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  • Storage.it 2021 2022 planners

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    Storage.it 2022 planners

    I love these Japanese planners by Marks Inc, which are my favourite of all the planners I stock. As someone who spends at least 10 minutes every single day looking for my house keys, I love the zip cover where in theory my pens can have a forever home (for 2022 anyway!) These Korean point pens complement the bright colours of these planners perfectly! I'm also always searching for concert tickets and stamps and think these covers make a great storage spot.

    Storage.it 2021 2022 planners

    The diaries begin in September 2021, so are perfect for back-to-school or post-lockdown planning! Their covers are made from recycled PVC, they are a handy A5 size and as well as monthly pages, each day has 16 hour slots for detailed planning.

    Marks inc 2022 planners

    The planners come in 3 main designs, the classic storage.it range, their colour-blocked Colors range and this year there are new geometric designs. 

    You can check out the full range of storage.it 2022 planners here.

  • Why should I buy a Rifle Paper Co planner?

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    why buy a Rifle Paper Co planner?

    This year's Rifle Paper Co 2021 2022 planners are now in stock. These 17-month diaries are a perennial favourite, these are some of the reasons I think they're a great option if you are a lover of writing things down in a physical planner.

    1. Painterly florals

    Anna Bond's gouache paintings of florals are her signature style - and this year all the planner covers are floral (in previous years they've had at least one non-floral design), so these are obviously the customers' favourites too! The strong floral designs make the prettiest covers, and complement lots of the other stationery in their range.

    2. Inspirational quotes

    Each week has an inspirational quote to motivate you for the week ahead. I love turning the page to see what that week's quote is, from a selection of leaders, game-changers, authors and poets. We all need that little boost of encouragement!

    Rifle Paper Co 2022 planners

    3. Lies flat

    It seems obvious, but last year I discontinued a line of planners because they didn't easily lie flat when open. Even the Rifle Paper Co planners with a covered spine lie perfectly flat, because the spine conceals spiral-binding (which you can see in the photos above.)

    Rifle Paper Co planners 2022

     4. Pretty pockets

    One of my favourite features are the pretty pockets for stashing receipts, tickets, and keepsake letters. I love their bright floral designs (and the dove poking out of the dovecote planner). As we come out of lockdown here in the UK, I've booked a few tickets for events later in the year (hello, Buckingham Palace gardens!) and they're all stashed here, ready to go and easy to find.

    planner stickers

     5. Fun planner stickers!

    Each planner has pages of fun planner stickers for marking those special and also those ordinary days! Look carefully and you'll spot our favourites, including pretzel and book stickers, and the avocado face masks to mark a spa day! And as a bonus - extra planner stickers are available to buy if you run out. There are quite a lot of stickers though (130) so sometimes I use the spares to decorate envelopes of special birthday cards etc.

    What are this year's Rifle Paper Co 2021 2022 planners?

    Their planner range for this year includes their classic large and medium-sized planners pictured above, which run from August 2021 to December 2022. They've streamlined the number of styles, so they are available in only the following 4 designs:

    - Rifle Paper Co 2022 Marguerite large 17 month planner

    - Rifle Paper Co 2022 Wildwood large 17 month planner

    - Rifle Paper Co 2022 Hydrangea 17 month planner

    - Rifle Paper Co 2022 Dovecote 17 month planner

    And also a new academic year format, a stream-lined planner with floral monthly pages and extra pages of notes at the end.

    - Rifle Paper Co 2022 Academic year Luxembourg planner

    Check out the full range here.

    Their 12-month planners will be in stock in July.

  • Gift wrapping with cherry blossom stickers

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    I'm a big fan of cute washi tape stickers, used below to decorate plain gift tags, and layered onto kraft and white paper for an easy but personalised look. These are cherry blossom washi tape stickers, perfect for spring and summer gift wrap. How would you use yours?

    layered brown kraft gift wrap

    washi tape stickers gift wrap

    cherry blossom stickers gift wrap

    Gift tags cherry blossom stickerstulle and silk gift wrap

    Photos and wrapping by Charlotte Smith.
  • Post-lockdown cards

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    Post lockdown cards

    As lockdown ceases in the UK, we're looking forward to seeing friends and families, group activities and trips further than our local area.

