Places & Spaces Whilst Away


June 19, 2014

I’m very excited to introduce to you my new favourite Berlin stationery shop. I stumbled upon Luiban completely by chance, while in Berlin a couple of month ago, and I knew instantly that I had found stationery nirvana. You get me, right?

What I didn’t expect was how nice the owner was. Humble, softly spoken, knowledgeable, polite and very entrepreneurial.

Meet Michael.

Michael Reuben Bandt - Luiban - Colourliving

Tell us a little about your passion for paper and stationery. This passion started very early. When little I always used to drag my mum into my favourite stationery shop. At 16, I asked them for a job. After an apprenticeship I finally persuaded them that, despite my age, I’d be good fit!
Some things are just in our DNA. Although I own my own stationery shop, you’ll find notebooks and paper products everywhere in my home.

What happened after sweet 16? I studied social work and later social economics. Meanwhile, to nurture my passion, I still worked part-time in stationery shops. I gained experience in social participation and diversity and am excited that I’m finding ways to combine my social background with Luiban. We are currently manufacturing some of our own brand products in workshops for the disabled.

Luiban - Colourliving

Many people these days start an online shop and follow it with a bricks and mortar shop. Makes sense? We started our online shop 5 years ago and never thought of opening a physical shop. There wasn’t a particular dream of a big business. We simply enjoyed sourcing stationery products. It started very small with a shelf in my living room. Soon after we realised we needed a warehouse and subsequently resigned from our jobs. Now we have a shop in Berlin. Everything just took a natural cause and we don’t underestimate the support we’ve had from our customers.

Luiban - Colourliving
A phlethora of envelopes.

Luiban - Colourliving
More envelopes.

Luiban - Colourliving
I love these envelope sets.

When and with whom did you open your shop in Berlin. How different is it to running just an online shop? Luiban was founded with a very close friend and we opened our shop in Berlin one year ago.
Everything has changed. We now have much more direct contact with our customers and working is so much more fun. We are far more motivated and love the input we get from people wondering into the shop (a bit like when you visited).

Luiban - Colourliving
Japanese document envelope.

Luiban - Colourliving
Greeting cards galore!

How do you select the products you sell? I used to trawl the trade shows but found less and less interesting products. What I did notice was that I came back from travelling with far more new contacts, products and ideas in my head. These days I try and source great companies and products from my worldwide travels. Last year we employed someone from Japan. It’s been very enriching. Not only does he help in the communication with Japan, he’s an artist and sees things differently to me. A big bonus!

Luiban - Colourliving
Bakers Twine, now also in neon colours.

Luiban - Colourliving
Yes, we all love a bit of copper foiling.

Tell us about your customers. I’m interested what’s the ratio between females and males and what products do they like best? Our customer base is pretty balanced. However, we often do get told that our products are more masculine and a little simpler than you’ll find in other stationery shops. I’m sure that’s the result of us being male and choosing products.
We really have a wide customer base, from chauffeur driven people to those with hardly any money to spend. That’s hugely important to us. We want everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy our offerings, whether they buy or not!

Luiban - Colourliving
MT tapes, a must. But do check out the linen ones!

What’s your favourite bit of the business? I love sourcing new companies and products. It’s like an exciting hunt! I get goosebumps when I discover something new I like and can’t wait to unpack it. A bit like at Christmas, I guess. It’s also humbling to observe how people appreciate the simple things in life, the way they touch the products and delight in them.

Luiban - Colourliving
Beautiful leather coin purses.

What’s in the pipeline for Luiban? In November we open a contemporary shop in Bikini Berlin. We are always striving to find exceptional stationery products and hope to be further developing our own products. It’s important to us to deepen our relationship with the workshops for the disabled.
I’m delighted to have my own shop at 26 and look forward to this continuous journey.

Luiban - Colourliving
Delicate brass paper weight.

Luiban - Colourliving
A good pencil sharpener is mandatory!

Luiban - Colourliving
Envelope sealing wax.

Luiban - Colourliving
I’m a great fan of Kaweco’s writing instruments.

Luiban - Colourliving
Wrapping paper and Origami paper.

I want to thank Michael for taking time to share his story. While there, Michael excitedly showed me and gave me this pen knife as a present. I’ve kind of been brought up with scalpel knives. This one here below has a ceramic blade, rotating head and makes it easy to cut curved lines. Thank you. I love it!

Luiban - Colourliving
Pen knife with rotating blade.

I know that many of you are stationery fans. Do go and pay Luiban a visit when in Berlin or take a look at their online shop. I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking that Michael’s passion has found a great purpose. I look forward to seeing more products in conjunction with the workshops for the disabled.

Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 28
Berlin – Germany
Mo – Sa12 – 8pm

This post will stay live until Thursday 26th June.

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  • Reply Giova Brusa June 19, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    So nice to read about the man behind the beautiful store.
    I had seen your IG on the envelopes, but like you stumbled upon the store by chance.
    I loved everything and of course left with so many things. I’m glad the store is far away from me 😉

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      I know you’ve been to Luiban so glad you could find out a little bit more about the shop and it’s background!

