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I Want To Make "true Luxury Fountain Pens"! I Need Your Suggestions?

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#41 vrr

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 15:06

However much I'd adore a diamond encrusted vermeil fountain about the size of the Platinum "President" with a complete set of swapable 18K gold nibs (xf, f, m, b, stub and or cursive italic in 3 widths), I could never afford it -- and unless the maker has a reputation for /usable/ & /working/ pens, likely wouldn't do more than glance at it.


Thanks for your inputs.

Many suggestions received by me has been inclining towards .. diamond .. and gold nibs .. and rare material ... And limited production so as to cap the availability in world ..
.thanks once again, I will keep updating the progress.

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#42 vrr

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 15:12

I think you have to make your brand luxurious first, and then have pens to sell, and with prices to match.

Don't worry too much about the pen right now. Work more on your brand.


Thanks on your feedback.

This is a completely different take and approach ..but this can also work at times



I believe that the marketing campaign can do wonders but if the product in itself is not.of superr high quality product and .. workmanship then this may just back fire ..

But a very different take on this .. thanks again ...

#43 mongrelnomad

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 15:21

Fine, I will answer your question simply and concisely, or as simply and concisely as I can.

What is a luxury pen?

Is it - pens made from precious materials? Montblanc and David Oscarson think so.

Is it - association with those high-end precious metal pens? Montblanc also thinks so.

Is it - historical association? Montblanc thinks so too. As does Pelikan. And Onoto. And Conway Stewart (RIP). And Wahl Eversharp.

Is it - proprietary materials? ASC thinks so.

Is it - traditional artisanship and materials? Pilot thinks so. As does Sailor. And Nakaya too. Cant forget Yard o Led.

What about legacy? Hakase, Ohashido and yes, Montblanc would like a word.

Or is it innovation and impeccable build quality? Thatd be Conid for you.

The above list is far from exhaustive. Basically, my point is that there is no such thing as luxury, and that goes for everything, not just pens. Luxury is whatever appeals to your market, differentiates you, and allows you to charge premium prices.

So, I will ask you again, though you have made it very clear you will keep all information close to your chest: whats yours?

Edited by mongrelnomad, 21 September 2018 - 15:22.

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#44 sirgilbert357

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 15:26

Fine, I will answer your question simply and concisely, or as simply and concisely as I can.

What is a luxury pen?

Is it - pens made from precious materials? Montblanc and David Oscarson think so.

Is it - association with those high-end precious metal pens? Montblanc also thinks so.

Is it - historical association? Montblanc thinks so too. As does Pelikan. And Onoto. And Conway Stewart (RIP). And Wahl Eversharp.

Is it - proprietary materials? ASC thinks so.

Is it - traditional artisanship and materials? Pilot thinks so. As does Sailor. And Nakaya too. Cant forget Yard o Led.

What about legacy? Hakase, Ohashido and yes, Montblanc would like a word.

Or is it innovation and impeccable build quality? Thatd be Conid for you.

The above list is far from exhaustive. Basically, my point is that there is no such thing as luxury, and that goes for everything, not just pens. Luxury is whatever appeals to your market, differentiates you, and allows you to charge premium prices.

So, I will ask you again, though you have made it very clear you will keep all information close to your chest: whats yours?

 

 

And we didn't even hit on "beautiful" in that list...if the pen isn't pleasing to look at, I ain't buying it, and I'm sure not spending big bucks on it. Very subjective stuff here...



#45 vrr

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 15:30

 
I disagree. I'm always looking at pens and thinking "Oh, that's cool, but if only this was different...". I'm not saying that I'm regularly spotting market opportunities, only that I don't believe every possible style of pen and permutation of features is already available. Whether there's a market for certain things is a different story of course.


I relate to your opinion ...

.. in my opinion .. each of us love pens in our own way. . I have pens where we have then for over ,80 years .. in one I am the 3rd generation....

And I feel those slight changes are what would certainly make us decide for or against a pen model ...

#46 BaronWulfraed

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 15:33

The problem(s) I see is that "true Luxury Fountain Pens" has not been defined.

 

You appear to have little experience with the use of fountain pens... That tells me that the likely product is going to be a boutique pen, which will never see ink -- it will be so adorned that the buyer will put it in a locked, glass, display case and hang it on the wall next to one of the fenced copies of "The Scream".

 

Whereas I would prefer to buy from a name known to produce quality utility pens, and only later ups the designs to luxury adornments (I don't consider a gold nib an adornment -- and am hoping for the price of gold to drop 50% or more so companies return to using gold in the $100-200 price range)*

 

In between the two is customizers -- who contract with a major pen maker to supply the basic pen, and they then add the adornments... The route used by Classic Pens (now Lambrou Pens).

 

 

* I used to be a member in a metal detector club. When gold was $300 an ounce, the monthly raffle typically included one gold coin, some large silver coins or bullion medals, along with the run of silver half dollars and quarters. The club used to take in $900 in ticket sales, so could use 75% of the take to buy the next month's prizes. When gold hit $1000, gold was no longer available as a prize, and with just silver on the table, ticket sales dropped off



#47 minddance

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 15:34

Would someone be kind enough to explain how MontBlanc 149 is a luxurious pen please?

#48 sidthecat

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 15:45

My question would be: are you making status objects or really good pens? Mont Blanc pens are, for reasons of history and branding, status objects, but not necessarily the best pens in terms of writing experience.
I’d think about the business end: if you can create nibs customized to the the writer, you might get the attention of the plutocrats you wish to attract. I’d respectfully suggest you seek expertise in this peculiar aspect of the fountain pen experience.

#49 vrr

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 15:49

I will add my 2 cents worth but from a different perspective. I see this thread and the helpful suggestions others have offered. I also have read Ron Z's comments. While I agree with ALL of them, one aspect of pen making that is MORE important than all of the performance requirements, materials, nib selection is your point of view. What is the unique value proposition you're adding to the market and to collectors that others are not offering? In the higher end segment of the market, this point is SUPER important. Look at both Edison and Franklin Christoph. Both mentioned many times in this thread. If you look at the pens they offer, the materials, filling mechanism and nib selection is exactly the same. But yet all of us inherently can understand what each company offers.
 
I am helping a client design a new hotel product right now. Ace hotel is currently a very respected brand in the hotel industry. You can TRY and copy of their physical attributes, but if you don't have this clear value proposition, you will be a failed product. That's the location I am currently staying. A pale simulacra of the original, with absolutely no reason to charge the same prices. While I will always still stay at the Ace, I will never stay at this copy cat again.


Thanks a lot for your thoughts ...

I am able to understand and relate to your points very clearly.

What I have also understood is that while I have asked for simple points about what does each one likes in a luxury fountian pen ... The replies received are more on how much I do not understand about a Luxury Pen etc.

However , your own point when you have mentioned Edison and Franklin Christoph in the same breath clarifies what I am highlighting ...


Also my question is would you not like ACE with some more features ... And there is a possibility that those features may be from another brand may be the James and may be the Kimpton.....

That's exactly the same thing I am trying to do here. ..

But I am not saying ACE .. I am saying I am a brand new company in Luxury Fountain Pen...

#50 vrr

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 15:58

My question would be: are you making status objects or really good pens? Mont Blanc pens are, for reasons of history and branding, status objects, but not necessarily the best pens in terms of writing experience.
Id think about the business end: if you can create nibs customized to the the writer, you might get the attention of the plutocrats you wish to attract. Id respectfully suggest you seek expertise in this peculiar aspect of the fountain pen experience.


Thank you for your points shared here....

I agree ...and am going to do that ...

We will make the best pen and only then add different levels of additional beautification tot he product.

Nibs and the ink feed is going to be the main focus ... .. and undoubtedly.. the product if can't be used then it will stay as a show piece .. and that's not what i have in mind ...

Thanks a lot again for adding your view and raising the right questions.

#51 Ron Z

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 16:08

Keep in mind that there are many people who are allergic to latex, and others who just don't like the smell - so rubber products are out of the question for them.


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#52 Honeybadgers

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 07:01

celluloid, ebonite or sterling silver for a barrel, a gold nib made - in house (I have been utterly unimpressed with the off-the-shelf gold nibs in most pens) a torpedo shape, a piston, button or vacuum filler, an ebonite feed, and a 10 karat gold clip is pretty much where my sweet spot is.

