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Sailor Possibly Being Bought Out

sailor

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#21 Uncial

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:34

Aren't everyone's shares wasted at the moment?



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#22 mke

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:48

> maybe Cross might buy Sailor.

That must be from a parallel world where it would be easy for a foreign company to buy a part of a Japanese company.

In this world, the big fish Plus ate the small fish Sailor, at least some part of it.



#23 Olya

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:53

Sailor announced price increases across the board, which I haven't seen yet.

 

Platinum and Pilot have raised their prices across the board, very noticeable whether I look at pens buying directly from Japan or here in Europe (eg the 3776 Century or the Custom 74/92 as examples).

 

Pilot's Iro line has always been expensive, incl the introduction of the small bottles.

In terms of overpriced ink, Platinum has changed their Mixfree ink line like Sailor: new, much smaller bottles (which the advertized as "rhombus" and "diamond" shaped, which you can arrange together as "flower"), same price.

The Mixfree line is overlooked by everyone, but it exists and had an overhaul a few years ago.

http://www.fountainp...ed-ink-bottles/

 

https://www.platinum...ess_300309.html

 

The stock price is really bad. Yes, they're bad across the board these days, but wow! Sailor's are truly rockbottom.



#24 TSherbs

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:31

Aren't everyone's shares wasted at the moment?


Not like that, no.

#25 ArchiMark

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 14:12

Aren't everyone's shares wasted at the moment?

 

 

Nope.....my Apple shares have gone up quite a lot....

 

:)


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#26 inkstainedruth

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 01:44

 

I know 1.4% could be 100,000 or 100,000,000.... Even so.. Still! :P

 

Now, concentrating on the very low % aside, the bonds Plus has are in Yen, so I assume all currency mentioned in the article (and its translation) are Yen, that would make it a loss of approx US$ 210,000 (very roughly) (xe has the Yen to US$ right now at 21mil Yen as 196,008.64USD).

 
Again, not good, as said, red numbers are never great, but imo not worth sweating just yet, either. Coming up with a good strategy for the next year though should very much be a priority, we don't want the red numbers to keep coming... (though this business year might end up red again for many, the nifty little pandemic and all that came with it like furloughs and jobs lost and all that).
 
I also know of a big company that red numbers officially can't always be taken seriously. Can't say which company I know this of, but anyway, they say "we sold this year X and next year the goal is to surpass that". They don't surpass that number and write officially a loss and show red numbers. That is to me ridiculous, you can't grow every year, people can only buy so much for crying out loud! And it's just "oh goal not met" and not actually "expenses were this, orders that and profit this".
 
Aside from that, I know that numbers can also be fudged quite extensively, to look as you want them to look, good or bad. "Numbers never lie" my bum.
 
Maybe that's why I'm not on the business side of things, because all that seems very alien to me.
(Can't wrap my head around it, unless I set the objective and work towards it myself. Or that's what I think...?!?)

 

 

A few years ago I took a women's entrepreneurship class -- my sole foray into what graduate school must be like (it was not for a grade, BTW).  Several of the people in the class dropped out.  I stuck it out but decided that starting my own business at that stage of life was too frightening a prospect.  I'll admit that the first class was pretty intimidating: one woman had worked for Rand and wanted to go into business for herself, saying "I predicted (X world political event) something like eight months before it happened..."; another wanted to make and sell high end briefcases for women executives with stuff like cell phone chargers and such installed and said she was going to need $1.5 million US in start-up manufacturing costs....  [In comparison, I was considering starting a bakery since I liked decorating cakes....]

For the final class we each had to do a Power Point presentation about what our business was with stuff like our potential competitors.  I think the other people in the class were a little taken aback when I quite flatly stated that the first year I expected to lose $75K US....

One of the things I specifically recollect reading about in the textbook was how to consider your "exit strategy" (do you pass the business to your kids, sell out to a competitor, go broke, etc.).  There are businesses out there (particularly in the computer industry) where some companies literally have "sell out to Microsoft" as their exit strategy....  So maybe Sailor is looking at an exit strategy as well.  I'm wondering if they've overextended themselves with all the stores they make custom inks for themselves.  

I only have tried a few Sailor inks and the only ones I liked well enough to get full bottles of are (original formula) Sailor Jentle Sky High and Sailor Souboku.  I only have one Sailor pen, the Purple Cosmos Pro Gear Slim LE -- and I hesitated for a long time because I didn't think the "special" rod stock material justified the added price over one of their standard pens (I eventually got a Purple Cosmos when the red one was released for and discovered that Purple Cosmos was still actually available (and then saved money by ordering it from Cult Pens in the UK, thereby skipping the US distributor markup AND VAT...; and because it met the price point, I got free shipping to the US.  My win, Sailor's loss.... [shrug]

Right now, I'd like to get one of the new US exclusive 1911 "Wicked Witch of the West" pens in the standard (smaller) size -- but can't really justify the price at the moment; the same way I couldn't justify the original asking point for  the Pro Gear Slim Purple Cosmos.  They want to play the high end "it's an LE so we're asking more than for a normal X model would cost game"?  That's fine, but they may discover -- especially in the midst of a pandemic -- that marketing strategy may very well turn around to bite them in the behind....  It's not like we're talking about a Lamy Safari LE after all -- those are inexpensive enough that one can say, "Yeah, I really like this year's color, I'll get one...."

