By Claire West

Very few people enjoy business admin tasks, such as sending invoices, processing expense claims and compiling the VAT return. However, the jobs we all love to hate can be made brighter and more palatable thanks to stylish stationery items that combine amusing form with useful function. Office Boutique ( http://www.officeboutique.co.uk ), a recently-launched Bradford-based business, exists to cheer up the workplace with its carefully-compiled range of chic, ironic and quirky office products, stationery items and ‘must-have’ business gifts.

Office Boutique is the creation of Belinda Robinson who ran a secretarial and admin business service for four years in Bradford. She recognised the need for office items that decorate and impress rather than depress, with the intention of lifting the user’s spirits as they negotiate the day’s tasks. The resulting products stocked by Office Boutique are inspired by great writers, artists and the decadent decades before the era of Tippex, fluorescent pens and flip charts.

Product categories include address books, business card holders, correspondence cards, postcards, desk accessories, ladies’ and gentleman’s gifts, journals and notebooks, mousepads, office stamps, sticky notes, thank you notes, notecards, wall posters, pens and writing sets. Some items feature vintage themes that add an element of luxury to office work. All are hand-picked by Belinda, with her eye for panache.

The desktop never need be boring again thanks to ‘Morris the Memo Holder’, adding canine chic to the daily ‘to-do’ notes. Or how about an installation of Desk Golf – a welcome diversion between endless emails and an ideal Christmas present for clients.

Forget those lurid pieces of sticky paper for recording tasks and conveying missives: the ‘Vintage Office To Do Sticky Notes’ are far more stylish. Thanks to Office Boutique, today’s business correspondence can evoke an era of great literature, with options for note cards, etc., including Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. Meanwhile, the postcard selection, which gives more than a passing nod to quirky vintage style, is likely to impress business and personal contacts alike. And there’s no need to store those vital business contacts in a boring black book when they can be recorded in ‘The Mad, The Bad and the Dangerous to Know’ address book featuring Lord Byron on the front and his mistress, Lady Caroline Lamb, on the back.

Need to assert some authority when dealing with colleagues? The quirky “From the Desk of” picture and text stamp is an ideal tool for commanding respect. As for conducting credit control in a witty way, the “Prompt Payment Will Oblige” stamp, depicting two vintage wrestlers, is sure to beat the usual dry invoice stating “we require payment in 30 days”.

Belinda Robinson explains: “We all know how dull daily office admin tasks can be. Our products have been specially selected to perform their job efficiently while adding a dash of style to what can otherwise be a dry environment. With people increasingly working from home, products that make the workplace more inspiring and chic are in great demand. As well as catering for anyone who performs office functions, our products make great gifts for clients and visitors at Christmas or all year round.”