Ordering "Off Menu" Pens

To kick off June, we would like to talk about a topic that has been coming up more frequently in the last year or so. Part of it has to do with the economy (what doesn't these days), but the overall idea is better customer service on the part of the pen-makers and a more contemporary mindset of manufacturing. It's similar to what the restaurants call ordering "off menu."

Typically, you have a standard set of offerings from each pen manufacturer, similar to a menu at your favorite neighborhood restaurant. For example, Lamy has a regular set of colors for the Studio collection : black, palladium, blue and brushed stainless steel. Sometimes, they add a limited edition color into the mix, like Violet. Anything out of the normal or limited release of colors is not available. They would look at us with three heads if we tried to order an Orange Studio pen. And a McDonalds employee may do a double take if you request lasagna.

What seems to be the trend in the industry is that the pen-makers are becoming more accommodating to special requests, one-offs and small runs of customized designs. Brian from Edison Pens has made a living of it. Conway Stewart is offering a limited edition pen (50 piece runs) every month with a different, unique finish. You can custom design the look of a Retro51 Tornado or a Sherpa pen, provided that the minimum order is met. Even a Delta or Monteverde pen can be slightly modified in color or design to produce a special edition (minimum order as well).

Fountain pen nibs, usually offered in medium or fine, can be special ordered in a variety of sizes, depending on the brand and model of the pen.

Pen folks : Open your imaginations! It never hurts to ask for a special request.

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