    Here are some cards to send to those you're hoping to see soon:

    - For a trip to an art gallery

    - For an in-person yoga class

    - Or for trips to the countryside for a picnic, or to the beach.

    I hope you're feeling safe where you are, and hopeful about times ahead. 

  • Letterpress cards in the UK

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    Letterpress cards UK

    I love letterpress cards! When I first started this business, over 10 years ago, letterpress cards were a big thing in the US, but the trend hadn't yet made it over to the UK. I wanted to stock these beautiful, tactile cards and at first I stocked lots of independent brands from US designers.

    Now I stock Egg Press and Rifle Paper Co letterpress cards, both of which are still US brands, but are printed in the UK on a 1962 Heidelberg Windmill Platen press. 

    What is letterpress printing?

    Letterpress printing is a method of relief printing. Using a printing press, usually vintage presses due to the hand-printed and old-fashioned nature of the process, a raised design creates an impression on soft cotton paper. The cards are usually high-quality due to the premium quality of the paper required, with the added care of independent designers who still love this hand-printed method.

    Check out my range of letterpress cards here.

  • Washi tape stickers

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    If you've been following me on Instagram, you'll have easily spotted that my favourite product discovery of the last year has been these washi tape stickers! I love some easy crafting, so I find it very satisfying to just add a few when posting my favourite cards, or for decorating plain gift tags, kraft envelopes or plain wrapping paper. How do you use yours?

    wildflower stickers

    Wildflower washi tape stickers

    Washi tape stickers mixed

    Mixed shapes washi tape stickers

    Washi tape stickersPastel flowers washi tape stickers

    Shop the full range here.

  • Rifle Paper Co 2020 2021 planners

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    Rifle Paper Co 2020 2021 planners

    Rifle Paper Co 2020 2021 17 month planners are now in stock in two different sizes, the larger spiral version and the smaller planner which has a covered spiral binding. These Rifle Paper Co planners have everything you need to be organised for the year ahead, including pages of fun planner stickers. The 17 month version is popular with those who like a longer overview, or who like to plan their year based on the academic calendar.

    In the larger format:

    - Rifle Paper Co 2021 strawberry fields large spiral planner

    - Rifle Paper Co 2021 Luisa large spiral planner

    - Rifle Paper Co 2021 wild garden spiral planner

    In the smaller format, which have a covered spine but are still spiral bound so they lie flat:

    - Rifle Paper Co 2021 Type A  planner

    - Rifle Paper Co 2021 strawberry fields planner

    - Rifle Paper Co 2021 Luisa planner

    - Rifle Paper Co 2021 wild garden planner

  • Rifle Paper Co pen refills UK

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    Did you know that Rifle Paper Co pens are refillable? We've tested lots of UK refills, and although there aren't a huge range of compatible refills (and no traditional rollerballs that we've found), we have found a couple which fit!

    Rifle Paper Co pen refills

    Ball point refills: Parker Quink Flow Ballpoint Refills

    Gel ink refills (more like rollerball ink): Parker Quink Gell Ball Refills

     You can see our full range of Rifle Paper Co pens here.

  • 10 years of Papermash

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    This month, Papermash turned 10 years old! I've been reflecting on what's happened over the last decade, what's worked and what hasn't. For the most part, many things I wrote in this 5 year blog post are still true, but here's the story of my journey so far.

    2009 – In 2009 I launched Papermash, through my Tea for Joy blog (RIP.) I sourced almost of my initial stock through avid reading of interiors blogs I had discovered during a three-month stay in New York. This opened up a whole new design world to me. I'd like to say the business idea was really well thought through, but really I'd just seen some nice things you couldn't get in the UK, and stationery was a low-cost financial investment.

