The Canadian Stationery Company Helping us to 'Fall in Love with Writing Again'
Curiosities in delightful glass bottles, inscriptions of gold with matching gold nut lids, sumptuous lacquer, glimmering foil and scenes of adventure and joyful escapades adorning beautiful packaging…these are a few of my favourite (Ferris Wheel Press) things! The offerings from Ferris Wheel Press are creations not just products and here at The Hamilton Pen Company we have noticed that the brand is one of our most popular - which is no mean feat considering the behemoths among our stocked brands. What is it about the Canadian ‘makers of iconic stationery’ that has led to such success in such a short time?
We often talk of a meteoric rise to popularity particularly with regards to pop stars and actors seemingly going from being a ‘nobody’ to one of the most recognisable faces on the planet almost overnight! The speed of Ferris Wheel Press’s success is certainly ‘break-neck’ in stationery terms! Ferris Wheel Press catapulted into the market with a stunning aesthetic that had been very carefully considered and every detail accounted for. The cohesion of the brand is absolutely part of its appeal… I do not mean purely that they supply their products in nicely designed boxes (which they absolutely do) but rather that owning something from Ferris Wheel Press is an experience. From the unboxing to each and every use, there is a sense of whimsy and wonder which crowns the impressive quality and ingenuity of each product.
Ferris Wheel Press products do not necessarily break the mould when it comes to the staples (pun intended) of stationery, but what they do spectacularly well is reinvigorate products, consider innovative sources of design inspiration and reimagine the experience of writing. It's not just the products…the website copy, product names, (award winning) packaging and every aspect of Ferris Wheel Press is incredibly carefully constructed. It is cohesive, attractive and most importantly it supports incredible products rather than distracting from poor ones. The attention to detail and the acknowledgement that even the smallest details matter really speak to the ethos of the brand.
These elements certainly establish a place in the market for Ferris Wheel Press but when this is teamed with the impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic on the stationery market, something quite sensational takes place. Yes, you read that correctly!
What we have been seeing in recent years is an expansion of interest in stationery across generations. Gen Z (born between 1996-2010 ish) and Millennials (born between 1981-1996) are to be found across all corners of the internet and social media discussing the latest Kaweco or Blackwings newest Volumes and showing off their collections and ‘hauls’. TikTok reports a surge in interest in the topic with over 300 million views of videos with the hashtag #stationeryhauls. What was once either associated with the world of work or as a niche and ‘nerdy’ hobby is having its moment in the sun with whole new markets opening up to the delights of stationery.
This has been somewhat explained by this young demographic seeking to fight back against poor work-life balance and also the over-abundance of screen time, a realisation that was aided by the slowing down of life during the pandemic and the removal (for many) of the distinction between work and play.
Image Credit: @nita.draws
Lockdown required an overuse of technology for many people as their computers, tablets and phones became the only way to contact people, a lifeline to society and an escape from the horrors of a global pandemic the likes of which had not been seen or expected in our lifetimes. A need for analogue technology emerged and we started to see a rise in wellness journals and guided mindfulness activity books aimed at this new generation of stationery lovers. There was an initial spike in stationery sales during the first lockdown, particularly of writing paper and cards with large companies such as ‘Papier’ seeing up to 300% increases in sales of these products (the impact on small businesses and retailers does not necessarily match this and would be a whole other story to tell…back to Ferris Wheel Press and the perfect storm for their incredible rise to popularity). Millennials are now a huge demographic for stationery sales closely followed by Gen Z…and it's not just paper stock…they are exploring writing instruments, inks, and the world of accessories, knickknacks and thingymebobs.
Enamel badges from Ferris Wheel Press
The experience of the lockdown pushed an emergence of a need for analogue practices to the surface and activities such as letter writing, journaling, diary keeping and ‘organising’ (life admin, labelling, planning, time management - those sorts of activities) became desirable and required supplies.
