03 Nov Stationery Shopping in Korea
Hello! How have you guys been? 😀
As most of you know (well, if you’ve been following my updates elsewhere), I recently went to Korea for a quick vacation last month. Little did I know that I’d end up visiting a couple of stationery & craft stores while I was there. A lot of you requested I write about it so here you go!
To be honest, I’d still say Japan has a more complete range of art/craft tools (this includes paint, mostly, which I always look for!) BUT I will definitely say that Korea did not disappoint. In fact, I was super impressed with the lineup in Seoul, considering the items I wanted to buy were mostly stationery items for this trip. I only got to visit 3 stores due to time scarcity though.
Related post: Art Hoarding in Tokyo
The first store I visited was 10×10, which was a few blocks away from Hyehwa Station. My sister (who currently studies there) suggested this ’cause she bought her planner here recently. I wanted to panic when I first entered the place (lol because I didn’t make a list of things I needed to buy) but instead I checked each counter to make sure I’d find something that would spark my interest (to purchase, lol).
The first thing that greeted me was the diary & planner selection. Wow. They really have everything – from daily, weekly, monthly, undated, weekly view, monthly view, hardbound, softcover, spiral, perfectly bound…EVERYTHING. And all price points at that (mostly less than PHP 1,000!). Amazing. I spent a good 30 minutes here picking out a planner. I have low EQ, I know. LOL.
Most of the stores in Korea not only sell stationery — there are also lifestyle items, appliances, and other tools (similar to Tokyu Hands in Japan/Singapore). Pretty cool if you ask me, because these are efficient materials to complement paper goods anyway (such as: pouches, polaroid cameras, phone cases, etc).
Of course, there’s an area full of kawaii stickers and a corner full of washi tapes in different designs. I got a Korea-themed one because #journalingpriorities. 😛
Near the counter there’s a shelf full of pens to choose from. I was eyeing on the Pentel touch (one of my fave pens) but it’s much cheaper in Singapore so I’ll get it there instead when I visit. There were sooo many brands available, it’s relatively accessible for those in Korea.
I particularly loved the display area of the gift package section. So organized! Love those column-like shelves.
There are also popular brands available in 10×10, such as Midori. I got my TN here, there’s quite a good selection of the notebooks available. Must-visit in Seoul!
Artbox has been around the Philippines for a while now, but it originated in Korea. In fact, it’s pretty much accessible from wherever in Korea — almost every station has a designated nearby Artbox store (I went to the Hongdae branch; but there is also one in Myeongdong, and other areas). Apart from stationery items, Artbox has a lot of quirky home decor and fun things to add to your space — exactly one of the reasons why I love this store.
SO. MANY. PENS!
There’s a larger selection of stickers in Artbox than other stores I’ve visited (pro tip: I got some stickers from Daiso also!). The designs range from kawaii to vintage and I was able to get a few sheets to add to my collection. Funny though, I’m REALLY picky with stickers. I only purchase cheap ones (there was a set for P1000 and I couldn’t get myself to buy it even if it was so pretty HUHU) and I make sure they’re fit for my journaling style (aka mostly vintage / muted colors / indie stuff). 😀
I always make sure to drop by a bookstore at EVERY country I visit (if the one in the airport counts; I’ll add that too, lol) so I found Kyobo online and it was apparently one of the biggest bookstores in Korea. The vibe inside is similar to Eslite / Kinokuniya / Fully Booked: huge, but easily segregated per area. To commute here is pretty easy: it’s located directly at an exit in Gwanghwamun station (aka when you get off the station this bookstore is one of the exits, I think it’s Exit 5).
Of course I went to the English Arts & Design section. 😀
Love the selection! They have a lot, from coloring books to postcards (see the Pantone set there on the lower left? AHH) to self-help design books. There was this shelf full of classic artists (I wanted to get the Van Gogh one but maybe next time) and it was half off. Gah, take all my money!
I wandered around the whole floor and found the art tools section! Yay! They had a lot of brands and sketch pads as well. So in case you’re looking for art materials, you can pop by Kyobo to get your fix.
The art section is stationed near an Artbox inside Kyobo. The selection is wider here, and there are more brands present here (also lots of Korean ones!). Super love the set-up, and the tools are easily accessible. Price point is pretty reasonable.
Bewks! Most of the books are in Korean. So obviously I did not bother to look. Haha.
Before I forget, other stores you should totally check out: Daiso (the stickers are only 1000won aka PHP40!), Butter Shop (in Hongdae), Kosney (which I sadly didn’t visit!) and go around the different Artbox branches (maybe the stocks are not all the same) 🙂
MINI STATIONERY HAUL
I started daily journaling again earlier this year (a few years back it was always an on and off thing, and eventually I kept more travel journals than daily ones) so I’ve been keen on looking for more materials to add to my stash here at home. I don’t hoard, because I’m super stingy with spending. So yes, I’m that girl who always ponders over the items in my basket before proceeding to the cashier (also I calculate everything before going to checkout LOL).
On the photo above: Midori Travelers Notebook (Regular in Camel) + inserts from 10×10 / Stickers from ARTBOX / Tag from Korean Air (at the check-in counter lol) / Airmail sticky notes from Kyobo / Coffee Cup Sleeve from Nami Island Cafe / Postcard from Bukchon Village souvenir shop / Vintage Label Stickers from Artbox / Washi Tape from 10×10 / Undated planner from 10×10 / Ticket-it sticky notes from Artbox / Charmander freebie from Tony Moly (I just had to put it here, so cute lol) / Airline stickers from Korean Air
Okay, so I really wanted a regular-sized Travelers Notebook because I told myself it would organize my life more (okay, working on that). I have so much notebooks here for work, making art, writing etc and I hope that keeps things more intact since I bought 3 notebook inserts (blank, grid, kraft) and a plastic pouch for keepsakes and stuff. The undated planner (which was around P600) was definitely on impulse, but here’s to hoping I get to use it soon and not rely on blank notebooks for daily work tasks.
Here’s a pro tip: You can always get whatever ephemera you find from your trip — the Korean Air tags were at the counter (lol), the stickers were at the airplane seat (admit it, they’re pretty cute!), coffee cup sleeves are also great for collecting. I got a few maple leaves too and kept it in a Ziploc! 😀
I have this habit of collecting everything from the travels and eventually I store them in an envelope (per country) or if the others (like, for example, tickets or stubs) are easy to insert into journals, I’d stick them there. Easy as that.
Anyway, thanks for reading about my geekery on stationery. I’ve been an avid fan of collecting stationery and writing letters and well, journaling, too since elementary but little did I know I’d still have that same fascination for it x years later. I feel so old. LOL.
Speaking of journaling, my new book The ABCs of Journaling is now a best-seller! CONFETTI! 😀
Inside the book I share tips on documenting your own life creatively, and gathering inspiration from different types of people on how to journal. There’s also a sticker sheet included 🙂
Related post: The ABCs of Journaling Book Launch
By the way, above are some of the stickers I illustrated for Stick ‘Em Up!, a collaborative sticker book with fellow artists Googly Gooeys & June Digan.
Recently I have also produced a journal called The ABC Daily Journal. This is my version of daily journaling in a hassle-free way — no dates, just numbers. And the pages are free for you to draw, write, and enjoy the art of journaling.
All of the products above are available at major bookstores / stationery stores nationwide in the Philippines. If you’d like to order a copy online, click here. Pre-orders for international customers are accessible via Rainbowholic Shop.
Thanks for reading this post! 🙂 Hope you enjoy your stationery shopping when you visit Korea!
Oh and ICYMI, linking some helpful posts about journaling below!
BLOG POSTS ON JOURNALING: