Meet The Boutique: Papersmiths

An explosion of colour, Papersmiths boutique is a playground for stationery enthusiasts. With 3 unique stores, two in London’s King’s Cross and Chelsea and one nestled in Brighton’s bustling North Laines, Papersmiths stands out on its local high streets thanks to its rainbow-hued curation of diaries, notebooks, pens, desk buddies and gift cards, alongside their meticulously designed own-brand products.

“The North Laine is Brighton’s iconic independent shopping area,” says owner Sidonie Warren. “It is so good for finding unique gifts and treats for yourself - which is exactly why I chose to open a shop here!”

Read on as we chat to Sidonie about the history of the business, all things colour, and the buzz of the independent scene in sunny Brighton.

“Back in 2011 Kyle Clarke and I started working on design projects for local businesses in Bridport, Dorset. By 2013, we’d built a small and busy design studio specialising in graphic design. 

We relocated to Bristol Arts Quarter and took on a new space for our design work. It had a shop front and passersby would pop in and ask to buy our magazines and artwork - the special things we’d collected and had out on display in our work environment. It was the catalyst for a new business idea. We turned half of the space into a shop and sourced and sold various design goods from our favourite creators and makers. 

I had a design hiatus of about five years, during which I focused on creative direction and running our busy design studio and retail stores. In 2020, I began designing again but this time the focus was on product design for Papersmiths, rather than for clients. In 2021, I launched our first notebook and pen collections.”

“Our own brand collections have gradually become our bestsellers. I love seeing customers bundle the items. The top selection is one of our British-made notebooks, teamed with our notebook band and a couple of pens. Our Everyday Pen in Olive and Primo Pen in Shroom are personal favourites of mine.

Travel is a huge source for design inspiration. When I visit a new place, the souvenir I always bring back is a colour palette. I found many of our Primo pen colours in Sri Lanka. The periwinkle blue is the colour of a carrier bag from a tea shop and the coral is an aged bus which was originally a red but it was sun faded and had gathered a bit of dust on the busy Sri Lankan roads. 

I love visiting foreign supermarkets to look at the packaging design. Antiquities also get me thinking, particularly old books and textile design. When it comes to products that I source from other creators, I’m looking for strong design, top notch quality and a good story. Plus I have to fall in love with it!”

“The merchandising is meticulous but we absolutely encourage everyone to try out the stationery - we have our big chunky ‘Creative Block’ pads dotted around for that very purpose. There’s good music playing, the team is THE BEST. They’re energetic, welcoming, fun and genuine. My pet hates when shopping are pushy sales or being completely ignored - you won’t find that here. There’s a good buzz about the place. 

Where we are in Brighton has an amazing atmosphere - Sydney Street is the perfect mix of unique stores, independent coffee shops and live music. I love all our neighbours but will particularly love Gunn’s the Florist, Tidy Street General Store and Flour Pot Bakery - oh and Wolf & Gypsy Vintage is amazing, I’ve been visiting there since I was a student.

I love to pick something up from Infinity Foods for lunch and might have a rummage in Snooper’s Paradise, the famous bric-a-brac store - there’s often a gem to be found there. I like nipping into Resident Record Store too if I’m in the market for a present for someone, and just to look at vinyl artwork.” Trusted Site