Stationery Stores

New York City Stationery Haul

My recent New York post went through the stores I managed to visit during my trip, but this post follows up on the details we all really care about - what I bought.    

Haul Part 1 - Kinokuniya  

My modest Kinokunyia haul

My modest Kinokunyia haul

Pilot Kakuno and Zebra Midliners 

Pilot Kakuno and Zebra Midliners 

Kinokunyia was a high priority visit during my trip. I had decided before visiting that all shopping from Kinokuniya would be focused on things that I couldn't, or were hard to get at home. Planning is all part of the fun / sickness

High up on my list was the Pilot Kakuno fountain pen. In the UK you can get hold of these beginner fountain pens but only with the dark grey barrel. I always thought the white barrels were much nicer. Luckily in Kinokunyia they a good rage of colours available. I opted for the Kakuno with the yellow cap and a medium nib. I have some ink on order from Jet Pens so once this arrives I will get this pen inked up and start using it. 

Japanese pencils

Japanese pencils

Alongside this I bought a few Zebra Midliners and some Japanese pencils. I was restrained with the pencil purchases because I would be visiting CW Pencils during my trip so I went for pencils that I didn't think I could get from CW Pencils such as the Mono J and Uni Stars. Below is a full run down of my shopping at Kinokunyia. 

  • Tombow Mono J H x1
  • Tombow 2558 H x1 
  • Mitsu-bishi Uni star pencil H x1 and F x1 
  • Prismacolor Verithin Bleu Indigo 741
  • Tombow HB
  • Pilot Kakuno medium nib fountain pen in yellow and white 
  • Zebra Midliner - 1 in peach, 1 light pink, 1 light blue 

Haul Part 2 - CW Pencil Enterprise

My CW Pencils haul

My CW Pencils haul

A few days after Kinokunyia I visited CW Pencils where I went a little pencil crazy. The classroom friendly sharpener was high up on my shopping list, again, as you cannot get these easily in the UK. I went for this lovely pillar box red. I love this sharpener, I have never used anything like it. 

The classroom friendly sharpener

The classroom friendly sharpener

Beautiful Blackwing packaging 

Beautiful Blackwing packaging 

I tested out the Blackwings Volumes 725 on CW Pencils testing station. I was concerned about the graphite being too soft which stopped me buying these online. After testing them and seeing the gorgeous lacquer in the flesh, I decided I had to have a 12 pack. The packaging, like the pencil, is really well done. I am just glad I managed to grab a pack before they sold out. 

In addition to these larger purchases I bought a Baron Fig Apprentice 3 pack. The paper in the Baron Fig works well with pencils. I have used the larger Baron Fig Confident in the past, but not the pocket notebooks so I am looking forward to trying these out. 

And then of course come the pencils themselves. The wall of pencils in CW Pencils is kind of overwhelming. There are so many pencils on offer, and I did take quite some time dwelling over what to buy, studying the pencil wall 3 or 4 times. 

Despite the time I spent pacing I was fairly conservative in the number of pencils I bought. I bought with testing in mind - all part of the quest to find my perfect pencil. I wanted to try some different brands in the hope that I will find something I really like. Again, I also bought pencils that were tricky to get in the UK. Below is the final list. 

  • Mitsu-bishi 9000 HB x1
  • General's Semi-Hex HB x1
  • Caran d'Ache F edelweiss 341-3 pencil x2
  • General's Cedar Pointe 333 HB x1 
  • Caran d'Ache HB edelweiss 341-2 pencil x2
  • Tombow 8900 HB x1 
  • General Pencil Co. Kimberley 525 F x1
  • 2 pencil caps - not pictured 

 

A graphite heavy trip

I bought a lot of pencils and pencil related items during my trip to NYC. Pencils a lot of the time do not feature within my stationery shopping and I hadn't planned on buying so many this time round. This means for the next few weeks I will be using pencils a lot more than usual. At the moment some big favourites of mine are the Palomino 725, the Tombow 2558 and the Mitsu-bishi 9000. In particular the 725 is so pretty and I am enjoying the graphite much more than I thought I would. The Classroom Friendly sharpener is amazing and is completely stealing the show. I cannot get enough of this and it completely blows away any other sharpener that I have. I have never had a pencil point like it. 

