Have you heard of Poppin? It’s an online office supply shop that launched just one year ago and features all those standard office staples (like staplers, pens, notebooks and desk accessories) in simple plastics and coordinating colors. They are even stocking desk chairs, tables and desks and filing cabinets.
The best thing about Poppin is, if you have a favorite color like me, you can browse their office products by color. If you prefer to search for specific product lines like pens, notebooks or desk accessories, you can also do that. The other big plus for Poppin? There’s very little branding on their products. Everything has a simple classic look. Pens are just pens. There isn’t a lot of branding, logos or weird “decorative” elements. A pen looks like a pen. Its the closest thing we Americans have to mail-order Muji products.
The folks at Poppin kindly sent me a few samples to try out and indoctrinate me into the world of Poppin. They sent me a dozen sunny yellow ballpoints (filled with black ink) and a medium softcover notebook in pool blue — the perfect colors for a sunny, summer day.
They sent me a box of twelve, sunny yellow ballpoint pens. The pen barrels are a smooth yellow plastic with the Poppin brand name stamped in white at the end of the pen. The clip is metal, painted to match the body. I love the clean simple look. Even the box that the pens shipped in was aesthetically appealing.
If you’ve read this blog for any time, you’ll know ballpoints rank up there with visits to the dental hygienist in things I like. So, setting my ballpoint biases aside, I test drove it. I was pleasantly surprised. It was not up to the high standards set by a Uni Jetstream but for a standard ballpoint, it wrote well and did not appear to skip or clump. The cap posts on the end of the pen so I didn’t loose the cap while writing and the pen is light enough that the cap didn’t make it too unwieldy.
If you need to keep a jar of pens on your desk or counter, being able to select from the ten colors available from Poppin would definitely be an appealing option. A box of 12 sells for $10 which is higher than a box of Bic Stics by three times but these are far nicer to look at without breaking the bank.
Poppin also sells gel pens in a capped and retractable version which I look forward to trying soon.
I also received a medium softcover notebook in pool blue. The notebook is in my favorite size, the standard A5 (5″x8.25″) and the price is write when compared with a Moleskine: $9 vs $19. The covers are similar to the Moleskine softcovers and the vertical elastic, gusseted pocket in the back, and ribbon bookmark are all present. What Poppin brings to the table with their interpretation of this classic is color-coordinated elastics, ten colors to choose from, and a slender orange grosgrain ribbon with sealed end so it won’t fray.
The big surprise was inside. The paper has unusual ruling marks making it great for meeting notes, checklists or daily journaling. The paper is a bright white and weightier than Moleskine which is another plus. I’d compare the paper weight to the stock used in a Leuchtturm or the Piccadilly. It’s not as refined as Rhodia or Clairfontaine but a good step up from the tissue Moleskine passes off as paper.
I would compare the printed line widths to the standard “college ruled” which is similar to the Moleskine lined paper. If you prefer wider ruled paper, this may be a bit narrow.
I decided to use only pens that properly color coordinated with the bright pool blue of the notebook which looked lovely with my swath of lime green writing implements. The paper handled fine nibbed fountain pen ink fine as well as an assortment of everyday writing tools like rollerballs, gel ink, felt tip and pencil.
From the reverse of the paper, the only hint of show-through was the Ohto Graphic Liner. Once I tested it, I knew that a big juicy alcohol-based ink like a Sharpie Marker would definitely leave marks on the back of the page so I didn’t test them. I don’t think many people use Sharpie markers as note-taking tools so its probably not a make-or-break issue. Overall, I was pleased with the paper quality for the price. It withstood some fountain pen ink without splining or feathering as well as all those gel inks that I like to use in meetings. Now, to pick a color-coordinated multi-pen body to make this notebook my go-to for meetings and classes!
The same notebook design is in the smaller 3.5×5.5″ pocket size, in the same array of ten colors for only $6 or you could try the monogram version which offers your initial, foil stamped on the front of your notebook. I think the black notebook with gold initial looks pretty posh for $6.
Overall, I’m pleased with the quality of the Poppin products and I look forward to trying some other items soon. It looks like they are adding new products everyday in preparation for back-to-school too like magical markers, crayons and calculators. Orders over $35 include free shipping so I think I’ll add a few things to my cart quick.
Have you tried Poppin? What has been your favorite product?