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#27 mke

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 11:20

By the way, just for the record, this was the first announcement from 2018:

https://www.nikkei.c...X20C18A4000000/

 

Sailor is a very small company of 391 employees (including part-time workers) but a big overhead of directors

https://www.sailor.c...pany/index.html


Edited by mke, 04 July 2020 - 11:33.


#28 sciumbasci

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 11:50

I fail to understand how "stretching out", as is making a lot of LE inks for different shops, or exclusive pens, is a bad idea.

Making a lo of inks means you sell inks at a wholesale level. As long as the market is not saturated you keep selling your stock. There is little difference if your line JOHN x Sailor sells better than Tommy x Sailor: at the end of the day you sold to two different shops, inventory and how good they fare is nome of your business.

To be honest, their self segregation always seemed like a smart idea to me: you create value around your products by officially distributing it to a market, while leaving the hassle of exports (and, to a lesser extent, warranty and returns) to independent retailers.

#29 mke

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 12:39

If you read the announcements from 2018 and 2020, you will see that Sailor says that they have not enough sales and that the market is saturated.

They will now use the sales channels of Plus to reduce cost.

On the other hand, Plus has now at least one or two people in the Sailor board. That will certainly change the way Sailor is moving.

 

Nothing has been said about products yet. We will see in the future.



#30 TSherbs

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 12:54

If you read the announcements from 2018 and 2020, you will see that Sailor says that they have not enough sales and that the market is saturated....


Although I have no particular insight, this does not surprise me to hear. We'll see what happens when the market saturates and then contracts in the USA. And with COVID impacting things, say, for another 12 months (my guess), all sorts of pen makers/retailers will feel the pain.

#31 basterma

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 14:30

I bought my first Sailor pen here in China and it was not easy. They don't seem to advertise much and they don't have the name recognition that Pilot and Platinum have. I had to sift through pages of links to stores on Baopals (Translated Taobao with English customer service) to find someone selling them. When you walk into boutique stores selling trendy stationery, coffee table books, and anime themed gifts, Platinum and Pilot are far more likely to be seen along with Kaweco, Pelikan Twist, and Schneider. There are always pens from N9 or M&G on display as well. The online images and material provided by Sailor are not as splashy as those provided by the Chinese companies, and the brand doesn't seem to have the history here to build on nostalgia, or quality. China is still a place where the corner store usually sells fountain pens and bottled ink is everywhere. The posts in this thread that mention Sailor having problems in China seem true from what I can see.

#32 Mongoosey

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 17:55

I'd like to see Sailor make more affordable pens that compete in the price range of the Lamy Safari and TWSBI's.  I know they have some, but the ones I know are pretty small in size.



#33 alexwi

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 22:15

Interesting. Anything happens in business, especially at the corporate buyout/merger level. I often wonder if we here in the fp community don't overestimate the market and profitability of this "market." Selling plastic ink sticks I bet is a lot more lucrative. But what do I know.

 

This is definitely a niche market. Niche within a niche, actually.

 

When I was part-owner of a stationery store whose bread-and-butter was wedding invitations and stationery (y'know, a real stationery store), between 1999 and 2008, we carried a small selection of pens from Lamy, Retro, Acme, and Inoxcrom.

 

Ballpoints and rollerballs sold well. Fountain pens accounted for close to 0% of writing instrument sales.

 

We certainly weren't a destination store for pens, but the truth is that other than mine, there was absolutely no interest from customers.

 

alex



#34 A Smug Dill

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 02:15

I'd like to see Sailor make more affordable pens that compete in the price range of the Lamy Safari and TWSBI's.  I know they have some, but the ones I know are pretty small in size.


That’s because:
* a smaller form factor is what one would expect sell well as school pens in Japan and more broadly Southeast Asia, and school pens are what need to be priced accordingly,
* there is an acknowledged adult market for cheap pens, but that’s commonly viewed as office stationery bought and supplied by the company for employees, and thus the Japanese 'Big Three' fountain pen brands all have long, not-suitable-for-carrying-around desk pens among their cheapest offerings
* in (not only) Japanese culture, physical size is metaphorically aligned with stature, superior stature infers standing and prestige, and it makes sense to set a higher asking price for an alternative that reflects more prestige for the owner/user

so there is little reason or motivation to "give (adult) customers what they want" without extracting more (of what the company wants commercially) out of those customers in fair exchange. Whereas Lamy Safari is marketed as a school pen.

