Being the devoted brown ink fan that I am, Wendy and Nick asked me to write a piece for the blog’s one year anniversary. Enchanté.
While in NYC for work, I spent some downtime discovering some of Lower Manhattan’s finest offerings for stationery. Before we get started, here is a playlist to accompany your stationery craving.
Top Hat/Lower East Side
The LES exudes rockstarness. The cool factor at Nina Allen’s shop, Top Hat, is high and therefore a definite rockstar of stores. Top Hat’s pusher is Nina’s wholesale company Sweet Bella. Serving the Northern Hemisphere, Sweet Bella wholesales many distinct, keenly designed items ranging from sundry type items to whimsical bits and bobs.
The notecard offering is modest as it’s carefully selected. I especially like the stitching notecards. What a unique way to share a memory of a trip, give to someone embarking on their own journey or to represent one’s own wanderlust.
Top Hat carries other stationery necessities such as pens, notebooks, push pins, etc. My personal favorite is washi tape. MT, the top dog of decorative masking/washi tape in the entire universe, is well represented at Top Hat. Including the latest addition from MT – MT Casa. Pure genius.
Fascination with initials is shared by many. These letters are handmade in Stroke-on-Kent, England and cast from vintage originals. They come in a variety of fonts and sizes and make a delightful gift or addition to a spot in your home that needs a reminder of you. I wish I had picked up the ampersand – crazy cute.
Terrapin Stationers at Bookmarc & Little Marc/West Village & Greenwich Letterpress/West Village
brown ink and friends are huge fans of Terrapin Stationers (see my personal favorite here). I inquired about a visit to Terrapin’s workshop and received a quick reply from Terrapin’s head honcho, Ted Harrington. My dream of meeting the man who quite possibly uses the f word more than I do, was not realized as I was last minute and a weekend. Ted very kindly referred me to Greenwich Letterpress. Before visiting Greenwich Letterpress I checked out Terrapin’s exclusive line for Bookmarc and Little Marc Jacobs. These fine goodies are only available in-store- only a few are featured here. Lucky you, they take phone orders. Terrapin’s standard collection can be purchased on line as well as at a stockist near you.
Next up, Greenwich Letterpress. I was pleasantly surprised with the massive selection of cards ranging from their own cards as well as other top notch stationers such as SuitorLife, Original Crown Mill, Hammer Press and Oddball Press.
The gift selection was party centric including party favor striped bags and a good luck horse shoe. The stationery accoutrements were witty and fun- especially these pencils and notebooks from SuitorLife. The food snob placecards will surely rouse the discerning guests at your next Sunday Supper and even your CSA lovin’ friend.
brown ink and friends will likely enjoy this smart pocketsize journal for letter writers.
Mr. Boddington’s Studio/Chelsea
Mr. Boddington’s Studio is by private appointment only which requires planning in advance and punctuality. Thankfully, Brand Director Jessie Camden, was kind enough to accept my plea for a quick 15 minute visit. Upon an on time arrival, I was squealing with delight and maybe using a few too many f-bombs. The studio is bright, open and invigorating with layers of notecards and other goodies to be discovered. From floor to ceiling, walls are strategically organized with Boddington’s creations – wrapping paper, note cards, recipe cards, notebooks, coasters, gift tags. And of course, wedding suites – weddings are a majority of their business.
Their custom hand drawn prints can serve as a focal point and/or an accent. Opening an envelope and discovering a custom liner is common with Boddington’s. It’s like discovering the malted milk ball at the bottom of your ice cream cone! The clever copy is written by the talented gang at Boddington’s.
Gourd season is upon which has me lusting for this bright orange leather notebook. The lizard notebooks, bound in London, are new for Boddington’s. The gold edged paper is the perfect gilded touch. For those who keep track of passwords on paper, consider this twee notebook. Heaven! Look for stockists in your area otherwise order direct from their website.
Project No. 8/Midtown
Just a brief jaunt from Mr. Boddington’s, you will find Project No. 8 located in the ultra hip Ace Hotel. This store has the traveler in mind. If you’re in need of a souvenir for your best mate, a wool cap to thwart the autumn chill or a mag to read, you’ll find a thoughtfully considered mix of items. Naturally the shop’s countertop card spinner features a well curated lot of cards from such stationers such as Set Editions and LA based artist, Ashkahn. You will also find an assortment of stylish notebooks and writing instruments to accompany your card purchase.
Once you’ve made your purchase you might want to grab a pick-me-up from Stumptown Roasters and enjoy some quality notecard writing time in the hip hotel lobby. Chances are you’ll Shazam a few new tunes to add to your next playlist. Oh, if you’re ready to nosh consider Sub No. 7 around the corner. I’m partial to the Mongolian Tofu with a Muchim pickle on the side. Dope.
Note: If you’re a dude, shopping for a dude or just into dudewear, head downtown for Project No. 8’s men’s furnishings outpost.
My visit to Marimekko’s flagship store was enhanced by my insanely delicious Menta Bianca Stracciatella gelato from next door neighbor Eataly’s Gelateria. The iconic Unikko pattern lends itself quite well to the notecard offerings. The Isola print letter set in black and white comes with top flap closure envelopes- a nice detail. The notepads, notebooks are covered in Marimekko prints and inviting a place to keep to do lists, doodle or journal.
The beloved home mecca has a large stationery area located on the ground floor. The displays are well art directed and fit in with the store’s vibe. Lines include Sapling Press, hat+wig+glove, co and Motel Deluxe, just to name a few. Stationery accoutrements abound if you care to indulge – pens, notebooks, paperweights, rubberstamps, labels and the like.
The kid’s section on the third floor offers a small but kid focused selection of note sets and individual cards. The stylings and packaging is geared toward kids just as the rest of the department is. Of course everything is top notch with a healthy dose of wonder.
This home goods purveyor carries a line of luxe stationery by New Orleans based designer, Alexa Pulitzer. The collection has a gypset vibe with a dash of regalness. An exclusive, very French, suite will be available soon in stores and on line – get a sneak peek here. Feel free to throw a John Derian paperweight on top of your growing stationery supply and don’t forget to send me a card from your beachside retreat in St. Barth’s.
In classic Japanese style, Muji welcomes you with a neat display of writing instruments. The simple and functional stationery is also meticulously displayed. Craft paper notecards and envelopes are good for everyday use or you can embellish them on your own for a special occasion.
Pearl River Mart/Soho
This treasure trove offers a wide array of Asian items. The extensive stationery section includes paper products from China, Japan and various locales. The stationery sets would make a perfect gift for your niece or daughter. You can find loads of oddities from notebooks to kitchenware, slippers, etc. A perfect stop if you’re prepping for a party or looking to stock up on your stationery stash.
Tribeca Treats creates delectable delights and carries an inspiring potpourri of stationery to match the sweets. Tyler, long time employee and NYU student, was happy to share his personal favorites from the extensive card selection in the shop. Bonus! Sweets and stationery! A majority of the quality selection is letterpress. The wide array of brands spans the US from local NYC stationers Greenwich Letterpress, Chicago’s Snow & Graham, Pittsburgh’s Sapling Press and San Francisco’s Chewing the Cud.
You can also find unique party provisions such as napkins, cake stands, candles sparkler cupcake toppers, cookbooks and kitchenware. Dip in for an afternoon sugar fix and indulge in some card purchasing while you nibble.
A juicy pen is waiting for some fresh new paper to make friends with and needs you to make the introduction. Off you go.