25 April 2017

Crisis of Growth?

Sailor has made a couple of shocking announcements in the last months. First was the suspension of the production of specialty nibs, including the basis for them all, the Naginata Togi nib. Then came the news of the discontinuation of the possibility of re-ordering original inks created with the invaluable help of Mr. Ishimaru, Sailor’s ink mixer. However, the creation of these personalized inks is still possible at the ink workshops regularly organized by Sailor throughout Japan.

My original ink, named Hiroko's Green.

Why would any company eliminate two of the elements that truly separated it from the rest? Why is Sailor giving up on his features of distinction in the market of fountain pens?

The issue with ink seems to be that many a user have been selling those original inks online at a premium cost, but I wonder if that should pose any problem for Sailor. More relevant could be that the ink production might have reached its limits with the popularization of some shop-original inks, particularly those by Nagasawa and by Bung-Box.

A Naginata Togi nib.

The Cross-Music nib.

That seems, in fact, to be the problem of the specialty nibs—the troubles of Mr. Nagahara to cope with the demand. Increasing the price of those nibs could ease the problem, but that is also an almost irreversible step.

Then, in summary, is Sailor suffering a growth crisis?

My thanks to Tinjapan.

Sailor Profit, Naginata Togi – Tomikei Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, April 18 2017
etiquetas: Sailor, tinta, plumín, mercado

20 April 2017

Friend and Foe

Now and then I need to rant. Or reflect aloud.

Members of the stylophile community like to brag about how wonderful we are, about how we are willing to share information and resources. And there is some truth to it. However, it does not take much thinking to realize that your friend in the community is also a potential competitor in the market. And then the attitude changes—information then becomes precious and treasured, and even rationed. Few people reveal where they found their exotic pens, almost nobody speak of prices paid… All these gestures are rarely disruptive—a smile can do wonders when refusing to reveal those secrets. But the competition is real and can reach the point of plain rudeness when spotting an interesting pen—the basic politeness of “you saw it first” is not always honored.

Then, are we friends or are we foes? And what is the value of all the information the community as a whole continuously publish online? Sheldon Cooper quoted (The Big Bang Theory 3.15 The Large Hadron Collision) economist Fred Hirsch to explain the concept of “neener-neener”—a pen is valued by some because it is not possessed by others, and therefore the need to display it. That exposure does not come without consequences, both positive and negative: that display can trigger some additional interest in the market and generate some inflation. It can also appreciate the displayed pen when reselling was the goal.

And at the end, the guy with the thicker wallet wins.

Sailor Profit, Naginata Togi – Tomikei Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, April 18 2017
etiquetas: metabitácora, mercado, estilofilia