Staff Picks on Sale This Week
***Derrick's pick: Lamy Al-Star Pacific (broad) with Rohrer and Klingner Cassia "A good combination for spring, it's very vibrant and bright. We'd been sold out of Cassia for a while, so when it came back into stock, I had to get a bottle." Derrick is after my own heart, as he likes broad and wet nibs. Interestingly enough, Cassia is also a favourite ink of mine - I used to use it all the time in my Neon Lime Safari and Lime Green ECO - and I'm also loving my Pacific Al-Star. I need to start breaking out those bright pens again for this sunny weather. Jon's pick: Kaweco Brass Sport (double broad) with Noodler's Golden Brown "Always in my pocket, and has a pretty good patina now, after a few years of writing." The Kaweco Brass Sport has been in Jon's case for as along as I can remember, although the BB nib is new to him. I remember thinking the pen might be a little heavy for me, but I have to admit the patina looks great. Jon joked that this would be the pen he's going to pass down to Caleb, because it really is a pen that can withstand anything. Brendan's pick: "Stubs are very fun to use. The ECO was my first stub, and Autumn Oak was my first shading ink, so it's a nostalgic match for me." There's nothing like shading and line variation and a great ink in a stub nib. I recently acquired a few stub nibs myself, including in an ECO, the lime green, although my handwriting can't really handle it on a regular basis - hah! Sarah: ystudio Portable Classic with Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz. "My ystudio is hangs around my neck, so I always know where it is." So many of our team here have a ystudio, and I don't! It's times like these that make me wonder how much longer I can resist the urge - I occasionally borrow Jon's to give me a taste. Both the Classic (copper) and Brassing (black) have a clean, industrial look, and of course it's another pen that gets a great patina on it. You all know how I feel about brown inks, and this special edition Pelikan ink is one of my most recent favourites. Danielle's pick: Sailor Transparent 1911S (fine) with Sailor Chu-Shu "...I just love it a lot." I have a Sailor 1911S in medium, and when I first swabbed and tried the eight re-released Sailor Four Seasons inks, Chu-Shu was absolutely one of my favourites - you can see the blog post here with all eight of the colours - so you can safely say that this pen and ink match is right up my alley. A dusty, musty grey with all the character you could ask for. Micah's pick: TWSBI Mini (Medium) with J. Herbin Rouille d'ancre "A neutral sort of pink, perfect for taking notes in school." Rouille d'ancre has been one of Micah's favourite inks for a while, and while I normally stay away from pink inks, I think Micah's steadfastness has slowly converted me. It helps that it's a musty, vintage sort of pink with stunning shading. Imagine a sweet letter on ivory paper with this ink! The TWSBI Mini is great for a long day of note-taking (or so I can assume...) but it's also great for long writing sessions - even though you can post it, I write with it unposted for a lighter weight in my hand. Check out all of the staff picks on sale here on the website, and the sale is going on in the shop as well. If you're in the neighbourhood and able to visit us in the shop, our tester ECOs have the inks in them for trying out as well.
In other news, Jon spilled his coffee on his way in the door this morning - it dropped onto the floor and the puddle of murky liquid slowly spread as we all stared in silence. I thought there were going to be actual tears, but he held it together.
I don't know if it's a sign of what the day's going to be, or the weekend ahead, but I'm taking this glorious sun we have here in Toronto as a good omen.
We've been taking these slower days of retail in the summer to get a jump start on a few projects behind the scenes, and a few in the shop as well. We just had our second Introduction to Fountain Pens workshop, and our third is scheduled for this month. We're hoping to set up a few more things in the brick and mortar soon, and we've got a surprise for the Letter Writing Club. Jon is working on a bunch of website stuff, both for the shop and back end stuff like inventory management and accounting.
Other than that, though, we've been enjoying these fresh days and picnics in the park, and time to write slowly. The longer I've run this business, the more I meet and get to know other small and local business owners. We sometimes commiserate about the long hours, and how you started this beautiful thing because you loved writing and journaling and fountain pens and stationery, but with customer service emails and setting up new furniture, you can lose the heart of why you started it all.
But I think we can count ourselves lucky that that fine balance occasionally falls into our laps, and there are those golden early evenings in the park.