Image licensed via Adobe Stock
We’re not sure why it happens at this time of year: the sudden urge for a new pencil case. Perhaps it’s the memory of the school summer holidays coming to an end and September bringing exciting new possibilities. Whatever the reason, we’ve chosen 28 of the best online stationery shops for creatives. And even better, they’re independent.
We asked the creative community on Twitter for their suggestions, and they delivered. These recommendations should cover all your stationery needs. From a selection of more recognised names to some new shops, you’ve yet to discover. We’re talking quality paper, pens, planners, diaries, cards, wrapping paper, clips and desk accessories.
So rather than feel sad that August has been looking a little wet lately (certainly for us Brits), or indeed the smell of autumn is lingering on the breeze, it’s time to roll our collective sleeves up and stock up on new supplies for our home office. Whilst, of course, supporting indie makers and smaller businesses.
Expect beautifully designed, eco-friendly planners and paper goods from Paperlilly, a stationery brand founded by Carina Lawson. Describing herself as a “Brazilian-born, Arabian Gulf-raised, Brit-wed, higher-ed executive and twin mum”, Carina’s business hopes to “ignite joy, purpose, and empowerment in women striving for a life of fullness, not busyness”. It was born out of a frustration with typical planners, which never seemed to have any room to organise personal life, too. Carina’s planners certainly have plenty of space to fit everything in.
Image courtesy of Ponderlilly
Brought to you by OhhDeer, Papergang is a little different to other online stationery brands, offering a subscription service where each month it collaborates with an artist to create exclusive stationery delivered straight to your door. Recent names include Jessica Forgie, Ciara LeRoy of Pretty Strange Design and Brighton studio Sea Creatures. What’s more, Papergang plants a tree for every four boxes sold – it’s planted over 40,000 so far. Now that’s something we can sign up to.
3. Martha Brook
“It all begins with one girl and her printer,” reads the story behind Martha Brook, an established stationery brand based in London, and the name of its founder. A “self-confessed stationery addict”, Martha’s love of paper goods was evident at an early age having started her first stationery business aged ten. But it wasn’t until 2013, when Martha left her corporate role in science, that she followed her dream of launching an online shop.
Sustainable paper goods, handmade in London – that’s the promise from Before Breakfast, a new kid on the block, whom we’ve not yet featured. The independent brand uses small traditional machines for printing and bookbinding, and the entire making process is seen through from beginning right to end in its studio in Highbury & Islington. Materials are carefully selected, too, both in terms of quality and the environment. Give them a browse: you won’t be disappointed.
Image courtesy of Before Breakfast
Launched in 2005, this fun Aladdin’s Cave of stationery features independent paper and pens, greetings cards and gifts, both online and from its shops in Marple, Stockport, and Wilmslow, Cheshire. And if you need advice on what to buy, founder Sarah is more than happy to help.
Osity is a design-led luxury stationery brand that has quality, traditional craft skills and sustainability at its core, with designs inspired by a traditional printer’s workshop. Founder Sarah Wood-Lane grew up being part of our family printing business and now runs her workshop from the bottom of her garden in rural England. “Living and working in such a rural area, we take our responsibility towards protecting and preserving nature very seriously,” she says. “All our products are made using recycled and FSC assured materials; we keep the packaging to a minimum and are working hard towards being plastic-free.”
Image courtesy of Osity
Notable Designs is a brand agency as well as a curated distributor for refined stationery and lifestyle designs via its store, The Journal Shop. The team behind it lives by the ethos: “to travel, curate and bring good designs home”. The business has, in fact, spent the last 10 years building a collection of stylish brands that make the kind of things even the founders would love to own and live by. It works with stores across the UK and as far as the Middle East to offer a stunning collection.
Image courtesy of The Journal Shop
8. Papier Tigre
Since 2012, Papier Tigre has supported the idea that “we are all thinkers, we are all artists”. With this in mind, each of its collections is as local, environmentally responsible and transparent as possible. To reduce its carbon footprint, it today makes more products directly in its workshop in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris.
