Monday, March 14, 2011 Helps Japanese Disaster Victims

We were greatly disturbed to see the tragic events and human suffering resulting from the earthquake and tsunami last week in Japan. The devastation caused by one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded is quite simply staggering. To do our part we will be donating 5% of revenues for the Months of March and April to the Red Cross for Japanese Tsunami and Earthquske aid. and particularly it's parent organization California Cedar Products Company has a long history of business relationships in Japan over the past 50 to 60 years. This spans from supplying cedar and basswood pencil slats to all the Japanese industry participants to the more recent development and production of our Palomino and Palomino Blackwing pencils. As a multi-generational family business these relationships often extend to personal relationships with principle business owners and management in these companies. We were very happy to learn all of our dear friends and associates in Japan came through last weeks terrible events safely.

Certainly there are and will be many challenges for the pencil industry and the country as a whole facing both the tragic loss of so many countrymen, the potential threat of radiation exposure and the inconveniences of transportation and power supply disruptions and of the overall rebuilding process. Economic conditions are bound to deteriorate in the near term and this will certainly have tremendous impact on the lives of many Japanese citizens. As a company with strong long term trading ties to Japan we are committed to supporting our customer and supplier relationships to our best ability and helping them rebuild their economy as best we can through our ongoing relationships.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reviving the Blackwing: March Update

Okay Blackwing fans we have a few new developments to bring you up to date about.

First, based on feedback received on my last post and elsewhere we've decided to drop the term "Classic" from the upcomming release of our next Blackwing pencil model. So the new model will simply be named the Palomio Blackwing 602 and will complement our existing Palomino Blackwing pencil. Several people have properly pointed out that it's a bit redundant to use the term classic when we're designing a pencil that more closely replicates the original Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602.

Next as you can see from our photo we've received some initial samples of two new colors of erasers for the Palomino Blackwing. We're planning on adding pink and black options to our existing white eraser. All three colors will eventually be available in 10 packs as an so you can choose your favorite color and accessorize your Blackwings. All have the same quality performance. These packs will be available for sale sometime in June as they are being produced and packed as part of our larger replenishment order for our next production run on the new and existing Blackwing pencil models.

After reviewing these sample erasers and considering the overall design for our new Blackwing 602 model we've determined that the black eraser is just going to look much better than the the pink on this. Thus the new 602 model will be tipped with a black eraser, but for those who really prefer pink the replacement packs will allow you to customize. We're a few weeks away yet from having our first lacquer finished samples for approval before we go into our production run starts. So I can't provide an actual photo yet. As soon as we have an approved lacquer finish on a few sample pencils we'll get these shots taken and share them with you. Probably about the first of April.
If all goes well we expect to receive the first small release of the Blackwing 602 model in Mid May, just in time for our debut at the National Stationery Show in New York May 15-18. We're also working hard on wrapping up our new retail packaging to make this available for the show as we'll be introducing our Palomino, Palomino Blackwing and ForestChoice product ranges to the Retail trade. This will kick of our first real effort to make any of our products available at the retail level after primarily distributing through and a few other on line sellers until now. It's an exciting time here and working hard towards these goals to do a good job with this launch.

Finally, just in case any of you missed it Boing Boing posted a video interview Thursday with Wired Magazine and New York Times Magazine writer Clive Thompson featuring our Palomino-KUM Long Point Pencil Sharpener. Thanks to Mark and Clive for thier support.