London Stationery Show
1 CommentThursday, 28 April 2016 | Admin
I light-heartedly tweeted "First rule of business: keep up with the goss!" and I got to thinking about what I meant by that. The London Stationery Show is a trade-only fair that takes place once a year, coinciding with National Stationery Week. It's a great chance to see lots of our suppliers in one place, catch up with old friends and put faces to people we've only ever talked to on the phone. So what did we learn from our day out?
At the Moleskine stand we asked about the small green 18-month diary that's been missing from our selection. It'll be in stock next week, along with the super-hero pencils that came into Pen to Paper, flew out quickly and have never turned up again. We're quick to adopt a new line from Moleskine if we think it will please our customers, with the result that we've one of the largest, most up-to-date selections of Moleskine notebooks in the south-east. We learnt that one of our competitors, a large chain, can take up to 6 months to decide to take a new notebook. You'll see them here first!
On the Lamy stand we heard that even they had been taken aback at how quickly the new special edition dark lilac safari pens have been selling. We've already sold a quarter of our first order so are hoping we can keep this colour in stock until the next pens arrive in late May. We've got the matching dark lilac ink in cartridge form but I'd seen it in bottle form on the internet. Was it available to us? "No" said the European Sales Director, "it's only available in bottles to the Asian market. They prefer to use converters and bottled ink." We're disappointed but at least we got our information straight from the horse's mouth. This spring's other special edition colours have gone too: the AL-star charged green fountain pens and the nexx smaragd (turquoise) fountain pens. Pen to Paper still have some in stock but when they're gone, they're gone. On the other hand I learned there is still stock in the Lamy warehouse of the tipo rollerball in citron yellow despite it not being featured in the current catalogue. We've ordered a few more of the yellow to add some seasonal colour to the orange, pink and grey tipo rollerballs that are so popular with our customers.
Other subjects for general gossip were the demise of BHS, sales on the internet and the forthcoming referendum on Europe. If Britain were to leave Europe, would it make a difference to our relationship with Lamy? Apparently not. Lamy have a thriving relationship with many Swiss stationery shops and the only difference is that there's more paperwork to fill in to cross the border, which benefits no-one in the sales relationship.
We were charmed by Matt Sewell's beautiful bird notebooks for Go Stationery. Expect to see those in our shop soon. Another possible new supplier for diaries and notebooks explained that we could order them through our existing wholesaler. On J. Herbin's stand someone patiently explained their warehousing system so that we could hone our ordering skills (and, incidentally, told us that Pen to Paper have one of the widest ranges of Herbin inks and G. Lalo writing paper anywhere in the country). Elsewhere we spotted some Alice in Wonderland boxes with a gothic twist, not available yet, but we've filed away details for future reference.
So what did we get out of our visit to the Stationery Show? We reflected on some of our strengths and also how we could improve on what we offer our customers. We'll be tweaking our stock to bring you the brightest and best of what's around. We've renewed our relationships with our suppliers and forged strategies to bring you exciting new stationery as soon as it's available, at the best price we can. We kept up with the goss.