About

Search for content

The Low Down – STMT X Sweden
 
In Stockholm in January the sun rises at 8:30 and sets at 3:30. That’s 6 hours of daylight – total. Each day. Now, granted, in Seattle this time of year, the sun takes its bow at 4:30. That extra hour makes a difference. We were a bit nervous – the cold, ok, we can handle that, we can bundle up and layer. But the dark – there’s no way around that.
 
Except, duh, the Swedes DO have a way around that. On the bus ride from the airport to the hotel, we noticed the same thing in every window: a paper star lantern hanging above a triangular electric candelabra. The designs varied slightly – white stars, red stars, fat candelabras, delicate and skinny candelabras – but the effect was the same. A city of twinkling lights, warm and welcome in the dark, a way to combat the center of winter. We knew right then and there that the Sweden Kit HAD to celebrate all things light and bright!
 
First day in town, we put on all our wool clothing and shuffled off to Södermalm (yes, of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame). Found a bunch of great shops – great selection and amazingly helpful store clerks – but nothing had that somethin’ somethin’ that makes a RAH good special.
 
Moving on, we found a store in the basement of a shopping mall. Walked down into the basement, past a jazz club that smelled of day-old Italian food, and BOOM! There it was – a shop filled with so much office-supply goodness we could hardly even stand it. Rows of notebooks, aisles of perfectly organized pens and pencils. And the people working there? Total office-supply geeks who love the goods as much as we do!
 
First item we landed on: the spiral-bound notebooks with bold stripes and phat black type. So simple, yet so stylie – just like all the rad Swedish design we saw on the trip. The Swedes got a look, and they nail it!
 
We had to go with Top Grip for the Mystery Item – a Swedish company that only makes paper clips and tacks. We opted for big honkin’ nickel-plated clips, etched with small horizontal lines – but then we saw the other sizes and styles and couldn’t stop. Each RAHstr is gettin’ a mix of clips this month, because we couldn’t pick just one!
 
The BIG score? Ballograf pens. THE Swedish pen company. From the bright hexagonal body, to the chrome-plated trim finely engraved with “SWEDEN”, we couldn’t leave these little gems behind. (I mean, the ball is made of tungsten carbide – how badass is that??). AND homeboy totally hooked it up to make it happen. Our new Swedish BFF!
 
Next trip to Stockholm, we’ve gotta go at Midsummer, when the Swedes party down and celebrate all things sun. But even in winter, you can’t deny Sweden’s charm. Gotta love a country that takes any excuse to make everything stylie and bright!
 
oxxo, Laura
 
(STMT X Sweden Sourcing Trip - photo RAD AND HUNGRY)

The Low Down – STMT X Sweden

 

In Stockholm in January the sun rises at 8:30 and sets at 3:30. That’s 6 hours of daylight – total. Each day. Now, granted, in Seattle this time of year, the sun takes its bow at 4:30. That extra hour makes a difference. We were a bit nervous – the cold, ok, we can handle that, we can bundle up and layer. But the dark – there’s no way around that.

 

Except, duh, the Swedes DO have a way around that. On the bus ride from the airport to the hotel, we noticed the same thing in every window: a paper star lantern hanging above a triangular electric candelabra. The designs varied slightly – white stars, red stars, fat candelabras, delicate and skinny candelabras – but the effect was the same. A city of twinkling lights, warm and welcome in the dark, a way to combat the center of winter. We knew right then and there that the Sweden Kit HAD to celebrate all things light and bright!

 

First day in town, we put on all our wool clothing and shuffled off to Södermalm (yes, of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame). Found a bunch of great shops – great selection and amazingly helpful store clerks – but nothing had that somethin’ somethin’ that makes a RAH good special.

 

Moving on, we found a store in the basement of a shopping mall. Walked down into the basement, past a jazz club that smelled of day-old Italian food, and BOOM! There it was – a shop filled with so much office-supply goodness we could hardly even stand it. Rows of notebooks, aisles of perfectly organized pens and pencils. And the people working there? Total office-supply geeks who love the goods as much as we do!

