In the early days of CW Pencil Enterprise we spent a lot of time on the internet stalking blogs and Instagram accounts to see what people out there love about stationery. One of our favorite taste-makers from the beginning was Tessa, a British blogger and stationery fanatic. Her reviews on her site All Things Stationery are thorough, honest and sound like a real person wrote them. What I like most about her blog is that she doesn't treat stationery items like they're something too precious, she's genuine in that she actually uses these things and cares deeply about how they function. In early October while visiting London I had the chance to meet Tessa in real life, which is always something I look forward to now that I've amassed a lot of cool internet stationery pals.
A couple of months ago Tessa launched a web shop called the Stationer where she sells the stationery things she knows and loves so well. I recently e-mailed her an obnoxiously long list of burning questions about her obsessions, habits and opinions on all things analog:
When did your interest in stationery begin?
When I was little the only good thing about going back to school was getting to go to WH Smith (British shop that sells stationery) and getting a new pencil case, some Yikes! Pencils and if I was lucky, a Parker Pen. I’ve never really grown out of that feeling of excitement when choosing stationery, which led me to starting All Things Stationery a few years ago. Stupidly, I thought I was the only one and it quickly became apparent to me that there was a massive community online of other stationery lovers, which was a joy and a relief!
If you could only use three writing instruments for the rest of your life, what would they be?
A Kaweco Sport - I adore the art deco vibes, and I like that they’re quite small pens.
A Palomino Blackwing 602 - I can’t imagine not having a Blackwing on my desk, and the firm core of the 602 best suits my needs.
A Muji gel pen 0.38mm - I’ve always, always got one of these in my bag. They’re so useful for grabbing something to write with on the go. Despite how much I’ve learned about stationery over the last few years, these pens are what I started with and what I’ll always go back to.
How do you apply your interest in stationery to your everyday life? What are the daily tasks that you always do the analog way?
I much prefer doing anything that requires brain power the analog way. It helps my brain process things so much better. I think it can also be really important to take yourself away from all the distractions that come with a computer. I, of course, use a paper diary, all my grocery lists are on paper and we use a weekly planner pad in our house to plan out the week’s meals.
What is your favorite thing about the pencil?
It’s so iconic! To me, the pencil completely represents creativity.
If we were to open your bag on any given day, what's the most unusual stationery item we'd find?
I bought a vintage restored bullet pencil a few years ago from Huckleberry Woodchuck, which is usually in my bag. It’s cool to have a little piece of US history. Although I always forget it’s in my bag and then panic if I’m going through airport security that they’ll confiscate it for some reason!
Do you have any stationery confessions you'd like to make?
Ummmm… I’ve never properly cleaned out a fountain pen. I’M SORRY. I usually just fill them up with whatever ink was in there in the first place. And if I am changing inks, I’ll just give it a quick rinse through.
What do you love most about being the proprietress of an awesome online stationery shop?
Without a doubt the best thing is that my job is basically guilt free shopping. I get all that rush of choosing things I love and buying them, but I don’t feel terrible because I know I’ll be selling them on to good homes! I also love the photography aspect of running the website, getting to style stationery for my product shots is lots of fun.
What's your favorite thing that you sell?
Can I be greedy and pick 2 things?! I sell an Embossing label maker which is really cool, I use my one to organize my stock and packaging storage. Another one of my favorites is The Society of Crossed Pencils Pin - it’s made by a brilliant illustrator I know and is a must for pencil lovers! Plus, there’s a Wes Anderson reference in there so it doesn’t get much better.
If you were a pencil, which one would you be?
A Craft Design Technology HB, because it’s not too fussy, it’s reliable, and that mint green colour is my absolute favourite. In our house that’s called “Tessa colour”.
You can find Tessa in a these places:
All Things Stationery
Twitter - here and here
Instagram - here and here