It sure can get dull sitting at the desk all day, especially if all you’re faced with is mountains of homework waiting to be done. There just might be a fix for that perpetual mid-afternoon slump; and it comes in quirky pen-holders and nostalgia-drenched notebooks for penning your musings and appointments in. Be it to refresh your weekday productivity grind or to complete your hipster aesthetic, here are seven homegrown stationery brands that offer offbeat alternatives to your typical pen and paper – just in time for the back-to-school season!

Actseed Co.

Actseed Co

Ditch the no-nonsense black notebooks for something a little softer on the eyes instead; especially if they’re done in pastel washes of colour the way Actseed Co. does. They’ve got offerings in classic marble and stone, alongside self-designed prints like Tangerine Quartz and Becka, and mosaics of colour that are pretty but understated. If it’s a desk table pick-me-up you need, browse their brush-lettered prints in housemade wood frames, for a touch of homeliness in your space and a gentle boost to the dreary heart. The design studio creates pretty stationery while giving back too, and makes donations from every sale to social organisations like Babes and the Children’s Cancer Foundation.

Poptsie Paper Co

Poptsie Paper Co

True paper junkies know that there isn’t much else more intimate and personal than to receive heartfelt words in hand-lettered print, and that’s what Trudy of Poptsie Paper Co is preserving in this internet age. Think tailoring but for your stationery, perfect for special, dreamy occasions. Combining the timeless elegance of floral blooms with the delicate flourishes of calligraphy, it’s what you’d think old-timey letters looked like; complete with a wax seal. Though their botanical collection is yet to be released, you can ogle their works of art on Instagram – including gold calligraphy on vintage porcelain.

The Farm Store

The Farm Store

Go full hipster with The Farm Store’s curated selection of local-flavoured lifestyle products, and you’ll never have to worry about being basic with your stationery again. The first store to promote and curate products from homegrown lifestyle design labels, think witty puns and clever local references on the fronts of your notebooks, like the Streaming Exercise Book set that highlights the meritocratic principle and resulting elitism of the local education system. Apart from laksa-motif paper goods though, you can also adorn your desk with trinkets like the Merlion Plastic Bag Holder, that pays homage to the iconic Merlion-printed white bags that used to come with every purchase. It’s nostalgia and local pride, tastefully incorporated.

The Paper Bunny

The Paper Bunny

You might already recognise this brand for their leather-bound yearly planners and aesthetically pleasing desk planners, but what you might not know is that they were borne on local shores. With a large offering of stationery that’s modern and well-made, The Paper Bunny is a welcome upgrade for your stationery game – they’ve even got a fabric-bound notebook foiled with a classic Coldplay line (yes, lights will guide you home) for subtle fan merch. Old-schoolers can upgrade their letter-writing too, with a plethora of notecard designs to choose from.

WheniwasFour

WheniwasFour

Embodied in their adorably christened brand name, the folks at WheniwasFour pay homage to the wonderment and nostalgia of our childhood past. They believe in the premise of simple happiness, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with their array of eclectic stationery – reminisce childhood memories with the cheekily illustrated Ngh Ngh or Pom Pom notebooks, or an adorable Paper Boat pencil case. Who says growing up has to be all serious business and no fun?

xHundredFold

xHundredfold

We love a good local brand, and one that champions social causes we love even more. Singapore-based and now offering worldwide shipping, xHundredFold supplies creative originality with a conscience, with every purchase going into helping the less fortunate. Here you’ll get quaint patterned notebooks and postcards, or their in-house designed #buildabag kits – they’ll donate one to an underprivileged child when you get one for yourself. Go ahead, stationery junkies, fill that shopping cart guilt-free.

Youniverse Design & Co.

Youniverse Design

Arm yourself for bad days at the office, with adorable themed stationery on hand as an immediate mood-booster. At Youniverse Design & Co., you’ve got classic favourites like cartoon sloths and unicorns, but it’s the locally-inspired Kopi-O-Gau notebook that will capture the hearts of coffee and dog lovers alike. Grab yourself a Piak Piak sticker pack too, just because cute pugs and kitties deserve an appearance anywhere and everywhere.

A version of this article first appeared on SG Magazine.

More related stories: Cute Stationery You Totally Don’t Need (But Definitely Want)Refresh Your Study Space With These 7 DIY Ideas That Are Aesthetic AF Yet Practical

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, a side hustler or just someone who can’t get motivated working from home, these stylish coworking spaces will keep your Monday blues at bay.

The Working Capitol 

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Address: 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109 

Taking over the historic AIA building, The Working Capitol merges five shophouses into one giant coworking space. An open-concept interior spanning 33,000 square feet, it’s blessed with an abundance of natural light from the shuttered windows, despite the fact that it’s decked out in a mandatory whitewashed colour scheme. It also has private offices, meeting rooms and a dedicated events venue with flexible pricing plans: a day pass is $38 and a monthly plan of $425 grants you unlimited 24-hour access to a workspot. In need of some after-work entertainment? There’s even a beer garden and three restaurants where you can host company dinners and team happy hours.

For more information, head over to www.theworkingcapitol.com

Clubco

Coworking_ClubCo_Collaborative3

Address: China Court #01-05/06, Singapore 048422 

Ever needed a coworking space on-demand? This centrally-located collaborative space lets you drop in and drop out whenever you want with flexible passes and plans ranging from $35 to $500, while still allowing more permanency with dedicated memberships starting from $750. The best part? You can redeem your paid value at adjoining restaurant Club Meatballs, which means you get to enjoy delicious grub and beverages for free when you’re on the job, technically. Not a bad deal if you ask us!

For more information, head over to clubco.spaces.nexudus.com

NuSpace Singapore 

nuspace06

Address51, Changi Business Park Central 2 #02-06, Singapore 486066 

The only one to provide a free space (yes, free!) to work from, NuSpace at Changi Business Park is perfect for remote working on the fly without the burden of commitment – and it doesn’t end there. A fully-stocked pantry with complimentary coffee and snacks is also available, complete with free Wi-Fi, a foosball table and plenty of networking opportunities with regular tech talks, workshops and events. The only catch? It’s free for one year for all Nulab account member sign-ups (which is also free) only.

For more information, head over to nuspace.nulab.com!

The Work Project 

TWP 3

Address: OUE Downtown Gallery #04-01, Singapore 068815 

In its newest branch in the OUE Downtown Gallery, Hong Kong-born The Work Project boasts a staggering 230 private workstations, 100 hot desks and 120 collaborative spaces – the largest inventory of facilities in the coworking scene in Singapore. Prioritising design to improve work experience, the office space is decorated to the standard of five-star hotels. For $295 (part-time) or $395 (full-time) per month, members can enjoy refreshments from Japanese coffee brand Omotesando Koffee and food retailer The Providore while they get down to work, as both have stations located within the space.

For more information, head over to www.theworkproject.com

SmartSpace 

Smart-Space-Waterloo-02-1170x738

Address: Waterloo Centre #03-32, Singapore 180261 

This is another one of the cool shared spaces at arts enclave Bras Basah – a huge 8,000 square feet space with meeting rooms, kitchen areas, work stations, private desks and even a leisure corner for a game of table tennis. Accessible per hour booking rates with work stations start from $30 a day and go up to $600 a month. Besides serving as a coworking space, the folks at SmartSpace also open up their space for events, seminars and workshops so hit ’em up if you’re looking to collaborate!

For more information, head over to www.smartspace.com.sg

Mox 

Mox 1

Address451 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427664 

An original addition to the coworking space scene, Mox is Singapore’s first and largest independent design resource workspace. Designed with the creative communities in mind, the self-touted co-making space provides novel facilities such as 3D printers, laser cutters, carpentry machines and work stations equipped with design software. There’s also a sewing room stocked with industrial-grade machines and a photography studio that comes with backdrop and lighting equipment, at added rental costs. Plans range from $30 for a day pass to $500 month for a private office, so startups and businesses at any level can join to enjoy the facilities.