Counter-Print is an online book and stationery store selling new and vintage art, design, illustration, kids, lifestyle books and office supplies. It began life as a side project run by a husband and wife team, who both studied graphic design and enjoyed unearthing classic design books on their travels in Belgium and Holland. It’s now grown into a major retail and publishing enterprise, and it sells a range of cool designer stationery products, including pencils, pens, notebooks, tape, staplers, sticky notes and more.
10. Pure Pens
Niche Pens offers exactly what the name suggests. This father and son partnership is a specialist in pens, expertly curating high-quality products from brands such as Pelikan, Parker, Waterman, Sheaffer & Cross, and Noodler’s Ink. Based in Newport, South Wales, they carry a very comprehensive range of stock, including some brands not easily available in the UK.
11. Barnaby Bumbles
Barnaby Bumbles specialises in handmade colourful crayons and homewares and celebrates colour, creativity and the power of play for all ages. Their animal crayons are simply adorable, and they also do a great range of letterbox gifts, adult colouring books, jigsaws and party bags.
Hello, handmade letter crayons by Barnaby Bumbles. Image courtesy of Barnaby Bumbles.
12. Uguisu Store
Uguisu is an independent business trading in Japan since 2009. Last year, they began selling a carefully curated selection of Japanese products to the world through their online store. They specialise in sourcing unusual pieces from artisans and small makers, including paper items, linens and textiles, tableware, accessories, jewellery and books. Nothing is mass-produced, everything is handmade, and all orders are wrapped in their specially designed wrapping paper. “We look for works with cultural or traditional significance, special items that tell a story, hard to find objects and everyday items with beauty,” they explain.
13. Oh, Laura
‘Oh, Laura’ sounds like a strange name for a store until you realise it’s a one-woman business run by a woman named, you guessed it, Laura. She’s the main designer, maker, order packer, post office runner, accountant, tea maker and everything else in between. Laura began the business from her bedroom in Sheffield, originally printing messages onto tote bags with foam letters she’d cut out by hand and dipped in fabric paint. It’s now a major online operation offering a range of products, all based around adding positivity to every day. These include cards, notepads, notebooks, stickers, sticky notes and washi tape.
Image courtesy of Oh, Laura
Ali and Finn are on a mission to empower as many people as possible. They pursue this goal by crafting beautiful, inspiring and informative planners, journals, artworks and workshops that are designed to support mental health and wellbeing. At the centre of all this lies their original book, The Positive Planner, a journal that takes you on a 12-week journey of self-care, gratitude and daily positivity. “We both used writing and creative self-care techniques in our own recoveries and were blown away by how they helped us,” they explain. “This experience, along with the fact that we’re both stationery lovers, meant there was only one way to go: a range of stylish self-care stationery that people would fall in love with and feel passionate about using!”
Lift is an independent home accessory and lifestyle store in Southwold devoted to sourcing and creating well-designed, functional items for homes and people. Everything they stock is bold, bright and uplifting and often Danish or Japanese inspired. Their product list includes cards from a range of UK designers, including Paul Farrel, Brie Harrison and Miss Shelly Designs.
16. The Completist
The Completist was founded in January 2018 by husband and wife duo Marko and Jana and is run from their colourful studio in Peckham, London. Inspired by art, fashion, history and their love of good design, they have something for every design-conscious stationery lover, from cards for every occasion to their popular lay-flat notebooks. Marko and Jana also go the extra mile to make sure The Completist ‘experience’ is as sustainable as possible. All their paper goods are made from FSC certified paper and come in biodegradable film bags; the rest of the packaging is made from FSC certified card or recycled paper; and 90% of the range is made in the UK using small, independent manufacturers.
Image courtesy of The Completist
17. Choosing Keeping
Choosing Keeping began in 2012 as a small shop on East London’s famed Columbia Road, just as stationery was making a fashionable comeback. With product lines including decorative paper, art tools, notebooks, wrapping paper and more, its owners believe objects, pens, glue and stationery accoutrement should be appraised for their historical and cultural significance, as well as their design and functionality.
Founded in 2009 by two graphic designers, P&C is an online home for their own custom designs, things they love by other designers from over 18 countries, and vintage items they find on trips and foraging expeditions. “It’s a showcase for the things we have enjoyed since school,” they say. “A long-term obsession with stationery has culminated in a constantly evolving store. Paper and office objects that are inspired by homework, the post office and school. We want to spark a distant memory, make you smile or look at the most mundane in a new, and fonder, light.”
