School Supplies

Choice Back-to-School Supplies for the Design-Forward Kid

Japanese erasers, statement pencils, a whale stapler from Italy, lay-flat notebooks, and more from Portland shops

By Julia Silverman August 25, 2022 Published in the September 2022 issue of Portland Monthly

Baggu puffer (from top), Lihit Labs pencil pouch, Write Sketch & notebooks, Poketo scissors, Blackwing pencils, a whale eraser from Italy, and a Seed eraser from Japan

Image: Michael Novak

Send your design-savvy student back to school with some of these fresh supplies available at local shops, or pick up a way-better-than-an-apple first-day-back gift for their favorite teacher. (No students in the house? You have our permission to get yourself a cool notebook just because!) 

Tuck your kiddo’s lunch—or your own—into this cheery, Miami-vibes puffer from ecoconscious Baggu; it’s insulated to keep everything cool until cafeteria time. The Yo! Store, 935 NW 19th Ave, $38

Keep all your finds together in this cat’s meow of a zippered, flexible-sided pen and pencil pouch from Lihit Labs. Columbia Art & Drafting Supply, 1515 E Burnside St, $19.99

Down with bland, spiral-bound notebooks, up with these color-blocked beauties from Italy’s Write Sketch &, with creamy paper that makes notetaking seem fun ... almost (plus lay-flat, thread-sewn binding). Little Otsu, 3225 SE Division St, $12

LA-based Poketo makes these lightweight scissors that are pretty enough to display on any maker’s highly curated desk. Paper Epiphanies, 2501 SE Clinton St, $22

These statement pencils from Blackwing, with their distinctive rectangular erasers, are made from West Coast cedar that the company says makes them easy to sharpen. Extra points for that new pencil smell. Little Otsu, $3.50 each

Yes, this bright orange, made-in-Italy stapler does resemble a whale and it can staple together up to 20 pages. We’re in love. Little Otsu, $25

This retro-looking eraser from Japanese company Seed may not be shaped like a trendy avocado or a koala bear, but it’s made of bendy material that won’t wear down to a nub in a week. Little Otsu, $1.50