Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Rhodia Inroads in Ryman

Palimpsest could not believe her eyes, dear readers, when in her local Ryman her eyes fell upon Rhodia notebooks. Ryman is the UK's largest stationery retailer, founded in 1893 by Henry J Ryman who opened his first stationery shop in London's Great Portland Street. Since then Ryman has been supplying the nation with pens and paper and all kinds of office supplies from hole punchers to paper clips and from folders to filing cabinets. There is a Ryman in every high street. It is not cozy at Ryman's and it is not meant to be.

Ryman's stationery shop says no nonsense. No specialist, obscure pencils here, no bottled inks (apart from Quink blue-black, that is), no fancy and exclusive notebooks or silly-priced Montblancs. But Ryman is dependable in that there are folders and ink cartridges and Uni-Ball gel rollerballs and cheap packs of Staedtler Noris and Tradition for the kids and BICs and felt tip pens and correction fluid and sellotape and glue and rulers and compasses and presentation folders for those projects and printing paper. I do do browsing at Ryman's. And there is some monetary drainage of my wallet because of Ryman.

But, well, the least I expected was Rhodia. Is it because Rhodia has been associated with some niche, pen and paper aficionado market - knowledgeable punters that seek hard-to-get notebooks in far away places - and then go on to test them for feathering and bleed-through-ess and proclaim them fit or unfit for use for expensive fountain pens? Perhaps. But now Rhodia, it seems, goes to the masses. From the metal shelves of Ryman to the hands of a fountain-pen-less nation. Will there be orange pads peeking out of every other builder's bum pocket in the country? Like foreign holidays Rhodias may lose their lustre as their availability to a BIC-wielding public will rise. But I think that giving the world 80gsm high-grade vellum paper is a good thing. I do applaud the inroads of Rhodia into Rymans. And, you know, there was Clairefontaine too.

There were: Rhodia No. 12 and No. 13 Head Stapled Pads in black and orange; Rhodia Head Stapled Notebooks No. 16 and 18 in orange and black; Rhodia Side Stapled Notebook A4 and A5; Clairefontaine wirebound and staplebound A4 and A5 and Clairefontaine Forever envelopes, yellow, bright pink and blue. And yes, they can be bought at Ryman online.

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