 

First item we landed on: the spiral-bound notebooks with bold stripes and phat black type. So simple, yet so stylie – just like all the rad Swedish design we saw on the trip. The Swedes got a look, and they nail it!

 

We had to go with Top Grip for the Mystery Item – a Swedish company that only makes paper clips and tacks. We opted for big honkin’ nickel-plated clips, etched with small horizontal lines – but then we saw the other sizes and styles and couldn’t stop. Each RAHstr is gettin’ a mix of clips this month, because we couldn’t pick just one!

 

The BIG score? Ballograf pens. THE Swedish pen company. From the bright hexagonal body, to the chrome-plated trim finely engraved with “SWEDEN”, we couldn’t leave these little gems behind. (I mean, the ball is made of tungsten carbide – how badass is that??). AND homeboy totally hooked it up to make it happen. Our new Swedish BFF!

 

Next trip to Stockholm, we’ve gotta go at Midsummer, when the Swedes party down and celebrate all things sun. But even in winter, you can’t deny Sweden’s charm. Gotta love a country that takes any excuse to make everything stylie and bright!

 

oxxo, Laura

 

(STMT X Sweden Sourcing Trip - photo RAD AND HUNGRY)

The Low Down – STMT X Finland
 
Growing up my parents had an amazing garden – flowers, plants, all sorts of beauties. It wasn’t uncommon for a stranger to knock on our door asking about one of their treasures. They didn’t normally mess with fruits or vegetables. But one summer, they decided to grow strawberries.
 
We’d check ‘em daily. I was obsessed with the white fuzzy hairs and the perfectly placed seeds (OCD and me go waaaay back), I liked the cute little white flowers… It was painful waiting for them to ripen. And the slugs! Didn’t matter what my parents did to prevent ‘em – they almost always beat us. When we’d scored a strawberry, we’d celebrate big.
 
And that’s how our sourcing trip to Finland was. We hunted non-stop, obsessing about the amazing design details everywhere – but feeling defeated every time we discovered that the office supplies we spied weren’t Finnish.
 
What I don’t understand – how can a country proud of their deep design history and a love of typography, how come they don’t have a bunch of Finnish companies crankin’ out office-supply goods for everyone? Some countries we’ve hit may produce goods in China or India, but at least they design the goods locally. Not so in Finland. Didn’t matter how many people I spoke with, the answer was always the same – it’s too expensive to produce locally because the cost of labor is very high.
 
But slugs be damned – we scored our very own strawberries! Like some kinda wonderful, we found lo-fi goods reppin’ Finland BIG. Notebooks by a design duo with the sweetest illustrations, made locally with 100% recycled paper. Watercolor discs from a Finnish company that’s been makin’ em since 1922! And… ok, full disclosure. The paint brushes are not made in Finland. Whomp, whomp. But the watercolor discs are so rad, no way I was gonna pass them up. And there’s no way we’d leave our RAHstrs hangin’ – not gonna hook you up with something you can’t get down with as soon as you open your kit!
 
While scoping out the notebooks, we learned that the Finnish got their very own word that translates to ‘berry happiness’ – marjaonni. I mean, how perfect is that?? Finland, you are so our jam.
 
oxxo, Hen

The Low Down – STMT X Finland

 

Growing up my parents had an amazing garden – flowers, plants, all sorts of beauties. It wasn’t uncommon for a stranger to knock on our door asking about one of their treasures. They didn’t normally mess with fruits or vegetables. But one summer, they decided to grow strawberries.

 

We’d check ‘em daily. I was obsessed with the white fuzzy hairs and the perfectly placed seeds (OCD and me go waaaay back), I liked the cute little white flowers… It was painful waiting for them to ripen. And the slugs! Didn’t matter what my parents did to prevent ‘em – they almost always beat us. When we’d scored a strawberry, we’d celebrate big.

