RAD AND HUNGRY: Intrigue Meets Office Supplies

Photo: RAD AND HUNGRY

Local duo travels the world to bring you the most interesting paper and pens.

To all you stationery fetishists out there, we would like to introduce RAD AND HUNGRY (RAH), the secret club of “office supply porn.” Founded last October by Seattle’s own Hen Chung and Sam Alston, RAH awards its monthly subscribers with a delectable assortment of desk candy that will make your cube-mates jealous.

Photo: RAD AND HUNGRY

These customized sets includes a writing instrument, paper goods and a “mystery item.” After each assortment is meticulously handpicked by Chung and Alston, it joins the group’s elite Something Mighty Collection. The criteria are simple: anything that appeals to the RAH founders’ designer sensibilities.

“It comes down to a love of lo-fi design,” Chung said. “Anything that might be mass-produced, yet it’s not familiar to the people that might end up buying it. It’s never glossy, never slick — stuff that looks like it might have been made years ago.”

If RAH items appear to be strange and exotic, they are — each set features materials that have been sourced from a different foreign country. Notebook pouches from France, smudge-proof pens from Germany and butterfly paper clips from Colombia are among the goodies RAH has featured in past collections.

It was their dual love of travel and product design that led Chung and Alston to seek out locally produced office supplies during their international travels. The duo characterizes their products as “un-refined design,” and thanks to RAH, these stylish, often overlooked goods receive a much-needed fan base.

Photo: RAD AND HUNGRY

Imagine, if you will, what it’s like to be on the inside. A little package arrives in the mail with ‘RAH’ and a set of neon-orange lips emblazoned on the front. Your heart pounds as you tear into the box to find ultra sleek notebooks and wooden pencils with strange symbols stamped below the eraser. You might receive a roll of Korean whiteout tape or a French pencil and eraser set fashioned after Moroccan shoes — and not knowing what you’ll get is part of the fun, because the national origin of each batch is not revealed before it is sent.

What’s more, each shipment is supplemented with the latest copy of The Low Down — a hip narrative that details the globetrotting exploits accompanying each month’s collection. From the Mexican mom and pop store with a secret stash of pencils to hijinx with suspicious security personnel at the Bogota airport, Chung and Alston’s travelogue lends the acquisition of office supplies a sense of global intrigue that has never before been achieved.

Not surprisingly, these travel kits for stationery hoarders have become a viral hit. Chung credits this not only to the diverse range of materials, but also the painstaking presentation of the packages themselves. Plus, the featured items are highly affordable — a crucial motivator in today’s poor economy. All in all, she says RAH couldn’t be happier with their customer response.

“The single-most rewarding thing is that people always seem highly satisfied,” she said. “We must have the best customers, and we always get amazing feedback about how we made their day better. People have gone out of their way to be friendly and so supportive.”