For anyone not familiar with Tiger stores (flyingtiger.com) they are an absolute joy to visit; they are bright, colourful and full of the everyday and the unusual but all of it is fun. All of the stores I have visited have a route that you follow to ensure you get to see everything they have to offer, and the stock changes quite regularly so for an infrequent visitor, like me, there is always something new to see.
Everything they sell is reasonably priced, for instance the notebook featured below was £3.00 and a four pack of pencils was £1.00 and whilst these are budget prices the products are not budget quality. Nothing I have bought from them over the years has been poor quality and I have never had to return anything for being sub-par.
As with every visit to a Tiger store self-control is the key to not coming away with bags full of things you never intended to buy but just seemed too good to pass up. Happily, the haul, on this occasion, was sensible and very modest compared with previous visits! It consists of a notebook, some pencils, a packet of pouches and a pack of pallets; of the wooden variety.
This particular notebook is A5 in size and has ninety-six sheets to provide one hundred and ninety-two pages of lined (approximately 8mm spacing) cream coloured paper; at a guess I would say the paper is around 80gsm and is moderately smooth to the touch. I tested this paper and I can say it is fountain pen friendly, there is no bleed through at all, however, there is a slight shadow but it is not enough to stop you using both sides of the page.
What makes this notebook special is the attention to detail that you just wouldn’t expect to get on a notebook in this price range (£3.00). The notebook is glue bound to a soft PU cover with plain end papers and a silk ribbon for page marking and finally the exposed edges of the paper are printed in what Tiger describe as a ‘rainbow’ finish.
It’s when a company takes this much time and trouble over what is essentially a throw away notebook that you stop and take notice. This is the first of their notebooks I have owned, and I am impressed, this is a notebook that can easily be used at work or for personal projects and so far, it seems very durable.
These are travel organiser pouches (£2.00) and a quick look at the card inserts will show you that they are intended for your toothbrush, make-up brushes, cotton buds et cetera.
As a stationery geek I saw straight past all of the obvious and thought about how they would be useful for your stationery travel kit. The small ones are ideal for cartridges, erasers and other small items, the medium will hold pens, pencils etc. whilst the large one easily accommodates pens, pencils, pocket notebooks or a selection of all of the above.
What got me thinking about these is we all use Ziploc or similar and these are disposable, but these pouches are reusable and as they are intended for bathroom travel items then I would expect them to be leak proof. Yes, they are opaque and this isn’t quite as convenient as a clear bag but when testing them I found it was easy to see what I had dropped in them and for me the range of sizes and the convenience this offers makes them a good purchase.
When Is A Blackwing Not A Blackwing?
When it’s a Tiger blyanter.
While I was walking around the store I saw these pencils, stopped and did a double take. As you can see from the pictures these pencils look uncannily like a Blackwing and I would dare say that at a very quick glance they could be mistaken for a Blackwing.
The blyanter is a Chinese made pencil inspired by the Blackwing design, when you look closely you can see the differences in the build quality, however, that is not to say that these are bad pencils because they are not. I usually test a pencil by using my KUM sharpener to create a long point and write with it from there.
So, I did just that. The pencil sharpened easily and took a long point without breaking or crumbling; once I started to write I deliberately applied a lot of pressure to the point and did cause the tip to crumble but it smoothed out quickly and wrote very nicely. Then I compared it to one of my Blackwing 602’s and it comes off a little lighter.
The blyanter is matte black and stamped as being HB which I would say is probably correct; I prefer a 2B and this is definitely harder than my preferred grade. It is the same length as the 602 but feels slimmer and just like the 602 it has a removeable eraser but at £1.00 for a pack of four it’s probably more economical to buy a large eraser from Tiger than replace the existing one.
Whilst the Tiger store I was in didn’t sell replacement erasers there’s no saying they won’t; just from a visual check I think the Tiger eraser might fit a Blackwing. As the entire eraser unit is removable, it’s glued on but easily twists off you could view this as a replacement eraser for your Blackwing with a free pencil.
At the start of this I mentioned buying pallets from Tiger and on reflection this might have sounded like I was considering a move into the haulage business but fear not these are tiny pallets.
I think they are intended as drinks coasters and would certainly work well as such but I just thought they were fun.
There you have it, my trip to Tiger.
I like Tiger, it’s a fun store to visit and they make good quality stationery affordable and because the range changes pretty regularly there is always something new to see. If you are passing one of their stores do go in and look around, it’s always worth a few minutes of your time.
Disclaimer: Everything in this review was purchased at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.