The London Pen Show

by Stuart Lennon

Our first London show was earlier this year, the inaugural Spring show. It was at the same venue, so we returned with a sense of familiarity and confidence.

Our stock in trade at a Pen Show has always been cases from Nock Co. However, those are not available to us any more, so we brought our last remaining stock and some new lines from Lihit Lab. The Lihit Lab goods impressed me. Well-made, and very much less expensive than their American cousins. Judging by sales, customers liked them too. We sold our usual blend of graphite and paper, with Tomoe leading the way. Hardly unexpected at a Pen Show.

While Clare and Margaret slaved away at the table, chatting with customers new and old, I did my usual “networking”. My networking consists largely of having a wander around all the tables, chatting to everyone and then giving all my money to one of the guys at Pure Pens.

Pelikans are my thing at the moment, and these Welsh wizards are masters of Pelikan. Vigorous networking somehow resulted in me purchasing a Pelikan M805 Blue Dunes with a big boy rhodium-plate gold broad nib, and its little brother a M205 Star Ruby, with a SS medium nib. They are gorgeous pens - and I bought them from lovely people, and call me weird, but that matters.

It was a real pleasure to see a customer turned competitor. I know that sounds odd, but really, I mean it. This mad world of stationery benefits from more vendors and more choice, and Derek at Stonecott is a really nice guy. Go and check out Benu Pens on his site. Handcrafted in Moscow. I can confirm, they sure are pretty. If you look carefully at his photos, you might see a big chap in a Blackwing t-shirt lurking about.

As regular reader will know, I’m nothing if not straightforward. Penshows are not about profit for us. Our product line is at the lower end of the cost scale and to be frank, we’d need to sell a lot of notebooks to cover our costs. What delights both Clare and I is meeting customers, both new ones and people that we already know virtually. The chance to have a chat and in some cases grab a beer makes it all worth it.

After the show, I had a chance to sit down with PenultimateDave and check out his purchases. If you are not fountain pens, you need to go check out his You Tube Channel.

My final word goes to Jeremy Collingridge and Ian Williamson who announced that the show was their last at the helm. We have been very lucky to have two guys working so hard at making these shows work.

Now, I’m off to play with my Pelikans.