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Ever since I was a kid, I loved secretly using my allowance money to buy cute mechanical pencils that were sold in front of my elementary school. There was something about those tiny pens/pencils that brought me joy. Now, fast forward to 15 years later, stationery is still my number one weakness when it comes to saving money.

One of my favorite places to shop for stationery supplies is a place called Moshi Moshi, a small store located in China Town, next to the sushi bar named Hokkaido. This place has almost everything ranging from well-designed notebooks to adorable stuffed animal keychains: it’s my safe heaven after a stressful exam week. The thing I love about Asian stationery is that they not only have better quality, but they don’t lack in design — which is something I think is extremely hard to find in American stationery stores.

If we are talking about quality products, I think Japan is the first place that comes to mind. The famous Japanese stationery store Muji has its distinguished reputation even in the states, with multiple locations open in New York and California. During the holiday season, I always see the long line in front of the store through my friends’ Instagram pictures as they too, indulge themselves with Muji supplies.

If you think Muji might be too expensive for you due to its brand, Japan also has its popular dollar store Daiso where you can buy a ton of stationery supplies for very cheap prices. I remember when I drove 30 minutes to go to the nearest Daiso near me and came home with a bag full of goodies. Overspending on cute stationery will be the end of my broke wallet of a college student.

But enough of physical stores, it’s all about the small online businesses we can support during the pandemic. A popular website where small business owners can market their products is Etsy, a website mainly focused on selling handmade arts and crafts. The sticker collection is the section I’m mostly focused on.

A lot of sellers started using YouTube to document their creation process, such as packaging and shipping, which serves as a great marketing technique as well as a fun documentation process. One of my all-time favorite YouTubers, Linh Truong, recently opened her sticker business on Etsy, and it soon gained a ton of attraction due to the popularity of her YouTube channel. I was already a huge fan of her YouTube videos because of her creative editing skills, and her sticker designs don’t lack at all in any other way. It even inspired me a little to start my very own stationery business.

When I thought I was able to save money during quarantine season because I’m not going out as much, it was soon proved wrong since I discovered the beauty of online shopping. Another creator I like is JustineBujo, her product designs are aesthetic and calming, which is exactly my style! Her products aren’t limited to stickers, but also keychains as well as digital printables. I’m looking forward to her future designs.

Graphic via Canva

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