 

And that’s how our sourcing trip to Finland was. We hunted non-stop, obsessing about the amazing design details everywhere – but feeling defeated every time we discovered that the office supplies we spied weren’t Finnish.

 

What I don’t understand – how can a country proud of their deep design history and a love of typography, how come they don’t have a bunch of Finnish companies crankin’ out office-supply goods for everyone? Some countries we’ve hit may produce goods in China or India, but at least they design the goods locally. Not so in Finland. Didn’t matter how many people I spoke with, the answer was always the same – it’s too expensive to produce locally because the cost of labor is very high.

 

But slugs be damned – we scored our very own strawberries! Like some kinda wonderful, we found lo-fi goods reppin’ Finland BIG. Notebooks by a design duo with the sweetest illustrations, made locally with 100% recycled paper. Watercolor discs from a Finnish company that’s been makin’ em since 1922! And… ok, full disclosure. The paint brushes are not made in Finland. Whomp, whomp. But the watercolor discs are so rad, no way I was gonna pass them up. And there’s no way we’d leave our RAHstrs hangin’ – not gonna hook you up with something you can’t get down with as soon as you open your kit!

 

While scoping out the notebooks, we learned that the Finnish got their very own word that translates to ‘berry happiness’ – marjaonni. I mean, how perfect is that?? Finland, you are so our jam.

 

oxxo, Hen

The Low Down – STMT X Ecuador

The weather in Quito is seriously four seasons in every day. I woke up to brisk fall weather, then it’s warm sunshine, then it’s hot summer weather (got sunburnt for the 2nd time in my life!), then the lighting and thunder hits and the sky is all gray till night comes and it’s cold, wet, and feels like winter.

 

But what all that crazy-ass weather gets you? RAINBOWS. I mean, everything seemed to be screaming rainbows. From the goods we found to the Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism current campaign logo – a huge circular shaped rainbow! I even packed the perfect washi tape for this sourcing trip’s travel journal – rainbow stripes!

RAD AND HUNGRY STMT X Ecuador Journal

 

Second day in and I’m headed to a museum when I spot a series of office supply shops. There was one particular shop that was crackin’! I’m talking mobs of people and lines 5 people deep before it was your turn. I knew this place would have something for our STMT X Ecuador Kit. Whatever all the locals were buying, I wanted in on it. The shop was a family business with the matriarch, the Grandmother, tending the super old-school register. The mothers, the daughters, the sons… everyone was so personable. I loved watching them interact with their customers.

RAD AND HUNGRY Ecuador Papelaria

 

I asked to see the A5 notebooks and the gal pulled out a glossy notebook with a cover featuring a race car. I asked for other designs – I got horses, cats, and more muscle cars. I asked if there was anything more simple. Nope, she explained that all notebooks look like that in Ecuador.

 

But I didn’t sweat it. I asked to look at the loose-leaf packets of paper. We’ve never included any loose-leaf sheets, and I’ve been wanting to since the 3rd World Tour kicked off. My only concern was the folders. Would they also be super cheesy? Nope! Clear front cover with a colored back. And the color options included pastels!

 

The mom-and-pop shop also had a pack of 12 colored pens PERFECT for the Ecuador Kit. I LOVE that this pack is the only set of colored pencils or pens that I’ve ever spotted where the colors are not arranged like a rainbow. Instead, they start with their country colors from right to left. The other colors? NO clue how they decided to arrange ‘em!

 

Secured the inventory and decided to move on. I walked down the street and straight into the back of an office supply shop. I could see the cabinet full of writing instruments from the street. Within seconds, I spotted them – jumbo-sized turquoise pencil with a green foil-stamped elephant! They totally match the pretty pastel folders! Jumbo-sized pencils may be made for kids, but who says only kids get all the jumbo-packed fun?

