Timeline

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The Early Years

1997

“A gorgeous hall of temptation”

The Guardian

Press coverage was very positive, recognising that something quietly revolutionary was happening.

1999

bureau london wall

Expansion followed rapidly with the second Bureau shop opening a few miles away in the City of London, on London Wall. The shop wasn’t ideally situated and soon relocated to Reading, but it was still a milestone – a second Bureau shop existed.

2000

bureau reading

A period of expansion followed, with shops opening on Kings Road in Chelsea and in Kingston upon Thames. A further shop opened in The Oracle Centre in Reading, when moved (stock, fittings and all) from London Wall.

Going Online

2003

As always with technology, people just want more. And so a few months later we took our first order online. And the first item ordered was…a bag. They were a best-seller in the shop at the time to be fair.

 beth bag

2004

The big event this year was making the decision to commit to online. There was clearly something blowing in the wind by now and with the tide turning we decided to let the last remaining shop go and turn our attentions fully to e-commerce. The tipping point of e-commerce had been reached.

2005

camden lock nw1

And so another milestone. We left behind Covent Garden for good and relocated to the backstreets of Camden Lock in a railway arch unit. Camden felt like a quiet village compared to Covent Garden – ironic considering where we would then move to. But it was home, with the trains rumbling overhead for company. Cold, but home, for the next eight years.

2006

mail order catalogue

 Another year another milestone. We launched a catalogue – it was quite an effort and all done in-house. From photo-shoots round the corner in Camden Lock to trying to create our own local catalogue distribution system we really did try and embrace the idea.

2007

lamy abc fountain pen

After a lot of persuasive tactics we finally got an exclusive agreement to be the sole outlet to sell the Lamy ABC fountain pen. Why is this even worth mentioning? Because back then the ABC wasn’t available in the UK because it wasn’t felt that the market was right over here, and that it wouldn’t be used in the manner it was designed for. As a mark of our progress we felt that being chosen as the exclusive outlet to trial the ABC was a mark of how far we had come.

2010

Note the appearance of social media links – probably late to the party but the world of online shopping kept changing.

2011

bureau business

By now our B2B business was thriving, and as a result in 2011 we gave it its own website – bureaubusiness.co.uk

Our main site was also upgraded, and it all felt quite grown up at the time. Less of the home-coding from now on.

Rediscovering Bureau

2012

bureau compilations

Sometime in early 2012 we made a big decision to move back closer to our roots – sourcing stationery that really excited us, and that we could share with you. And it worked – I think this little pen-&ink set kicked it all off and it is still a best-seller today. It has the honour of being Bureau Compilation No.1 – the original.

Another milestone around the same time occured – Stationery Wednesday was born. A quick trawl through the archives showed that on 21 March 2012 the first email sent out under the name of Stationery Wednesday was delivered –  and so a weekly legend was born.

2013

acton w3

After eight years in Camden Town it was time to move. We had seriously outgrown our little railway arch, and with our neighbours Ottolenghi looking to take over our arch as they expanded we set off on our travels once again. We missed their food, but quickly settled into the very different world of Acton.

ecmod award winner 2013

We also decided to shout a bit louder about what we were doing, and to our surprise we won an award at the first attempt, for outstanding customer service. A glitzy event with Dermot Murnaghan handing out the gongs and the gags.

2015

After just two years in Acton, and just as we got used to falafels and haloumi, we were rudely asked to leave. With business properties turning into flats overnight there was little choice but to find a new home nearby. And so we moved to Willesden. Or Harlesden. Or White City. In fact it is an area that has no name, but it’s quirky. And the bridge theme can be continued.

scrubs lane

Up for a hat-trick of awards, we turned to our customers this year to vote for us in the ‘Reader’s Award’ and you did us proud as we went up to shake Dermot’s hand again.

2016

ecmod award winner 2016 dermot murnaghan

And for the 4th year in a row we picked up an ECMOD award, this time for Outstanding Customer Service. Again. Back where we started. Hopefully Dermot remembers us by now..