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Old 11-03-2017, 03:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Question Questions on whether or not to make a fountain pen

Looking for some guidance. I've been given an opportunity to display some pens at a friend's family art gallery during their show of Christmas gifts. She suggested 5 pens and said fancy is better. I would like to offer a fountain pen or 2 to this audience but I know absolutely nothing about them. This worries me because I would not be able to field questions or respond to problems that may occur. Would you all advise against making one for this reason? Or is it typical that if someone buys a fountain they know something about it and can troubleshoot themselves? I will not be at this event, my pens will simply be there on commission.
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Old 11-03-2017, 03:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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All the usual disclaimers about my opinion, your mileage may vary, etc, etc.

I would use kits that have interchangeable parts for fountain pen and rollerball, and send them built as rollerballs. Include a notice saying that they are convertible and if somebody wants one to be changed to a fountain pen, they should contact you.

That reduces the chances of a nib getting destroyed by people who don't know how to cap a fountain pen, can't keep from dropping stuff, etc, and leaves open the option of selling to the FP crowd if they are interested.
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Old 11-03-2017, 04:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I like Duncan's advice. . I think his line of thinking puts the onus a little more on the buyer to select the FP capability (at her/his own risk sort of).

Making a fountain pen is, in some ways, just as easy as making a rollerball or a click pen.
It depends somewhat on the kit. A Triton convertible is perhaps what Duncan has in mind and that kit is quite easy. Consider also the Atrax ... don't know if there is a convertible kit for it though. . But I feel confident you can easily switch a RB to FP and vice versa.

Exotic Blanks has the Triton convertible, and I don't think you can go wrong with it. . The price reflects the convertibility. . You can also buy the Triton in a rollerball only or in a fountain pen only. . You could then do a change to the other (if requested) after the sale.

https://www.exoticblanks.com/Triton-...d-Accents.html
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Old 11-03-2017, 04:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I was actually thinking of the Caballero, also from Exotic Blanks (it was formerly from Smitty's Pen Works), but either one would work nicely for this situation.

https://www.exoticblanks.com/Caballero-Pen-Kits-SPW/
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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At the risk of angering the advertising gods, I will give my thoughts. If you purchase the atrax as a rollerball, the Berea fountain pen front end will fit it and is available in most of the plating choices of the atrax. So, you could create a "convertible" using the atrax (less decoration than the triton).

If your hostess suggested "Fancy is better", the Triton would be a better choice--it looks more "Fancy", without the accompanying price tag of a pen like the Jr. Statesman. (Fancier yet, but pricey)

Of course, if you have limitless funds, make an Emperor or Imperial--then put a hefty price tag on it ($500 ish) Use an appropriately high end blank. If they want fancy, maybe the crowd can afford fancy!!!
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faas View Post
Looking for some guidance. I've been given an opportunity to display some pens at a friend's family art gallery during their show of Christmas gifts. She suggested 5 pens and said fancy is better. I would like to offer a fountain pen or 2 to this audience but I know absolutely nothing about them. This worries me because I would not be able to field questions or respond to problems that may occur. Would you all advise against making one for this reason? Or is it typical that if someone buys a fountain they know something about it and can troubleshoot themselves? I will not be at this event, my pens will simply be there on commission.
I realized I ignored your question. SORRY!!! Here is my answer!

I would submit 5-6 pens. None would be less than $100, since this is an art gallery. I would make one masterpiece (Emperor or Jr. Emperor--I would use an Abalone blank, because it goes GREAT with this pen) and price it at $495. The other pens would be rollerballs and ballpoints, again using Italian resins or unbelievable burls, priced from $150-350, probably emphasizing the $195 area (Very nice gift for friends for well-off individuals)

Then who cares what you know? Will SOMEONE be answering questions for the attendees? Do you get to tell them anything about your pens? Assuming you don't, write a compelling brochure for each pen, with it's picture on the first page and description of pen and materials on the inside. This is your SALESMAN--make it complete and convincing.

I do not condone making fountain pens without learning about them, but every rule has exceptions and this appears to be one time you can only guess about your customers' knowledge level. Once you have made the pens and have an opportunity, spend time on YouTube researching "tuning a fountain pen nib". You will learn a great deal!! (I especially recommend a man named BREBrown, from Britain--easy to listen to and clear information!!)

Hope this helps!!

Ed
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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It may be not too wise to interpret the potential customer as knowing what they want.

I have had customers request me to make a fountain pen for them only to discover later that they themselves, or their giftee, did not like a fountain pen at all.
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Old 11-04-2017, 11:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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With reference to Ed's suggestion above: here is the link to Stephen Brown's YouTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeW...Kv0Cgq_UNpwYpA

The best way to find what you need is to look at his playlists.

Ed is right about the education you can get, but wrong about where he's from--he is actually from the Netherlands.

Hope this helps,

Bill
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Old 11-04-2017, 04:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you, Bill!!

I have given dozens of people the wrong information!! Thanks for the correction!!
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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I wasn't picking on you Ed. I thought the same thing until I looked at his website recently. He actually has a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from Leiden University.

Certainly sounds British though.

Bill
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