Thursday, October 18, 2007

Could Blackfeet Become the Next Blackwings?

Earlier this week we had an inquiry from a consumer looking to find a supply of Blackfeet Indian pencils. I had to pass along the news that the Blackfeet Indian Pencil Company is out of business for sometime now. The linked article here provides an interesting look at the challenges faced by Blackfeet Pencil Company as they last tried to re-establish operations around 2000. Unfortunately the company was not able to recover from its prior debt load and the changing competitive environment as increasing volumes of pencils entered the US market from Asia..

The best advice I could offer this person was to try eBay and I was able to provide a link to a current auction at the time. Today this auction for a 12 pencil wood box set of “The Blackfeet Indian Pencil” ended at a total value of $62.25 plus $4.50 shipping for a whopping $5.56 per pencil. Certainly this includes the nice redwood wooden box that these pencils come packed in, but still seems quite a premium as compared to our own Palomino Wood Box sets priced at $9.95 for 6ct on eBay or’s Palomino Signature 12 count Wood Box Set at $16.95.

So will the now discontinued Blackfeet Pencil develop a similar sache to that of the famous Blackwing? This auction does not represent the amazing $20 to $35 each pencil premiums that Blackfeet pencils fetch that these days. Certainly there is a bit of emotional attachment some people place on buying a pencil produced by Indians that once benefited and supported one of our Native American cultural groups. The pencil writing performance is good, but not to the quality of the Palomno or many premium quality writing pencils available today. The natural wood grain finish is a nice feature, but in and of itself is not uncommon these days. In fact most people associate the all natural finish of the Blackfeet Indian Pencil with their image of this brand, but the company did produce a broader range of pencil styles and brand names as exhibited in this nice collection. Certainly there has been some attention to Blackfeet pencil at Pencil Revolutions and Paper and Pencil. I guess only time will tell if we’ll be seeing $10 or $20 Blackfeet on occasional auctions of this item.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Palomino & California Republic Notes

Hello all you fellow Palomino Riders out there. I'm long past due in providing an update on developments with the Palominos and other brand ranges in our California Republic lines.

First, over the past few months we ran a test with some larger bulk pack formats with banded dozens in 36 and 72 count packs. We've had very positive reaction to this packing format. We ran through most of the stock on hand from this test and have just a couple remaining packs available on Pencil World Creativity Store both here and here. You may want to pick these up while they last.

Partially as a result of these tests we have reached a decision to make the banded dozen format more widely available for our internet distribution channel. In addition the banded dozens will be extended from the Palomino brand to also include all items in Golden Bear and Prospector ranges and even a few new Spangle items we plan to introduce by year end. We are a still a while off before these formats are formally introduced on a standard stocking basis, but do expect to have these up by year end. So keep your eyes peeled for this new option going live and I'll provide more details when teh new stock arrives and we are ready to go live.

In the meantime if you've found you do have an appetite for bulk pack pencils we do have ready supply of our popular ForestChoice FSC certified pencils in 1 gross (144 ct) bulk packs. These are available both here at PWCS @ eBay or at our ForestChoice website.

Also comming soon we will be adding an eraser tipped option in our Palomino Blue HB, as well as a few varieties of Spangle jumbo size school learning pencils in both round and triangular shapes.

Finally, I am making the commitment once again to more frequent posts on Timberlines so look forward to a series of new articles and weekly features covering a variety of topics. I know I got started last Spring and then didn't keep up. This time.