For more information, head over to www.themox.co

Camelia & Co 

Camelia

Address: 4 Jalan Klapa, Singapore 199316 

Housed within three floors of shophouse space along Jalan Klapa, is the cosy and charming Camelia & Co. It may not be the biggest one in town, but its pastel-cool aesthetic and proximity to Kampong Glam will likely attract a more creative, hip and young crowd of coworkers. On the first two floors are a good mix of private offices, dedicated desks and hot desks – The Daily Sphere, starting from $25 for a day pass; and The Daily Grind, $400 a month for hot desks – while the more luxurious third floor ($720 a month for dedicated desks) is entirely set aside for a company to take over.

For more information, head over to www.cameliaco.sg

Paperwork 

paperwork_ndc-3

Address111 Middle Road, National Design Centre, Singapore 188969 

Occupying the third floor at the National Design Centre, Paperwork is a co-creation venue opened by design studio Paperspace with the aim of fostering a cohesive collaborative environment. It has a maximum capacity of 60 spread across standing desks, hot desks, meeting areas and virtual offices. Movable partitioning and modular furniture make redecorating to accommodate meetings and working capsules easy. Prices range from $40 for a day pass to $1,600 per month for your own private suite.

For more information, head over to sg.paperwork.asia/singapore

WeWork

webimage-29C43252-0BB6-40C9-A3CBF065DFB7D431

Address109 North Bridge Road, Singapore 179097 

There are plenty of branches of WeWork in Singapore, with more openings in the works, making them one of the most prevalent coworking brands in town. Besides gaining access to this global network by being a member, other reasons to choose WeWork include trendy working areas, unique conference rooms and a pantry well stocked with refreshments and micro-roast coffee. For their latest Funan space, you also get access to a rooftop terrace and a farm-to-table restaurant. Prices vary according to location, starting from $450 per month for hot desking.

For more information, head over to www.wework.com

A version of this article first appeared on SG Magazine.

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Not one to settle for a regular desk job? From a jagua tattoo artist to a professional cosplayer, take inspiration from these five individuals who are carving their own career paths by taking the road less travelled.

Louis Sue, 26, pole dancer

11-ZEUS

Gravity-defying stunts, jaw-dropping tricks and hours of strength training are all in a day’s work for Louis Sue, who’s one of the few professional male pole dancers in Singapore. Often regarded as a feminine dance form, the dance instructor of PXD Pole Studio defies traditional norms by inspiring more men to take up the sport. To share his passion with the masses, the budding champ even took part in Asia’s Got Talent where he impressed the judges with his undeniable talent.

On picking up the unconventional sport: 

“I was looking to do something that incorporated both fitness and dance. Watching professional pole dancers defy gravity with seemingly impossible tricks really drew me in. I told myself to give it a try and signed up for a trial class. In my first lesson, I could already see how supportive the community is and how elegant yet strong pole dancers are. Just like that, I fell in love with the sport.”

On breaking gender stereotypes: 

“Although pole dancing is still considered a female-dominated dance form, more and more guys are starting to enter the scene and creating a style of their own. In fact, we see about two to three males in each of our classes now, compared to almost none previously.”

On the local pole dance scene:

“I feel that pole dancing has become more widely accepted as a sport in Singapore. Even through there’s definitely a fair share of people who are still unaware of what pole dancing is about, I hope that we can continue to share our passion with the masses.”

On tips for beginners: 

“The main struggle isn’t the lack of strength or flexibility, but rather the fear of trying. Much like any other sport, all you have to do is take the first step; everything else can be built progressively over the course of this sport. Just give it a go, you won’t regret it!”

