My name is Sarah and I'm a stationary addict. I find it incredibly difficult to peruse pretty notebooks, journals and pens without reaching for my Visa card, and to avade the sad sight of shelves filled with books I'll never write in, I usually end up gifting items to fellow stationary fiends. You won't be surprised to hear that I love finding independent stationers, and I was over the moon to chance upon the resplendent wares of The Magic Notebook, an online shop specialising in Korean stationary. Sounds bizarre, but turns out that Koreans know a thing of two about cute and colourful items to cheer your desk space right up! I'm in love with their Grimm Fairytale and Alice in Wonderland ranges (look in the Indigo Story section). The Magic Notebook ended up being awesome sponsors of my Prosecco Tasting Event for Bloggers back in January, and everyone couldn't stop swooning over the lush designs. I put a few questions to the store's owner, the amazing Rachel Lim.
When did you setup the Magic Notebook?
I started it in 2012, before then I'd been working as a project manager for an artist in London
Where did your love of Korean stationary design come from?
From my trips to Korea. I was really taken aback by the beautiful designs, the quality, and the sheer number of different designers. It is also incredible to see the products being made. In Seoul there is a rather unassuming street where every shop houses a printing press. The shops are tiny and you can peer in to see the men working the presses, and then see the products being taken off on mopeds for delivery. This is how the stationary is made, all local and by real craftsmen.
How do you source the stationary items?
By shopping! And by being introduced to new designers, sometimes through customer recommendations.
Who is the typical Magic Notebook customer?
We have all types of customers, but I guess they all appreciate old fashioned pen and paper in a world where everything is now 'virtual'.
Do you like to design stationary yourself?
I marvel at the designs of others knowing full well that I could never produce anything so lovely.
My favourite range is Indigo Story. What's yours?
I also really like Indigo Story. The drawings are beautiful, and of course all the work of Korean illustrators. My favourite range is Table which is created by Korean artist Yunsook Cho. I think that her cards and stickers are truly magical, and can inspire great flights of the the imagination.
How useful do you find blogging for your business?
Blogging is essential and becoming ever more so. It's a great way of spreading the word and finding new customers. But it is also the best feeling when our customers take the time to write about their purchases on their own blogs. I am always ever so thankful and grateful to them for doing so.
What advice do you have for stationary designers trying to find suppliers?
I'd start by going local. Try any independents in your area. Stationary is a great addition to any store. We sell our products to art stores, craft shops, and even to a florist. At the same time you should develop an online presence and have a website, even if it just onepage directing customers to stockists.
If money were no object, what project would you like to do next?
I am quite happy as I am to be honest. Money, and trying to make more of it, are overrated.
Quick Fire Q's
Favourite free thing to do in London? Go for a walk, look at all the beautiful buildings.
Favourite London restaurant? The Asadal Korean restaurant in Holborn. Not cheap, but amazing food and service.
Favourite London shop? I like Fortnum & Mason's, although I rarely buy anything there. I like the old fashioned shop displays. The shop gets better the further up you go.
Best film or play you've seen recently?A film called Bobby Fischer against the world. Bobby Fischer was a legend!
Favourite London museum or gallery? The British Museum. Also free, of course.
Best night out in London? I like London pubs. The older and more cavernous the better!