 

oxxo,
Hen

The Low Down – STMT X Canada

Sometimes I chase the sun (Puerto RicoTrinidad) and sometimes I chase the snow. My day of puttering in snowcovered Seoul had me wanting snow all winter long. So what to do? Jump in a car and head north. I love all forms of public transportation and it’s my preferred mode of travel. But sometimes the allure of a road trip just feels right. The power of being behind the wheel and driving as long and as far as I want to go… 

RAD AND HUNGRY STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip

We have lots of Canadian RAHstrs, and I wanted to create a kit they’d love. It’s also the only kit I set out to hunt down one particular item – the Canadiana pencil. A super lo-fi pencil with Canadiana stamped in metallic blue foil?! The quality may not be impressive, but I love that the same pencil sold in the States is rebranded for the Canadian market.

Ever since our last sourcing trip to Canada, I’ve wanted one for the RAH collection. The original version, NOT the updated version. What I discovered LAST trip is that Canadiana is now replaced with Classic on the barrel. Although yeah, we do love the Classic ones, too. These days the Classics are made in Mexico – but I found a mad stash made in the States. Can I just say BONUS? Yup, bonus item for this month’s kit.

Hunting down this elusive pencil required hitting up a ton of thrift shops, random spots. One stop, two stop, three stop… none. Shifted gears and focused on the Paper Goods. Hit up a few spots and it was all the same. The same Hilroy notebooks that we included in the previous STMT X Canada Kit. Did I forget that the Hilroy notebooks are the notebook for all Canadians?

Pushed forward and scored notepads with thickass chipboard backing with interlined sheets. BOOM! I spy college- or wide-ruled sheets in every country, but not in Canada. No other country is ruled by interlined and storyboard style sheets. Totally rad and feels really special.

Moved on to another shop and discovered pencils made from 100% recycled newspaper. Lead that sharpens easily and doesn’t break? Lasts three times longer than a woodcase pencil? Totally intrigued. Totally bought them.

RAD AND HUNGRY STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip

After a few nights in Van City, I was ready to hunt down the snow. We hopped in the car and headed north. We drove until we hit the sleepy town of Pemberton. 2,369 people strong, this town has one traffic light. It has one of everything – one bakery, one coffee shop, one pharmacy. And the pharmacy? GOLD. Their inventory was surprisingly large and diverse. Either this town has a lot of business (where?) or people like to hoard office supplies. Spotted the BIC Classic Stic rockin’ supafly, bright orange barrels with caps the color of the ink. This version is the only BIC that features two languages on the barrel – fino, fine. Double hit of fine deserves a double hit of pens. Blue and black ink version for everyone!

Back in Van City, not givin’ up the hunt for the one, the only Canadiana. I wanted the original! We’re backtracking steps, searching for a thrift shop I saw earlier. Turned around and going in circles one more time… and there she be! Diggin’ deep through the bin of office supplies, I start to spy goldenrod pencils. Five pencils later, I’m hi-fivin’! Three are Canada specific and one is the CANADIANA!! 

RAD AND HUNGRY STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip - 5 pencils

I left Canada with only one Canadiana. It’s beaten, it’s battered and it’s sittin’ pretty on my shelf. It’s kept safe with my other goldenrod pencils and it be one damn special trophy – The Incredible Canadiana.

oxxo,
Hen

The Low Down – STMT X England

Not since Japan have we had to hit up so many different spots to secure inventory. It’s not really a surprise given how large and dense London is – the larger the city, the more valuable the real estate. Stores have a smaller footprint and carry less inventory. Not necessarily less variety, they just don’t stock the quantity we need for the STMT Kits. Not ideal but no worries – we got game. We got the skillz to make it work.

 

The first store we entered stocked the item that for me MAKES the England Kit. A red memo book sporting a crest with “British Made” on the cover. I melted and ran down the aisles looking for Sam so I could share the major find. Hi-fiving and a fist pound, lots of oohing and ahhing… to the person standing next to us looking at us all crazy – yes, yes we do talk about lo-fi goods like they’re a baby rocking the illest outfit.

