How to start a stationery supply business in South Africa

How to start a stationery supply business in South Africa

A stationery supply business is one of the businesses that are overlooked by many people but are really profitable. This is a guide on how to start a stationery supply business in South Africa.

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A stationery supply business supplies schools and offices with stationery. A lot of work is done on laptops and through other digital platforms in our age but there is still a need for stationery. Location and networking are the backbone of this business.

The barriers to entry are not high, especially if you are running this business from your home, which is highly recommended. Even the barriers to entry are not high, there is not that much competition. The main downside is that this business can be seasonal.

Choose the right location

Your business should preferably be in the city or town, somewhere close to a lot of offices and schools. This is the best way to ensure that you are competitive and that you will get a lot of customers.

A stationery shop situated in a rural area will not make a lot of money, it might make it initially when schools are opening and learners are buying stationery. After that it will not make enough money to offset the operating expenses.

Register your business

Registering the business will only cost you R125 when done through the CIPC. It will only take a short time and you will have a professional company. This helps to establish credibility and you can also have a business account amongst other benefits.

Stock inventory

Buy all the stationery that you know if in high demand first, and account for seasonality. You have to buy more school books when the year starts. As time goes on, your stationery should be balanced between office and school stationery.

How to sell your stationery

It might take a while for people to come to your shop after the schools have opened. The best way to make sure that you continuously sell is to form partnerships with your clients, your main clients being schools and offices.

Try to focus on selling the stationery to the whole school instead of individual learners. This will benefit everyone involved. You get to sell the inventory, learners buy directly from the school, which is convenient and the school might add a markup.

If a learner loses a pen at school then he/she can just go to the school office and buy stationery directly from there. Try to apply the same model to companies, get them to buy in bulk from your shop.


This was a guide on how to start a stationery supply business in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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