I had a chance to visit Plain Stationery & Homeware in Taipei, Taiwan. Plain is store owned by Tiger, who runs the blog Stationeria (it’s in Chinese, but the pictures are already worth the click).
The store front is located at: 台北市羅斯福路三段210巷8弄10號, Taipei. It is about a 5 minute walk from the Taipower Building metro station.
Google maps is quite helpful in locating the street the store is on, but the store itself can be a bit hard to find. Though I have been here twice before, I still have some difficulty finding it this time around. I passed it once, before looping back.
Walking into the store, the first thing one notices is how small the store is. It is the size of a small room and I bet a dozen customers would have a bit of difficulty walking about with ease.
The store is arranged in the shape of a zero. The middle island has a wide range of pens and pencils including the Pilot Preppy and a variety of Autopoints. I personally enjoyed the selection of dip pens and nibs. If you ask, they will let you try out any of the handle and nib combinations with any of the inks that they have.
They sell stacks of 100 sheets of fountain pen friendly paper from a variety of companies.
There are also different types of paper tapes, such as for scrap booking or schedule making.
The counter holds some of the more expensive and the “deadlier” items. They sell whale shaped knives (it is where I bought mine) and a bunch of different Higonokamis. More recently, he has also been importing a few multitools and one-piece tools. Tiger managed to import Rotrings and Fisher items to his store and, due to their price, they are also kept behind the counter.
One thing to note, is that the store is very well decorated. Beyond the items that are for sale, there are a variety of interesting objects scattered across. Under the counter, there are various toys and other vintage objects. Don’t bother trying to purchase them though. When I went the first time, I tried to buy an old children’s play block with a bunny print by just placing it with the rest of my order. Tiger chucked and mentioned that it was not for sale.
On one of the walls, there is a wide selection of notebooks and clips. There are Field Notes, Campus, and Life Notebooks. Prices for Japanese products are much lower than in the US, while American products are a tad higher.
Much to my enjoyment, they have 0.4mm lead in stock, which is often hard to find in stores in the US.
Further down, they have some of my favorite pencils. They offer both Caran d’Ache pencils, such as the Swiss Wood, and Mitsubishi pencils. They also sell Palomino Blackwing pencils individually, which is convenient if you want to just try one out.
They have pencil extenders, caps, and clips as well as some more exotic items, such as the Gold Seed Eraser.
I love how they have samples of everything to try out. It’s nice to be able to hold a product in your hand before you buy it.
If you purchase a box of any item, they will give you the original box. Last time, I purchased 8 different pencils, and they gave me a Mitsubishi box anyways.
The other wall has some pretty random objects. There are cubbies filled with mini rubber (or perhaps plastic, I’m not sure) animals. I believe they are for desk decorations although I would consider using them in a terrarium.
There are also a lot of other interesting pieces of stationery such as stamps and stamp pads and an assortment of scissors. One of my favorites is a pair that folds up.
They also have mini bottles of J. Herbin inks scattered about and some vintage looking pens from Mitsubishi and Bic.
As to the “Homeware” part of the store, they sell teapots and cups and other objects I would consider “desk objects”, such as hourglasses.
I almost purchased a set of storage boxes, but decided that it might be a bit too cumbersome to bring back to the US.
They recently (early 2016, I believe), opened a coffee shop and, as such, they have begun to sell some coffee products such as the Aeropress, filters and enamel coffee mugs. Their coffee shop is definitely on my list of places to go visit!
Apart from the aforementioned notebooks, there is also Midori Traveler’s series and their range of brass products. Midori has some of the nicest looking (and simple) packaging and everything just seems so orderly when displayed.
My purchase was neatly packaged by the lady behind the desk in a brown envelope. The envelope has a custom stamp on it. Mine was of a polar standing on that was being drawn with a pencil. The envelope was sealed with a some fun paper tape of a man doing a roll.
It was a pleasure to come by Plain Stationery & Homeware again and I’ll be stopping back whenever I have the chance. It’s small, but what it carries fits my interests very well. They’re always adding new products and there’s never a shortage of nice looking pics on their Facebook. I have to check out their Coffee Shop and, when I do, I’ll be sure to do a write up on that as well!