Papergang is a monthly stationery subscription box from quirky UK design team, Ohh Deer. Each month they partner with a different artist and have a theme to bring you paper goods and desk accessories. Every month's packaging is glorious and acts as the perfect preview to the theme of the box. This “KUVIOLEIKKI” box (which translates to “Playful Patterns” in Finnish) was made in collaboration with artist Siiri Väisänen.
This box was sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Papergang by Ohh Deer subscription box arrives in neat and compact letterbox style packaging, with each box adorning the design elements of its featured collaborative artist. Given the theme was KUVIOLEIKKI, it is befitting that the pattern encompassed playful swirly white lines against a black background with holographic gold foil branding.
Prior to diving in, I knew two things about Papergang: 1. It is one of the most popular subscription boxes in the UK, and 2. Papergang is a stationery box. Other than that, I had no idea what to expect. So I delicately opened the box, and was delighted with what I’d found...
What’s Inside the Box
Inside this box was a folded leaflet that goes into detail about the design and collaboration, a sachet of herbal “Good Kalmer” tea from Bird & Blend Tea Co., a letter set containing 20 sheets of foiled writing paper + 16 pink and seafoam green envelopes, a seafoam green ballpoint pen, 60 sheet stack of sticky notes, and two rolls of washi tape. Neatly packaged together in black paper and twine, this set definitely gets brownie points from me for presentation.
“Good Kalmer” Tea Sachet by Bird & Blend Tea Co.
It was late in the evening and quiet in the house when I decided to unbox my first-ever Papergang subscription box. I’d signed off from work for the night, and the little one was fast asleep upstairs. I’d been waiting for this opportune moment of calm, so I must admit this little sachet of tea was a welcome treat. Not that I don’t have a hearty supply of tea of my own (I live in England, after all), but it served as a reminder to unwind and get the kettle on. This blend has a hint of spice to it, and while I tend to prefer more of a fruity aroma to my herbal tea, I found it quite enjoyable and relaxing. It includes notes of cocoa, turmeric, and ginger, and I know many people that would argue the healing properties of at least two of these infusions. I think what I like most about this inclusion is that it really rounds out the experience of taking a moment for yourself to really savor the experience that’s to come.
Letter Set - 20 Sheets of Foiled Writing Paper + 16 Colorful Envelopes
Being new to this box, I had actually assumed that all Papergang boxes include a letter set, and immediately began to think of how I would use this each month. As it turns out, Papergang can include a wide spectrum of paper items, from notebooks to greeting cards and more. Then inspiration struck - what if I dedicated this time and space to writing a handwritten letter to a different member of the MSA team each month? Seeing as how we mostly work remote (although I have been fortunate enough to meet several of them in person), I was excited to connect with them on a different plane. We spend so much time on our computers, living in Zoom meetings, clapping at our keyboards - do we even know one another’s handwriting? Highly doubtful.
So to kick things off, I began to write a letter to MSA’s own Head of Community, Lindsey Morse. If you’ve ever read anything Lindsey has written, you probably already know that she is warm, witty, personable, and incredibly talented. In the time we have worked together, she has been my rock in many ways; her support and kindness is unwavering, and I feel so grateful to have her with us at MSA. So, I pulled out a sheet of pre-folded writing paper and got started. Here’s where I really appreciated the extra sheets of paper in the paper/envelope ratio - I went through three sheets before settling on the idea that it was written neatly enough to send. The envelopes themselves were a perfect fit for the folded sheets, and although the box frame to address them was quite small (especially when writing out an international address), I found the set to be quite nice.
This seafoam green ballpoint pen was a pretty standout item in the box. It has a nice weight to it as well, and glides along the paper seamlessly. I am pretty picky about the pens I use - I’m a fine tip felt pen sort of person more than a ballpoint pen user, so ordinarily it wouldn’t have been my inclination to use this pen for such a task, but it’s nice to switch things up every now and then.
60 Sheet Stack of Sticky Notes
I appreciate that this item made it into the box, even if I found the performance to be a bit lackluster. It didn’t really stick all that well to any surface, and there was a bit of residue left behind from the sheet above it – you don’t tend to come by that with the name brand sticky notes. I would probably find this too frustrating to use during those times where I really need a reliable sticky note, but it will do the trick for a quick jotted note in the kitchen or something. It’s nice and wide, so you get good and ample space to write, and while it's nothing to write home about (see what I did there? I know - that was painfully unfunny), I think it’s a nice inclusion on the whole.
2 Rolls of Washi Tape
I have so many rolls of washi tape and find myself never using them - this time, I was going to change that. I used the gold swirly pattern to close the letter (the nice thing about washi tape is that it’s easy to reposition - they stick, but not with so much adhesion that it will rip your paper), and again to seal the envelope. I tried a lining of the translucent white with black swirls washi tape on the envelope seal, but ultimately decided to decorate that with the gold on either side of it, just for the sake of fancy. I would say this is your average/as expected quality of washi tape (I don’t know that there is a premium kind, but maybe?). A nice little extra for a set such as this, methinks.
While it would be pretty challenging, if not impossible, to assign value to each of the individual items in this box, I think doing so would really defeat the point of why someone would subscribe to Papergang. I feel the value lies in the experience; the unboxing reveals a little box of me-time for those who appreciate paper and crafts. It helps to carve out time to reflect, connect with others on a different plane, and frankly, it’s taking delight in the unexpected that lies at the core of a subscription box’s value. If I had gone to a paper store, would I have selected all of these items, in this design? No, it probably wouldn’t be the most prominent aesthetic that would stand out to me, in effect leading me to make the purchase. That said, I don’t often go into a store and pamper myself with extras. I find myself wondering if it’s something I really need, and then convince myself that I don’t. Did I need more stationery? No. Am I happy to have it? Yes. Would I have sat down and expressed my gratitude to Lindsey in this fashion otherwise? I might not have in the form of a written letter. It’s for this reason, I would say, the value outweighs the cost of this box. I also enjoy discovering artists that I was previously unfamiliar with. I can’t wait for next month’s Papergang box, and in one way or another - whether or not it includes writing sheets and envelopes - I plan to express my gratitude yet again.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, with Papergang, you choose your first box (while supplies last)!
The Cost: £15 per month (approx. $18.84 USD at the time of publication). Save with quarterly an annual subscription plans.
Ships to: The US for £6.95 (approx. $8.68 USD), free to the UK, and worldwide at varying rates.
Good to Know: Papergang has an ongoing partnership with Tree Aid to make sure that for every four boxes they sell, one tree gets planted in the African Drylands, which helps with vital food and income.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the "KUVIOLEIKKI" Papergang box?