Discover Back to Study Stationery with Marple Stationery Supplies

We sat down with Sarah Laker, owner of the wonderful Marple Stationery Supplies, to talk about her passion for stationery and explore some of the A Gift From The Gods essentials you need to study in style this September. 

Summer is coming to an end as we wave goodbye to long holidays and sandy beaches, it’s time to get organised for another year of work and study. Beautiful stationery is more than a practical way to get ready for September, it can be an expression of your personal style and way to bring a little more loveliness into every day. We are obsessed with creating beautiful stationery, so it was a pleasure to sit down with one of our stockists Sarah Laker of Marple Stationery to talk about her love for all things pen and paper. Discover your back to school #GoddessInspiration below. 

Could you tell us a little bit more about your shop Stationery Supplies? 

Stationery Supplies is an eclectic mix of stationery, greetings cards and gifts in the leafy canal town of Marple, Cheshire. We’ve been described as an ‘Aladdin’s cave of stationery’, with customers often exclaiming that we never disappoint them in their search for the perfect stationery item or greeting card. We have also recently launched our new website www.giraffegifts.co.ukselling beautiful stationery and gifts.

You can find a range of A Gift From The Gods products in Sarah’s fabulous store. Look out for the pretty and practical Calligraphy & Hearts Pink 3 Mini Notebooks along with other superstars from our stationery range. 

Have you always been passionate about stationery?
Always! As a child I loved my ‘post office set’ (did you?) and spent hours writing letters, addressing envelopes and stamping them. I also spent many happy hours as a teenager browsing our local stationers and adding to my eraser collection. I still have my first Parker fountain pen given to me by my parents for Christmas in 1984! You could say that I’ve always been a stationery addict!

Feed your stationery addiction this September with the Calligraphy & Hearts Hot Pink A6 Spiral Notebook. It’s the perfect way to keep your study notes organised. 

Tell us about your Radio 2 fame during National Stationery Week.

I secured national radio 2 coverage when I rang the All Request Friday slot on DJ Sara Cox’s afternoon drivetime show on Friday, May 3, 2019. I was not expecting a call back and at the time I was having my hair cut and had to go out of the hairdressers and up the hill to get a signal on my phone! It was so funny; I was getting lots of strange looks! This radio exposure led me to shout about how brilliant independent stationery shops are. 

My social media went slightly bonkers following my radio appearance.It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since but I just want to shout about stationery and how great independent stores are. There has been so much doom and gloom on the High Street recently, so I want to say, we’re here and we have so much knowledge to pass on.

National Stationery Week ran through until Sunday, May 5, and is the annual campaign run by Ocean Media, organisers of the Stationery Show London, to help spread the love for pens, pencils, rulers and more – proving that the art of handwriting is still appreciated throughout the country.

National Stationery Week is one of our favourite times of year too. Show your love for the art of handwriting with our A Gift From The Gods Geo White Pen Set.

Why do you think it is important that we all support independent retailers? 

I also feel strongly that we need our indie shops on the UK’s high streets to keep alive the uniqueness of towns and villages and to teach our children the skills that my mum taught me.

To me, independent retail is about passion for your product, expert knowledge, personal service and trust. All qualities I work hard at, as it’s important to me, for example, that parents can come and ask advice on which pen would suit their child or that an elderly person who is struggling with their sight feels able to ask me for help to choose their partner’s birthday card.

I also feel strongly that we need our indie shops on the UK’s high streets to keep alive the uniqueness of towns and villages and to teach our children the skills that my mum taught me.

When is your busy time of year?

Stationery has many seasons, so I’m always busy! We start in January with a flood of customers needing new accounts books or diaries. Alongside this, it’s mock exam time so we’re selling exam kits. Then we gear up for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Easter which brings us to exam time again in May! June brings Father’s Day swiftly followed by the end of school year thank you gifts and cards. We then swing into ‘Back to…School, College or University’ season. Then, of course, it’s full-on until Christmas! I thrive on being busy and have trouble sitting still.

It sounds like Sarah has a hectic schedule! If you want to get your to-do list up to speed this September, try our A Gift From The Gods Dotty White Weekly Planner.

What is your favourite stationery item?

That’s a difficult one for me because I love all stationery! But if I must narrow it down then it would be a notebook. How good is a blank page in a new notebook?

I go through a checklist when I choose a notebook, whether it’s for me or a new range for the shop. Not only does it need to look fabulous, it needs a sturdy spine so that the pages won’t fall out after a few weeks and good quality paper so that the ink doesn’t show through. Also, important, but not essential, is a ribbon marker, a magnetic or elastic closure, and a pocket at the back for storage. And weirdly, it needs to smell right for me too! Stationery is a very sensory experience. And I know I’m not alone in this as I often see customers having a quick sniff of a notebook!

If you’re looking for a new notebook to start off your academic year on the right foot, try our Dream Odyssey Star Aqua A6 Notebook. It’s simple, beautiful, and even passes the sniff test!

What is your best-selling stationery item? 

Our most popular items are pens, notebooks, and greeting cards, but we also sell a lot of basic stationery such as files, envelopes, and paper. Although every day in my shop is different, as we appeal to a wide customer base from preschool children right through to our oldest customer who is in his late 90’s! It’s very hard to just pick one item from our very varied offering – I like to think we have something for everyone.

What would be in your dream stationery set?

A matching notebook and pen are heaven to me! The A Gift From The Gods range of stationery ticks all my boxes – matching notebook, weekly planning pad, pen and pencils – all things I use every day. 

I’m an avid list writer, and I write down each day what is a priority and what I’d like to achieve given time – A Gift From The Gods Weekly Planner are perfect for this with equal space for each day and plenty of room to write in. Alongside my many lists, I like to make lots of notes and always have a notebook with me. The Get Your Goddess On Crown Blue A5 Notebookand Get Your Goddess On Crowns Blue Pen Setare my current favourites. It’s also great that the pen takes refills as my customers are all looking to reduce their plastic footprint.

We love the Get Your Goddess On Design Storytoo. Why not complete the set this school year with our Get Your Goddess On Crowns Grey Weekly Planner?

What stationery essentials would you recommend for those heading back to study? 

My advice for preparing for the new term ahead is to get organised before it begins, then you are one step ahead of yourself.

A basic back to school kit should include a notebook or planner, so you’re ready to write down what you need to remember each day, homework, deadlines, etc. Alongside this, you will need a couple of pens that feel comfortable to write with, consider the type of pen – ball point, rollerball or fountain pen, whether you like a triangular grip or a soft grip. If you’re left-handed then a quick-drying ink is essential to stop smudging. We recommend that customers come and try out our pens in-store to find the right one.

Also useful are some coloured pens and highlighters, which will not only help you with your planning but be fun to use. Pastel highlighters are particularly on-trend this year as is anything rose gold.

A good quality pencil, pencil sharpener, and eraser; don’t undervalue yourself with these, you get what you pay for! Alongside that, you need a ruler, aside from the traditional wooden ruler, we also sell folding, flexible and grip rulers.

Another good idea is to get some coloured zip wallets to hold both loose papers and workbooks in. My most organised customers have a different colour per subject, so they can easily grab the one they need each day.

That’s great advice Sarah! Thank you for taking the time out to speak to us, and for being one of our amazing A Gift From The Gods stockists. 

Ready to #GetYourGoddessOn and get organised for the school year? We have everything you need to create the perfect stationery collection this September. Explore our range and get inspired in our online store