In this fast-paced era where almost everything is done online including writing, reading, journaling, emailing and setting reminders, using stationery seem so yesteryear.
In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say even the word ‘stationery’ may be alien to some, especially to millennial kids. Stationery refers to commercially manufactured writing materials, including papers, envelopes, writing tools like pens and pencils.
Some, if not all, millennial kids may think that writing things such as letters, lists of things to do or a grocery list is boring and tiresome. In their minds, they simply could not fathom why people put in the extra effort to write when they can type.
However, those who grew up in the era before the digital boom took over the world or even those who are used to writing down important things may beg to differ. For them, writing lists or notes keeps them organised and prepared. For them, stationery is still an excellent and formal means of communication and some things are important enough to warrant using traditional stationery.
For meeting the demands of people who still value paper, stationery businesses like Mossery marches on with its own style.
recently spoke to Lim Jun Yuen
and Vivian Loh Sock Ling
, the founders of Mossery
, to find out how the business remains relevant in today’s modern era.
How it all started
Vivian said the business started with a simple idea of making thoughtful stationery that sparks joy in people’s lives.
“The name ‘Mossery’ is actually made up of two words - ‘moss’ and ‘stationery’, depicting our love for both stationery goods as well as nature.
“I actually started Mossery in 2011 as a pet project to reflect my love for design and paper products. Initially, I started out on Etsy, a marketplace platform where I received lots of encouragement from the community there. They were very keen on looking for unique handmade products and also incredibly supportive of small businesses," she said.
Vivian added that the demand for her products were so high, she quit her day job as a graphic designer to focus on building the brand.
Lim, on the other hand, said he joined the company in 2014 to help with rebranding exercises.
“As an avid user of paper products who was also highly interested in redesigning them, I was eventually offered a position as a partner of the company. Soon, I saw the opportunity in providing personalisation services through our website to cater to each customer’s unique needs.
“Fast forward to 2018, we’re proud to have a team of like-minded people who believe in our values and find joy in bringing high quality products and services to our community,” he said.
Vivian said the reason they choose to concentrate on stationery business is because of the firm believe that they can make a difference in that industry.
“In our previous jobs as graphic designers, we were designing corporate stationery for clients. That’s where we learnt to hone our skills and knowledge in print and graphic design.
“Understanding the designing and production processes opened up new perspectives and opportunities in the stationery market. As avid users of stationery ourselves, we hold onto the belief that our thoughts and ideas can create a significant value in the world and so we decided to take a leap into the stationery business,” she explained.
Made with love
Mossery’s range of products are broad, ranging from notebooks, sketchbooks, and planners to note cards, brushes and pencils.
“Our products are designed mindfully in house, manufactured locally using materials that are carefully sourced from all around the world. We also make custom made notebooks," Vivian said.
Diving deeper into the design process, Vivian told us that they learned that everybody uses their notebooks differently - hand two persons a notebook each and you will see very different contents. That sparked the idea of customisation and it eventually led to their first customised notebook in 2015.
“You get to pick your cover, text paper, and even the name on your cover. Today, we’ve come to provide multilingual personalisations for our global community as well! Every book we ship is a unique product that our customers can be proud to call their own,” said Vivian.
Lim said one of their best selling item is the mixed media sketchbooks.
Our mixed media sketchbooks are fairly popular amongst artists. We are proud and thankful to have a supportive community who believes in what we do. There are a few timeless cover designs such as Galaxy and Black Speckle that are considerably popular among our customers too,” he said.
Capturing the Malaysian market
Both Vivian and Lim said that when it comes to the sales of stationery, the Malaysian market is very promising and has a lot of potential.
“Although it looks like a sunset industry, we actually see a lot of hope and potential for the stationery business in Malaysia, as the community grows to appreciate design even more than before.
“Having come from a place where we were less able to value good design, we believe Malaysia is progressing with many more upcoming small businesses in this industry.
“We believe that these businesses are all educating their customers, both new and old, about good craft and good design,” shared Lim.
Vivian added that Mossery has a fair amount of Malaysian supporters who have been them since day one.
“We truly would not gotten to where we are now if not because of their support. We still keep in touch with most of our customers through social media and events. We enjoy growing Mossery with them, as they are incredibly genuine with us in terms of feedback and support,” she said.
Technology vs Stationery
Vivian and Lim realise that we are living at the peak of technology where the digital world is slowly taking over everything. However, they are firm believers that paper won’t take a back seat and will remain relevant.
“Just look around. Paper is still being used everywhere around us and is very much a part and parcel of our lives. Whether it’s order chits, memo pads, or appointment books, paper products still exist in our lives because scribbling down a quick note on a piece of paper will always be more instinctive to us than swiping open our phones.
“We see notebooks as a separate thinking and recording device, except it doesn’t come with all the distractions from a world full of information, where our attention becomes the most valuable. We also believe that notebooks are the best places to keep our thoughts and ideas in their most original form. These thoughts often help us form our identity and life story.
"Every artist will always be in need of a good sketchbook as much as every writer will always need a notebook. So, we do not think that stationery will go obsolete,” said Vivian.
Lim said 10 years down the road, they hope that their product customisation would be able to address more unique problems from an increasingly diverse community, so that more and more people with different needs and interests may come to enjoy them.
“We also dream to have Mossery communities around the world who can learn from each other to be more creative and productive.
"It’s our hope to see people from cities all across the world using our products, and we’re looking forward to the day when more opportunities will arise for us to speak personally to our customers and supporters about how else we might be able to help them,” he added.
Find Mossery’s unique stationery at their Instagram page
, mosseryco or visit their website