TRANSCRIPT: EP - 4 - Pacefalm?!

[Intro Music]

Yvgenii: Hello everybody and welcome to episode 4 of the BYOB Pen Club. There's not a single drop of alcohol in my house tonight and that's going to be a problem cuz tonight, we discuss Baron Fig. If we do make it through that in one piece though, we're actually going to say something nice about Noodler’s, so stick around for that. But before we get started, let's go around the horn and tell everyone what we're writing with tonight. Sarah, what are you writing with?

Sarah:  God I don't have writing equipment on me I just have beer.

Oscar: Oh God.

Jesi:  You can write with beer.

Sarah: I didn't even grab things running into the house it's all sitting in the other room.

Yvgenii:  While Oscar's talking about his stuff go get something cuz we're going to need you to take some kind of notes. See I say Oscar and then he disappears.

Oscar:  Oh geez. I am writing with my brand new Franklin-Christoph Model 31. It just came in the mail, and we're actually going to talk about it later so I'm not going to tell you much else about it. I am drinking... water. I'm being boring today.

Yvgenii: Wait why are you drinking water?

Jim: Well you have a final tomorrow right?

Oscar:  No the last one was today.

Jesi: Well then why aren't you drinking?

Oscar: Well there's nothing here to do that with - I'm not lucky like Sarah to have $3 pints nearby.

Phil:  You guys, this is the BYOB. Like B as in booze?

Jim: See brownie's right - you had 37 minutes to get something.

Yvgenii: Jesi, what are you writing with tonight?

Jesi: I'm writing with my Pilot 912 with a FA nib.

Yvgenii:  What are you writing with Michael?

Michael: I am writing with my Newton Orville Primary Manipulation #4 pen tonight, with Fire & Ice in it.

Yvgenii:  What about you Jim what do you have going?

Jim:  I'm channeling my inner Brad Dowdy and I'm writing with my Pilot Custom 823 with Montblanc JFK Navy Blue, and it it's a lovely pen. 823 is like this I don't know it's just like all the Pilots feel like fine but this one just feels like more hefty and solid I don't know I just love it.

Michael:  Which color 823 Jim?

Jim:  Uh, smoke black.

Yvgenii:  I went to go I went to go buy it and then I got pulled over into the Pelikan Club, and I went to go buy it again and I got pulled over into the Vintage club, and it's like damn.

Oscar:  You can always get one of the modern remake Esterbrook Js.

Jesi:  [shudder] Please don't mention it.

Phil:  Oscar, don't make me drive to DC to smack you in the face.


Yvgenii:  Before you smack him in the face what are you writing with Phil.

Phil:  Tonight I'm using my Aurora Optima with Sailor Grenade.

Jim:  I approve of that combo.

Phil:  It is a pretty good combo.

Yvgenii: Approval face is best face.

Jesi: mmhm

Yvgenii:  Other Mike what are you writing with?

Mike:  I've got my Armando Simoni Club Ojiva Perla with Lexington Gray.

Yvgenii:  From Noodler’s.

Mike:  So go ahead, send the hate send it. I feed on it.

Oscar:  Is Lexington gray one of those well behaved Noodler’s inks? I've forgotten.

Mike:  It's got some properties that supposedly make it waterproof, so. I figured since this is that Omas like that little smokey grey celluloid stuff that they had, I Figured that was a good match.

Yvgenii: Hi Tami, we didn't forget about you.

Tami:  Hi guys how are you ya?

Yvgenii:  Are you actually writing with something interesting?

Tami:  I'm writing with kind of a fun ink I've got a Franklin Christoph 66, but then I have an ink that I combined  of Bungubox Matador red and the Diamine Orange Inferno shimmer ink.

Jim:  That's a newer one, right?

Tami:  Yeah.

Sarah:  I think that's second round?

Phil:  It's second or third round.

Sarah:  Yeah cuz I think I have that one so it's second round.

Jim:  Oh I forgot they did the third round too.

Tami: So the orange Inferno itself was a little too bright for me but then adding that red it made it like perfect sort of pumpkin color and they're still some shimmer and I just I love it.

Sarah:  Nice.

Tami:  Yep. So I call it BBamine Matadorange on my uh currently inked.

Jim:  I just want add that for people who don't know Tami does work in the field of TV and she's written for How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock and she's had appearances on some of those shows and she was recently in a movie.

Michael: Best movie of 2016.

Tami:  Aw that's nice yeah it's called Don't Think Twice and it's on Netflix if folks want to see it and thanks you guys that's really sweet.

