As I stood up from putting the last of the groceries in the fridge, I whacked my head on the freezer door — which I had apparently left wide open. A swear word slipped out of my mouth. I was exhausted after a 24-hour-run of weirdly stressful events (nothing serious except some serious moments of frustration). What does all of this have to do with anything? Not much, except that I knew I needed to slow down — which means it was the perfect time to test out Archer & Olive’s art and journaling subscription set, which is designed to promote mental health through creative practices. (Lord knows I needed a mental health boost in that moment.)
A Subscription Box For Creative Wellness
Archer & Olive has multiple lines of luxury stationery supplies, plus one totally unique offering — a quarterly subscription box that arrives at your door four times a year with materials designed to help you begin a creative wellness journey. The founder of the woman-owned brand has dealt with mental health challenges herself, which has driven the company to create products designed to help improve emotional wellness through art and journaling.
Sitting down to a creative task is something I find inherently grounding, so I wasn’t surprised that spending a little time journaling and doodling helped ease my tension. Of course, this can be done with any paper or writing tool (legal pad and Sharpie, anyone?), but there’s a lot to be said for materials. (I see you, person in the art store carefully analyzing journals and colored pens before heading to the register.) I laid out all of Archer & Olive’s materials (Calliograph pens, notebooks, stickers, washi tape, and more), and I was impressed by the aesthetics of the set — the soft shades of Kelly green, sky blue, and coral caught my eye from the outset, and made the whole box feel elegant and fancy.
What’s In The Box?
Every subscription box is totally different, but you get $175 worth of products for just $75. (I love a good deal.) You’re guaranteed to get at least one notebook per box, along with exclusive or not-yet-released products, like stickers, writing utensils, washi tape, and more (in my sample box, I even got a super cute canvas tote bag with tons of handy organizational pockets).
The hardcover notebooks in my sample box reminded me of Moleskines, albeit with a more premium feel, and I was genuinely surprised that the faux leather cover was, well, faux. (I had forgotten that all the materials are vegan and designed to be eco-friendly.) I also really like the vintage feel of the linen-covered notebook, and — true to promise — there was no bleed-through on any of the pages.
As someone with minimal artistic talent, I can’t speak in-depth to the quality of the dual-sided Calliograph pens, but I loved using the brush end on the illustrated coloring paper, and the pen end wrote smoothly in pretty colors (really, everything about this set is pretty).
As for the bonus accessories, the stickers were a fun way to add color and vividness to the notebook pages, and I got a big kick out of the washi tape — especially the one with a print of leopards on it (honestly, I will probably be using this to wrap a few presents in the near future).
So... Should You Get It?
If you find that creative activities like journaling, coloring, and drawing help to ease you into a more relaxed state of mind, this subscription is definitely for you. That being said, it’s also a worthy investment for anyone who simply appreciates premium stationery supplies and is looking for gorgeous, one-of-a-kind materials. (And may I add that it’s a perfect gift idea for anyone in your life who might fit within these parameters).
What If You’re Not Ready To Commit To A Subscription?
Archer & Olive doesn’t just do subscription boxes — you can also browse the brand’s collection of notebooks, pens, stickers, pencil cases, and even watercolors. If you’re not ready to make the leap to a full subscription, trying out a few items first is a good way to decide if you like the brand’s products before going all in.
As for myself, I’m looking forward to experimenting with this as an occasional — and creative — substitute to my regular meditation practice. (And, as I mentioned, I’ll definitely be using that adorable washi tape to wrap some presents.)
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