10 Quickfire Questions to Chris Leonard-Morgan about #LSS16 and #natstatweek
As a mark of how much demand there is for stationery out there in this country, and further afield, you need look no further than the annual feast of stationery that takes place right here in London every April. Two events take place together – National Stationery Week has run now for several years and this year runs from 25 April to 1 May. It aims to celebrate the written word and everything about stationery, specifically encouraging people to write. During this week there is a trade-only show (sorry stationery fans) – the London Stationery Show or #LSS16, which has become the undoubted number one show for stationery retailers. Like us. And sitting there in the middle of all this is World Stationery Day. First started last year, it marks the high point of the events, and is particularly important to us because…it is on a Wednesday. Or on a Stationery Wednesday, 27 April, to be precise.
So we thought we would celebrate the annual stationery love-in by announcing it beforehand, and what better way to do that than to call up our old friend Chris Leonard-Morgan. Long-time stationery aficionado, he is most known now because he…well, he runs the Stationery Show! Not single-handed mind, he does have a team around him. And he has been a great supporter of ours over the years. Back in 2012, 2013 and again last year we were invited to be judges on a select panel of retailers including John Lewis, Sainsburys, Paperchase and Rymans, selecting the best new stationery products being launched at the London Stationery Show. Oh, and we’ve often bumped into him looking misty-eyed at some stationery somewhere, most recently over at the Paperworld trade fair in Frankfurt, where we chatted about pens and inks.
So we thought we would get Chris to share something of his background and love of stationery. And then we thought that most of that has probably already been asked by someone else, and wouldn’t actually answer the burning questions we all wanted to know the answer to. So we tore up our interview questions, put on our Bureau Direct hat and started the interview again. After all, we’ve always believed that Chris saw us as an alternative to the mainstream stationery out there anyway, so why ask mainstream questions. Enjoy
Hi Chris. I hope you’re well and not too busy with #LSS16 and #natstatweek so soon. We’d like to grab just a few minutes of your time with some rapid-fire questions on stationery So can you just give me your best shot at what we all want to know about stationery, you and desert islands….?
If you had been given a penny for each time someone said to you that paper was dead in the digital age, would you have retired by now?
Probably not, but my lifestyle would have improved significantly!
Have you ever been caught red-handed in the stationery cupboard?
No because I have the keys, but I was once caught in the tuck cupboard at school many years ago. I wish I hadn’t been
Do you use an electronic or paper diary?
Paper, every time, I don’t know how I would cope without it.
Do you feel more positive now about the future of stationery than you did 10 or 20 years ago?
Massively, although I was just a consumer until I came in to the stationery market ten years ago. I really do believe that the message that writing matters is getting across (which is pretty key to future stationery sales) whilst the fashion led products of today are enough to make anyone want to pick up a pen.
Bic or Mont Blanc? Pound for pound which do you vote as the more iconic stationery item?
That’s a bit like comparing apples with pears. They are both icons and hugely popular household names. What I find so inspiring is everything in between, and above.
What do you attribute the success and/or demand for stationery today to?
Colour, design, fashion and great photography, and the flair of retailers and suppliers who make it all so tempting and fun. It makes you feel good, and is extremely useful so there is never any need to feel guilty after yet another purchase.
What’s your favourite item of stationery in your personal collection?
The Caran d’Ache mechanical pencil my daughter gave me. It’s the nearest I get to power dressing!
What’s your favourite stationery anecdote of all time?
I don’t really have one (there are too many to choose) but I am amazed how frequently stationery companies (and especially their PRs) who should know better put out press information spelling stationery with an A….that always leads to some banter and laughter.
Desert Island Stationery – You’ve been castaway on a desert island and you can take three items of stationery with you. The first two are a pen and paper, of course. What’s your third choice?
A permanently sharp pencil
Stationery can be moved around so why is it called stationary…? Go on, explain the meaning behind stationery/stationary for us all and put that most annoying of mis-spellings to bed once and for all.
Simples! Over 600 years ago, stationers were text writers and illuminators of manuscript books, booksellers, bookbinders and suppliers of parchment, pen and paper who traded from stationary stalls around St Pauls in London. The magnificent hall of the Stationers’ Company is there to this day.
Many thanks for your time Chris, and good luck with the show, the week and World Stationery Day! Hope to see you there.
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