Thoughts On The Carbon V, A Kickstarter Insight.
Usually Im posting here pictures of pens, using this platform to make users, clients whoever to notice what Im doing. I have written a lot on who am I and what do I do by the time of the kickstarter campaign, which to date has been a commercial failure (although a successful campaign) and a financial problem for me.
Kickstarter is full of things, good things, bad things, but they all have something in common, attractive prices sometimes and originality. Without this there's no kickstarter. What's the point? Kickstarter is to start something, and that's great, and in the way it may be a success it may be a failure. Most campaigns do get found, but most projects don't see the next phase, which is the company, where you get clients from somewhere else.
Most brands, or people behind the brands in kickstarter should not make more than one or two campaigns, and this is because the risk is to become very quickly a “kickstarter brand” and be in a comfort zone, where the community works as a close market and you know you'll make some buck. Moreover I can say that many of the pens in kickstarter are made by the same company in china. I know this because they contacted me after the campaign to make a metal pen for them. This is fine, as you can say that Jowo/Schmidt/Bock are making all of the nibs out there, and most of the nibs of all the medium/small sized pen brands in the west, but the point is, that one thing is to make a product, another to start a brand and a workshop that produces a good.
I have nothing against producing in china. I still remember when products coming from china where of poor quality and a copy of some other things made in the west or in Japan. And if you go even further back, that is how japan started. Today your iphone “designed in california” is chinese, and you don't mind. Soon you in the future you won't even mind that's designed in china, as I had countless of chinese students, and they will do what I have taught to them, and that's good. You dont think about it. But yes Im against low prices, slave workmanship pollution and I wonder how much suffer is behind each of those products we buy for little prices, at least little for the retailer, not you, and thinking that if you get them for such low prices, what is actually the cost of them? Close to nothing. Even the iphone gets a price multiplied many times until it gets to your hand. I live in europe and I want to produce in europe. Its difficult, but not impossible. Part of the big crisis we're facing is that we have a part of the world producing and another just consuming and living at expenses of a cut, and at the end, its going to be a disaster as there's no balance.
When I got to kickstarter I knew from before that I wanted to make design objects that were different, and being different in this world is risky. To summarize I combined my design capabilities (I'm an architect, designer, musician and painter and former professor of architecture and design) to make a fountain pen I would like to use, as to what I find on the market, nothing I really like.
I wanted a pen in a modern material with a decent nib and lightweight. I wanted a pen that would have a design that reflects my thoughts. The rest is a difficult path of scaling that up not with difficulties, new materials, combinations of materials, new filling mechanisms, notebooks, an ink that won't destroy my pens and dries quickly, pencils in the fashion I want and so on.
I'm still changing and delivering some of this Carbon V pens!, where you may find very early models that I have been changing in reviews here and there, which are terrible. Therefore the delay with this pen. Making an almost all carbon fiber pen, and not just a metallic pen with some carbon fiber parts is not an easy job. Moreover, working with it is unhealthy and dangerous, and tolerances are very difficult to manage. I can say now that I fully understand the material and I can make things with no problem, but that took over a year of essay and trial.
I think there's room for these pens on the market. A market where I can find a pattern of 3 basic pens, spanning countless small, medium big brands from anywhere on the world. Where nobody wants to risk anything in terms of a new design, where coping the lamy safari by 10 in china is just good. I was contacted by one of these chinese makers once, to make a design for them. I thought that's better to work for them than rather being just copied, well, after sending the bill, I never had any answer, nor the money from them to just discover that they decided to just make yet another lamy safari clone........How many reviews are out there of these chinese copies? Would you buy a clone of an iphone? Anyway, I have been looking and looking pen reviews on modern fountain pens to always get the veteran lamy 2000 as a result. Its fine, even I have one of those, but is 50 years old. A lot in design has happened since, and although fountain pens are a lot about nostalgia, in design, a chair is still a chair, a car still goes on the same basic principles since it's invention, so, why not a pen? I have explored this subject in all my designs and work as an architect, and Im just writing this after some things I have found of a thing that was not perfect but its on the way. I have thought many times in finishing the carbon V, and just quite, but I think its a good design, at least fresh, and as somebody pointed out here in an old review in the FPN, the carbon V could be an iconic design, well, its just a pen, but in a way, its more than that, it reflects a way of thinking, mine, that in the current circumstances seems to be against something I quite don't get.