 

Custom stacked nibs are a really fancy option that nobody is selling on a factory pen (only option has always been the sailor naginata pens, which are thousands of dollars)


Edited by Honeybadgers, 22 September 2018 - 07:02.


#53 amk

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 18:10

My ha'porth would be to define your USP. 'Luxury' is a bit wide. You might decide to offer really excellent nibs. You might offer pens that are pieces of art. You might offer beautiful materials. 

 

- Maki-e or hand painted pens are one market. Ryan Krusac offers scrimshaw pens.

- Sailor is pretty much the only major manufacturer I can think of which offers really different nibs. Those are made in-house and they're not something you can get elsewhere.

- Overlays are tricky to do but have always been successful if well executed  - Onoto, Waterman with the 'night and day' Watermina, Montblanc skeleton.

- Some makers (Kanilea I think is one) have exclusive deals on particular materials.

 

Whatever you do, be honest about it. Romillo has in-house nibs. Other great makers buy in Bock or Jowo. No shame in that. There's an advantage to buying a pen with standard nibs that are swappable - if you don't add value with the nib then making them easily exchangeable *does* add value for your customers, and lets you concentrate on the other aspects of the pen.


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#54 minddance

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 18:36

A piece of jewellery that functions, precious parts, all lined up, nib perfected to swiss watch precision.

You are making a swiss watch pen?

Would we be looking at precious leathers and metals and stone? Fine inlays, enamel, etc.

And writes better than any pen in the market today and in the past.

Are we looking at something like that?

Or do you want to work your brand first?

#55 sansenri

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 20:17

you are really getting a lot of good advice here.

I hope you are a fast learner as it took me several years, quite a lot of pens tried and time spent reading this same advice, to understand what matters more for me in a pen.

If it were up to me, besides all the things already said, which are essential, types of materials, nibs, filling systems, manufacturing quality, reliability, etc., I would add one less evident factor which sometimes clashes with innovation and the need to show you are different: ergonomics.

A pen is something you hold in your hand, and you use to write with.

It's less obvious when you look at a pen, but it's when you hold it in your hand that you feel the difference.

Too many pens out there are surprising and beautiful, but when it comes to holding them they are just unbearable.

If you have not held hundreds of pens in your hand before though, it might be tough to understand the subtle differences.

It's something you should put at the top of the list though, don't let any other of those essential requirements get in the way of the one aspect which I (and I believe many others like me) consider most important, and that can make me decide not to buy a pen, even a luxury pen that I want and can afford: comfort.


Edited by sansenri, 22 September 2018 - 20:19.


#56 Precise

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 05:25

Dear sansenri,

 

Please tell us about pens that are "just unbearable" to hold.

 

Thank you,

 

Alan

 

 

It's less obvious when you look at a pen, but it's when you hold it in your hand that you feel the difference.

Too many pens out there are surprising and beautiful, but when it comes to holding them they are just unbearable.

If you have not held hundreds of pens in your hand before though, it might be tough to understand the subtle differences.

 

 



#57 Precise

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 05:27

Would someone be kind enough to explain how MontBlanc 149 is a luxurious pen please?

 

$900 list price. 

 

Excellent build quality and a beautiful big nib.

 

Usually excellent performance.



#58 vrr

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 09:49

Fine, I will answer your question simply and concisely, or as simply and concisely as I can.

What is a luxury pen?

Is it - pens made from precious materials? Montblanc and David Oscarson think so.

Is it - association with those high-end precious metal pens? Montblanc also thinks so.

Is it - historical association? Montblanc thinks so too. As does Pelikan. And Onoto. And Conway Stewart (RIP). And Wahl Eversharp.

Is it - proprietary materials? ASC thinks so.

Is it - traditional artisanship and materials? Pilot thinks so. As does Sailor. And Nakaya too. Cant forget Yard o Led.

What about legacy? Hakase, Ohashido and yes, Montblanc would like a word.

Or is it innovation and impeccable build quality? Thatd be Conid for you.

The above list is far from exhaustive. Basically, my point is that there is no such thing as luxury, and that goes for everything, not just pens. Luxury is whatever appeals to your market, differentiates you, and allows you to charge premium prices.

So, I will ask you again, though you have made it very clear you will keep all information close to your chest: whats yours?

