I needed a new notebook and a few other studying supplies for my Korean language learning and it just felt right to use Korean stationery and school supplies for that. It wasn’t as easy finding them as I thought, and I wasted a lot of time searching, so at the bottom of this post I summarise how I finally managed to make an online order of everything I needed without going bankrupt.
It’s really difficult to resist going on an online shopping spree after seeing all those beautiful blogs that post their perfect pictures of perfect stationery with perfect filters on social media. (Here’s my attempt: )
Still, I’ve been very worried about climate change these last few years and became aware of the impact of my own consumption on the environment so I resisted any shopping sprees, as difficult as it was.
But I ended up having no more notebooks to practice Korean in and write down notes, my password book has literally started falling apart and fraying at the edges, and I ran out of marker flags which I can’t study without, so I decided it is time to go online and buy some Korean school supplies and cute stationery.
I’ve been very careful to only pick things I absolutely needed or wanted for a really long time (only one item ended up being a total miss but I’ll write about that next time, to keep this on topic).
So I got to work. And let me tell you it was a lot of work! It’s not easy ordering Korean stationery if you’re not in Korea. Korean stationery online stores offering international shipping are as elusive as unicorns! As in, I’ve never seen either.
I mean, there’s large online malls like Gmarket but shipping from there is expensive for most of the world, plus I don’t like how they pack tiny items in several huge boxes, and I find the amount of items overwhelming. I wanted to focus on just one brand and see if I like it.
First problem was that searching for “Korean stationery” usually just returned AliExpress results. It’s all Chinese stationery made in China where seller just writes “Korean” in the product title to attract customers. There’s nothing really wrong with Chinese stationery and it’s been getting surprisingly good in quality while staying low in price, but since I’m studying Korean I was really adamant about wanting to buy stationery designed in Korea and made in Korea.
Don’t you get frustrated at misleading product titles?
Second problem was that I really didn’t know the name of any Korean stationery brands so I couldn’t use a more targeted search either.
Third problem was that once I did find Korean stationery brands none of their official online stores shipped outside of Korea. And they’re all in Korean language and I’m just a beginner still, so while I could navigate a bit (let’s be honest here I mostly just recognized the word 로그인 ha ha) reading more complicated things like shipping rules and ways of payment was way over my head.
Fourth problem was finding cheap shipping. Notebooks are heavy and usually sellers only offer some form of premium or Express Shipping and then it ends up costing two or three times more than the actual value of the stationery itself.
So here’s how I solved all those issues:
After few days of aimless Googling, Binging and Pinteresting I went to Naver shopping. I feel really proud of thinking of this – I found a list of Korean stationery brands there!
I didn’t really have the energy to go explore them one by one (there’s A LOT more brands to display when you click on a blue plus sign next to the brand (브랜드) tab!) so I just picked the first one off the list. I figured it’s gotta be good if it’s the first, right?
The Korean brand I picked is called Morning Glory (모닝글로리) and they make school supplies, fancy stationery such as planners, diaries, photo albums and decorative envelopes, office supplies, umbrellas, cute pillows and so on.
I found the Morning Glory Korean store and as you can see it’s all in Korean and they don’t have international shipping. At least none that I could find.
The way I solved that third problem was that I went on eBay and looked at smaller sellers that sell Korean items and are stationed in Korea. I also made sure they had good reviews and then I contacted them and asked them if they would be willing to buy and ship items for me from this stationery store. Of course I needed to pay them a small fee for doing this for me (and all the hidden ebay fees they charge the sellers) but the seller agreed to offer the cheap shipping option and thus fourth problem was solved as well and the price was manageable.
So here is in shortest terms possible how I bought Korean stationery and supplies:
- Go to Naver shopping, search for stationery (문구류, according to Naver dictionary), and pick a Korean brand
- Find that brand’s official page and choose what you need
- Find a trusted eBay seller stationed in Korea (you can specify that in advanced search) and ask them to buy and ship those items for you
Make sure you agree on approximate price of their fee and shipping in advance so there are no ugly surprises once it’s all already ordered.
I will share more details of what I bought in my first stationery haul post next time.
How do you buy Korean stationery online? Did you find an easier way? Any recommendations?