Oh God, he’s back. Noooooooo..... Bring back the pretty stationery.
I promise the pretty stationery will return in future blogs but I wanted to show you that there are real people behind All Things Analogue and that one of those is me, Abel, co-founder, brains, but unfortunately not the looks, of All Things Analogue.
So a bit of background for you. All Things Analogue has been a dream of mine since I started out in retail many, many years ago. (You never ask a person who works in retail how long they have worked in retail. It’s just not done.) I have always wanted to run my own store, curate a selection of the best products that I was passionate about and display them beautifully. In 2011 I found what I was passionate about when I was hired by Foyles bookstore, on London’s famous Charing Cross road, to be their Gifts & Stationery Buyer. That passion was stationery. I love all things stationery. (I was going to call it that but the name was taken. Grrrrrrr. Kidding.) From pens, pencils, MT tape, notebooks, inks and sharpeners to the products we keep stationery in like pencil trays and cases. But not ordinary stationery, no, no, no, the very best stationery from around the world. So I started to source this amazing stationery to show people that there is more to stationery than the Bic pens and Pukka pads that those who shall not be named were selling. It was a risk to sell stationery that people didn’t know, that was much pricier than what you could get and also in a bookshop, but credit to the people at Foyles, they trusted me and thank God it worked out. Phew!
Through those years at Foyles, my passion and knowledge of stationery grew and I met some amazing people including manufacturers, suppliers and people who ran their own stationery stores. Seeing their stores, the products they stocked and how they displayed them, I was envious. The dream of having my own store now had it’s focus - Stationery. So I started to dream of how it would look, what products I would have, what events we would hold and so much more. I loved those dreams but they stayed a dream because I was afraid that it would fail and I couldn’t have that happen now I had a family that relied on my half of the income. So it got shelved until 2020.
So 2020. What a year hey. The pandemic hit. All was up in the air. My role at Foyles was drawing to a close and jobs within the industry were scarce, if non existent. So I did what any sane person would do in a pandemic and that had a small wad of cash - I opened a stationery store. Obviously it’s not that clear cut. I had to convince my other half to go along with this mad idea, which she knew about and thankfully said yes, on the first take. My jaw hit the ground. I was expecting a no, keep the money to live on until you get a job, what normal people say - but she said yes and I am ever so happy she did. Now that I had her blessing; where to open said store, what do we call it, what is it all about. So many questions that needed answering. We had always planned to leave London with the kids so we started looking closer around the South East of England where she is from. (I’m from South Africa and no one likes stationery there so that was an easy one to tick off the list!) After many searches for a home for the family and premises for the store we settled on Eastbourne, where my other half is from, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Thank you for reading my incredibly long story. There is still loads to tell you, like how we chose our products, how the store was built, the amazing people who helped make that a reality and so much more. That will be in the sequel.
For the moment, I wish you good luck and have a wonderful day.