    In those days Oh Joy had her own product range, before she switched to licensing deals with companies like Walmart, and I also loved some simple letterpress from Simplesong design, before she closed that business down and rebranded. Letterpress stationery was a completely new concept to me and didn't really exist in the UK - and was what I mostly sold in that first year (including tooth fairy kits and wine gift tags) and some beautiful Korean tape whose brand I wish I remembered as they had pretty designs in great quality! That year I also had a mention in Daily Candy, a daily lifestyle email, which was the biggest press impact I’ve ever had, with £1000 of sales in a few hours (that’s a lot for a stationery shop with only a small range.)  When the internet was less saturated and there were fewer online shops, mentions definitely had more impact. Daily Candy closed down a few years ago.

    2010 – I continued to discover new products and designers via design blogs, including what was very unique at the time; striped bakers twine and striped paper straws, which I specifically remember spotting on the Creature Comforts blog. Who knew they were so tricky to find? I was one of the first people in the UK to stock them and used to sell them every single day. This instilled in me the power of SEO – I ranked first on Google for them and I couldn’t keep them in stock. In more recent years, I dropped the ranking (still on the first page) and I almost never sold any, even with the upsurge in interest around sustainability (the straws were biodegradable.) I just donated the remaining stock to a local community café as I decided not to continue with them and just wanted to clear the space!

    I also discovered something very unusual in 2010, again on Creature Comforts – washi tape, which was made from Japanese rice paper. I was one of the first people to stock it in the UK, and still now I recommend the quality of the original Japanese brands such as MT tape, rather than other brands who've tried to jump on the bandwagon. It might sound obvious but MT tape just sticks really well!

    In 2010, through the same blogs, I discovered a new brand called Rifle Paper Co whose range was full-colour printed, even though the on-trend stationery of the moment was letterpress. Their style has been much imitated and it’s been interesting to watch their product lines diversify. They only sold cards and prints in those days but obviously realised this is isn’t the key to a multi-million dollar business! I had their heart print featured in Elle Decoration which was a real introduction of the brand to the UK.

    My friends and I often discuss the early glory days of blogging - this is before 'influencer' was even a word (and it's a word I hate) - when a mention on a big American interiors blog would guarantee lots of traffic and sales. Papermash had some coverage on big US websites such as Apartment Therapy, A Cup of Jo, and Design Sponge. Most of my favourite blogs have closed down and I haven't seen their talent for styling and curation replicated.

    2011 – I stocked lots of quirky Korean stationery from Katy and June – these were still some of my favourite product ranges. Katy and June were two young Korean girls importing stationery to their garage – I was really sorry when they closed down a few years later, as they were really efficient to work with.

    2013 – I have always loved the idea of celebration, so I extended the range mainly because I came across some very stylish party goods from a French brand as well as some Liberty print ranges from Meri Meri. This was a pink party shoot I commissioned Charlotte Love to do – I still think these are great shots. I mostly discontinued party goods in 2017 (we still have a small range of garlands and small decorative items) because it was hard to make it profitable – there’s a limit to how much people are willing to spend on paper cups and plates and they always had to be posted in large paper boxes – boxes are not free, despite people loving to complain about postage and packaging, and lots of my suppliers were selling directly from their own websites so there wasn’t much advantage to selling it on my website.

    2014Rifle Paper Co expanded their range to sell calendars, starting with just a couple of styles, but they obviously realised they were on to a good thing as in the next few years they expanded the number of designs significantly, to include planners, appointment calendars, and desk calendars, which I love stocking each year. I've always loved interiors, and (in theory) being very organised - so the idea of making your workspace pretty with a planner or calendar fits in well with my ethos.

    My friend Sian says she thinks I started my business so I could be creative - and I’ve always enjoyed styling photo shoots, so I've tried to do this as much as possible. I've lost the impetus for this a bit but hope to step this up in 2020. In reality, I'm quite last minute so if I've given you a gift it might well have been wrapped in two minutes in a pretty paper bag - but I do love a gift wrapping shoot! You can see some of my gift wrapping ideas here. As an homage to my love of gift wrap I always make sure I stock a good range of washi tape.

    Over the years, I've put myself out there by hosting a few crafternoons and workshops (the last in 2016!) and organising Blognic (a picnic for bloggers) every few years. I like networking and have made some great contacts and friends this way.