I know some people would argue it's a matter of comfort and not stature that drive them towards larger pens, but that's just a case of "that's unfortunately, what you need happens to be what is more expensive," I think.
As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.

#35 mke

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 02:32

I don't think that students in Japan use fountain pens.

 

In my 30 years in Japanese companies, I have never seen fountain pens being provided*. They provide plastic ball-pens or plastic mechanical pencils.

 

In my present location, I know that ca 1-2% of the workforce use openly a fountain pen (Sailor, Pelikan). Even the directors usually use ball-pens or pencils, perhaps expensive ones but nobody uses fountain pens.

If they want to show off, it would be a Montblanc signature pen - not a Sailor, not a Pilot, not a Platinum.

 

Having a big pen doesn't count anymore as status, having the biggest car counts much more.

 

*addition/correction: big companies have purchase systems and, recently, a new stationary provider has preppy (blue, black, red) for order


Edited by mke, 05 July 2020 - 03:53.


#36 A Smug Dill

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:49

@mke, I'm sure you're more in touch with current Japanese culture and thinking than I am.

 

We know a Montblanc or even Pelikan would count as more prestigious in Japan than a Japanese 'Big Three' product in use, excepting certain collectors' items such as the Pilot 100th Anniversary commemorative Seven Gods of Good Fortune pen set. But I'll contend that a plain black Sailor King Of Pen is still going to be considered by onlookers to confer more status to the user than a plain black Sailor Profit, and in turn more than a plain black Sailor Profit Standard (even one fitted with a medium-sized 21K gold nib instead of the standard 14K gold nib), never mind individual user preferences and physical requirements.


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.

#37 Mongoosey

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 14:46

That's too bad that culture holds them back.

 

There's definitely still a market for it despite how saturated it may seem.

 

Look how successful TWSBI is making full sized affordable pens and they even have a reputation for cracking.  But I still see loads of pictures of people on Reddit buying them all the time.

 

The Lamy Safari fits my adult hand well and that's one of the most popular fountain pens out there, even though it has that faceted section many don't like.

 

Heck, the Kakuno is quite comfortable.  Many like it despite the fact that it lacks a clip, looks like a kids toy, and has the faceted section on all three sides (annoying to me).

 

And I think there may be potential for a growing market with the new environmentally conscious wave of thinking that's growing in society.  Fountain pens are definitely a green alternative to ballpoints/gel pens/etc, even though that may not be why we are into them lol. 


Edited by Mongoosey, 05 July 2020 - 14:48.


#38 TSherbs

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 15:06

That's too bad that culture holds them back.
 
There's definitely still a market for it despite how saturated it may seem.
 
Look how successful TWSBI is making full sized affordable pens and they even have a reputation for cracking.  But I still see loads of pictures of people on Reddit buying them all the time.
 
The Lamy Safari fits my adult hand well and that's one of the most popular fountain pens out there, even though it has that faceted section many don't like.
 
Heck, the Kakuno is quite comfortable.  Many like it despite the fact that it lacks a clip, looks like a kids toy, and has the faceted section on all three sides (annoying to me).
 
And I think there may be potential for a growing market with the new environmentally conscious wave of thinking that's growing in society.  Fountain pens are definitely a green alternative to ballpoints/gel pens/etc, even though that may not be why we are into them lol. 


Again, I think you might be overestimating fountain pen sales and profits. Remember, it's a world market now, and for the most part--overwhelmingly, is my guess--cheap ballpoints/rollerballs crush fountain pens in sales and revenue. And now, with Chinese knockoffs improving in both aesthetics and quality, these other traditional makers of expensive (anything over $30 is "expensive" for the common Joe) pens, how many people are left to keep buying all these new more expensive fountain pen releases? And in a global economic downturn? I'm not feeling great for, say, makers like Edison who won't make a steel-nibbed pen for less than $169. How many people will just keep buying them? Repeat and new customers have their limits. And Goulet? Can they just keep growing? I think that their boom will end and that contraction is inevitable. But again, what do I know.

#39 Matlock

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 15:42

 I think that their boom will end and that contraction is inevitable. But again, what do I know.

Or any of us. Time will tell.


Peter


#40 alexwi

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 16:38

.... And I think there may be potential for a growing market with the new environmentally conscious wave of thinking that's growing in society.  Fountain pens are definitely a green alternative to ballpoints/gel pens/etc, even though that may not be why we are into them lol. 

 

We'll have to see about that, as these are, for the most part, the same who get a new phone every 2 years and, more and more, the same whose handwriting skills are close to non-existent.

 

Like you, I've no idea of the numbers, but if I had to guess, I think that sales of writing instruments (all the way from $0.50 bic pens to the finest of the finest) are well below what they were 20 years ago.

 

alex







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