 

Walked around the shop some more and spotted notebooks with ruled sheets. I was feelin’ them since we haven’t done ruled in a while, but what really sealed the deal? The notebooks are made in the UK with sustainable resources. Love it!

 

Didn’t find anything for the Writing Instrument but something that caught my attention? “Wage” envelopes. We don’t have anything like these in the States. At least I haven’t seen anything like it. They’re square and have blank columns for deductions and details. Picked up a pack for my personal stash of goods and purchased a blank version for the kit’s badge. I instantly knew they’d be perfect!

 

Asked an employee about inventory and he informed us that the only way to secure the quantity we need was to hit up various locations all around London. What?! Spent the next 30 minutes with him marking our map with the various spots.

 

Finally out the door and three locations knocked out, we discovered a small independent office supply shop. They mostly carried the same brands, same stuff. I asked an employee about Writing Instruments – what pencil does she use? Stabilo. Any pencils from a UK company? Yup, Helix. I mention that I didn’t realize they were a British company and that I spotted the brand all over Trinidad. Her eyes got big and she explained that she’s from Trinidad! Forget office supplies – now we’re talkin’ shop about all things Trinidad! Bake ‘n Shark, Maracas Bay, Doubles… the golden hot sauce that I fell in love with!

 

Now back on track, we decide to go with the “Oxford” pencil. Love the rich navy-blue paint job and how dope it looks with the red memo books… so so British! AND Laura’s soon-to-be-last name (this month!!) is gonna be OXFORD! We took it as a sign that we had to go with this pencil. We are so feelin’ this kit!

 

Zig-zagging all across London from one side to the other with our marked-up map on a big ‘ol scavenger hunt… our very own Olympics where the prize be super stylie, lo-fi goods.

 

oxxo, Hen

The Low Down – STMT X Peru

Holy f’n what the what? Did I really wake up at 5am for 10 days straight… 10 flights, 10 bus rides, 9 cab rides, 2 train rides, and 1 airport shuttle… almost missed my flight home to leave Peru empty-handed? Of course not. Hiram discovered Machu Picchu and I discovered a goldmine of office goods.

 

Some of my favorite moments from past sourcing trips are the rides from the airport to the hotel. Half awake, shakin’ off jet-lag and trying hard to visually soak everything in. Trying to quickly figure out obvious landmarks to navigate by, street signage, streets of interests and streets to avoid. Sometimes I spot a store that I wanna check. And Lima was good like that – didn’t know it at the time, but a shop I spotted that I knew I’d have to hit was only a few blocks from the hotel.

 

Checked-in, belly-full and fully charged to get my shop-on. Walked straight to the shop. I beelined it to the pencils. Nothing grabs me so I move on to the paper selection. And then it happened. I lost my shiz… aisles and aisles of notepads and notebooks and I want it ALL. Jumping up and down and running down the aisle running my hand across all the awesomeness. Finally settled down and then I start to stress – fell in love with two totally different notepads and couldn’t make a decision. What to do?

 

I couldn’t, wouldn’t budge for what seemed like forever. I couldn’t bear passin’ up the brown/orange notepads. I love the logo, I love the grid sheets. The sheets remind me of the paper I used in junior high for my math homework. I just kept looking at the cover of the notepad and rubbing the sheets of paper with my finger tips. I didn’t want this to be one of my big regrets in life – I didn’t want to look back and wish I had purchased these notepads for our Peru Kit (yes, not purchasing dope office goods would be a big regret in my life).

 

But the spiral-bound notebooks are equally dope. The super thick textured covers, the clean bright white sheets… the cover screams Peru. The diagonal lines remind me of the mountains, the cover’s texture like the rocky terrain… This thing is a brick. You can hurt somebody with it or possibly break your back from carting more than one around in your bag.

