About pen sleeves/packaging for sales

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sorcerertd

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To be clear here, I am not asking what I should do, just for various personal opinions on what you are comfortable with. Those that have been selling for a while, what feedback have you received from your customers?

I have always included a basic faux suede drawstring pouches like these on Amazon, but I've started making more high end pens. Seems to me that, if you buy a pen for $100 or more, it should come with something to protect it a little better. I am considering buying some such as these on Alibaba. Maybe it's better to keep doing what I am doing and let the customer pick out their own case if they want one or skip the pouch and put them in a nicer box?

Does anyone purchase sleeves and have a reliable, consistent supplier that isn't too expensive? Say under $5 each with shipping. Hand made is nice, but I can't spend $20-25 bucks without charging a lot more for my pens that come with a "free" leather pouch. I'm perfectly willing to wait a while for them to show up from China, India, or Pakistan if need be. How wide of a sleeve do I realistically need for a Jr. series pen? 5cm is the most common I see, but seems a little large for a single pen. If I'm ordering them anyway, I'm sure I could ask for a 3.5 or 4cm at the same price point or slightly less.

For what it's worth, I do have a fair amount of scrap leather and may attempt (again) to make them. This would be my preferred option, as it would not only be cheaper, but I do love learning to do new things. Just not sure I want to put the time into it right now.
 
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studioseven

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I provide a drawstring pouch for all my slimlines and sierras. I give a leather pouch for my bolt actions. Some of our vendors sell a case of ten of these pouches for around $20.00. They are a perfect fit for the bolt actions however a tad small for magnum bolt actions. All of my larger pens come with wooden boxes. Just my humble opinion but the smaller pens are most likely to be carry pens by the customer. The drawstring pouch provides a little protection while in shirt pockets or in the bbottom of a purse. The larger pens aren't practical as carry pens and more likely will be used on a desk. While the boxes for the larger pens average around $10.00 each it is calculated into the price of the pen. I have never ordered from Alibaba. How reputable are they?
 

sorcerertd

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I have never ordered from Alibaba. How reputable are they?
They are just a marketplace. Reputation will probably vary by individual vendors, bit they will all want to maintain their place there to ensure they stay in business. There are a few pen kits available there, too, if you don't mind buying in bulk. Shipping can be pretty outrageous,, though. That being said, I have not made a purchase there yet. Just doing research.

A lot of the stuff sold by sellers on Amazon is is purchased by those sellers, and then shipped from the same vendors that sell on Alibaba directly to Amazon to store and sell for them. That's why so many items say "sold by *** and fulfilled by Amazon".
 

Mikeyt

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I have always felt when I send a pen I want it protected and ready to be given as a gift. I will send my pens in a velvet pen case they cost about $3-$5. I include that in the cost of the pen. I feel it adds extra value and when someone spends $$ on a pen I want them to feel they got value. That is how I look at it.
 

wrjones224

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I have bought black pen boxes off of Alibaba that seem to work just great and my customers seem to like them. It even has my company logo on them for a reasonable price. I think a nicer pen should come in a decent box but it also doesn’t have to be a super expensive one either. The ones I buy are around $2.5 each with the shipping included.
 

sorcerertd

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That's not a bad price for custom logo boxes, Ryan. I have always included a pouch, as shown here, inside a basic gift box. The box is then wrapped and tied, basically like a gift. That adds up to about 75¢ each. It's not really bad packaging, but just doesn't give the customer any sturdy protection for a purse or book bag. Ultimately, it is up to the customer to protect their investment, but I do feel the same as Mikeyt about perceived value.

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penicillin

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I don't sell pens, so I use cheap plastic display tubes for the pens I make. All I want is low cost protection for the pen. Reading this thread has been interesting, though.

I had not thought about it until this thread, but do customers want protection for their pens as they carry them around? Until now, I had thought about sleeves as a packaging packaging that serves as elegant gift wrap, essentially "ready to give."

Using a sleeve or other packaging to protect an everyday pen as you carry it around reminds me of college students who used leather pouches to carry their slide rules (or later, calculators) on their belts. Do many of your customers really do that with their pens, which doubles the number of steps it takes to have the pen ready to use? In my opinion, the answer is maybe, if you're a writer or someone who handwrites letters. Less likely, if you're signing a form, making out the grocery list, or writing a check.

Do we truly understand the "use cases" for the expensive pens that are made and sold by the people here? I don't. Do you? What do the buyers actually do with them? How are they actually used?
 

sorcerertd

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The "use cases" are kind of what I was wondering about with this. It might be a waste to include on some people's purchases. Some may want to display them in the open on their desk. Some may carry them. Hard to say for sure without asking them. Maybe I can get some and just offer it an optional add-on. That would be the equivalent of asking.
 
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