Ng See Min, 24, Jagua Tattoo Artist 

Ng See Min

See Min is not your average tattoo artist. The founder behind Henndrawn, the NUS sociology graduate prides herself as the first ever jagua tattoo artist in Singapore. For the uninitiated, she specialises in using organic fruit-based ink to create stunningly realistic body art. The catch: it lasts for just two weeks, but you get the freedom to try out something new each time. With her eye for detail and penchant for experimenting with diverse styles, her bold yet tasteful designs are sure to make a unique statement.

On using art as a coping mechanism: 

“When I was 18, I was really stressed out from A’Levels so I resorted to art as a creative outlet. I’ve been drawing all my life, and got introduced to the idea of tattoos by my favourite celebrities like Jolin Tsai. However, my mother didn’t allow me to get a real tattoo thus I decided to innovate and began doing temporary tattoos.”

On changing the perception towards tattoos:

“While focusing on my own problem of not being able to have tattoos, I accidentally solved the problems of others. It then dawned on me that a natural curiosity and demand for jagua tattoos was created due to the social stigma of tattoos in Singapore. I want people to realise that having tattoos doesn’t change who you are as a person. In fact, it might even help to bring out one’s unique identity.”

On the most fulfilling experience she’s had: 

“It’s easy to forget that every client comes to us with a purpose for the tattoo. So I created a movement called #OurMessageToYou where we encourage people to share their stories with us in exchange for a tattoo. Through the intimate exchanges, we realised the healing power of jagua tattoos and what we can bring to our clients.”

On advice for aspiring body artists: 

“Listen to your heart. If you want something, nothing can ever stop you. When you start to fear, it’s a sign to actually do it because it means you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone.”

Lee Yee Kien, 22, Street Musician

Yee Kien Performing

A mathematics and economics student by day and busker by night, Yee Kien is part of an emerging group of individuals who aren’t afraid to make the city their stage. When he’s not performing to the tunes of Ed Sheeran and JJ Lin on the streets, the talented music- maker can be found showcasing his beatboxing skills in local and regional competitions, even bagging a couple of awards from it. So, the next time you pass by a busker, stop for a moment… and listen.

On his personal musical style:  

“My personal style in music is pretty niche; even though it covers a wide range of genres, my style of delivery is all through my vocal chords. Beats, you got it. Guitar, coming right up. Er-hu? Violins? Electric guitar? All me! I use this arsenal of sounds I’ve picked up over the years, input it into my looper and fit it into the songs I sing. I’m essentially a one-man acapella band!”

On his most memorable audience interaction: 

“Once, I was busking near the residential area and someone complained so two police officers came to investigate. I thought my busking license was going to be revoked, but to my surprise, the police officer gave me a pat on the back and said, ‘Bro, you were awesome! Keep doing what you do.’ Those words of encouragement meant a lot to me and it inspired me to keep going.”

On an important life lesson: 

“I’ve learned that passion is what makes the world go round. Buskers may be on the streets for different reasons, but they are all there with one common purpose: to spread their passion to the world. When you actually stop and listen to one, you can most definitely feel their passion, and that drive is what makes people do what they do.”

On plucking up courage: 

“It sounds cliche, but I would say: just do it. It gets easier after you sing the first song, so take the courage to make the first step. If you’re hungry and you wanted food from the coffeeshop across the road, but you chose not to because you fear getting run over by a car, you’ll never get your food. Remember, there will always be people stopping to watch you perform and that’s all that matters.”

Lyn Ng, 27, Wood Crafter 

Lyn Profile

When you think of a carpenter, you’d picture big, often older men with calloused hands. For someone who wields heavy machinery on the daily, modern-day wood designer Lyn Ng is far from your typical carpenter, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t down to tough it out. After calling it quits at her high-paying marketing job, she packed her bags for a six-month stint in Taiwan where she learned the art of wood design. As one of the few female wood designers in Singapore, Lyn aspires to showcase her love for the craft through her personal brand, Studio MU YU.