As I use these new additions and become more familiar with them I will be getting reviews up on The Finer Point. 

Stationery Shopping in NYC

Last week I visited New York City for the first time and I completely fell in love with the city. Unsurprisingly I spent my time visiting some of the popular tourist destinations - Central Park, Rockefeller, World Trade Centre etc - but I also managed to fit in a few stationery stores and pick up some lovely new tools. I had prepared a list of stores I wanted to visit, however despite my intentions I only managed to fit in two stores during my short visit.

Kinokunyia 

Mechanical and woodcase pencil display

Mechanical and woodcase pencil display

Kinokunyia is first and foremost a Japanese bookstore, but on the lower level there is a small-ish stationery department. There is a fantastic pen and pencil section filled to the brim with gel pens and pencils. I spent quite some time looking at all the different brands that they had on offer and appreciating the vast colour selection on the gel pens. I haven't been in a physical store like it before so this was a bit of a treat. They also had an interesting mechanical and woodcase pencil section including some branded pencils I had not seen before. But I will save these details for another post.   

Pilot Coleto end of aisle display

Pilot Coleto end of aisle display

My favourite display area in Kinokunyia was the Pilot Coleto end of aisle display - shown here on the right. This was filled with all the Coleto refill colours in all available sizes - 0.25, 0.4 and 0.5mm. The different barrel options were displayed ranging from the entry level plastic Coletos to the higher quality aluminium designs and each with different number of refill slots. Gel pen customisation at it's extreme.

Alongside the pens and pencils on show there was a wall of paper showcasing different Japanese notebooks, writing and letter paper. Mirdori Travelers Notebooks also were featured, cased in their own display cabinet under lock and key. I really enjoyed Kinokunyia and could have spent a lot more on a lot of the products they had on offer.  

Huge gel pen selection on offer 

Huge gel pen selection on offer 

CW Pencils

My husband spotted the tell-tale pencil logo as we were seeking out CW Pencils. A great sign!  

My husband spotted the tell-tale pencil logo as we were seeking out CW Pencils. A great sign!  

I had to take the time to visit CW Pencils. I listen to the Erasable podcast where CW Pencils is mentioned regularly and Caroline Weaver has featured as a guest so I was well aware of CW Pencils and what they have to offer. I have never bought anything online from CW Pencils, but I felt a visit to the physical brick and mortar store was essential. 

Someone who deliberated over their purchases longer than I did

Someone who deliberated over their purchases longer than I did

The store is much smaller than I expected, but then again pencils are small. The layout and display of the pencils are fantastic. You get a clear view of everything on offer. I really liked the cork board display with prized pencils under lock and key. I may add a smaller scale version of this into my office at home.

This is where the special pencils live

This is where the special pencils live

My favourite section within the shop was the testing table. It has draws filled with different types of pencils by all the different brands on offer, where you get to try before you buy. I personally found this very useful and it definitely helped me to make a few decisions. 

CW Pencils testing station

CW Pencils testing station

I wish I was able to fit a few more stores in during my visit. I saw the Fountain Pen Hospital from a taxi on our final evening, but I didn't have time to visit. If I get a chance to visit New York City again I will make sure that I find more time to fit in more of the stores in the big apple. For a run down of some of the best stores in Manhattan I found The Gentleman Stationers post very helpful. 

Berlin stationery haul

My previous post was all about my recent trip to Berlin and the fantastic stationery shops I visited. If you haven't read this post and want to know a bit more about the stores I visited, alongside my thoughts on them, check it out here before reading on. (Don't worry, I'll wait a minute).  