 

I could follow my gut and go with the brown/orange notepads or go with the spiral-bound notebooks that I have a feeling RAHstrs would dig. Hard choice, so… I opted for both. Dilemma worked out and now ready to grub. Clearly, stressin’ about paper goods works up a mean appetite. Headed down a side street in search of a lunch spot when we spotted another shop callin’ our name! Searching for gold in Lima was turning out to be one big smooth ride.

 

Marked my map and continued on to find a lunch spot. Didn’t have to go far before I scored another grubbin’ meal. Feelin’ energized and ready to hunt down more goods, I enter a tiny shop filled with so much goodness it’s mind-blowing. Visual overload of all things writing instruments, but why, why are they behind the counter? I wanna get close, I wanna test the pencils and pens, I wanna get all crazy behind the counter with all them goods! I approach one of the employees, Rosario, about their pencils and then a whole lotta pointing and nodding happens. We quickly bond via smiles, laughing and Rosario’s basic English skills. Five pencils in and Rosario waves me back behind the counter. BOOM! And now the shitz about to get real. I’m checking the pencil for Peruvian brands, I’m searching for something different. And there they are – red/blue combo pencils that remind me of my red mug full of red pencils and pens back home. Mystery Item it is – done!

 

What’s next? The Writing Instrument. One stood out – a drafting pencil with an emerald green paint job with a silver ferrule cap. Totally diggin’ the silver stamped “diesño profesional” and lovin’ the ‘enye’. What sealed the deal? The super cute “Hecho en Perú” logo on the pencil boxes.

 

Waking up at 5am for 10 days straight wasn’t hot, not how I like to do. But cartin’ lo-fi goods through the streets of Lima, kinda crazy and definitely how we do… we’re on the non-stop grind just rockin’ with it.

 

oxxo, Hen

The Low Down – STMT X Hungary

Huuunnngary! Hungary! RAD AND HUNGRY! It’s about time we hit up this joint! And you know what? Still can’t figure out how a culture still rockin’ the old-school – rubber stamps to endorse tickets, transit police checkin’ every ticket, hefty twine to wrap and pack boxes, old trains and creakin’ trams that would never pass any type of inspection in the States – how everything moves so fast. I’ve never ridden escalators that move at jet speed, taking me from underground to above ground in seconds. Or trains that are rusty and weathered that move at the speed of sound. How do they do it?

 

Checked our map and marked the spot – where the hunt would kickoff. A short subway ride later, we popped out of the station and the second shop I spot is an old bookshop. Diggin’ deep, rummaging through every shelf, I spotted vintage paper protractors! People still rockin’ paper protractors despite all the fancy options? Hello?! So f’in amazing, so beautiful. I mean, that’s what RAD AND HUNGRY is all about, this is why we do RAH. We travel the world discovering how locals do and it reinforces that some of the best things are done the old-school way. It’s the lo-fi, the non-slick shit that often goes unnoticed, put to use. What really matters is what you put down when pencil hits paper. It’s your dreams, your ideas, your wants, the crazy ideas that you’re getting ready to share with the world. It’s something BIG even when you don’t yet see it.

 

Can’t contain the rush I’m feelin’ from scoring the paper protractors. Love the feel of the heavy paper and couldn’t stop rubbing the numbers. Feels like an embossed print job but it’s not – the paper and printing is just that rich. Must. Stop. Shopping. I explain to the shopkeepers that I’ll be right back ‘cause I gotta go. I gotta find a spot to sit and write it all down. Walked down to an outdoor garden bar, and now I’m chillin’ wrapped in a communal blanket, beer in one hand and writing as fast as I can with the other. Feeling good about our major score… lovin’ this WHAM in-yo-face-moment when everything we do falls into place and connects.