 

Hello, 

 

Thank you once again, the answers given by you have given me immense understanding fo what approach I need to take further, 

 

I agree that there is never going to be a common definition of luxury .. however a broad understanding (universe) and then a set and subset will assist me in zeroing in on what and how will we define the same.

 

I will keep updating my progress, as of now things are at a nascent stage  . . . but I understand that we will have to get it flying at the earliest,

 

Thanks again. 



#59 vrr

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 10:27

1. Who are you selling to? What are they looking for? What do they appreciate? It might sound obvious but many startups really produce for themselves instead of their actual customers.

2. Let your customers into the design process, it's good to ask what they want but you want to find specific gaps in the market; for instance I wouldn't want a copy but a design that follows an iconic model might be interesting, which solves that model's problems; for instance a much thicker Parker 75.

3. Adjust your business model, there is no need to produce an entire batch and then wait to see if it sells; if your customers like your designs and quality, they will vote with their money; of course you need to prove these qualities beforehand, but it can be done.

4. Invest in reliability, a nice design is useless if everyone has problems with it. This might imply a pen that is not for newbies, who are prone to messing up a perfectly fine pen (I did this, many times).

5. Invest in modularity, you may have a nice customer segment in India, but they may also have different tastes than in other countries; neither is better than the other, but for instance all those super vivid colours and gold nibs have kept me away from Indian pens, just not my cup of tea (and conversely my pens might be extremely boring to them).

 

Good luck!

 

Thank you very much for taking time out and sharing your thoughts herein. 

 

I am replying based on my understanding ... to your thoughts herein point to point.

 

1. I agree my target audience is what I want to understand, and thus it is very critical for me to understand what do people want and not only what I want to sell. In the event I end up making products based on only what I feel is right then I am confident that I might overlook some very important aspects. (thus this activity)

 

2. I would rather focus on making a NEW DESIGN instead of improvising base don other iconic designs ... I believe the improvising should be done by the original designer.

 

3. We plan to go in for a batch wise production model, wherein after the first study a limited number of products shall be manufactured and made available in the market and then we shall increase slowly.

 

4. Reliability - that is the main reason why we are looking at some global brands which are up there eon quality (may not be huge brands but have to be excellent in quality)

 

5. What we are realising that in an entry segment and amid range segment -- the  vivid colours etc are okay and may be even acceptable, but the minute we start focusing on the LUXURY segment the tase is more for less global. So what is Luxury in USA ends up being a LUXURY in Germany and also in Japan.

 

I especially want to channelize the focus on High Quality as the basis of the product.

 

Thank you very much once again for your inputs. I shall keep updating on the progress as and how I progress.  



#60 vrr

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 10:40

Almost all of my pens that I consider as luxurious use the cartridge/converter filling system.

 

Most of my pens that I consider luxurious have gold nibs and many were hand tuned before they were sold.

 

Some have a simple generic Bock nib but were set up to write perfectly straight out of the box.

 

Cap types vary with both threaded and slip on caps.

 

Sizes and widths vary greatly. So do section designs including straight cylinder shapes, conic shapes and concave shapes.

 

Weights vary greatly.

 

Body materials include ebonite, acrylic, celluloid, metals and a variety of finishes including urushi.

 

Wood is the least common material among my luxury pens and also the least often used in rotation but there are still a significant number of wood bodied pens in my accumulation.

 

 

 

Hello, 

 

I sincerely thank you for your inputs, they are assisting me in making better choices. 

 

I am replying to your mail and adding a few o my thoughts to the same.

 

1. Cartridge/Converter filling system seems to be the preferment one, however even we are analysing  a push button system.

 

2. Gold Nibs would be crucial. However since many individuals have bent towards flex nibs, We are contemplating this further.  

 

3.  Caps threaded would have to have less number of twists. And this way the pen could be used more often. ":)"

 

4. Yes the shapes and sections and designs we will have to follow however we may have to plan the inflow of the  products accordingly.

 

5. Weights we are understanding between 30 to 40 gas would be ideal.

 

6. Material -- we are analysing, evaluating and also developing.

 

7. Wood - :) We are getting similar feedback from around.

 

 

Thank you once again for your inputs. I will keep updating on the progress.

 

Regards. 







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