Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I am pleased to announce that we have received just in time for the holidays our new Palomino Blackwing Special Edition Gift Set, now available exclusively on Pencils.com. This is a beautiful new desktop set which includes a gorgeous natural wood grain box with the Palomino Blackwing brand embossed in a black leather trim, 24 Palomino Blackwing pencils and one of our KUM-Palomino Long Point sharpeners. At this point we have had just 200 of these box sets produced for the 2010 Holidays. 50 of these have been pre-reserved for our own internal company gift needs. This means there are just 150 sets available for sale in this Special Edition. At our normal Pencils.com margins this product represents a $130 value, however we have elected to offer this price at a price just under $100 per set in support of our loyal Palomino Blackwing fans.
The box itself is an absolute gem produced in the Alsace Region of France featuring true artisan craftsmanship in the integration of the arts of woodworking and the production of fine quality CUIR de TERRE leather by our supplier Atelier de la Forêt. The
The wood species used in this box is Sorbus Torminalis and is known commonly as the Wild Service Tree. Not knowing much about this particular species I took some time recently to investigate. Amazingly I found the interesting blog, Rowans, Whitbeams & Service Trees, maintained by Dr. Patrick Roper in the
The leather trim on this box is just one fine example of the beautiful leather desk accessories produced by Atelier de la Foret and it is my hope we can collaborate on further special editions within the Palomino and Palomino Blackwing family of products in the future. The company’s marketing literature on their fine leather work is as poetic as the words that can be written with the Palomino Blackwings themselves.
Selecting a great leather is like choosing a great wine… The CUIR de TERRE leather comes from the finest calf-skin and it is transformed by formulae written down in notebooks and loving guarded, in a place, a land, a knowledge that has been passed down in secret, within the family. … the skins delicately catch the light for the pleasure of sight and touch, reminiscent of a sturdy old
With this beautiful new gift set we bring together a truly global combination of fine quality craftsmanship of several companies, high quality raw materials and several countries.. The Blackwing pencils start with our superior quality Japanese produced graphite core so paramount to the writing pleasure are then incased in our Genuine Incense Cedar wood from the forests of California, transformed into high quality wood slats in our Tianjin, China factory before final pencil production by our Japanese woodworking and finishing partners. These are paired with the finest German produced carbon steel blade hand sharpeners from KUM. All packaged lovingly in a true work of art from
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Normally during these trips I take added time to visit several of our customers in Japan or elesewhere in Asia in addition to our time in Tianjin. This year our first stop was a visit earlier this week to Beijing Fila Dixon Stationery Co., Ltd. Initially named Beijing Dixon Ticonderoga Stationery Co., Ltd., the company was originally established by Dixon Ticonderoga to produce pencil slats of Chinese Basswood for export to Dixon's facilities in Misouri and Mexico and a few pencils from residual slats. Later the facility began producing Incense-cedar pencil slats as well as some cedar pencils and has grown dramatically with steady investment since the acquisition of Dixon Ticonderoga company by FILA Group back in 2004. Today this factory produces both cedar and basswood slats for FILA Group needs around the world as well as manufacturing a broad range of pencils under the FILA brand portfolio, including specifically the Dixon Ticonderoga, Giotto and Lyra brands. In all the factory produces about 1700 different pencil items with about 3/4 of production focusing on color pencils for sales in Europe under Lyra and and the balance in graphite pencils in the Ticonderoga and Temagraph product lines. Most Ticonderoga graphite pencils sold world wide are now produced in the group's Mexico City facility which I also had the opportunity to vist about two weeks ago.
As it turns out Beijing FILA Dixon just recently celebrated it's 10th anniversary in business October prior to our visit. The photos here are of a special commemorative pencil set which we received as a generous gift to honor this anniversary from General Manager Tommy Lin who is shown in the photo with Philip and me. It includes 10 color sample set of jumbo coloring pencils using the formulation of the Giotto BeBe product as well as two Ticonderoga pencils. The pencils and box are imprinted in Chinese only with the inscription "10 Year Anniversary Beijing FILA Dixon Stationery Company, Ltd."
During our visit we were able to give Philip a great first introduction to the entire pencil making process from slat production to finished pencil production and packaging. One of the highlights was seeing the production of another special commemorative pencil FILA is producing to honor the 150th anniversary of the Union of Italy. This Genuine Incense Cedar pencil has some very unique features including one half the pencil being shaped to round while the imprint side is shaped to hexagonal, so it's a "hexi-round". The pencil will also be end dipped in the Green, White and Yellow tri-color of the Italian flag. Production floor samples shown in the photograph here are before end-dipping.
Other interesting products being produced in this facility include the Lyra Groove pencil, an ergonomically designed triangular pencil with gripping grooves cut into the pencil casing. As well as the Giotto Bebe, a special formulation super soft and bright children's jumbo coloring pencil range with a 7mm core. This item is like a wood cased crayon on steroids.
Overall I was impressed with the ongoing development of this facility which plays an important role in the total pencil manufacturing strategy of FILA Group's global operations and has contined to expand capabilities each year over it's ten year history. It was a great initial exposure to pencil manufacturing for Philip. Congratulations to Tommy Lin and his entire team for 10 years of growing accomplishments.