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If you like imaginative, creative, unusual and quirky stationery and cards, then Paperchase is your dream come true. It's like a toy-shop for adults: you will want to reach out and touch everything, and more worryingly buy everything. I hope you enjoy hearing about my favourite shop.
~ ~ ~ About the Company ~ ~ ~
Paperchase has been trading for around 30 years and there are currently 88 shops around the UK. Paperchase concessions stores can also be found in several Borders Books & Music stores, House of Fraser and Selfridges. There are two 'flagship' shops that are larger and carry more stock than most other Paperchase stores, and these can be found in Tottenham Court Road (London) and St. Mary's Gate (Manchester).
~ ~ ~ Greetings Cards ~ ~ ~
Paperchase stocks a wide range of greetings cards for all occasions. The range includes hand crafted cards, retro styles, prints, photographic cards, comedy, and many others. I love the range of greetings cards on offer and always manage to find something unusual. If you like quirky designs, then you'll definitely find something you like in Paperchase. Many of the styles are exclusive to Paperchase and I shop here feeling confident that I will find an imaginative and unusual design. In the stores that I have visited, the cards have been arranged on wall displays and stands, and I have found the cards to be well organised and easy to find. There are so many different beautiful cards that I find card-shopping in Paperchase great fun and always enjoy coming across new and unusual designs.
~ ~ ~ Stationery ~ ~ ~
My favourite Paperchase store is the flagship shop in Tottenham Court Road (it even has a café!), which I find sells just about everything to suit anybody's stationery needs. They sell basic items, such as staplers, cellotape, pads of paper etc. but also many more interesting things, like fun pen pots, brightly-coloured printed boxes, notebooks, scrapbooks and travel journals covered in handmade paper, diaries, photo albums, photo frames… They sell so much, hat you'll find you'll be spending ages investigating everything, flicking through the notebooks, looking at the little boxes… it's like a sweet shop for adults, and you'll find you want to buy everything!
Many of the items of stationary are either handmade, or hand adorned. You can get lovely sequined notebooks, embroidered diaries, books covered with buttons and beaded designs. I find the prices quite reasonable considering the amount of work that has gone into making the products. The styles often come in several sizes, and you can buy a small notebook covered with handmade paper for around £4.50, and prices tend to increase to about £10. The printed notebooks are definitely more affordable, but the handmade ones provide you with an individual design that adds some character to your stationery collection.
The selection of diaries is fantastic. They come in so many different colours, patterns, sizes and types. I personally prefer a mid-year diary since it fits in nicely with my university term dates, so this year I went into Paperchase and found about 30 different mid-year diaries! They had slim-line diaries, A4, A5 and A6 size ones, little handbag ones, and they came in so many beautiful designs. I ended up buying a black fabric covered one with an oriental style image of a bird in purple tones. In terms of value, I think the diaries are suitably priced. My diary cost me about £5 and it was a smallish one, with one week per double page, but the larger diaries and the ones with one day per page were around £10. These prices are not much more than in other shops, and considering that the diaries are so beautiful, I think it is definitely money well spent.
~ ~ ~ Card Making Supplies ~ ~ ~
Paperchase stocks many blank cards and matching envelopes for crafters. Depending on the size of your shop, they will stock different things. My local store is quite small and they stock packs of blank cards in cream and white, and also some packs of cards made out of handmade paper with petals. The flagship store in Tottenham Court Road, however, stocks packets of cards and single cards in just about every colour you can imagine (pastels, bold colours, pearlised, metallics and more) and also in many different textures, about 20 different sizes, and also with different edgings. Each colour and style has a matching envelope. I really love looking in this section of the shop, and have bought a few bits, but in all honesty, it is possible to get blank cards for a lot less from online shops. A pack of 10 C6 cards and envelopes costs around £4.50.
Recently I have noticed that my local store has started selling paper punches, that would be useful for crafters. These come in a range of designs (flowers, butterflies, hearts..) and also in seasonal designs (Christmas trees, holly). You can also find a wide range of metallic confetti in Paperchase. I know this is not strictly a card making supply, but the little stars, hearts and other shapes are very useful for decorating cards. The confetti comes in packets that cost around £2.
~ ~ ~ Handmade Paper ~ ~ ~
I first discovered their paper about 2 years ago when I was searching for some unusual paper to use in my card making. I started off buying some of their printed and metallic papers which are lovely, but more recently I have discovered the *VAST* range of handmade paper. My local shop stocks about 10 different designs of handmade paper which I thought was fantastic, but if you visit the Tottenham Court Road store, then you will not believe your eyes!! I have always loved making things, and collecting interesting paper, and if you're similar to me, when you see the paper section in the flagship London store, you will feel like you've died and gone to heaven… When you reach the top of the stairs you will see about eight enormous tables, each arranged with dozens and dozens of sheets of handmade paper. The tables are colour-coordinated, so if you look in the green section you will find different papers in complementing shades. Each of the tables also has another arrangement of paper on a shelf underneath, so you will literally find hundreds of different sheets.
The sheets are generally A1 size, which makes them ideal for any art project. The prices vary according to the design, and I have found the cheapest to be the plain sheets of textured paper which cost around £1.50 per sheet, and the sheets with printed designs cost between £2 and £3.50. The range of paper includes embossed paper, printed paper (with metallic flower designs, paisley patterns, retro styles, interesting repeating shapes), paper with inclusions (flowers, leaves, silk fibres, metallic fibres), woven paper and so much more… If you love paper like me, then you will want to buy everything you see. Thankfully, the Tottenham Court Road branch offers a 10% student discount on art materials.
~ ~ ~ Quirky Gifts ~ ~ ~
Paperchase is a fantastic place to find unusual little stocking fillers. They sell quirky key rings, cute pens, beanie toys, stickers, funny post cards, photo clip trees, glitter photo domes and even bags! These items are often quite cheap, so make perfect gifts for friends.
You can also buy the perfect little boxes in which to present these gifts. I love the gift boxes in Paperchase because they come in so many sizes, colours and patterns, that you can pop the gift straight into the box without the need to wrap. The smallest size box is perfect for jewellery gifts, and some of the medium sizes are ideal for DVDs and books. I actually have some of the larger gift boxes in my room that I use as storage containers (they are nice and strong, and they look great too!). Prices range from around £2.50 - £12 and the quality is superb.
~ ~ ~ Seasonal Occasions ~ ~ ~
Depending on the time of year, you will find suitable cards, gifts and decorations on sale. At the moment, the Christmas stock is in the shops… Speaking as someone who doesn't particularly like Christmas (it's too commercial and I hate the fuss!), I can tell you that the range in Paperchase is truly amazing. Even I find myself browsing among (and often buying) some the decorations. They sell packs of mini ball balls, strands of mini tinsel, and little Christmas stars. Everything is so pretty, and quite understated. Also, the Christmas section is always well organised and many of the items are sold in packets or boxes so things don't get tangled, broken, messy or mixed up. If you find Christmas stressful (like I do!) then Paperchase is the place to visit.
They also stock lovely gifts, cards and wrapping paper for the other main occasions (Valentine's Day, Mothers' Day, Easter etc). I shop at Paperchase regularly, and I know I can always count on finding something pretty.
~ ~ ~ Conclusion ~ ~ ~
I would definitely recommend Paperchase. It is perfect for anyone who likes sending unusual cards, someone who likes buying quirky gifts, if you adore handmade paper and handmade notebooks and photo albums, and if you just enjoy browsing around a beautiful shop… The presentation of the shop is fantastic, so it is a joy to look around. You will go into sensory overload and will want to touch everything, and probably buy everything!