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My Favourite Things – Mike James


Mike James, Court Assistant at the Stationers’ Company, lists his six favourite items of stationery, IT or office equipment.

1. A Good Quality Fountain Pen 

The Waterman Exception Solid Gold fountain pen cost £6,495 when it was launched in 2006
The Waterman Exception Solid Gold fountain pen cost £6,495 when it was launched in 2006

I absolutely love my fountain pens and believe it says something about you, especially when meeting someone in a business situation for the first time.

My current favourites are a Waterman and a Pilot retractable fountain pen. Both write superbly and are great quality products that have seen over 10 years of good service. As many would say, “The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”.

2. A Good Quality Notebook

It seems quite strange that in these days of mobile technology, sales of good quality notebooks are increasing at a dramatic rate in both Europe and the USA.

There are many brands, including Moleskin and Paperblanks, but I currently use a Conceptum notebook from Sigel, which is superb quality and can be labelled and archived after use. It is also essential that the paper does not bleed, as I use a fountain pen, and that the pages are indexed for easy reference.

3.Correction Tape 

Tombow correction tape from Stone Marketing
Tombow correction tape from Stone Marketing

This is my wife’s choice, and was a product that she discovered about two years ago and lives permanently in our kitchen. I was most surprised that she loves this product, as I was always under the impression that she never made mistakes!

The product she currently uses is from a Japanese company called Tombow and is really easy to use and great quality.

4. Dymo Labelwriter 

This is a totally personal choice and relates to my time as Sales Director at Esselte. In 2004 we launched the industry’s biggest ever TV advertising campaign and, with a product range that had sold 3,000 units in the previous year, we sold more than 30,000 in just 6 months. This was probably the most exciting period in my long sales career.

Exciting times: the Dymo Labelwriter
Exciting times: the Dymo Labelwriter

The product range is still going strong, although Esselte sold Dymo to Newell soon after the end of the campaign.

5. Glass Magnetic Notice Boards

This is one of the fastest growing product ranges for Office Product resellers in the UK and Europe, with sales in the UK now in excess of 10,000 units.

These fantastic products are seen everywhere, from homes and offices to restaurants, and are a refreshing development of traditional dry-wipe or felt notice boards.

6. OP Back office systems

There has been a revolution in the Office Product reseller community thanks to the emergence over the last 20 years of companies that supply complete back office systems that handle everything from placing orders, accounts, stock control, web, e-trading etc..

I am particularly impressed with recent entrants to the UK market, such as Prima and Office Power. It will be interesting to see if this model transfers successfully to the rest of Europe.

This article first appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Business Info sister publication Pen To Paper magazine.