    Events are a lot of work though and my favourite task is analysing information behind the scenes! You’ll often see me working on a spreadsheet when I should be working on my social media feed. I’ve never been too bothered about the changes platforms like Instagram have made – I’ve always thought Facebook is a business and so they are in the business of making themselves money, not me – so I’m working on making my website as user-friendly and accessible in its own right - and stocking the most profitable items. In the last few years, I have not diversified the product range as much as I'd have liked, but have worked on the user experience, with a new website 3 years ago, and focusing on selling items people are searching for. I'm not sure how a business can succeed without good search engine rankings.

    In 2020, Papermash will be launching its own range of stationery, which has been in the works for many years, but restricted by time and working capital. I've always loved supporting independent designers and artists and we did collaborate with a few illustrators to design our own prints in the early years. Those particular experiences weren't an issue but sometimes I've found creative people are not quite as organised as I'd like and I don't always have the patience. I have some illustrators lined up to work with and if you've got any suggestions of new illustrators who you think would fit with my brand (and who understand the concept of a brief and a deadline!), I'd love to hear about them.

    Being self-employed and running a small business is very challenging. Over the last few years there has been increasing competition on all websites, with some shops clearly running loss-leader campaigns which I can’t afford or don't want to do - for example, postage is not free. Some of my suppliers and ex-suppliers run quite aggressive marketing campaigns to lure people to their own websites which I understand but find frustrating. Other competitors have huge marketing budgets I could never rustle up (and it's very easy to waste a lot on marketing without a guaranteed return) - and since anyone can open an online shop at a low set-up cost these days, everything has become more difficult – achieving press, a Google presence, any kind of USP. Since washi tape, straws and bakers twine have become ubiqitous - you can find all those things on Ebay - it has been harder to stand out. There are other challenges too, like the US exchange rate and more people using digital diaries.

    I have been lucky to have pre-existing relationships and lots of lovely repeat customers. I had some inside information about the sales of another new-ish stationer with a large marketing budget (I mean hundreds of thousands) and I know the potential for selling stationery is still huge!

    I have been lucky that I do have some part-time help with Papermash and also I wouldn't have gotten this far without the help and advice of my friends Sian of Sian Zeng wallpapers, and Margarita of Chocolate Creative. Having good friends in a similar industry and selling on the same platforms has been invaluable. Even though our product ranges are very different, we've all been in business around the same amount of time and noticed similar changes in e-commerce. Even though Marga has now relocated to Gran Canaria, I still Facetime her often to discuss our favourite topic of SEO!

    If you have purchased from Papermash over the years, thank you! As a mostly one-person operation, I see every order come in. I recognise all the names of my repeat customers and very much appreciate their custom, and those who take the time to leave reviews.

    Will Papermash still be here in 10 years time? Who knows. For me it's very much tied in with having a flexible lifestyle (I'm writing this blog post in a coffee shop at 7am) but with that comes its own stress and limitations. I moved house to reduce my outgoings. Last year I took a part-time job in a think tank which has been fun in terms of getting dressed and out of the house and stretching my brain in a different way - oh, and having a pension.

    I like having my own business but I'm not quite sure I'd say I'm living the dream. But am I happy with my lot? Yes.

  • Rifle Paper Co 2020 calendars

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    The full range of Rifle Paper Co 2020 calendars will be in stock in early September and we're taking pre-orders already, as customers like to make the most of the early bird discount! Not being an early bird myself I'm always impressed - but I guess these people (often regular customers) know what they want.

    This year's calendars include a couple of desk calendars (using their popular floral and map designs), a small calendar with coffee and tea designs, a city maps calendar which is all about the illustrations (they know the travel theme works!) and our most popular designs - the wall-hung appointment calendars, with space for writing in your family and personal appointments.

    Rifle Paper Co 2020 calendars UK

    Shop the full range here:

    - Rifle Paper Co 2020 Wildwood desk calendar

    - Rifle Paper Co 2020 World Traveler desk calendar

    - Rifle Paper Co 2020 City Maps calendar

    - Rifle Paper Co 2020 Coffee and tea calendar

    - Rifle Paper Co 2020 Wild rose appointment calendar

    - Rifle Paper Co 2020 Garden blooms appointment calendar

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