Whether you’re back to school, back to work, still working from home or still plain old working, now seems about the right time to treat yourself to a nice, new piece of stationery. And where better to treat yourself than an independent stationery shop—because when you treat yourself at an independent, you’re also treating them. But where are the best independent online stationery shops? Which one is going to have just the right pen for you? We reach out to Shillington’s global graduate and teacher network to bring you a list of the best around the world.
So don’t pander to Amazon and the big chains: check out these inspiring independent stores and explore the treasure trove of incredible stationery they have to offer.
Colours May Vary stock what they call ‘a range of beautiful, useful and inspirational wares’ on both their online shop and in their store in Leeds’ famous Corn Exchange. A quick browse reveals books and magazines abound, with lots of super handy stationery thrown in for good measure—basically, in short, lots of things that you will want to buy.
Inchiostro and Paper prides itself on being “inspirational, ethical, minimal”, and who wouldn’t want all of that from your stationery? Its notebooks, journals and planners are also rather beautiful, not to mention efficient and organised. Founded in 2017, this boutique store is based in Italy (the name is Italian for ‘ink’) but shipping is free on its products worldwide.
This store, founded in 2012 and based in Covent Garden, London, sells a fabulous array of stationery products, as well as decorative paper, art materials and office supplies. You’ll find an astonishing selection of rare and exquisite stationery here; items chosen with love for both their utility and beauty. Choosing Keeping will ship worldwide for orders of £10 and over.
Run by husband-and-wife duo, Jana and Marko, The Completist focuses on sustainable stationery and work mainly with small British manufacturers. Based in Peckham, south London, it sells over 400 products including art cards, notebooks, pens, washi tape and gift wrap. These are typically bright, bold, colour and eye-catching, but it’s the close attention to detail in the designs that we admire the most.
Based in Manchester, UK, and helping people make things since 1886, Fred Aldous sells a huge range of arts and crafts products, both in its physical store and online. This includes pens, pencils, sketchpads, sticky notes and clips… but too many to mention here, as they stock more than 25,000 items in total!
Based in Covent Garden, London Graphic Centre has been serving the UK’s design and arts communities since 1973. They are dedicated to making, exploring, discovering and buying the best creative supplies and design-led stationery easy for graphic designers, architects, artists, fashionistas, enthusiasts and students. The online store mirrors the retail space and can deliver same-day to London, next-day across the UK and to most overseas locations.
Based out of Brooklyn, Public Supply is a stationery shop with a difference. As well as producing some of the sleekest notebooks we’ve ever seen, they also use their products to help support creative work in America’s public schools. They donate 25% of their profits to high need classrooms that focus on creativity. So, you’ll be donating to a good cause whilst getting yourself some new notebooks.
Sydney store Pulp stocks a wide range of quirky, unique and hard-to-find stationery paper products from around the world, including pens and pencils, wrapping paper, notebooks, tape and stickers. Its site is updated regularly with special offers and new products, so it’s a good place to visit whenever you’re in need of stationery inspiration.
Established in 2000 in East London’s market district, Labour and Wait now has four locations in London and one in Tokyo. Both its stores and website offer an evolving range of timeless, functional products for everyday life, including stationery, books and homeware. These are sourced from specialist makers from around the world, many of whom manufacture their goods in the traditional way and to their original designs.
With both an online store and two physical stores in New York’s NOLITA and West Village, Goods for the Study might just be your new one-stop shop for, well, goods for your study—everything you need for writing or sketching. They stock the most beautiful and useful of pens and pencils, as well as the most beautiful sketchbooks and notebooks to use them in.
First launched online in 2014 by pencil collector Caroline Weaver, the success of CW Pencil was quickly followed by the launch of a physical store in New York. Today, the brand sells everything a pencil enthusiast might want or need, from sharpeners and erasers to refills and replacements.
We bet you weren’t expecting to find an accountancy firm on this list but Full Stop, founded 10 years ago back in 2011, is just that—an accountancy firm with a killer online stationery shop. In their forward thinking online stationery shop, you can Blackwing pencils, Ohto pens and the finest ink from Herbin. In other words, a menagerie of the finest stationery from across the globe.
Yoseka was originally founded in Taoyuan, Taiwan in 1981 but, spotting a gap in the market, was brought to Brooklyn and the US by husband and wife team Neil and Daisy in 2017. Bringing in the best stationery that Asia has to offer—from Washi Tape and stamps to pens and pencils—Yoseka is any stationery addicts dream. They have a bricks and mortar store in Brooklyn, but the full range is also available to buy in their online store.
Based in Florida and founded in 2009, Rifle Paper Co. is an international stationery and lifestyle brand founded by husband-wife team Anna and Nathan Bond. Its notepads, address books, pencils and pens are to die for and check out their selection of art prints too.
