CUSTOMERS at an independent stationery shop in Oxford are being invited to get hands on with a series of new activities, designed to make the store more interactive.

Visitors to Scriptum in Turl Street will be able to make their own ink, use a typewriter and produce their own wax seals, initiatives designed to get people into the shop, while also opening up a conversation about mental health.

Shop owner Azeem Zakria is hoping the new interactive activities will not just lead to a boost in sales, but more importantly help young men in the city suffering mental health problems.

As an aside to the activities, Scriptum is also launching its own writers’ club, providing men people to speak to during tea and coffee sessions.

See also: Domino’s drunk driver had two previous driving convictions, court hears

Mr Zakria said: “Not everyone has access to these kind of things, so it will be good to provide them to the people of Oxford.

“With social distancing, we know we won’t be as busy as previous years therefore we’re making the whole experience more interactive for customers.

“We’re also starting a letter writing club with the idea that men will be able to meet and discuss similar problems.

“I decided to set up this group as it will allow men to write letters and chat with each other.”

Oxford Mail:

Scriptum will be providing all the stationery free of charge, while the new initiatives will get started on Monday, October 19.

As part of a new partnership with Oxfordshire Mind, Scriptum has donated £1,200 to the mental health charity.

The money has all come through sales of The Good Place journal, a product the store sells.

The journal retails at £18, with £3 from each sale over the last two years put aside for charity.

Oxford Mail:

In August, Scriptum opened a second shop next door after Mr Zakria signed a temporary lease with Lincoln College for the empty unit formerly occupied by The Leather Shop.

On Saturday, the ‘original shop’ will reopen following a fresh lick of paint and carpet replacements.

The store, which Mr Zakria said normally closes for three days of the year, has been forced to close for 201 days this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: School reveals identity of its mystery backer

In addition to the interactive elements and reopening of a shop, Mr Zakria also revealed he is working with luxury perfumery Santa Maria Novella.

He said: “They’re a very exclusive brand and don’t sell outside their shops.

“We’re going to be selling their candles, soaps, perfumes and room scents.

See also: Residents’ anger over Blenheim plans for 45 houses on allotments

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, I’ve used the brand myself for over 25 years.

“I had to do a lot of work to get this deal, it’s something I thought would never happen.”

Last month, Scriptum scooped the ‘Best Indepedent Retailer’ for the south of England at the Stationery Awards.

For more on the mental health programme, email: