Vintage Pen Market: How it All Went Down
We had our first Vintage Pen Market, and it was wonderful! I was pretty nervous the entire week leading up to this, as it's our first time running a type of event like this coordinating with vendors and trying to get the word out and hoping people will show up, and we even had a vendor cancel last minute on us last night, but everything went as well as we could've hoped for! Even better, really. I got a chance to check out what pens some customers got, I also got to chat with some long-time customer-turned-friends, especially with Caleb napping in the middle of the afternoon, and best of all, there were people buzzing in and out and around the shop all afternoon. We had young people and older people and families and students, lots of familiar faces and a few new ones too. It started dying down towards the end of the day, which was great, because I was exhausted.
We got some balloons to put on the door in case we had new people coming just for the Vintage Pen Market who hadn't been to the place before, but we had some burst balloons, I think because the shop is south facing and the sun was blazing pretty strong today. Vendors started coming around 12:00 to start setting up their pen displays on tables, which was perfect as it meant I got first dibs on all the good deals. Jon made an effort to set a budget, but he was mostly distracted by trying to help the vendors set up, just the way I like it ;) I had to take Caleb into the back for lunch around 12:30, and by the time I got back out, the place was humming. We had turned on the AC in the morning to try to cool the place down, but I think our little-AC-that-could really couldn't with so many people, so we ended up just opening the doors and let the fans do most of the work. There were lots of pens! They were mostly fountain pens, but also a few ballpoints, mechanical pencils and dip pens.
We also had KWZI inks from Poland, with Claudia. Your next opportunity to purchase these inks will be at the Scriptus Toronto Pen Show, so if you're interested in these inks, you should consider looking on Fountain Pen Network for reviews on these inks - here are some swatches done by Claudia. There are some really beautiful and rich looking inks, and also some interesting iron gall inks that retain a good amount of their original colour, but I ended up with "Honey," which is a rich, warm honey brown ink.
We had a raffle as well: the prize was a TWSBI ECO in black, and three A5 Tomoe River notebooks. The winner is Mel G., and we've sent you an e-mail! Thanks to everyone who gave generously, in total we raised $52.00 for the Red Door Family Shelter through the raffle! But of the course, the big question of the day is what pens did we get??
Jon got a Parker Parkette Deluxe with a fine nib. And I got a Parker Vacumatic with a fairly flexy nib! The flexing was a bit of a surprise, but otherwise it's a fine nib. Of course, what I really can't resist is the golden brown pearl finish! Jon says if my tastes ever change from brown pens, it's going to be really painful (but also kind of exciting...no??) to have to start my pen collection from scratch.
We planned this as a one-time type event, but we're hoping to run another Vintage Pen Market in the winter - early 2016 maybe February? - as we had such great turn out for this one. Unfortunately, we aren't able to sell any of these vintage pens online! Other than looking online, your next opportunity to browse vintage pens in person will be on November 1st, at this year's Scriptus Toronto Pen Show. Last year's show was packed (Toronto is full of writing enthusiasts!) and this show promises to be even bigger. We're hoping to run more and more events like this Vintage Pen Market here in our new space. Remember we have our monthly Letter Writing Club which takes place on the second Sunday of the month from 2-4, so it's a great time to come out and put those new/old fountain pens to work! We're so excited and encouraged by how many people are becoming interested in writing by hand and analogue tools, and we're so glad to be part of this writing and fountain pen community. I've heard a few times now that fountain pens are experiencing a resurgence, and more and more people are searching for the tools to write by hand, and I hope this is true. The longer we stay in business, though, even these two tiny baby years, the more I realize that selling pens is kind of secondary to the big picture in life, which is mostly about family and the people you talk to and connect with in this giant world. It's pretty great that our job gives us this chance to be able to connect with people in this community, to see so many familiar faces walk through the door, and to offer an opportunity for people to meet like this. And I'm hoping we stay in this business for a few more years to come :)