About Us

We’re passionate about stationery...

...we stroke notebooks and sniff leather journals and whenever we try out a new pen we always write hello. When our customers try out our pens, they usually write hello too, this makes us smile.

I’m Jo and I started this business because I needed a better work life balance, I now work more hours than ever, but I love it (apart from completing the vat return and refilling the pricing gun, I like to delegate those tasks).

I love quirky things and have a dry sense of humour, I think our shop reflects that. I have a couple of labradors called Charlea & Lottie and a husband called Paul, I didn’t mean to list them in that order but Paul will understand. We like to go to the beach when we get time off, which isn’t often, but very precious. We eat fish and chips out of the wrapper, it always tastes better by the sea but I prefer a real fork, not a wooden one. I love holidays but I'm fussy where I stay. I’ve been known to change a booking because I didn’t like the carpet. Wifi is essential, I don’t necessarily use it but the feeling of not being contactable doesn’t sit well.

I love to cook and can make a pretty fab roast, not as good as my mum’s roast though, she has the edge. I can’t make a risotto, it always goes gloopy and I have a tendency to overcook carrots. My favourite snack is a fish finger sandwich with a cup of tea. I drink far too much tea and prefer it when my husband makes it, he’s the expert and always makes me one when I get home, I like that. The girls in the shop make rubbish tea, I think they do it on purpose.

I like gardening but don’t enjoy digging, mowing, weeding or watering, I just like to potter around, a bit like Margot in The Good Life. I don’t watch much TV but I love Coronation Street, it’s my guilty pleasure - did I really say that out loud? I adore football, always have, and will get up early on a Sunday morning to watch the repeat of Match of The Day. I support Arsenal, as a family we all support Arsenal, my dad supports Leyton Orient too, if ever they play each other he doesn’t know who to cheer. My husband supports Millwall but we don’t really talk about that.

I wear a lot of black, even in the summer, I try not to but I can’t help myself, I’m a creature of habit. My favourite season is Autumn, there’s nothing better than a stroll through a leafy park on a Sunday afternoon after a boozy lunch (not too boozy if I'm working the next day!).

So that's me and that's what I enjoy in life.

Jo Barber, Owner

Our Team

  • It's a team effort running a store like the Stationery & Gift Boutique, and our wonderful team includes...

  • Clare Blackledge

    By trade, Clare is an independent artist and founder of Original Art by Clare. You’ll generally see Clare in the shop every Monday whilst I tackle the admin and orders. In her free time Clare will be found visiting car shows, travelling around Cornwall in her vintage camper van, drinking copious amounts of tea (milk two sugars!) and is mum to a couple of cute bunnies. She hopes to be able to explore Hogwarts one day.

  • Katie Daw

    Katie has just embarked on the big wide world of design, having passed her A levels with flying colours. She dreams of working in the costume department in a West End theatre, but until that break happens, we’re very happy to use her skills, helping us to create eye catching window displays and help with our marketing. Katie loves the friendly Ampthill locals but it seems the Caribbean holds the key to her heart, with the small island of Guadeloupe being a particular favourite spot. Katie shares my passion for stationery and was a finalist In The Retas Awards for Retail Employee of The Year 2015, held at the Savoy - we were very proud of her achievement!

  • Lydia Jeffers-Phillips

    Lydia looks after all our admin for us, covering both The Stationery Boutique and Home & Gift Store. Without her, we would be lost! She ensures our suppliers are paid on time, organises our rotas, sorts out the payroll, gets through my endless lists of tasks and generally helps the business flow. In her spare time, apart from entertaining her gorgeous kiddies, Lydia’s an extraordinary baker, sadly we don’t get as many left overs as we would like. Lydia likes to keep busy, so there’s not much free time in her schedule, but when there is, she’ll be out partying like an 18 year old!

  • Sue Davies

    Affectionately known as Sunday Sue, as that's when you’re most likely to find her in the shop. Technically Sue’s retired but she’s one of the busiest people we know. When Sue does manage to find some spare time she enjoys holidaying in France & Italy, gardening, pub quizzes, shopping and looking after her grand children. Sue would most like to visit Rwanda to see the mountain gorrillas, but would equally enjoy a good glass of red whilst watching Mama Mia.

  • Milly Johnson-Blake

    Milly spent 2 weeks with us in July 2014 as part of her work experience but we liked her so much, we made it a more permanent arrangement. You’ll generally find Milly working in the shop on a Saturday, a super-speedy wrapper and a dazzling smile. When she’s not working with us, Milly’s enjoying an apprenticeship at Mercedes Benz and plays an active part in the local Young Farmer’s group. Her favourite range in the store is the Joma Jewellery as she owns most of it and would most like to wear it on a holiday on the stunning island of Bora Bora.

Our History