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My Favourite Things – Philip Lawson


Philip Lawson, CEO of stationery trade body the BOSS Federation, lists his six favourite items of stationery, IT and office equipment.

1. Apple tech 

Apple Watch
Apple Watch

I first became a Mac fan in my time at Dudley Stationery in the late ’80s when I persuaded the business that for the marketing department Mac was the only way to go. As an early adopter of its technology, it’s been good to see Apple become a household name.

I’m an avid user of its products and have discovered that the best way to get some sensible separation from my iPhone SE (I prefer the smaller size to that of the 6 and 7) is to have an Apple Watch, which delivers content on demand straight to my wrist. Today, rather than having that well known disease, smartphone pocket twitch, which was making me look at my phone each time it vibrated to alert me of a new email or tweet, I have taptic syndrome instead!

To go with this tech, a source of back-up power is essential. I’m currently trying out the Xtorm Lava Solar Charger. I’m hiking to Everest Base Camp this time next year and although happy to be free of the shackles of email while doing so, I want to carry my phone as I’m a keen photographer and it’s the best compact camera I’ve ever had.

2. Screen cleaner

Moving from type to swipe brings the risk of grubby finger marks on screens, so I always carry a micro fibre cloth with me. Durable produces an All in One Touch Screen Cleaning Kit, which has a couple of spray bottles of cleaning fluid, some wipes and a cloth. AF also has a good range.

3. 3M Gold Privacy Filter 

Privacy filters reduce the risk of data theft
Privacy filters reduce the risk of data theft

I’m now commuting up to central London for the first time. This is fun, despite Southern Rail, and gives me time to work on the train rather than sitting in traffic on the M25.

When using my laptop, I’m conscious that my near neighbours may be able to see and share my budget information. While there isn’t a direct competitor to our Federation and I’m probably kidding myself that anyone out there is interested in the latest sales trends in our industry, better safe than sorry!

I’m currently using a 3M gold privacy filter so that only I can see what’s on my laptop screen. It also means that if I want to play Candy Crush (not that I would be so childish….) I can do so without strange looks from my co-commuters. On a serious note, privacy filters really do reduce the risk of data theft – the easiest form of which is reading what’s on another person’s screen.

4. A professional notebook

For all my love of technology, I still rely on a pen and notebook, especially in business meetings. My memory is so poor I have to write down everything. A notebook will always be best for this, as I never learned to type properly.

I’m currently using a Rhino Flexiback notebook from Victor Stationery, which recently received a Warrant of Excellence from the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, where I have been a liveryman since 2003. This book has sewn sections; ribbons; a soft feel, no-mark cover; and cream wove paper, which looks both modern and serious at the same time. It’s not made from Rhinos in case you were worried.

I also love the Conceptum range from Siegel and the soft cover Black and Red products from Hamelin. In fact I’m a notebook geek! And why not? Surely your choice of notebook says as much about you as your shirt or shoes?

5. Pilot V Pen vpen

I like to think that learning to write with a pen on paper is a life skill that will carry on being taught in schools for years to come. There is something about the art of writing that helps shape our thoughts and reinforces learning.

So if the pen is mightier than the keyboard, what’s my weapon of choice? I love a good fountain pen, but I keep losing them. So instead I use a Pilot V Pen disposable fountain pen. If I do lose it, I don’t feel too out of pocket. Indeed, it’s good to share, just as I have done with the missing sock from the pair I used to have….

6. WordPress

I love writing on paper, but I also love to blog (see With a memory as bad as mine (did I mention that already?), I like to go back to my previous posts on WordPress – a really accessible software application for corporate websites and private use – to remind myself of some of my special moments. Like walking the UK. I have an ambition to walk all the UK National Trails and have done five so far.

Finally, I should add that while I’ve only been able to mention a few products here, one of the best things about our industry is the choice available. We offer well over 500,000 products for sale to businesses and consumers today and I know that number will continue to grow and grow.

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