 

An hour later, I head back to the shop and within minutes of my return I spot highlighters made in Hungary!! Love the Hungarian writing, love that they suggest you use them for faxes (faxing is old-school? No?). The bookshop also stocked ballpoint pens from the same company. Slender body, delicate design and sportin’ pinstripes. Can a lo-fi ballpoint pen be any more classy? Some serious fa-fancy love.

 

I take our stash of pens to the counter and then I spot ‘em… notebooks that are a perfect match for the pens! The bluish-purplish ink of the ruled margins reminds me of old-school copying machines. And I love that the margins are a different width than any other notebooks we’ve picked up. But what I love most? The dreamy cover. Almost like someone painted the texture with watercolors. A closer look and it’s actually a blown-up, grainy image! Love the lo-fi tech – pairing old with new to create some magic.

 

Sometimes we wanna go back ‘cause the trip was so f’in amazing (helloooo, Germany) or sometimes we put the country down on our never-go-back list (sorry, Costa Rica). Hungary goes on our return list ‘cause I’ve got a mission. I’m gonna find out Hungary’s secret – I’m gonna figure how they do it, how they rock the old-school with the deftness of a supafly, tricked-out ride.

 

oxxo, Hen

Trini Flavor, Hella Fine. 
 
(STMT X Trinidad Kit – photo RAH)

The Low Down - STMT X France, Numero Deux

All I gotta say is – Respect. France knows how to bring high/low to life. White bread and butter for breakfast – chocolate “patisseries” that belong in a museum as an afternoon treat. Clever-ass graffiti that makes you laugh, dwarfed by architecture that gives you chills. Pimpin’ galas at Louis XIV’s Versailles to drinkin’ straight from a 3-euro bottle of red wine, Seine-side.

 

Paris loves luxury, and lo-fi. We were excited to pick up a thing or two.

 

Trackin’ down goods for the “numero deux” France Kit was dope because I knew the ropes, but needed something fresh. I headed straight for my favorite spot – a shop that students hit up for back-to-school. I figured it would be our best shot at getting the stock we needed.

 

Sure enough, what more could I ask – they had everything from fancy new minimalist journals to paper for the people. Freaked out when I realized how much French-made goods they were stocking!

 

Immediately discovered the Paper Goods and fell in love. Not only local, but offered in so many variations. Mad color options, different versions with unique numbers of pages, and distinct line designs inside – felt like they were made custom for each and every stylie customer!

 

On to the Writing Instrument. How ubiquitous is Bic – those pens be everywhere! But still flossin’ Frenchie roots like whoa. Was lovin’ it when I stumbled on Crystal-Fine – French-made, not distributed in the USA, and way tres fine like the French themselves. And totally stoked to offer Bic pens in green ink, ‘cause you know…Stateside they be like greenbacks – hard to snag and coveted.

 

Finally for the Mystery Item. Spotted these amazing plastic vinyl notebook covers in bright colors that perfectly matched the notebooks. In broken French, asked the super chic young salesman if they had more in the back, to which I got – “Non!” So disappointed! I was hooked, determined to find them elsewhere.

 

Headed out searching for more without much hope. But sure enough, found more at the next shop! The best part? Homie at this shop had the most unusual hair-do I’ve ever seen – a long stringy ponytail with (I swear) a toupee! I thought I was getting punk’d. If you can grow that much hair, why you need a toupee, dude?!

 

Can’t hate, though, cause hairless homie hooked it up. He brought the piece that made it all come together. We sure love you, France Kit #2. Bright colors like blingin’ jewels – bringin’ a touch of bling to our everyday routine!

 

oxxo, Sam

The Low Down - STMT X Turkey

Headed to Turkey with three things on my mind…STMT goods, burnt puddin’, and Turkish Çay. My second trip to Istanbul and super excited to spend Turkey day in Turkey, huntin’ down the goods and droolin’ over a soon-to-be-Thanksgiving dinner. Had no clue what it would be but all I knew? Dessert be burnt pu-u-u-ddin’.

