Another strategy is the creation of exclusive goods: products that are sold only at very specific shops, either own by the manufacturer or by some retailer.
Such is the case, again, of Sailor. As was mentioned before (chronicle “Indecisiones”), Sailor inks are now present in several stationery shops in Japan as inks made exclusively for them: Maruzen in Nihonbashi (Tokyo), Ishidabungu en Hokuto (Hokkaido), Nagasawa in Kobe (Hyogo), etc. Some otaku will pilgrim through all of them, in search of the complete ink works by Sailor…
Maruzen, on its side, has its own line of pens and of inks available only at their shops under the name of Athena. The pens are currently made by Pilot, but in the past other important companies –de la Rue in 1913, Sailor in some recent years— also played that role. It is also worth to mention some commemorative pens Maruzen commissioned—the Parker Rashin to celebrate the 135th anniversary of the shop is a recent example (2004).
Itoya also had its own pen brands –Mighty and Romeo— that are now very scarce and sought after by collectors. In 2005, however, Itoya released the Pilot-made Romeo 2005 still available at their Ginza main branch.
Itoya's Romeo 2005. A Pilot made edition exclusively for this shop. (Photo taken from Itoya's website).
I guess these strategies pay off. And that means that some stylophiles and customers are really enticed by this sense of exclusivity: “You have to go there to get this!” And there some go in search of the Holy Grail—no matter it might be made of clay.
(Tokyo, October 7th, 2010)
[labels: Japón, Mercado, Sailor, Pilot, Parker]
P. S: Edited on October 15th to add information on Romeo pens.