There are similar issues with watch projects on KS: good photography, good copy, and lots of backers for watches that have cheap mechanisms if they ever make it into people's hands, and many don't. The practice has migrated from discussion forums and newsgroups and mailing lists and print magazines into a new venue. Like wristwatches, FPs are mature technology: there's a certain amount of cosmetic innovation, but nibs and feeds and converters and caps and clips are going to come from a set of well-defined manufacturers depending on price point. But they also have a certain amount of mystique that allows clever marketing to sway newbies.
I'm very wary about kneejerk reactions and the idea that one group of self-appointed gatekeepers get to declare which new FP makers/designers pass muster. Given what we know the big Chinese manufacturers can produce, I can well imagine a custom run with decent components and good QC producing a high quality pen at that price with sufficient margin to make the project worthwhile, but this doesn't appear to be that kind of project.
And this is exactly my take on it. =) When I read it first, I really had no issues of a guy selling a slightly customized pen.
Look at the handgun world. Springfield Armory, one of the big ones, found a Croatian company that produced a decent gun. They slapped on their label, printed their name, and called it their own, the Springfield XD line. Raised the price quite a bit too.
All the major manufacturers do it. For all products.
With this pen, I really hoped the guy really had a story and a design, then went out to see it getting done and it turned out he could of gotten what he wanted, nearly, say 95% product at 50% the cost, and that is why he did. In that case, I was ok with it.
After doing some investigation, it really looks like it was just one big story, and that is what peeves me off.
Honestly, if he got a Jinhao pen, and all 3 Jinaho's I have write beautifully a pretty good build quality. The Kaigelu and Bauer pens... leave a bit desired. It is a shame that the products he got are hit or miss.
End result? Price wise... it is just a shame that we know how much those are... but once again... just some examples from my days as Marketing Director for local office supply stores for HP.
USB Cables - $20 retail, cost to Staples $2.
Monster Cables DVI - $80 retail, cost to best buy $20.
There are obscene profits in a lot of items.
Most pens are already marked up 100%, from distributor to retail/list price. We are lucky that online places mark down... but there is plenty of room to do it.
Ink, etc. Heck, even paper.
Only items with lower mark ups are technology... where after a few weeks, they are sold at a loss.
IE... HP, we gave away the printers at a loss, even computers had a $25 markup, in order to make 400% or more on ink.
So... $37 on a fountain pen that is decent quality? (I have not played with one).... it could be far worse. Look, Mont Blanc, Visconti, Parker, Nakoya? (or that stupid expensive Japanese pen company), how much money are they making?
Knowing the community, yeah, we feel it is over priced, especially since it is likely no better than a $5 shipped Jinaho off of ebay, but is it on par to a $40 Lamy? Maybe.
As far as the warranty... Lifetime warranty does not mean there is a ton of money, it means quality product, and a cost benefit of new buyers who will buy just because of it.
Many gun companies offer lifetime warranties, Smith Wesson, Taurus, Springfield Armory. I doubt anyone can say Smith Wesson or Springfield put out a shoddy product.
The limited warranty is one part that really bothers me. We all know Mont Blanc, Visconti and others CAN offer a lifetime warranty, more people will buy them, and they will make obscene money. Why don't they? Because they don't have to as no one as far as I know does. The day one of the big companies offers a lifetime warranty, they all will. They are already laughing their way to the bank for having someone spend over $500 on a pen that costs no more than $50 to make.
One final example... Joseph A Banks... they can offer suits all day long for 80% off and still make money, pay commissions and all. Why? Because they just jack up their prices. The cost on each of those suits is right about $17 dollars.
Edit... my numbers are slightly off, but here is an article.
Offering 70% off suits, or buy 1 get 7 free (suits, shirts, ties).... their profit margins are still over 60%.
Humn, isn't Mont Blanc a public company? Time to go dig their reports.
Edited by maksim, 30 November 2013 - 08:33.