Obviously I wasn't going to visit these great stores and come away empty handed, in fact I came home with a fair amount which I will run through in this post.  

Haul Part 1 - RSVP

Caran d'Ache 348 pencil, Caran d'Ache mechanical pencil, Kaweco AL Sport, Wrap notebook

Caran d'Ache 348 pencil, Caran d'Ache mechanical pencil, Kaweco AL Sport, Wrap notebook

A visit to Germany deserved a Kaweco purchase. I am a fan of Kaweco products and have a number of their Classic Sport fountain pens, but I have never taken the plunge on the AL Sport. When browsing through RSVP I came across the grey AL Sport and I immediately knew it was fate - yes fate! The grey was so much better than I expected with hints of a blue/purple undertone. It was great to have the chance to look at the pen properly, try it out and ask questions before buying. Not only did I buy one of these pens but so did my husband. 

Whilst this was my main purchase from RSVP I also brought the Caran d'Ache Metal Collection Classic Line 844 Pencil in red, the Caran d'Ache 348 HB pencil because it looked so pretty and an A5 Wrap notebook, ironically made in the UK. I could have very easily brought more from RSVP as they had such a good range of paper products but this visit was early on in my trip and I didn't want to blow the budget. So far I have used everything minus the Wrap notebook. The Kaweco has been my most used fountain pen since returning which I have inked up with a Diamine Passion Red cartridge.  

Haul Part 2 - Luiban

Midori MD notebook, Carta Pura eraser and a PH Stationery notebook

Midori MD notebook, Carta Pura eraser and a PH Stationery notebook

In my previous post I stated that Luiban was an unplanned visit, turns out this was not so true. This was recommended by my husbands work colleague who knows of my stationery addiction and has read The Finer Point in the past. So thank you Taka for this recommendation as Luiban was a real highlight for me.  

Luiban presented me with harder choices due to the sheer amount of products available and the great layout in this store. I just couldn't decide on what to buy and I guess slightly overwhealmed by what was on offer.

After much fretting, and time wandering around, I picked up a Midori MD A5 Notebook with a lined grid. This has been a product I had admired from afar and has been on my wish list for some time. To look at this in the flesh, compare grid options and examine the paper closely all helped me to make the decision to buy. To go with the Midori MD notebook I picked up an A5 peach cover because it was so pretty and such a great price. The owner was kind enough to point out how fountain pen friendly this paper is, which I thought was a nice personal touch. 

Midori MD A5 lined notebook plus cover  

Midori MD A5 lined notebook plus cover  

I also brought a Carta Pura eraser. This is not something I had ever heard of but after testing this out in the store I thought I should pick one up. The design on this eraser is really cool with different types of pencils drawn on the sleeve. The deep black colour of the eraser looks great and kind of gives it a premium feel. I will use this as a carry round for the next few weeks and see how it compares to the Staedtler Mars Plastic and the Koh-I-Noor Magic erasers which I use regularly. 

Finally I brought a PH Stationery notebook with a blank grid in orange. Again this was not a brand I had ever heard of before, but the notebooks looked so pretty and came in a gorgeous range of colours it was hard not to be drawn to them. I opted for orange as it is a lovely vibrant shade. The PH Stationery notebook is slightly smaller than an A5 book but bigger than a Field Notes. The owner of Luiban again had helpful tips informing me that these notebooks work with a range of different pens, however it's particuarly good with pencils. My plan is to use this notebook for some form of journalling and really test out all the different pencils I have to see what works best. 

In Summary

I managed to come back from Berlin with far more than I was expecting and I am really looking forward to using all these new products in various different ways. Berlin is a wonderful city with a great atmosphere and culture. The inclusion of numerous stationery stores in a relately small city is really exciting to see especially when they are all of such a high quality. 

My plan is to incoporate these items into my daily use to really get a fell for them. I will then post full scale reviews to give my thoughts in detail.  

