for a struggling local Marple Charity who had lost all finding streams due to Covid, the response was totally overwhelming raising over £7500.
  3. When at 6th form college I worked evenings in a factory assembling catheter bags. Working with the ladies in the factory was a real eye opener for me after a fairly sheltered early life as a vicar’s daughter.
Above: The moment I saw my head after my charity shave.
Above: The moment I saw my head after my charity shave.

Favourite stationery products…

I really dislike being asked this question; I mean, how do I choose from all the gorgeous stationery I use every day?!

Do I go practical? Which would be my Leuchtturm diary as I use this every day along with a Drehgriffel ballpoint pen. Or do I choose my Esterbrook rollerball which I love writing with but save it for special occasions. I’m also never without a four colour Pentel Izee, a few foldback clips, a Tipp-Ex pocket mouse and a calculator.

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