What’s the secret sauce to the Liberty stationery buy?

1 Liberty stationery Esmie photo album

At Liberty, a card is not just a card. A pen is not a writing instrument. No, it’s a lifestyle statement, a purchase to beautify your space and enrich your life. And I’m totally on board with that. I love stationery and the Liberty stationery department is always my first stop for beautifully printed cards, desk supplies and wrapping paper. Because increasingly, as so many of us work from home in some capacity and want our home office to feel nice, it’s become a lifestyle destination and the first department you see on entering from Kingly Street.

I talked to buyer Bryony Sheridan about the secret sauce that makes Liberty’s stationery department a magnet for stationery geeks.

On funny cards
One of the things we wanted when we relaunched the department was to have a lot of cards with a sense of humour. We have very intelligent customers who also like a laugh. Marby & Elm is one of my favourites. Its founder Eleanor Tattersfield is amazing. What she does is takes something everyday like a number, and makes it really different. Her dad designs the typography and then they print with a letterpress or stamp. And her sister Charlie runs the shop with her so it’s a lovely story and something we do very well with. She’s local so comes in to do lots of events.

We’ve definitely seen an emerging trend in witty cards that don’t take life too seriously. We’ve done the whole letterpress and pretty pretty stationery, so these cards by Mean Mail are very colourful again but very witty. (Sample: ‘You’re not that ill’, ‘We know you were sacked’.) They’re so clever.

Marby & Elm stationery
Liberty stationery
Mean Mail greeting cards

On cards you want to keep

All our cards are beautiful and printed on good paper; we have some hand-painted cards that go for £7.50. That’s a lot for a card but if you find something you love for someone, it’s worth it. I keep all of my cards and I love going back and reading them. Because we don’t send as many letters, cards are a nice thing to send, almost like a gift.

On desk porn
People spend a lot of time at their desk, so I think it’s important to make your desk look nice and feel inspiring. Some people use it as interiors inspiration. I love this brand called El Casco. They’re a company based in Spain who used to make guns for the war and then they turned to making beautiful gold-plated desk accessories. We’ve also got L’Objet – I love their letter openers.

At Liberty we’re known for animals so we’ve just taken delivery of these animal pen pots and money boxes. They’re just a bit of fun to have on your desk. Liberty is known for having a sense of humour, we’re not too serious. On my desk? It’s maybe a little bit of a mess but I’ve got beautiful pen pots, a really nice plant, beautiful boxes. At home I’ve got a desk that’s quite luxe, with lots of stuff on it, lots of John Derian, lots of gold. I like sitting there and writing and wrapping, it’s a pleasure.
Liberty stationery
Liberty stationery
Liberty stationery
Liberty desk accessories
Liberty animal pen pots

On the decline of diaries

Most people have their calendar on their phone, so sadly diaries are a bit of a declining business. Moleskine diaries used to do very well for us but now people would rather buy a really special Liberty one. If you’re going to use a diary, you’re going to have it for a year so you need to make sure it’s really good quality and you also want it to look special when you’re getting it out because not everyone’s got them any more.

Esmie is one of our bestsellers; everything is made in England. Then we have a wider range of appointment diaries from our own Liberty leather. They’re very traditional but they do so well; you get all the little fun info in them. Diaries where you write your thoughts? People use notebooks for those now, I don’t think people have time to do it every day.
Liberty stationery
Esmie notebooks and photo albums from Liberty

On Pen Pots
Bridie Hall pen pots make such good gifts, they have initials and come in great colours. I also love this brand, Studio Arhoj. They’re a very small pottery in Copenhagen, they hand turn everything and they’re all about these different reactive glazes. This one has been sitting next to another one in the kiln and has some splashes on it. It’s really lovely. I have loads of fountain pens in my pen pot. We’ve seen a massive increase in fountain pen sales, it’s a great way to express your writing. So all you need on your desk is a pot with a few nice pens and it makes such a difference.


WORDS AND IMAGES: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
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