 

 

 

Stationery shopping in Berlin

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Greetings from Berlin! I am currently on a small mini break to celebrate my husbands 40th birthday and along the way I have stumbled across, and sought out, a few stationery shops which have surprised and excited me, therefore I felt that they were worthy of a blog post. 

 

RSVP 

This gem I found through All Things Stationerys wonderful world map of physical stationery goodness. RSVP is split into two halves, one store focuses on items such as notebooks, pens, pencils, scissors and utensils, and then you hop over the street where the second store is more craft related with wrapping paper, tapes, twine and cards. Both are really nicely laid out and entice you in to explore the delights they have on offer. 

Minimalist shelving showing off all the cool stationery products  

Minimalist shelving showing off all the cool stationery products  

RSVPs shelves are laid out with minimal product and cute name tags allowing you to browse and appreciate the items on offer. This isn't a groundbreaking store layout or style, but its great to see a stationery store using this to promote the joys of the analogue world.

Caran d'ache section

Caran d'ache section

My husband and I both purchased a few items from RSVP, however I will save the details for an upcoming blog post. 

Type and Hype

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Type and Hype is a coffee shop and typography appreciation shop. You can grab a coffee and pastry whilst at the same time looking through a selection of notebooks, posters and crockery branded with different typographical lettering. The store includes an old letterpress but unfortunately is not in use and used more for decoration. Type and Hype source all their stationery items from within Berlin and Germany itself, which is quite a nice selling point. This shop is quite cool but it is limited to notebooks and a few pencils. I desperately wanted something more from the letterpress theme such as classes or an old workshop hidden in the back of the shop, but sadly this is not the case. I was not tempted into buying anything from Type and Hype and what's more the coffee was just ok by Berlin standards. I like the concept of this store but there is definitely something lacking there for me.

 

Luiban

This stationery store was an absolute gem and the only unplanned store I found during my visit. Luiban can be found on the same road as Type and Hype and holds a wide range of fantastic stationery. 

A simple and effective logo

A simple and effective logo

The store is laid out really well presenting the different stationery items simply and clearly - kind of like an Apple store but for stationery products. Luiban stocks envelopes and cards alongside traditional stationery such as notebooks, pencils, pens, stamps and accessories. The wall shown in the photo below was full to the brim of small stationery items that can sometimes be forgotten and are far rarer to see in a physical shop front. (I spent quite some time staring at this wall.) 

Goodies galore!  

Goodies galore!  

The table below is visible as soon as you walk through the store. Midori travellers notebooks, including the new Pan Am edition, leather cases, notebooks and a pen and pencil testing section are all covered in this area. It works as a great entrance into the store showing the broad array of products available. The shelving space visible in the below photo sits on the back wall stacked with lots of different paper and notebooks including Midori, Paper Supply and Lechtturm1917 to name a few.  

Fantastic playtable with an exciting range of items  

Fantastic playtable with an exciting range of items  

What struck me with Luiban is the really fantastic range of products they hold. I was able to look, play, test and ask numerous questions. As I paid for my items (yes there were quite a few), the store owner was kind enough to point out which paper was better suited to fountain pens or pencils and some tidbits of information about where they were produced. It really was an enjoyable experience and everything you should get from this type of store. Luiban were by far the most knowledgable of the three stores I visited in Berlin.

Luibans back office operations  

Luibans back office operations  

One final element of Luiban I loved was the sneaky view of the back office area you see whilst paying. (My husband managed to get a photo which I am very grateful for.) It made me want to wander in and have a poke around, rummage through the draws and find any hidden treasures. 

 

A stationery haven?

Berlin has been a wonderful trip where I have been left surprised and delighted by the amount of physical stationery stores I have been able to find in a short space of time. The selection on hand is wonderful and for a stationery nut like me its really nice to see a major city embrace this, and seem to do well from it. Perhaps calling Berlin a stationery haven is a step too far, but to see multiple physical stores entice people in is an exciting prospect for our analogue world.