Founded back in 2012, Glasgow-based RISOTTO is one of the UK’s longest running Riso Printers with a shop dedicated to hand printed stationery. Colour is the name of the game for RISOTTO—you’ll see it in abundance across their cleverly designed calendars, planners, notebooks, greeting cards and the rest of their fantastic collection.
Nook is a “design & life store” in East London and online that carefully curates items across the UK, Europe and beyond, including some very moreish stationery. Founded in 2012 by friends Gemma, Jack and Kate, their shared passion for design shines through every single product on show here, from notebooks to pencil cases.
Another store founded by graphic designers, Papersmiths sells beautifully curated stationery, books and magazines, greetings and gifts, online and from its physical stores in Brighton and London (Chelsea and King’s Cross). Expect brands such as Hay, Ola and Midori.
Founded in 2008 by Céline Leterme and Jon Dowling, Counter-Print started life as a seller of vintage design books but has since extended its products to include some fabulous stationery, from notebooks and organisers to erasers and staplers.
Present & Correct was founded online in 2008 by two graphic designers as, in their own words: “A place for our designs, things we love by other designers from around the world & vintage items which we discover on trips and foraging expeditions.” They go on sourcing trips four times a year, and their evident passion for stationery shines through their collections of unique and quirky products, from 18 different countries.
In 1997, while travelling around Australia in an old VW, Kerri Binnie was thinking about all the clutter that came with Christmas, and came up with the idea of prototyping a Christmas card holder using cereal packets. The following year, New York’s MoMA ordered 10,000, and BusyB was born. Now headquartered in Edinburgh, its award-winning stationery range includes colourful, elegant and beautiful diaries, planners, calendars, notebooks and organisers.
Greenwich Letterpress is a letterpress studio and shop in New York City’s West Village that’s something of an institution. Offering wedding and stationery letterpress design and printing, they’re currently celebrating over 14 years of being a women-owned business. A great source of uniquely curated letterpress greeting cards, letter sets, notebooks and gifts. Not least because all paper is either made from 100% tree-free post-consumer cotton or is 100% recycled, all inks are soy based, and all work is produced by wind energy.
A wondrous world of ‘paper goods and printed happiness’, Sukie is inspired by nature, folk art and printed ephemera collected from owners Darrell and Julia’s travels. Based in East Sussex, they constantly innovate new styles of notebook using original printing techniques such as screen printing, all using either FSC approved, recycled or ‘rescued’ papers. They have also taken their love of printing to other mediums such as printed textiles, homewares and fashion.
Part of Nashville’s Design Works Creative, Design Works Ink is the online stationery shop of dreams. Design Works Ink is an eclectic collection of the finest notebooks, pens, pencils and all the other stationery products. They also stuck some beautifully designed jigsaws and boardgames, as well as some barware so your drinks cabinet can look as good as your desk.
Il Papiro is an Italian company that produces items in hand-decorated paper with techniques inspired by the tradition of Tuscany. With an outpost in Covent Garden, their products including bound diaries, photo albums, desk accessories, frames, keepsake boxes and stationery are printed with artisan care on watermarked papers and 100% cotton card stock. You can order customised designs from them too.
Launched in 2006, Milligram is a physical store based in Melbourne that also claims to be Australia’s “largest online store for boutique and designer stationery”. It does a fine range of notebooks, pens and pencil, fine paper and diaries, with brands including Moleskine, Rhodia, LAMY, Kaweco, and O-Check Design.
First opened in 2016 by Tessa Sowry, London store The Stationer was born out of a love for ‘everything else that goes on a desk’. Inspired by classic design and great functionality, their mission is to make your desk look cool, but also be more organised. Products include pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, cards, wrap and tape.
Hato Store is the shop of East London’s famous Hato Press. Based online and in King Cross’s Coal Drops Yard, Hato Store stocks some truly weird and wonderful stationery. Want a candle that looks like a Romanesco cauliflower? Or some Japanese starch paste in a lurid green tube? Hato’s got you. They stock their own brand and other brands from across the world, as well as prints from Hato-related artists, if you’re looking to freshen up your wall.
Eco-consciousness in the name of the game for Michael Roger’s Decomposition. Playing on the classic American composition notebooks and the idea of composting and decomposition, this brand lives up to its name. All its product are made of eco-friendly materials, produced as close to home in the US as possible—they also look really great too.
Founded in 2015 by self-appointed Chief Stationery Addict Leona, Scratch & Jotter focuses on the finest paper products that money can buy. Leona founded the Brisbane-based online shop to be able to share her love for paper and stationery with those who share her passion. Stratch & Jotter now stocks a wide range of stationery brands—from Leuchtturm 1917 to Papier Tigre.
Artwork by Shillington Manchester Teacher Nick Smith.
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