An ISO sheet in an imperial envelope
September 29, 2022 7:27 AM   Subscribe

One of my favourite purchases when I visited NY a couple of years ago was a 100-pack of Staples 6x9" clasp envelopes. I live in Sweden, so the dimensions, material and general aesthetics of everyday objects are different from what I can find here. Stationary exoticism, as it were.

Is there a blog, subreddit or tumblr of stationary, envelopes, and bureaucratic aesthetics which lists this kind of stuff and maybe even arranges for exchanges? I'm sure that if I had some Malaysian envelopes I'd probably send more letters by post…
posted by monocultured to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I used to sell office supplies, so I get it. :) I am very particular about my pens and stationery. I searched a few US sites to get a couple of different stock numbers for 6x9 clasp envelopes, and then searched for those stock numbers on, and I found a couple of hits. (Bit expensive, though.)

FWIW, here in the USA, the Post Office frowns on clasp envelopes for mailing, as the metal clasp can interfere with the sorting machinery. "Catalog Envelopes" are basically the same thing, offered in the same sizes, without the clasp and corresponding hole in the flap. In case that better suits your needs.

If all else fails, and you have a specific list of items you'd like from the US, I'd be happy to put a box together for you.
posted by xedrik at 9:18 AM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

In addition to any practical suggestions for obtaining this exotic-to-you stationary, you may enjoy the Present & Correct website and associated Instagram account. They sell many lovely things and post about design. They are UK-based but carry objects from all over. Check out the "Ephemera" section.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 11:40 AM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

Since you mention stationery and NY, I'm compelled to link the delightful Goods For the Study. It's full of beautiful and unusual items. (At least, usual to this US resident, they might be the norm in Sweden). Sadly the online shopping feature of their website doesn't seem to be built, but they may be responsive to inquiries.
posted by hovey at 11:42 AM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]

Postscript about clasp envelopes - my U.S. post office accepts then for mailing as long as after you close them up you then put some tape over the closed metal clasp part.

Muji is in Sweden I believe. They have some nice stationery items, though I don't believe they have envelopes.

I'm in the U.S. and also happy to do a little exchange and provide you with some things you are having trouble finding if you provide a wish list (though what I mainly look for in return when I do exchanges with people outside the U.S. is black tea of some kind).
posted by gudrun at 1:26 PM on September 29, 2022

If you google particular items you like, you are quite likely to find other devotees. Stationery is one of the Internet's flourishing niche hobbies. (I know "google it" can be kind of a frustrating answer, but in this case I just want to assure you that some poking about is likely to be worth your time.) If you want a starting point, Japanese stationery in particular seems to be having a prolonged moment.
posted by praemunire at 1:33 PM on September 29, 2022

This is where subreddits might fit your desire for regular exchanges. I don't really hang out in reddit in general, but here are some subs I know:
r/Stationery - general topic but people do post about exchange requests

r/BulletJournal - same as above, and more geared to fancy journalling (it's not quite bujo as originally intended as before)

r/RandomActsofHappyMail - this is the one that should fit you exactly, all it does is just post exchanges.

Now, you were probably using 'Malaysian' as an example (since we use metric paper sizes), but if you're up to buying stuff:
Stickerrific - they're big on materials for journalling and watercolour sketches. a lot of Japanese stuff for sure, but what's nice is that over the years they've become a de facto stockist for the local makers, so for specific Malaysiana stickers and notepads and kitschy things, these are your people.

Pen Gallery - more fountain pen than anything else, but somehow the guy is such an afficionado he's managed to work out some incredible partnerships with the Tomoe River people (Japanese paper) and Diamine Inks (British ink company). So they have their own line of notebooks with TR paper (the weightage is not even the one TR itself carries on their own notebooks so idek man - he tells me he gets the paper wholesale and just cuts them to size and binds them in-house), and some really sweet Malaysia-specific Diamine inks. The first two (Manggis and Jalur Gemilang)are two-toned sheen inks while the latest one smells like the coffee it's named after.
posted by cendawanita at 11:58 PM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies all!

I'm not so much looking for a particular envelope or look, more trying to get an overview over what the norms and aesthetics are across the world. NY & Malaysia are examples of otherness for me, more than specific examples I'm looking for (Even though the Diamine Kopi O Kaw looks really nice!), but even in countries which use e.g. ISO there are differences in window placement or whatnot, and it's sometimes the small stuff that makes something stand out. Japanese Amazon is great fun to browse, and their office supplies look different from what I can find here.

Muji has a retailer in Sweden (Åhlens) but their envelopes seem to be ISO standard (C-series) and don't stand out at first glance. Looks similar to a general Nordic aesthetic – similar stuff at Rum för papper which is a local shop with some nice imports from the mainland Europe.

xedric & gudrun, thanks for the exchange offer – I'll keep it in mind if I come across anything from the US which seems fun. Should you be interested in anything from Sweden, let me know – I actually think that the ringbinders here are unique to Sweden, and so is the pre-holed copier paper. So if odd hole placement is your thing, I can set you up…

Thanks for the links cendawanita – the subs are subbed!
posted by monocultured at 8:43 AM on September 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

In that case, give jetpens a browse -- they're a mainstay amongst American stationery nerds when it comes to Japanese stationery so the nice thing is that it's all in understandable English. (I'm just traumatized by my attempts browsing Rakuten) Japanese stationery at this point has a really unique set of consumer concerns at various price levels and hobbyist aesthetics (student vs retro vs efficiency-optimizers) so window shopping into a another cultural outlook is fun. (Though Stickerrific scratches the same itch but their online shopfront doesn't feel as well-organized).
posted by cendawanita at 9:49 AM on September 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

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