Based in a sunny studio in Bristol, ola’s signature product is the Layflat Notebook, a beautifully crafted tool that aims to inspire its user with beauty and tactility that lends itself to contemplation. ola notebooks are joined in the product collections by diaries, patterned papers and greetings cards, each thoughtfully designed for discerning creative minds. “Our small team spends their time printing, finishing and perfecting our products,” they say. “We work on a handful of special projects each year and have collaborated with some of the institutions which originally inspired us, including The Eames office, Heal’s and The Royal Opera House.”
Image courtesy of Ola
Nikki’s Supply Store is your one-stop-shop for the cutest stationery, including journals and notebooks, stickers, erasers, pens, highlighters, rulers and stencils. Nikki’s main focus is on bullet journals, a method of personal organisation developed by designer Ryder Carroll which combines scheduling, reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming, and other organisational tasks into a single notebook.
Image courtesy of Nikki’s Supply Store
21. The Stationer
Tessa Sowry-Osborne started a stationery blog in 2014, and after two years of sharing the world’s best stationery, it seemed only natural to open a shop. Tessa loves classic design and great functionality, and her aim is to be the go-to place for items that will make your desk look cool but also help you be more organised. Product lines include cards, wrapping paper, tape, paper and pencils.
Image courtesy of The Stationer
Established in early 2020 as a passion project between Andrew Hardie and Liam Goward, Pith designs and manufactures considered quality products made responsibly at an affordable price from their home in Northumberland. They’re on a mission to elevate creatives through community, exposure and affordable materials and believe quality products shouldn’t cost the earth nor damage it. Their sketchbooks, notebooks, planners and pads were designed in collaboration with local artists, illustrators and designers.
Image courtesy of Pith
23. Happy Dashery
Friends Sarah Arkle and Carrie Wainer opened a store in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, in 2019 with an aim to be a bright and colourful beacon on their local high street. Their shelves are full to the brim with ‘little bits of happy’: gifts, accessories, homewares and lots of other joyful surprises to discover, carefully sourced from independent makers and small brands. They look after online shoppers just as well as local customers, with a personal service from placing your order through to receiving it on your doorstep. Sarah and Carrie can write personalised messages, gift wrap and include a greetings card on request, and all orders are packaged in bright and cheerful branding, using sustainable and recyclable materials where possible.
24. Meticulous Ink
Meticulous Ink is a printworks based in Bath which is also purveyors of fine stationery products. They create these themselves on their vintage 1960s presses. So this is a great place to find greeting cards, stationery box sets and other textured printed products that are utterly beautiful and truly unique.
Founded in 2020, Libraries & Archives Paper Company is a stationer with traditional sensibilities but 21st-century values. Aiming to provide the best quality and most covetable stationery objects in the world, with sustainable business practices, they wish to bring you a joyful stationery shopping experience from home. Join their creative community, The Correspondents’ Club, to be kept in the loop as they add more beautiful products to their site.
26. Studio Paperie
Catherine Northorpe is a marble artist from the North East of England who started marbling last year during the second Covid lockdown and has since fallen in love with the craft. She firmly believes that quality craftsmanship and, in turn, beautiful products should be accessible to all. At Studio Paperie, she intends to breathe new life into this ancient craft and provide each individual with their own bespoke piece of magic.
27. Colours May Vary
Colours May Vary is an independent shop based in Leeds stocking a range of beautiful, useful and inspirational wares. Opened in 2012, they were the first shop in Leeds to focus on design publications, and their main focus today is on graphic art and design, typography, illustration, and product design. They stock a range of books, journals, prints, cards, gifts, wrap, homeware and stationery and source these collections from a mix of established and up-and-coming producers.
28. Fred Aldous
If you want to make your desk the envy of colleagues and friends with beautiful and cult stationery, you’ll want to browse the Fred Aldous collection. You’ll discover everything from moustache paperclips and scented pencils to elegant products by brands like Midori and Hightide. Trading since 1886, this company operating out of Manchester and Leeds carries over 25,000 fabulous products on its online store, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for here.