Office Supplies | A Continuous Lean.

Well Appointed.

Mar 20th, 2015 | Categories: Obsessions, Office Supplies | by Michael Williams


Occasionally, I can make some absurd generalizations. One of my recent favorites is about Kickstarter and how I will never write about anything I find on there. The reason for this stems from the fact that 99.9% of everything that I have been pitched from the crowdfunding site is utter garbage. Then out of the blue a few weeks ago I received a perfectly executed (and wonderfully refreshing) email from Suann Song about her amazing new paper goods and desktop brand Appointed which launched recently on Kickstarter. Today, thanks to Suann’s creativity and hard work, my sweeping generalization surrounding Kickstarter falls.

The Appointed collection is a handsome offering of notebooks and a memo pad. Eventually it will extend further to also include a beautiful brass ruler, and much more this summer. Everything is going to be designed and manufactured right here in the USA, setting Appointed apart from the many fine makers from Europe and Japan. In a lot of ways, the look and feel remind me a bit of the awesome Japanese based brand Postalco. Incredibly, just a few weeks into the launch and the brand has already raised close to $33,000. It seems there’s definitely an appetite for fine American paper goods.

Impressed with not only the aesthetics of Appointed, but also of Suann’s approach and attention to detail I reached out to find out more about what went in to the creation of Appointed.

Tell me more about how Appointed came to be. What was that process like? How long did it take? And what was the moment that really pushed you over the edge to move ahead with this endeavor?

I’ve been a designer for about 8 years and founded a creative studio based in the D.C. area. I’ve always had a passion for product — paper products, specifically — and we had a small stationery line for a while that did fairly well. I pulled that to focus on our branding and custom clients. But I’ve always wanted to get back into paper products and have had the idea for Appointed for quite some time. Even though I’m a business owner, which takes some risk, I’m very risk-averse. If I don’t have the funds, I don’t do it. And producing product takes a lot of risk — especially at the scale that I wanted Appointed to be at. So, about a year ago I decided that I was going to see what it would take to get Appointed going, research the market, and just start designing and prototyping product — and I would worry about funding later. Once I had product I believed in; that’s what got me to move forward and figure out funding. And that’s where Kickstarter came in. We’re raising initial funding to put our signature product into production but I also have a funding plan beyond the Kickstarter because the notebooks are just the start. We have a full line that we want to launch in the summer. Ideally, I’d like to get Appointed to a place where if you want simple, beautifully-made and functional products for your desktop, we make them.

Public Supply | Noble Notebooks

Nov 15th, 2013 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Office Supplies | by Jake Gallagher


In New York City, between the 2006 and the 2010 school years, funding for arts education was slashed by a staggering eighty-five percent, just one of the countless cuts that schools across America have experienced in their budgets for the arts. Thanks to the pressure of Standardized Tests and minimum result requirements, American school systems no longer have enough room in their budgets to properly fund classes about the arts, music, and other subjects that can’t be measured with a multiple choice test.

This loss of funding is a growing problem, and pinpointing a solution has become somewhat like hitting a moving target, but the folks over at Public Supply have nailed it dead center with their collection of charitable stationery. Founded earlier this year by a group of friends that work in and around the creative industry, Public Supply’s goal was simple: to provide kids with that same access to arts education that they all had when they were growing up. To achieve this, the Public Supply team designed a series of 5 x 8 notebooks and number 2 pencils, all made right here on the East Coast, to be sold throughout the world (we saw them first at Harry’s Barber), with twenty five percent of the proceeds going directly towards funding arts education in America.

The Office Supply Store That Time Forgot.

Apr 1st, 2013 | Categories: Cleveland, Office Supplies | by Michael Williams



On the West Side of Cleveland sits Buehner’s Office Supply, a trip back to a time when office supply stores were the cog in the wheel of business. The shop is also a window into a world where analog was king. More than that, a visit here reminds you of the not so distant past when nearly everything was made by thousands of little independent companies all over the United States. Not so much anymore.

It’s not just a place to pick up a “scratch pad” (which I actually did, made in Murica too), Buehner’s is a time machine into a world that doesn’t exist anymore. The alternative —Staples and the like — are spacious, efficient and homogenous; shopping there is an experience that parallels a lobotomy. Almost everything is unbranded, devoid of character, cheap and easy. I understand why it is what it is, but that doesn’t make me actually like it.

I’m the type of person to seek out the specific maker of envelopes and order them direct rather than buy some cheap house brand. Some people would say that makes me a hipster (yuppie) and a lot of people don’t really get my allure to the indies, but some of you certainly understand and appreciate the alternative. I’d rather pay more for something with personality. I’d rather support the small paper company that makes very specific product and I’d prefer give my money to support “know how,” rather than just perpetuate a lifetime of cheap shit. This store actually makes me think about some experiences I’ve had traveling, it’s always so disappointing to fly halfway around the world and find that everything is exactly the same. A better word for it is depressing.

The Best Office Ever Imagined by Man

Nov 19th, 2011 | Categories: Obsessions, Office Supplies | by Michael Williams

While up in Toronto this week we met up with some friends at their office in the city to check the place out and then have dinner. Upon arrival we got a little tour and then had a little meeting, very standard stuff. Once that was over we packed up and started to head out to have dinner — right before we were to leave, our friend Jeremy said there was one other thing he wanted to show us. We then went into his business partner’s office and discovered the most awesome thing every imagined by man: a super huge and massively detailed RC race track that was so big that it had to be built in the room. The best part about it, the guy’s wife didn’t know he had it made (or of course, how much he spent on it) so we are bound to secrecy and can’t disclose his identity.

The All Black Embassy Pen

Dec 9th, 2010 | Categories: Office Supplies | by Michael Williams

The perfect companion to your DOD issue green notebook? Behold the Made in USA Embassy Pen from Calif. military (paramilitary?) outfitter Country Comm. These pens have been around for a little while, but when County Comm — who manufactures these bad boys in their machine shop for government contracts — occasionally has some extras (overages?) it drops them into its online shop so faux-woodsman-wannabe-tough-guys like me can buy them and look cool. But seriously, the Embassy Pen seems overkill to me, which is why I like it. I suspect it will last forever. Not to mention the fact that the pen-gut-parts are made by the Fisher Space Pen guys, which enables the Embassy Pen to work in temperatures ranging from -30°F to +250°F. That kind of shit always comes up during my life as a Manhattan-dwelling faux-millitary-creative-type. For example, what if I dropped my regular pen in my fancy latte? Ruined. But not with the Embassy Pen.

But again, seriously, these things are cool. I own two, and you can too, regardless of your day-job. More info than you ever needed to know about the Embassy pen can be learned  in this video. Purchase one here.