A similar phenomenon can be noted with peoples television watching habits. Retro tv shows alongside nostalgia and ‘comfort watching’ tv programmes became the norm. The boom of stationery enthusiasm is part of the wider seeking for comfort and nostalgic thrills that get us away from digital fatigue. Tangible and tactile experience suddenly became higher on the general hierarchy of needs for some this meant dipping a toe into the world of stationery and using stationery as a hobby or way of slowing down to self-reflect and engage with others on a more personal level (when permitted). Stationery also allows for work and life to be separated…work things are digital, home life is analogue (obviously a huge generalisation and over simplification )
But what has that got to do with Ferris Wheel Press? I hear you cry!
Well, simply put…Ferris Wheel Press scratches the itch of those wanting heirloom quality stationery products but also want them to be fun and quirky and painfully stylish.
Ferris Wheel Press has a remarkable skill for bringing the past and the present together seamlessly. Pens designed to feel like a painters brush with letter press details in bold modern colour palettes and contemporary minimalism as well as the vintage feel of carousels and ferris wheels in their artwork and modern need for luxury and for option (colour ways, products and bundle combinations) meaning they appeal to so many audiences and have a collectability which provides a fantastic foundation for brand loyalty. All of this is expressed incredibly well through traditional and social media marketing, strong imagery and impressive word of mouth created by not just engaging with the consumer but also influencers and bloggers. Impeccable.
The story of Ferris Wheel Press begins, somewhat, in 2010 with the launch of Palettera Custom Correspondences. Palettera was (and to an extent remains) a luxury graphic design and production firm specialising in custom event stationery, branding and design, bespoke stationery and branding concepts.
These origins, when known, bring clarity to the exceptional design and brand identity of Ferris Wheel Press. Furthermore, the work practices of Palettera shed light on some of the beautiful design elements which are witnessed across the Ferris Wheel Press products. Palettera created much of their stationery using traditional letterpress techniques, hand illustrated artwork and in-house artisan craftsmanship. Beyond the luxury these techniques brought to the brand, they also represented a celebration of culture for the Chinese-Canadian Co-founder Deborah Lau-Yu. The core of the brand according to Lau-Yu is to ‘increase meaningful consumption by designing luxury goods with awareness, purpose, and passion’.
Image Credit: Toronto Star - Deborah Lau-Yu
In 2012, Lau-yu’s co-founder and partner Raymond became president of the company, taking charge of business aspects and development allowing Lau-yu to focus on her role as Principal and Art Director. Her background in design and graphic arts within the fashion and magazine industries as well as her commitment to the promotion of emerging talents in design created a foundation for the growth and development of Ferris Wheel Press’s strong brand identity and ethos. Their mission is to create products that will last a lifetime and become keepsakes to be handed down, moving away from our culture’s mindset of disposability.
Ferris Wheel Press became the third leg (alongside cultural platform, Fête Chinoise) in the Palettera tripod as its own distinct brand bringing Lau-Yu’s love of printing and stationery to new levels which could not be achieved in the same way with the custom correspondence products being offered by Palettera.
So, although Ferris Wheel Press was formally founded in 2017, its origins are firmly placed in the development of Palettera from 2010 through to the expansion out into the celebration of luxury, beautiful design and inspired products that came with Fête Chinoise and its many curated channels.
One major stand-out aspect of this company is its ability to use crowdfunding as old-school market research and as an invaluable part of research and development, a sense of loyalty and also as a huge part of sales and sales predictions.
Ferris Wheel Press ‘voiced’ their initial Kickstarter campaign with the sense of the brand directly communicating with the reader as an individual, they sold their concept as more than a product but a lifestyle and ‘way of being’ which related closely to the ethos developed by Lau-Yu and the team from Palettera with deep connection being attached to objects and their use rather than a detached consumption of products.
‘Because you are reading this, you are likely one of few in the world who understands the joy and connection that happens when pen meets paper. You know that the connection goes beyond what is physical, and extends to your inner thoughts, fears, dreams, and beyond. We are on the same page, which is why Ferris Wheel Press has one simple mission: to help everyone Fall in Love with Writing Again. We are so glad you've chosen to be a part of our mission! Following the successful introduction of our Brush Fountain Pen, we are now launching a collection of premium fountain pen inks that are the perfect desktop companion to any aspiring stationery lover.’
