Greenpoint Store 63 West Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY 11222, USA
- Wide range of pens and paper and testing station.
- Cute stickers, tape, greeting cards and notebooks.
- Passionate staff with strong product knowledge.
63 West Street
WHAT WE LOVE
A stationery shop that brings the world of fun and colorful Asian stationery and writing tools to New Yorkers. Yoseka stationery is the U.S. outpost of Taiwanese stationery shop Yoseka, established in 1981. The NY store is located in historic West Street in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, founded by husband and wife, Neil and Daisy, a software engineer and speech therapist.
"We love social media for allowing us the opportunity to connect with customers from all over the world."
What year was Yoseka established? Yoseka Stationery is the US branch of Yoseka, which was founded in 1981 by Neil’s parents in Taoyuan, Taiwan, where Neil grew up. In 2017, we started Yoseka Stationery as a way of introducing Asian stationery here in the US. Initially, we began by doing pop ups and then in 2018, we opened our first shop in Sunnyside, Queens. In 2020, we moved our shop to Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
What makes Yoseka Stationery so unique? At the center of our vision for Yoseka Stationery is the idea that visitors should be able to try out their stationery tools before they decide on them. Here at the shop, before the pandemic, all of our pens and paper were set out along our center table and laid out for testing. We believe stationery to be very personal and simply because we love a pen does not mean you will too so we always encourage our visitors to try everything out while they’re here to find what works best for them. This was, of course, much easier to do when we first opened the shop and has definitely become more of a challenge as we add more and more products, but this hands-on testing method will continue to be at the core of our shop experience.
Is there a story behind the shop name? Neil’s Dad named Yoseka (You – 由 ; Shen – 申 ; Jia – 甲). In Chinese, the characters are visually interesting and they read the same way when flipped upside down – sort of like a palindrome!
What are Yoseka Stationery’s best-selling products? People love the stories we share about the stationery we use. They love learning about the products’ histories, why we love them, and what makes them special to us. That ends up really connecting with a lot of our customers and they’re able to decide which items are perfect for them.
Who are your customers? Anyone who appreciates slowing down a bit every day, likes to feel the glide of a pen on good paper and enjoys learning more about the tools they use.
How has the internet impacted your business? We love social media for allowing us the opportunity to connect with customers from all over the world. We post on Instagram almost every day – using stories to share everything from new products to our life outside of the shop (and maybe way too many photos of our cat Ester!)
Have you adapted your business to the coronavirus pandemic? When New York first went into lockdown in March 2020, we had only about a quarter of our products online so we were forced to act very quickly on taking photos, writing descriptions and improving/updating our website over the course of a few months. Looking back, we are so grateful for that time and really appreciate the urgency that we felt. It ultimately motivated us to push everything online, a goal that we had had for such a long time and a task that would have taken us years longer to accomplish in normal times. 2020 was such a transformative year for us – a year of growth, self-reflection, and major change. We’ve added more team members and had to learn how to operate our store in a way that would keep everyone safe. Sometimes that was extremely difficult given the layout of our store and method in which our customers try out all of our stationery. Ultimately, it led us to make the decision to close for in store browsing. In an attempt to prevent risk of exposure for both ourselves and our customers, we remain closed for in store browsing. This decision has pushed us to work more productively at bringing more stationery to everyone online so that, for now, they can continue enjoying a love of writing and drawing from home.
Neil & Daisy, shopkeepers at Yoseka Stationery
Who inspires you? Our parents, our fellow shopkeepers who we have looked up to for years before we were able to open up our own shop, and our customers who have shared our passion for stationery in addition to being very supportive.
What inspires you? One of our first pop-up locations was at the Brooklyn Flea Market, which featured a collection of vendors who specialized in many, many different things, but probably most notably, antiques including furniture, household objects, clothing, etc. There, Neil and I chatted with our neighbor vendors, many of whom had been dealing antiques for 20, 30, or 40 years and had so much knowledge about the history of materials, trends, culture, art and even stationery. As newbies, we were in such awe of their experience and the years behind some of the artifacts. Being surrounded by these objects of history shaped our views on design and we came to learn the value of knowing the history of how something has evolved over time. This continues to influence how we approach things when we introduce new products and think about Yoseka’s future.
Before I was a shopkeeper, I…. was, and sometimes still am, a speech therapist and Neil, a software engineer.
Did you have prior retail experience? Neil helped out in his parent’s stationery store in Taiwan and for a few years growing up, my parents had a store at which I learned subtraction by making change as the cashier under the close, watchful eye of my mom.
Your favorite thing about owning an independent shop? Feeling as though you are truly part of a neighborhood even in such a big city like New York.
Your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? Start small or big but just do it.
WHAT THE SHOPKEEPERS LOVE
What are your favorite local independent businesses? We get coffee and delicious baked goods everyday from Ovenly, wine from Duke’s Liquor Box, the most amazing Taiwanese food from Win Son, rugelach and coconut macaroons from Nita’s Bakery in Sunnyside, and traditional Taiwanese baked breads from Apollo Bakery in Flushing.
Favorite Instagram Accounts
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
"We are feeling pretty good about the future of retail even in these uncertain times. A unique and interesting in-store shopping experience is immersive and fun but pretty impossible to replicate online. We’ve spoken to many customers who are ready to come in and shop again whenever it is safe to do so. We look forward to welcoming them back."