The space, while modest, is rich and well-appointed, as one would expect a fine stationery store to be. I spent almost as much time appreciating the small touches of hardware for merchandising purposes as I did lusting after the stationery, pens, pencils, cases, bags, washi tape, stamps, paper twine, and miscellanea. I think the first three things I asked for prices on were store fixtures. (But with a lush, rare Wabash Cabinet on display, who wouldn’t?)
If you’re looking for the corporate, completist, and cramped feel of something like Kinokuniya, this is assuredly not that. This is a place to luxuriate in stationery and spark some creativity away from the madding crowd.
Of particular note, they’ve got one of the most beautiful, well-appointed, and fully stocked pigeonhole displays I’ve ever seen for Traveler’s Notebooks. They also offer a nice selection of The Superior Labor products to which they also offer customization touches you can easily add on to make your notebook “Truly Yours”.
They seem to have a full selection of MIDORI paper products, lots of Stalogy, and PERPANEP. Also on offer were analog planners like Jibun Techos, Roterfaden, and Nolty along with brands like Classiky, Kokuyo, Kuretake, Mizushima, Postalco, and ateliers PENELOPE among others.
I’ll take a moment to note that this was the first time I’ve ever seen Roterfaden for sale in a physical shop. They truly are lovely analog items with a high level of tactile joy. I find myself needing more thick felt in my life beyond the large grey mat I use for shodo.
This also reminds me that the shop does a fantastic job of providing physical samples of nearly almost every product that you can open, play with, and try out (including samples of most of the notebook paper!) It’s small touches like this that will keep the stationery afficionados coming back every time.
In addition to all the spectacular things I saw, I would be remiss not to mention one of the kindest touches in the whole shop. Front and center in the main room is a fantastic wooden and metal table with several fine chairs. They invite the community to come in with their journals to sit and write with each other.
I arrived on the early side of their store hours, but just after, two people showed up who browsed for a bit, but then sat down to write and try out some of the available stamps on the table in their own journals. Wakako even invited me to feel free to bring my typewriter to sit and write for a bit in the future. Anyone up to join me? With such a nice space, why not use it on a Sunday afternoon to plan out your week or reflect on the week past?
Beyond the warm and inviting space, they keep things in stock in the store which seem to be marked as sold out in their online storefront. On first blush this could be written down as a potential accounting error or maybe delays in updating the website, but I suspect that they’re carefully holding onto stock for their local community to be able to see items and purchase things in person.
As rare as it is to see a shop revel in the idea of analog, it’s even more refreshing and heartening to see one doing its best to strive towards kindness within its own community the way that Baum-kuchen does.
Next time, with money in my pocket
I usually make a habit of leaving my wallet at home on first visits to nearby stationery stores. (Those inflicted with the gentle madness like me will know why.) But I’ve started a list on my pocket notebook with a few things I must have on my next visit…
- Yuruliku flat tool case and flat pen case
- Mizushima perpetual calendar stamp
- Kaweco Liliput fountain pen with bronze clip
- stamps (all of them really…)
Buried Lede: Hobonichi in the United States
There are too many things to like about Baum-kuchen, and I haven’t even mentioned the pastry origins of the German-named shop. Some will scream that I’ve buried the lede in this whole story when I mention the following exciting revelation: This fall, Baum-kuchen will be carrying a wide variety of Hobonichi products!!! I’m only aware of a tiny handful of US-based stores which carry or ship Hobonichi (JetPens anyone?), but Baum-kuchen will be one of them. I’ve generally ordered these directly from Japan in the past, but it will be ever so nice to be able to place an order to a physical shop that’s just a few minutes away. I’m hoping they’ll open up the store on announcement day and have a little party to celebrate. If they do, I’m definitely baking them a homemade tree cake!