These days you can write an entire book without a pen or paper using your laptop, but when it comes to other activities like running a business or going to school, using different stationery products is a requirement.

Getting Started

Before you even start finding manufacturers, you have to decide on a business model. Are you going with a retail shop or online. Or are you going to open a stall in a flea market, perhaps targeting lower income people.

Retail is most risky you have to find a proper location for your store. This business doesn’t require large investments in advertising, but your store must be located near schools, offices, not in a rural area. And you obviously need money for stock.

Choosing the correct office location may decide your ultimate success in business more than low prices and friendly sellers or anything else. For example if you can be close to a business hub and there are not a lot of stationary shops close by you will get a lot of clients.

List of Products To Stock

Your stock will be split between consumables, materials and equipment.

There are hundreds of products you can stock and sell. The most popular of them are:

  • pens;
  • pencils;
  • erasers;
  • scissors;
  • staplers with staples;
  • highlighters;
  • permanent markers;
  • paper clips;
  • tape dispensers
  • Paper and various boards (One of the most popular products to sell is A4 paper.)
  • Punches
  • Books, examination pads

Then you can also look at various other office equipment and related

Lamination machines and pouches
Binding machines and binders

Finding Suppliers

There are two options local and import:

  1. Find manufacturers, importers and wholesale suppliers within South Africa. While there are some products made in SA, a lot of the stationery products are made outside South Africa.
  2. Find wholesale suppliers in China and other companies that manufacture stationary at low cost.


Selling Online

You also expand your business by selling stuff online.  In this case, you will need to build a website, promote it in search engines and buy ads from Google.

You can have a website built using a platform such as WooCommerce or you can use a turnkey platform such as Shopify, which is a great platform for online selling but has a monthly fee that may be higher than using your own hosting company.

Another option is selling your stuff on other websites, such as Takelot (they have steep fees for storage so you might want to sell on lead time, make sure you know what commission they take). Watch a video on how to start a stationery business online