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Budapest Pen Meet – 2019 January

Some of you guys may already know this but we have monthly pen meets here in Budapest ๐Ÿ˜€ and I thought it would be a good idea to post a quick summary of what we have talked about and to post some photos as well.

This month’s pen meet we had a new pen enthusiast join us! Hi Adrian! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s really nice to have a new person join our monthly pen meets. Usually there are at least 5 people but if adult life wouldn’t get in the way there are about 20 people who come to these meets as their time permits them. We tried out a new place this time because our usual place had really dim lights and it’s not so good when you’re trying to compare ink colours. We went to Mon Cheri Cafe and we found a good spot where light was directly shining onto our tables which did wonders!

We talked about quite a lot of things as usual. The main things we’re basically the state of fountain pen use and culture in Hungary and in Romania and we have concluded that it’s pretty much non-existent especially compared to some nations like the Dutch. In Hungary fountain pens are usually seen as a gift you give someone for graduation or as a corporate gift (or for your boss) but apart from that it has been pretty much phased out in everyday use partly do to our modern society and partly because not a lot of emphasis is given upon them in schools anymore.

Another topic we have discussed is importing fountain pen related goods outside of the European Union, we shared our experiences and our thoughts on buying from abroad, on how unfair paying 27% VAT is and how lucky Americans are that most of the stuff over there is cheaper (although I guess they could say the same thing about European brands ๐Ÿ˜› ).

Naturally we also had to try out every pen and ink we have brought, Sailor, Pilot, Nakaya, Namiki pens dominated the field today since most in our group prefer Japanese pens (at least that’s the impression I have got) but there were some European pens as well like, Aurora, Pelikan (Ocean Swirl represent!) and Waterman. Daniel sent me an interesting story the other day posted to a forum, the tl;dr is that the Pilot Custom 823 was created because the staff at Pilot thought that the Pelikan M800 has degraded in quality over the years and they wanted to recapture the feeling of the old M800 they all used and loved. You can read the whole story here if you want.

I brought two things to the meet this time around. One was 160g letter paper from Piccolo Press Scotland because I wanted to get the opinion of the others whether it would be good to create notebooks out of them. Personally I think the paper is really nice but we’ll see what the others say in the February meet about it once they have tested it out. The other thing(s) that I brought were ink bottles! I contacted a glassware maker in Italy about ink bottles and they sent me some samples of their lineup. As it turns out they are most likely making bottles for Diamine, Omas, Jacques Herbin, De Artemis and probably somebody else as well. Now the reason I contacted them about these bottles is because I’m going to start selling my own brand of inks! ๐Ÿ˜€ This means that once I get my hands on the bottles I’ll be able to start offering Pennonia inks YAY! ๐Ÿ˜€

So the reason I brought these bottles to the meet is because I wanted to ask the others which ones did they like the most (and in order to catch any bottles that might be used by other manufacturers as I didn’t want to use a bottle design that’s already associated with somebody else). Anyway we managed to find the perfect bottle so once I have labels printed up and the bottles filled (and received the bottles ๐Ÿ˜› ) I’ll be able to take some nice glamour shots and product photos. Hopefully everyone will be satisfied by the quality of the ink and the bottle as well!

That was about it but I probably forgot a lot of stuff since everybody had so much new things to say and talk about and I also didn’t manage to talk with everyone this time around. Hopefully next month! ๐Ÿ˜€ See you guys until then.

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Refocusing Pennonia in 2019

Pennonia is a very young venture since it “only” began in June of 2018. It was quite an eventful six months both in my life and in the development of Pennonia. I gained valuable experience on how to manage and run an online business and I thought I would give you guys an update on how things will change in the coming year…and I also wanted to say I’m still alive even if the blog and Instagram posts have stopped for a while.

When I first thought of Pennonia I wanted it to have as much content as possible in order to rival the offerings of more well known online retailers. To an extent I think I actually did quite good here because Pennonia currently has over 700 products listed and I still haven’t gotten around to upload Diamine inks, Platinum pens and inks. So this could grow even bigger easily. What I have learned though is that a small online retailer simply can’t compete or match giants like Appelboom, Fonto Plumo or Casa della Stilographica when it comes to variety of products offered. Every manufacturer has a bajilion pens with different colors and nib sizes and having everything in stock gets insanely expensive. Maintaining and updating availability of all of these products is also a huge undertaking and distributors don’t usually have everything in stock or don’t communicate with the retailers on what products are taken out of circulation and which new products are being introduced. (although if it were my company I would definitely create an API which retailers could use to verify stock levels)

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