Their first Kickstarter campaign saw their target funds reached in just 8 hours! Even after the target was reached, backers continued to show their support for the company and the campaign gained a lot of attention.
The entire experience is one of whimsy and delight. But behind the pizazz and magic lies well designed and beautifully crafted products which would be well received even without the awe and wonder of the ‘brand’.
The first release of bottled inks was for three distinct colours; Tanzanite Sky, Bluegrass Velvet and Candy Marsala each of which were presented in unusual (hot air) balloon shaped bottles with the same brass nut style lid as the brush pen, as well as being a voluminous 85ml.
All packaging is designed and created in-house by Ferris Wheel Press which adds to the charm but also corresponds with their ‘purposeful’ packaging ideal whereby all packaging is recyclable as well as being reusable in a desirable way. Even the insides of their packaging are highly aesthetically pleasing and this certainly helps with the promotion of the brand due to its ‘instagrammable’ image and social media worthiness.
Mid 2019, Ferris Wheel Press expanded their product line to include a range of notebooks, folios and notecards which featured the now recognisable styling of the Ferris Wheel Press artistic flair which is created in house by a team of artists and graphic designers.
Ferris Wheel Press have designed a lovely folio cover for their 'The Always Right' and 'nothing left' notebook. It has been crafted from Fether™, Ferris Wheel's top grade cruelty free vegan leather. Fether™ was developed by Ferris Wheel Press to out-perform top grade animal leather and is highly resistant to tear, abrasion, water, discolouration and ageing whilst also being softer than traditional leathers.
In short we can deduce that the super speedy success of Ferris Wheel Press is down to; 1. Fantastic products 2. Incredible aesthetic design of products and packaging 3.fulfils the needs of an emerging market 4. Brilliant ,marketing strategies and finally (and maybe most importantly) 5. A two way relationship with consumers…using social media and crowdfunding for their product development and continuing communication with the end user to make sure that products work for those who buy them - it's a winning combination.
Don't just take our word for it… Explore the full selection of Ferris Wheel Press Pens, Stationery and Accessories at The Hamilton Pen Company.
Ferris Wheel Favourites
Join Little Red Riding Hood on her way to Grandmother's house, with her red cloak and care basket of goodies. Watch out for the Big Bad Wolf as you traipse through the underbrush of the deep green forest, with only scattered silvery light peeking through the canopy to light your way.
The Scribe ballpoint pen from Ferris Wheel Press is a ubiquitious writing instrument for the fanciful jotter, journaller, sketcher and dreamer! Emanating the weight of your words with a robust copper body construction, and an intricately engraved brass cap drawn from vintage printmaking machinery. Paired with the most vibrant expression of colours inspired by the midway, The Scribe ballpoint pen will empower your every writing experience.
Ferris Wheel Press Ink Charger Sets include three 5ml vials of ink. Each set comes in a curated palette of 3 colours, and are a firm favourite for their portability and collectability.
These are the perfect selection for customers who would like to dabble with multiple inks.
The Carousel is a joyous writing instrument that combines tactility and nostalgia in a lightweight body to create a charming experience with every single detail. The all new custom-ground steel nib is playful and agile, able to produce beautifully nuanced lines with its subtle flexibility. Available in both fine and medium widths, the new nib is stamped with a galloping horse that dances to your every word.
Each Carousel fountain pen comes equipped with its own ink converter, ready to be filled and refilled all over again with your favourite Ferris Wheel Press Ink.
The Ferris Wheel Press Sketchbook provides a blank canvas made for creatives, illustrators, artists and dreamers!
Imbue your most wondrous ideas on 240 pages of high quality, 160gsm, pH neutral acid-free paper. The Sketchbook features an accordion pocket to keep all your inspirations at hand, and you'll always find your way with a plump 23mm grosgrain ribbon place marker.
The Sketchbook pages measure 190mm x 250mm and is available in a range of 4 subtle colours.