On making her career switch:

“I was in this burnout phase as I was stuck in a cycle of working from 9am to 1am almost every day for three weeks. I never felt accomplished, so I decided to seek advice from my mentor and she told me, ‘If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll eventually find the time and effort to make it happen.’ And that was what encouraged me to quit my desk job to pursue something I’m passionate about: woodworking.”

On making carpentry great again:

“Carpentry is not just meant for the experienced veterans, but for everyone. There are plenty of woodworking workshops in the market right now and I think it’s a good start for anybody who’s bold enough to take on a skill that is out of the norm.”

On setting up her own business:

“I first took up an apprenticeship at a local studio, where I realised that many small pieces of wood are discarded along the production line. Building on the values of minimising waste and creating products that don’t undercut workers, this inspired me to conceptualise my first series of sustainable accessories for modern women known as Studio MU YU.”

On overcoming initial challenges: 

“I have male relatives who told me that I couldn’t make it far in this field, which made me second guess myself thinking if I am really cut out to learn this ‘masculine’ skill. But I’m lucky to have met so many like-minded carpenters who taught and guided me along the way. Having started my own brand, I feel even more empowered to embrace challenges and turn it into a story of my own.”

Rea Kami, 22, Cosplayer 

IMG_8568

Cosplayers are aplenty, but few are able to successfully turn their geeky past time into a steady cash flow – just take it from Rea Kami. What started as a sheer love for anime has flourished into a burgeoning career for this young cosplayer, who makes a living from designing and styling herself as characters from Overwatch, Evangelion, Fate etc. for major cosplay conventions all over the world. Check out @reakami on Instagram for more of her works!

On getting into cosplay:

“I was a big fan of anime when I was around 7 to 9 years old; edgier series like Hell Girl, Death Note and Bleach were all the rage during that period. But it wasn’t until my secondary school days that I started developing an interest in this hobby, after being introduced to the world of cosplay by a junior.”

 On cosplay misconceptions: 

“Not all female cosplayers do NSFW (not safe for work) content. Many people jump onto the risque elements of cosplay the moment I say I’m a cosplayer. On the contrary, I take pride that my work is mostly SFW.”

On building her fanbase: 

“It’s all about staying organic and interacting with your followers regularly! The aim is to build a safe community where fans can rave and discuss about their interests, be it anime or game appreciation.”

On a typical day off: 

“I binge-watch Netflix and catch up on anime series to get inspiration for my content. I also attend weekly Dungeons & Dragons gaming sessions with my friends!”

On venturing out:

“Prior to cosplay, I was actually more interested in voice work and it was my first career choice. Cosplay just became an avenue successful enough for me to fully venture out into! In the future, I would also love to try making videos on beauty content using my cosplay knowledge.”

This article was adapted from Teenage Portfolio 2019. For more inspirational stories, be sure to pick up a copy of our latest issue, out on newsstands now!

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If there’s one thing that gets you into the mood for work, it’s stationery. Whether you’re stocking up on back-to-school supplies or simply want to spruce up your desk, you’ve turned to the right page. We’ve got you covered with some quirky, on-trend knick-knacks that are the perfect excuse to go stationery shopping.

Speech Bubble Adhesive Notepad

Square notepads are so basic – we’d double tap on these adorable speech bubble sticky notes any day.

Shop this: Speech Bubble Adhesive Notepad, $10, kikki.K

Lightmark Lamp Bookmark, $12.90, Naiise

Need a reason to get back into the habit of reading? Shaped just like a lamp, this bookmark makes the otherwise mundane act of flipping pages all the more enjoyable.

Shop this: Lightmark Lamp Bookmark, $12.90, Naiise

Pastel Sequin Ball Pen, $6.48, ASOS

Who doesn’t want a sequin ball pen in their pencil case? Oh, and it’s pastel – major love.

Shop this: Pastel Sequin Ball Pen, $6.48, ASOS

Pom Pom Push Pins, $2.78, ASOS

These fluffy little guys are great for hanging up your favourite photos, inspirational quotes or important documents in style.

