BLK^OCEANS Interview

What is your name, title (Founder, CEO, Creator, etc.)?

Khalifa Abubakar & Shaun Ihejetoh (Co-founders)
Tell us about the history of Port West and the mission driving its success?
Port West Stationers began in late 2017, when looking for some notebooks to compliment the sustainable design principles we seek to uphold at our architectural practice, West Port Architects. At that time, we approached several bookbinders for affordable, recycled paper notebooks we could brand and use at the office, that were also made in the UK and of the highest quality. This search took longer and proved harder than we anticipated.

Having always had a somewhat unhealthy obsession with stationery and paper goods, we seized this moment as an opportunity to make our own notebook. One that symbolised our sustainable agenda and one that we would be proud to talk about every aspect of. Following a year or so of prototyping and intimately pouring over every detail, our first journal, The /01, launched in September 2019.

We are driven by our shared passion for creativity and a desire to help bring about a more sustainable and inclusive future. We see creativity as a key component of resilient societies and are inspired by the sketches and writings of creative, forward-thinking individuals. We believe sketching and writing are essential life skills beneficial to human well-being and so should be encouraged. In the most sustainable way possible, we hope our notebooks entice more people to pick up a pen or pencil and begin enjoying the cathartic experiences of exploring one's own creative potential.

Furthermore, as founders of Nigerian descent, who maintain strong familial ties to Nigeria, we find ourselves ever grateful for the creative opportunities and resources we have and continue to have access to here in the UK. We are proud of our heritage and our entrepreneurial pursuits, through West Port and Port West, are a manifestation of our desire to take our destiny into our own hands, inspire more black business owners in all fields, and give back to our home country and continent.
What sets your brand apart from other notebook brands on the market?
We hope the fact the values we preach about are inarguably visible in our products. Our motto is ‘For People & Planet’ and our books are a representation of the design ideals we hold important. These include Function (durable materials, lay-flat design, practical features and guides), Beauty and Form (timeless aesthetics, subtlety, emotion and identity) and Sustainability (charity, recycled materials, low-carbon footprints, transparent and accountable production and local manufacturing). With every decision we make it is because we firmly believe it will either help bring about a greener future and or a more socio-economically equitable society.

Now, we are only architects and stationers in one small corner of the world. However, we hold that no matter how small the impact is that we ultimately make, it is the pursuit of a better tomorrow, through our passions, that makes it all worth the sweat.
What are some of your customers' favorite products?
Our /01 Journal is now sold out, but our /02 Vegan in its Rust and Forest Green colours are very popular!

What more can we expect to see from Port West in the coming months?

Furthering the ‘For People..’ part of our agenda and extending our Create For Creativity campaign. We are soon to release our /03 exercise books. With each purchase of these we will be donating a percentage of their sales revenues to art and design charities helping to build up creative resources and programmes in areas across the globe that do not benefit from the fiscal backing art and design does here in the UK.


Link to interview summary on BLK ^ OCEANS here.