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The idea behind London Letters is simple: to create stylish and sustainable stationery that encourages you to write more often.
London Letters is a petite stationery atelier, pen pal club and calligraphy studio run by Jennifer Bishop (hello!).
The company began its life in 2019, in the spare room of my flat in London. After being furloughed from my job during the pandemic, and finding life was becoming too chaotic, I returned to the hobbies I enjoyed most to help slow things down.
From a young age, letter writing was a hobby instilled in me by my parents. After any birthday or Christmas, my parents would insist that I write my thank you letters to show my appreciation to loved ones. Initially reluctant to spend any more time than necessary at my desk, once I got started, I'd format the letter neatly, add my own personal touch to the design (in hindsight, quite questionable designs), and would always receive heartfelt gratitude back from recipients. It became enjoyable. And slowly but surely, this tradition became a habit, and one that's stuck with me today.
From there, I'd often write letters to friends and family, but my main joy came from birthday cards. One year I decided I'd write down everyone's birthdays that I loved the most and made a vow to send a card in time for them to receive it either before or on their special day. To me, there was something magical about a birthday card. The idea that someone had thought about you ahead of your day, and wanted to make you feel as though you had been considered. That they had taken time to devote a little message to you. I wanted everyone I loved to know that I had thought of them in that way too. And as the world moves more towards digital and instant messaging, this has only become more important to me.
One day in circa 2015 I discovered calligraphy. A friend of mine was getting married, and asked me along to a modern calligraphy workshop so she could write her own placecards. We sampled a dip pen for the first time, and learned about how to create these beautiful shapes with them. I loved it. After the workshop I came home with my writing tools and practiced relentlessly. It was so calming, and it only added to my love of writing letters and creating cards, because now I could make them look pretty too. It was the perfect hobby for me.
After a couple of years of happy practice, through sheer serendipity, I discovered a job advertisement for a role in a London-based wedding and calligraphy studio. I applied, quite boldly, having never professionally worked in this field, but it was a role I'd dreamed of and couldn't resist taking my chances. By some miracle, I was given the job. I adored it. I learned so much about design, paper, the world of weddings, couples, stationery, pens, calligraphy, books and more, and it propelled me into this new career.
And so, back to 2019, where this all began. The pandemic hit, and I was furloughed from my job that I adored so much. And then, even more heartbreakingly, was made redundant as the company closed. At a bit of a loss for where to go career-wise, it was my partner Martyn who suggested I try something on my own. A million doubts and reasons not to do it circled my mind for months. But in the end, I took a leap of faith, and the company was born.
The first product was our pen pal club, which started off with just a few trusting and enthusiastic customers, and has now grown to over 600 members worldwide, and is growing every week.
From there, we were able to purchase a hot foil stamping machine, which enabled us to create our own handprinted cards and notes, which quickly became a passion and we now make some of the most beautiful pieces from it.
We then introduced a letter writing subscription - a monthly delivery of greeting cards, writing inspiration and letter paper all designed to encourage more letters to be sent.
And from there, the company has grown into all aspects of letter writing delights. From greeting cards, to beautiful writing tools, to personalised stationery, wedding stationery, notebooks, diaries and more. We pride ourselves on sourcing quality paper goods as sustainably as possible. Our style is minimalist, with a focus on beautiful foils and luxury papers. Through calligraphy, we've worked with some of the most wonderful luxury brands who want to give their customers the handwritten touch, and back at home, we've left London and have now been able to move into our own proper studio, based in rural Oxfordshire.
For me, slowing down to write feels like the perfect antidote to the fast-paced, digital world we're living in, and I believe that writing has never been more important. Receiving mail is a rare pleasure and something I want to preserve for future generations.
If you like the sound of what we do, then we'd love to hear from you. You can email us at email@example.com or follow @thelondonletters on Instagram, or sign up to our newsletter for updates from the studio. You can also write to us at:
London Letters Postbox, PO Box 1659, Oxford, OX4 9PY
Yours in letters for now,
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