Express yourself: why children will always love stationery

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Four years ago I visited a remote part of Vietnam. At the time I was working for Paperchase and I took a selection of colourful pens and pencils with me to give to the village children. Within seconds I was surrounded by children of all ages all wanting their very own pen or pencil. It was only after the boys started to play fight with the pencils, that I realised that they had absolutely no idea what they were. You see we live in a country where we can buy 20 pens for £1 and every year over the Back to School promotional period retailers bombard us with marketing messages and promotions to try to make us buy more stationery. We completely take it for granted that we can write or that our children are being taught to write and use pens and pencils.

Our whole democracy is based on freedoms that date back to the Magna Carta and those freedoms are built on the rights of the individual. Drawing, colouring and writing are important ways that children express their individuality. Have you ever thought about the fact that your signature, your handwriting is unique to you?

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I have just finished writing a report about the 2015 Back to School market in the UK. I researched 30 different retailers while writing this report; they all sell stationery.  As consumers we have more choice than ever before as to where to shop and what to buy. Back to School trends this year included neon/ brightly coloured stationery ranges, novelty erasers and bumper packs of colouring pens. A key point I have made in the report is that in the future we will all be omnichannel. As a stationery industry we need to engage with Generation I (post millennial) through different mediums whether that be e-commerce, m-commerce or social commerce. Children may be spending more time in front of phones, tablets and computers, however, let’s not forget that they are still children; still individuals, who want to express themselves with brightly coloured stationery, colouring pens and writing instruments.

What better way is there to show your individuality than by putting pen to paper?

Alexandra Miles is a former Gifts and Stationery buyer with 15 years’ experience working for major retailers. Contact alexmiles@brightdisposition.com

For more information go to: www.brightdisposition.com

Posted on 25th September 2015 by Alex Miles