      Haha. I’m also glad I don’t live round the corner:-)

  • Reply Isabel June 19, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Wow! I am hopefully going to Berlin next month, so pleased to be given a heads up on this store! It’s nice to see a stationery store with a simpler/’masculine’ aesthetic – a nice change from the more usual, ‘frillier’ stationery! Those pencil sharpeners caught my eye in particular. Hope I can snag one in person!

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Hi Isabel.

      Glad to have been able to contribute to your itinerary for Berlin:-)
      You’ll probably fall in love with more than the pencil sharpeners. Enjoy!

  • Reply Emma June 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Wow, I am so jealous, it looks absolutely beautiful!

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      Ha. Hello Emma.

      At least there’s an online shop!

  • Reply alisonsye June 19, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Heaven. Crikey Tina, bet you were beside yourself with excitement in this shop. I can’t think of another shop I’d rather be in. Will be looking here on line.

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      You know me well by now….. it was a very pleasant surprise and most inspirational!

  • Reply caroline @trend-daily June 19, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Those leather coin purses!!!! Swoon. Wonderful to see another stand alone shop thriving-great find sweetie. Combined with a trip to Dudus I suppose??!! xx

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      Don’t we love that about Berlin. So many entrepreneurs doing their thing…
      Couldn’t agree more.. the leather coin purses are rather lovely and come in gorgeous colours .

      But of course, actually Dudu is only a few minutes away from Dudu. Yum, I’m now longing for a meal there. xx

  • Reply Jocelyn Casey June 20, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Tina, I love how you take the time to know more about the owners of the shops you visit, their stories are always so inspiring and heart opening. The card that spells “oops” on the front is just adorable! The next time I am in Berlin I must visit Luiban. I am always on the hunt for new stationary and cards that represent a wide variety of principles. Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful weekend! xx

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Thanks Jocelyn. You know me. I like to know the story and am always curious of how, when, why…
      I know.. that oops card is adorable.

      Do pay Luiban a visit and make sure to stop and talk to Michael. When you do, say hi from me xx

  • Reply Anya Jensen June 21, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Ohh Tina this is stationary nirvana – love it:) Hope you are keeping well and enjoying Summer. Hugs Ax

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Hahaha, stationery nirvana indeed!!
      Yes, I’m well, thanks sweets x

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey June 23, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    An all round wonderful store. The envelopes, twine & coin purses are beautiful objects.

    It’s interesting that Michael says they get told the products are more ‘masculine’. It does kinda show and I must say I do love it 🙂 The fact it isn’t prissy and frilly is wonderful (as too many stationers go down that road).

    Great post Tina! x

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:37 pm

      Always happy when you approve Gerard and I knew you would like Luiban.

      Michael has a great eye and is very discerning. Luiban certainly stands out from a lot of stationery shops and Papeteries.
      Thanks G xx

  • Reply Igor June 24, 2014 at 9:50 am

    A very inspiring shop and very Berlin style! Berlin seems to have lots of great shops lately. I’ve recently discovered the Paper & Tea shop (they also have an online shop), I think you’d love it too! It combines tea, tea accessories and stationery!

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      Isn’t it just?

      yes, I had Paper and Tea down on my list but never made it.
      I love when shops people combine things. It does sound interesting and will visit next time I’m there.
      Thanks Igor!

  • Reply Tiffany @Curate & Display June 24, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Oh wow. What a fantastic shop, all that beautiful paper. I’m pleased to see that he’s really taking the time to source special designs, it shows. And oh, the washi tapes!

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      We all love a good stationery shop, right?
      I think the only way forward is to carve out your niche and source special products. Michael is well connected and that helps.
      I look forward to seeing how it all progresses.

      Thank you Tiffany. Hope you’re well.

  • Reply Judith June 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Wow wow wow, Tina! So lovely to read a little background story of Michael. I love it how they are now even manufacturing their own products at workshops for the disabled. Will definitely go here next time I’m in Berlin. I don’t think their product selection looks particularly masculin, it’s simply well chosen, clean and without too much fuss. It’s refreshing and I love that!

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:45 pm

      Glad you like it. I also love the collaboration with the workshops for the disabled. How nice that Michael could combine his passion and knowledge of his social work with his new venture. That bit excites me the most and gives it that USP.

      It’s interesting the debate around the products being masculin. I think I agree with you, the products are simply well made, clean and not frilly.Funny that people associate this with a masculin touch.
      Thanks Judith. x

  • Reply Mel June 25, 2014 at 4:32 am

    I can see why you fell for that store – stationery heaven with a difference. Great interview, love how things just fell into place for him. I also popped over to his store and it’s so well set out that I could pretty much navigate it in German although no NZ as a shipping destination! They do have Australia so I’m sure it’s just a slip. Mel xx

    • Reply tina June 27, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Hahaha, I like: ‘stationery heaven with a difference’.
      Yes, such an inspiring story of how he started and where he is today.

      Oh, I hope Michael reads this.. I will make him aware that there’s no NZ shipping destination. Thank you for pointing it out.
      Thanks Mel, hope you are well xx

  • Reply Doris July 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Tina, what a great find! I loved every item in the shop. It’s nice that he sources the products during his travels, taking what inspires him at the time rather than from the trade shows. xD

    • Reply tina July 20, 2014 at 12:04 am

      Thanks Doris, glad you like it. I also think it’s great Michael sources from his travels…. makes for a more interesting selection. x

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