Before I started a side blog dedicated to my book and stationery finds, I made a little post titled “Where to Find Cute Stationery Online.” Fast forward and that post is now one of the most popular things I’ve written on my blog!
Since I wrote my original post, I’ve actually started shopping for most of my stationery on AliExpress. It’s a Chinese e-commerce platform that’s a little like Amazon, in that its owner is crazy-rich — and you can find just about anything on there. Unlike Amazon, however, it’s more like Etsy, in that users create their own storefronts to sell products at wholesale prices.
Shopping for stationery on AliExpress beats shopping for stationery in the U.S. hands-down, mainly because of the affordability. You can find many of the same items that are available on sites like Blippo Kawaii Shop at one-third of the price. There are also enormous shipping discounts. Of course, one of the downsides to shopping on AliExpress is that it takes forever for your orders to arrive — but when they do, it’s oh-so worth it.
Whether you are a bullet journaler, penpaler, or general stationery enthusiast, AliExpress needs to be on your radar. Specifically, these storefronts on AliExpress should be your first stop when it comes to shopping for stationery online.
Tips for Shopping on AliExpress
Initially, I was hesitant to spend my money on AliExpress. Because the products come so far, and often don’t have tracking numbers, I worried about never receiving my orders — or not receiving them before the shipping protection expired. I’d also heard horror stories about AliExpress customer service. However, I’ve since learned that shopping on AliExpress can be a positive experience, as long as you keep a few tips in mind:
- Look at the store ratings. AliExpress gives each store a percent rating based on reviews of customer service, shipping, product descriptions (i.e. whether the product received is as expected), and other important qualifications. The higher the rating, the more likely you are to have a positive experience shopping at that store. For the best experience, I recommend shopping only at stores that have at least a rating of 90 percent.
- Pay attention to the Buyer Protection period. Purchases on AliExpress come with Buyer Protection, which ensures a full refund within 15 days if you don’t receive your order within the time period specified by the seller. Furthermore, you can get a full refund if you return the product or a partial refund if you keep the product should the product you receive differ from what the seller described. However, Buyer Protection on AliExpress is not an indefinite thing. Like a warranty, it’s subject to expire — in this case, after 15 days. It’s important to make note of the day the Buyer Protection period expires, because if you miss your opportunity to report missing items by the date, you won’t be able to get your money back.
- Know how to open a dispute. Unfortunately, opening a dispute on AliExpress is not as simple as it is on Amazon or other websites. If you have a complaint before or after the 15-day period after the product’s estimated arrival, your only option is to contact the seller directly. During the 15-day period, you can file a dispute ticket through AliExpress. However, you will participate in a formal dispute process first with the seller. If you aren’t satisfied with the seller’s response, you may then contact AliExpress — but if you miss the 15-day window and are dissatisfied with the seller’s response, you are, sadly, out of options. That’s why it’s so important to shop only from reputable sellers with good ratings and reputations for good customer service.
- Read the fine print. Sometimes, pictures show a product at a price that’s too good to be true — and if it’s “too good to be true,” well, it probably isn’t. Always read the fine print, which can be weaponized against you in the dispute process if you don’t take note of it. A picture can have you expecting a set of twenty pens for $1, when the fine print states that you’ll only be receiving two. If you receive your two pens expecting 20 and decide to file a dispute, the merchant can refuse to grant you a refund or allow you to return the item, citing the description to show that you should have known what you were getting.
Best Stationery Stores on AliExpress
If you are plugged into the bullet journaling community on YouTube, you’ve probably already heard of JIANWU Store. It’s a favorite for its sleek, minimalist designs, fast shipping, and customer service.
Best for: Sticky notes and plain dot stickers.
Discounts: $1 off your purchase of $15, and free shipping at $15.
My pick: Color Combination Sticker Pack ($1.64)
Of all the stationery stores on AliExpress, Mohamm Store might be my favorite. My order from Mohamm Store arrived within three weeks, which was much faster than the anticipated window. It’s a great place to find stationery in general, but especially stationery from Korean brands.
Best for: Washi tape and Korean stickers.
Discounts: $1 off your purchase of $17.
My pick: Korean Bear Stickers ($0.98)
Pink Stationery Store
Pink Stationery Store is my pick for all the vintage-lovers out there. However, while most of their products evoke a vintage vibe, if you look closely, you’ll find some kawaii products, too. I even found Hello Kitty washi tape when scouring the selection here the other day!
Best for: Stamps, vintage paper, and ephemera.
My pick: Retro Antique Paper ($3.25)
Stationery Retail Store
If you are a pen addict, you will love Stationery Retail Store. They are the place to go if you are looking to replenish your collection of cute pens and pencils. Here, you can find amazing deals on mechanical pencils, erasable pens, and fountain pens. Stationery Retail Store also stocks some kawaii character items, too.
Best for: Pens, pencils, and kawaii stationery.
My pick: Cute Cherry Pens ($0.70)
House of Novelty
Last but not least, House of Novelty is an AliExpress favorite among the stationery community — especially if you are a fan of cute characters like Rilakkuma, Summiko Gurashi, and the Sanrio fam. They’re also one of the only destinations that’s still selling limited-edition items from the Japanese sakura season, which sparks a wave of cherry blossom-themed stationery every spring.
Best for: Character stationery, especially stickers.
Discounts: Free shipping at $30.
My pick: Corocoro Coronya Stickers ($1.02)