Not by the book
As shoppers become more discerning and shun the mundane, quirky products are taking over the market. Like most things that are vestiges of the past - what with technology changing the way we interact with our world – stationery products too have got a makeover. They've taken on quirky hues and are giving traditional stationery a run for its money. For those wanting to flaunt their aesthetic sense, stationery now has to work harder at being stylish.
Arvind Singhal, MD, Technopak, agrees: “The market for specialised stationery is growing. There has been a 20% rise in specialised and customised stationery sales while traditional stationery has seen a 12% decline. People are upgrading to fancier products. Old stationers admit that their business has suffered.”
Praveen Arora, who has been running Pyramid Stationery in Vasant Kunj since the past 20 years, says, “We are having a tough time competing with these products.”
These days, the line between a stationery product and an accessory has blurred, says designer Rohit Kant. “A bright yellow, tastefully done diary or a journal could well become a part of your personality. Stationery is now much more than a boring notebook or a pen. Now I would rather refer to stationery as accessories we use for our work.”
And its brands like Rio Grande, Play Clan, Hatthi Chaap, Tungs 10, and Chumbak that are at the forefront of this change. From Bollywood-inspired themes to traditional prints, exotic ethnic to pop art digital splashes, they’ve made stationery a canvas for self-expression.
Now you can choose to reflect your Indian identity or flash your Western hipness. Take your pick from funky Jim Morrison mouse pads, royal mix laptop sleeves, Kissing Lips journals, or Shehenshah diaries (see pics). Add bits of fun and the whole package takes on an attitude you’d love to flaunt.
Rio Grande, which was started in October 1986, sells a lot of quirky stationery products and decor under its own brand. Camellia Satija, owner of the brand, says “Initially, stationery was quite boring. Nowadays, due to technology people don’t have to depend on basic stationery. By introducing new trends and a range of colours, we are trying to make people fall in love with stationery again.” Offerings include folders, pens, laptop cases, fancy handmade paper, and many products made from recycled material. Arty patterns as well as cultural statements embellish these products.
Divya Rai of Just Around The Corner, says, “An innovative piece of stationery sitting on your desktop often becomes a conversation piece and expresses individuality. It also changes the feel of the drab environs of office/classroom.” Rai believes that the industry is set to grow bigger and funkier.
Added to their appeal is the fact that across stores, many of these products are made from organic and recycled materials. So, not only are the products trendy and hip, with them you can flaunt the eco-conscious tag, too.