 

Rode the light rail into town and got lost searching for the hotel, but good thing I did cause I found myself in “Stationary Row.” Feeling a bit cracked out, sleep deprived after a 24+ hour travel day and cravin’ the familiar smell of paper and pencils, resisted the urge to storm through the door of one of the shops!

 

Checked in and after a minor stop at the corner market, I rushed back to Stationary Row. Placed bets on which shop would be the jackpot and walked into the first spot. Awesome selection of pencils but they were all Faber-Castells made in Turkey. Found an option for the Paper Goods, but I wanted the instant rush, the BOOM! that we feel when we know we’ve scored the winning item. Walked out and walked into the next shop and Whoomp! There it is… spotted the Paper Goods!

 

Notepads with a 1950’s, muscle car vibe. Love the bold racer stripe running down the front and the oval logo. But what I really love? The binding. Adhesive that’s not hidden by cheap tape, allowing the stack of pages to lie flat on the back cover. Front cover has a squared off, scored spine that perfectly hugs the edge when folded closed.

 

Spotted the shopkeeper and asked about prices and quantity. Friendly at first but then homie started to get visibly anxious. Another customer walked up to ask a question and homie replied that he had to leave to pray in 10 minutes. Men were rushing by the shop, hollering through the door at the shopkeeper…can only imagine that they were yelling to hurry, to hurry and join them. Told him that I could wait and that I’d return after prayer was finished.

 

Homie left the shop, and watching him walk into the stream of men was like watching a mass exodus. I walked outside and watched men rushing up the hill. Some entered the mosque while others knelt on the sidewalks, unrolled their carpet and began praying. Walking around, watching men pray, listening to the prayers over the speakers…totally surreal. I walked into another culture but this time, I wasn’t able to get lost in it, I could only step aside and watch. I forgot about sourcing goods and found myself wandering aimlessly. An hour later when prayer was finished, the prayers no longer broadcasted, I discovered that I had actually wandered far from Stationary Row.

 

Wandered back to the shop and picked up where we had left off. Homie asked why I wanted the old stock, stock that didn’t look “fancy.” He offered me a different selection – glossy covers with motorcycle-ridin’ teddy bears or dogs and cats doing math…um, no thank you. Secured the notepads and started browsing their inventory of Writing Instruments when suddenly he pointed to me then pointed behind the counter. Took it as a sign that I had been granted backstage access and yup, sure did.

 

Walked behind the counter and walked the entire length of the shop, pulling out boxes of pencils and pens. Then I spotted the Writing Instruments. Pens with a goldenrod body and white pinstripes, the stamped logo and “ofispen” that reads like a typo. Chunky waffle-pattern caps?! Love the lo-fi details of the pens. And love how they look with the notepads!

 

Walked into the next shop and finally found pencils from a Turkish company. The ironic thing? Half their options were made in China. Yup, China, despite Turkey having a booming pencil industry. Spotted the “Natural” pencils stamped with “Made in Turkey”. Was I feelin’ nostalgic…remembering our amazing trip to Latvia and how all the goods had the vibe of goods from another era, or was I feelin’ like we be celebratin’ BIG ‘cause the STMT X Turkey Kit kicks off our second World Tour. BOOM! Everybody be gettin’ extra love this month – double hit of Writing Goods!

 

The next day we returned to the first store, where we scored the notepads and pens. Homie smiled when he saw us walk in and barked something at an employee who barked at another employee who went running out of the shop. He returned minutes later with çay for us! Homie told me to stop and rest, to drink the çay before it gets cold.

 

Drinking çay and taking everything in, I spotted something I missed during our first visit. Pocket rulers! This ain’t no cheap, flimsy plastic shit – I’m talkin’ beveled edges and thick like a prism. These be perfect for making rainbows! I’m on a mission to bring back the fanny pack and pocket protector. This ruler? Perfect addition for my fanny pack! Thanks, Turkey, we be rockin’ the mad style and kickin’ off this cycle BIG!

 

oxxo Hen