I am loving living above the shop again. There's no other way to put it.

When I was a teacher, I specifically applied to schools within walking distance of where I lived because I thought it would be great and important and easier to live in the community in which I taught, which was definitely true, but nothing compares to living upstairs from your shop - especially in the winter.

In fact, a large part of why we ended up at our Carlaw location, "hidden" down the laneway, that notoriously difficult to find shop, was because it was so hard to find a live/work location in Toronto both big enough and within our price range, especially as we were leaving our tiny Dundas West shop and had no idea what was going to be ahead for us.

In any case, living above the shop means things are a bit different when it comes to everyday carry. While trips out with the kids require tote bags of books, snacks, diapers, changes of clothes, and while I often already have what I need downstairs when I'm coming down to man the shop - surplus pens, notepaper, samples - and just bring down my laptop or camera and notebook, when it's just me heading to an appointment or an errand, I aim for a more condensed everyday carry, and I love when I can tuck almost everything into my Superior Labor A5 Portfolio.

Sometimes it's my portfolio, a book, wallet, pen roll, A5 notebook, etc. into my bag; sometimes it's just my portfolio in hand, which I love - its heft, its size, its weight.

The contents: (which vary from week to week)

  • Traveler's Notebook (weekly vertical + two inserts)
  • Phone
  • Index cards (shopping lists, lists for specialty shops, notes)
  • Keys
  • Granola bar
  • Chapstick
  • Emergency distraction stickers
  • Cash (I also have cash inside my TN, but a little extra never hurts for a quick coffee or treat) - plus I have some loose coins and soon to be defunct TTC tokens floating around the back pocket
  • Pens (generally a pen or two on the outside, and maybe one or two on the inside - I really don't need more than one or two but I like to have them)
  • A stamped postcard or stationery, in case of a quiet moment (ha ha, the walrus barks), as well as blank postcards in case I meet someone who wants to know a little more about the shop. Sometimes (although not now) I'll have a Preppy or two to give to a stranger
  • I also have a bunch of junk in there no one wants to see - random papers, receipts, a few pictures - and it was timely for me to clean them out

I will also adjust the contents depending what's on the agenda, often sliding my pocket notebook in, or keeping track of papers if I'm heading to a kid's doctor's appointment, etc.

We're out of stock on most Superior Labor goods, especially as Christmas cleared us right out, but we are expecting a big shipment restocking mostly everything, including the A5 Portfolios as well as the Pen and Wallet Case and pen rolls, in the next week or two.

I'm always working on the timing of my blog posts and how much stock we have, but in this case, I thought I'd publish this post before we got our shipment in. Leather goods are definitely an investment, and if you are thinking about getting one, I thought I would share one way I'm using mine to give you more food for thought. You can always sign up for an in-stock notification on the individual product page of the portfolio you're interested in, just to hear when our stock comes in, even if you're still on the fence.

The Superior Labor is a small, independent studio in Japan, with limited production, as all of these pieces are cut and put together by hand, which is why we don't get bigger shipments than we do. This is actually something that I really love, working with other small businesses. I'm glad that somewhere along the way, our paths crossed, and we're able to create and produce collaborations like these.

In any case, I'm always tweaking my everyday carry, the notebooks and things I use to keep everything together. In particular, I love when everything comes together nicely, into this neat and organized case, as though it could possibly be a reflection of my life. (Ha ha ha, the walrus goes again.)


Find the coffee mug here.

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January 17, 2019 — wonderpens
Tags: Japan Trip



natasha said:

thank you so much for this it was really hepfull
loved everything you wrote


Anonymous said:

So glad to hear it!


Anonymous said:

Yes! The A5 is also my favourite – the original design! I’m especially glad to hear it’s a piece you’re using everyday. All the best in Japan – and hope your portfolio serves you well in Japan, too!

Yoshinori Matsumoto

Yoshinori Matsumoto said:

Superior Labor A5 portfolio is my favourite, you can fit just enough stuff in it. The leather is beautiful and so soft. I got mine last year and use it everyday. Thanks for stocking this gem at your shop. We are off to Japan soon and I will be taking it with me “back home”.

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