For quite a while every stationary item I came across and loved was Portuguese. Often it was the packaging, usually honestly old fashioned and beautifully made. I'm not sure what it is but there is something so genuine about Portuguese stationery. The notebooks serve a purpose but are never an eye sore and the pencils are simple but function perfectly. As a shop owner, I am thrilled to stock both of my favorite Portuguese brands.
Emilio Braga notebooks, for one are something I've coveted for a long while but have often had trouble finding. Founded in 1918 by Emilio da Silva Braga, this stationer became known for his well bound notebooks and cloud print which is not dissimilar to what we see on a composition notebook. They may not be the largest or finest stationery manufacturer in Portugal anymore, but their cloud notebooks are still as beautiful. They're made 75% without the touch of a machine and feature details often missed by more modern brands.
Another brand I love is Viarco. You've probably heard of them or used their pencils but what strikes me most about this company is their commitment to heritage and quality. They were founded by French industrialists in 1914, and after the interruption of World War I started producing pencils under the Viarco name in 1936. As it stands, Viarco is the only remaining pencil manufacturer in Portugal and now produce art materials as well. They still make copying pencil and often release dead stock of vintage items for sale to the general public. What I love most are their scented pencils, the name for which translates to "The Backyards and Gardens of Portugal". Each scent is soaked into the cedar of the unfinished pencil and they really truly do smell of the native flowers they're named after. Their products are made honestly, without compromise and maintain the level of dignity that a pencil deserves.
Not only are both of these brands Portuguese icons, they are also both rare types of businesses whose roots have remained unchanged over nearly a century, who haven't been bought and sold and bought and sold again, who manufacture the same way they always have and who don't ignore what's modern about manufacturing but manage to work with it and around it with grace and integrity.