It's National Stationery Week - and today's theme is #PenandPencil. So it makes perfect sense to talk today about a fast growing trend: Modern Calligraphy. Why are people getting hooked, and what exactly is it all about?
Following on from my post last week about joining the Stationers' Company and all the recent excitement of the Stationery Awards, it got me thinking about acceptances and thank yous...
We often read that in this digital age, handwriting is a dying art, so we need to ensure that the next generation are encouraged to communicate in the written form by having exciting and innovative products to use - and from what I have seen at the shows there is plenty around this year which bodes well for sales.
Hannah Dale founder of Wrendale Designs commissioned a YouGov survey into thank you letter trends at Christmas which revealed that 25% of parents admitted that their children sent no form of 'Thank You' message for gifts received - either handwritten or electronic - although 68% of them thought they should. Hannah feels there is nothing nicer than receiving a handwritten letter which says thank you for a gift received and hopes that her new range of stationery 'Snails and Pigtails' designed specifically to appeal to children, will encourage them to write. Hannah entered her writing set in to The Gift of the Year awards back in January and it won its class so the retail buyers who judged the awards certainly feel she is on to something.
Not sending 'Thank You' letters might be a trend amongst children but someone is definitely sending thank you cards as this format has seen a steady growth in sales recently, particularly in a smaller size card for a quick note. Card publishers are getting in on the act here too with one of Lagoms best-selling cards being an eye catching 'Thank You' card saying ‘SMALL CARD BIG THANK YOU’.
Portico Designs have been producing licensed and OEM ranges of stationery for retailers like Staples, WH Smith and many others in the stationery and fashion sectors for 25 years, but have only started to sell in to the market in the last 2 years or so. The ranges available to independent retailers are very strong I particularly liked their range of boxed notecards called note to self which offers a real cross section of designs; some very simple stylish cards with fine embossed icons, others with contemporary metallic shapes, some laser cuts and others relaxed coloured spots and florals.
All of which inspire me - and hopefully inspire others, particularly the younger generations - to get writing.
What an amazing event the 2016 Stationery Show turned out to be! The two-day show on the Tuesday and Wednesday of National Stationery Week was the biggest, and I would say, by the far the best yet. With 155 exhibitors compared to just 71 five years ago, the show attracted a record number of visitors...
Last year I asked exhibitors to make the most of the marketing opportunity that entering the Stationery Awards presents – and they didn’t disappoint.
The entries in 2016 were up more than 100 on 2015 at 350 new product entries, which made for an excellent competition. I was lucky enough to Chair the Awards again this year and was pleased that the Judges were thrilled by the strength and diversity of the products entered. With four new Judges on the panel there were comments about how useful it was to see focused selections of new products to evaluate and compare. They were all making notes of products they wanted to follow up on.
Nuco International also had a successful Guinness World Record attempt for the World’s Largest Notebook!
“Rebecca and Phil’s presentations proved that there is everything to play for in the stationery market as the products are recognised not only as making perfect gifts and self-gifting treats, but also as accessible fashion items and accessories,” said Chris Leonard Morgan, organiser of The London Stationery Show.
For me, The London Stationery Show has given life back to the UK retail stationery market; we now have a forum in this country where we can see the best of the stationery available in the UK so retailers can offer it to UK consumers. The market has a growing vitality and is gathering real momentum - which is very exciting.
I have worked in the industry since 1989 and despite threats of paperless offices in the 1990’s, the disappearance of paper diaries because of electronic organisers, and mobile phones as we entered the new millennium - our love of stationery has endured and sales of paper and pens are still strong. The biggest threat currently is our children not being encouraged to write and/or draw, and losing their manual dexterity because of the use of computers and iPads in schools. (More on this in my next blog.)
The 2016 show was a fantastic success and there is no reason to think 2017 won’t be great too. I for one am already looking forward to it!