Chile – The Low Down Adventure
The very mention of South America and my mind begins to race, packed with images – crazy outgoing people that are full of life, memories of new friends made in Argentina and Brazil. The people ooze an intensity, a burning desire for everything and anything. Thanks to our sourcing trip to Chile, South America is now richer and more complex to me. It’s my NYC of South America.
New Yorkers walk with a mission to get to their destination. But the moment you stop someone for directions, they’re friendly and helpful. I’ve lost count the number of times a New Yorker has gone out of their way when they see me struggling with luggage. An elderly Chinese lady half the size of our suitcase, a hipster wearing too-tight jeans and arm candy that rivals Claire’s inventory, a man that looked like he walked out of a GQ photoshoot… And wouldn’t you know, the moment I surfaced from the underground subway stop comin’ from the airport, a Chilean saw me struggling and ran down to help me.
Another similarity to NYC? Santiago’s “Stationery Square” (what we call it!). The massive neighborhood battles the size and glory of Time Square, NYC, but instead of millions of lights and screens advertising broadway shows… it was office supplies. Inflatable glue sticks hanging from the sky the size of the biggest and best Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade balloons, a taller than tall BIC Evolution pencil in the middle of the street that could knock you out, banners the size of jumbotrons advertising office supplies... The noise, the chaos – it blew my mind and made my heart race.
Everywhere you looked, you faced someone hustlin’ office supplies – from the largest office-supply shop in Santiago with 2 locations, to mom-and-pop shops, to couples with a stand in the middle of the street and alleys (original pop-up shop!). I quickly discovered that I needed to speak Chileno in order to get the goods. Left empty handed the first day, but returned the next after a new friend helped me cram. Put to the test – barely speaking enough Chileno to ace it. We hustled, we bargained, we scored.
The first good? Black triangle-shaped pencils sportin’ the cutest lightbulb icon, from a small mom-and-pop shop. A total sucker for a pencil with a cute graphic and the silver light bulb, so shiny. When I spotted the pencil it was instant hi-fivin’. After a few more shops, I started hitting the small stands. A few blocks in, I spotted the notebooks. The colors, the design so young and sweet, the honking big “College” on the cover... love that the notebooks be packin’ an elementary-school vibe!
All that was left was the Mystery Item. Why was it holdin’ out?! We called it a wrap and left Stationery Square only to return 2 days later. Within minutes of returning, we spied the phat pack of labels! So perfect for the STMT X Chile Kit. The colors perfectly match the notebooks, and totally fits the elementary vibe. In school you label everything ‘cause you don’t want to lose anything – now it’s all about keepin’ your rad office supplies on lockdown!