Shop this: Pom Pom Push Pins, $2.78, ASOS

Cool Avocado Sharpener, $7.99, Typo

Be that cool kid in school with an avocado sharpener whom everyone wants to be friends with – just remember to always ask for it back.

Shop this: Cool Avocado Sharpener, $7.99, Typo

Marvel Pen Holder, $17.99, Typo

This one’s for the Marvel aficionados. Why opt for an ordinary pen holder when you can house all your writing instruments within Captain America’s almighty shield?

Shop this: Marvel Pen Holder, $17.99, Typo 

Pilot Pen Juice Paint

Fancy getting crafty? Available in a variety of vibrant hues, the Pilot Pen Juice Paint water-based markers are fun and versatile to use – it marks on most surfaces and is ideal for DIY activities! For those who are keen on getting your hands on these babies, why not take it up a notch by signing up for our hand lettering workshop? Psst… it’s free!

Shop this: Pilot Pen Juice Paint Marker, $2.90 to $34.65, all Tokyu Hands and selected NBC & Times Bookstores

More related stories: 7 Fun & Easy DIY Ideas To Refresh Your Study SpaceFollow These Local #Studygrams Accounts For A Dose Of Inspiration

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There is no escaping the fact – studying is inherently boring. Unless you’re truly without other hobbies during your own free time, no one wants to willingly spend time poring over wordy textbooks or memorising a thick stack of notes.

In recent times, however, there has been a community of students who are looking to change this fact. Taking social media platform Instagram – more often than not seen as a distraction – as their medium, they have begun beautifying and snapping shots of their study notes, pairing their cursive notes and colourful diagrams with adorable pieces of stationery to brighten up the image.

These “studygrams”, as they have been stylised, have turned distractions into study motivators. Not only are the ones creating the notes taking the time to read through their study materials and recreate them in style, others would be inspired to create their own notes as well. The stationery recommendations are a plus too – after all, you can trust these “studygrammers” to know where to pick up the prettiest sets of writing tools for the most aesthetic-pleasing setup.

Need some inspiration? Here are a bunch of gorgeous local #studygram accounts that are sure to keep you motivated.

@studyrella

Managed by engineering university student Corrine, this feed offers detailed algebra notes with a smattering of Marvel-related spreads in the journals. Pastel stationery and items also make an occasional appearance.

@studyscript

The focus of Zee’s spreads – also known as bujo (an acronym of bullet journal) – is the neat, printed style of the paragraphs, along with a bright cursive header and coloured biology diagrams.

@studyeevee

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

woah new chem notes!!! hope you had a good week :-)

A post shared by vivien 🌸🌿🌙 (@studyeevee) on

Named after the beloved Pokemon mascot opposite of Pikachu, Vivien’s minimalist spreads with a black cursive script come enhanced with dried flowers and pleasing stationery sets for a well-organised feed.

@mochistudies

Unlike the other well-lit studygrams, the junior college student behind @mochistudies makes use of shades and natural sunlight for their notes in various ink colours.

@soyistudying

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

am still totally alive

A post shared by 馨 im bAck! (@soyistudying) on

Instead of a pure studygram account, @soyistudying’s feed also includes snapshots of charming stationery sets, plushes and the intermittent Muji shopping bag. Spot a Starbucks cup or two among the pictures.

@cloudyymoons

Simply having study notes on your socials isn’t your thing? You can check out @cloudyymoons’ various concert, travel and month-related works among their school notes, which are highlighted in soft, cool colours throughout the feed.

@xzzstudii

One of the most uniform feeds around, this account puts the focus on clean scripts. Each set of notes are done in just two colours – black and whichever shade that suits their fancy for the day – which may appear to be simple, but is effective in highlighting its unpretentious style.

More related stories: 7 Fun & Easy DIY Ideas To Refresh Your Study SpaceStudents Share Their Tried-And-Tested Study Hacks

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