Phil:  Well I know what I'm going to watch this weekend when I'm not doing anything else.

Oscar:  I know what I'm going to rewatch for the 13th time and look for her.

Michael:  You can't miss her.

Jim:  I think the last thing I saw her in and was unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in that episode like where she's at college, and Tami's an RA or something.

Tami: Yeah.  

Jim: I think she was an RA.

Tami:  Yeah, a very sex positive RA.

Jim:  Yes.

Oscar:  Oh boy.

Jim: Yes, maybe maybe too much? I want to say its episode 3 but you know we can link that later

Yvgenii:  Nice to meet everybody.

Jim:  Let's move on to the epic rant?

Yvgenii:  There's some stuff that actually popped up in our feedback this week.

Sarah: Wooo.

Yvgenii:  Yeah as a lot of people know Oscar had a little bit of a thing at the beginning of last episode where he was mentioning some Pay-it-Forward. What's what are some of the updates on that Oscar?

Oscar:  So I finally got the Prototype from Franklin-Christoph

Sarah:  Woohoo!

Oscar:  that I had Jonathan Brooks make an amazing material for. And then, originally I had actually reached out to KWZ in the Netherlands to get the ink made, and I was really happy to work with him he's a great guy Conrad's a great guy but unfortunately he had a few issues

Tami:  I thought he was in Poland. He's in the Netherlands not Poland?

Oscar:  It might be Poland I can't remember off the top of my head.

Jim:  He might have moved by the way.

Oscar:  Well he actually moved in the middle of this process.

Tami:  Oh.

Oscar:  But yeah but he had ended up having delays and I went okay we're going to push that and then make that a regular lineup ink, cuz he's just having too many delays. And you know he was a cool guy. So I reached out to a couple of different ink manufacturers and makers until I sat down with Renzo over at Papier Plume and he went yeah we can make. I shipped him out the sample I had and we're going to see what comes back. And then, I have the coolest notebook ever from Story Supply coming. So I don't know if you guys know but the guy who's behind the Pay-it-Forward emblem, Alexander Kramer, he's also the guy that did the Nock coloring books.

Sarah:  The horror coloring pages.

Oscar:  Oh yeah.

Phil:  Well you did a horror coloring page.

Sarah:  I added to it he's putting it on the site.

Phil:  That looks really good Oscar I like that.

Oscar:  I know I've been teasing it for the past few days.

Michael:  Is there some shimmer in that acrylic.

Oscar: Yeah.

Phil: It's a Brooks acrylic of course there is.

Tami:  Oooo that's really cool.

Jim:  Brooks is the acrylic magician.

Sarah:  That's like a Gryffindor pen.


Tami:  What size is it going to be a pocket notebook, Oscar?

Oscar:  Yeah, it's going to be one of Story Supply's pocket notebooks. Let me actually send you a photo real quick, but it's going to be a three pack and it's going to have a red cover. And then in the middle it's going to be the Heart of Gold emblem. It's a little different than the Pay-it-Forward emblem and you're basically going to see the arms and everything that they're holding in red but the background to that will be a golden yellow. And yes, it is going to fountain pen friendly.

Tami:  Yay.

Oscar:  And then I reached out to a couple of other companies and there's some other things that I've got in the works, but I'll keep that a secret for now.

Sarah:  Damn you Oscar.

Oscar: But, I'm excited, because things are starting to come together, and hopefully I'll be able to have the Kickstarter either later this month, earlier in January, where everything launches.

Yvgenii:  And then there will definitely be links, everywhere/

Oscar:  There will definitely be links.

Sarah:  All the links.

Yvgenii: ALL the links. The other thing that managed to pop in to the feedback, and apparently stationery RSVP, the stationery podcast, went a little bit further into "The stationery community just needs to stop gendering things." 

Sarah: Yeah I listen to that on my walk to the bar actually this afternoon.

Phil:  Before you got drunk?

Sarah:  Yes before I got drunk but I can debate stationary politics while drunk. So if you enjoyed our discussion about just about like what Field Notes could have looked for the red flags that should have been apparent or whatever, if you want to get into more just general how gender politics work and how even gendering something as simple as packs of notebooks have implications in the wider society, I highly recommend you go listen to this week's RSVP podcast. You should go listen to it anyway because it's awesome just in general.

Michael:  Agreed.

Sarah:  They're really great podcast. It's three women which is very rare in the stationary podcast community, so I just want to lift them up as much as I can just because it's a set of voices you don't hear as often in the stationary community, and they just have many good thoughts - they have a lot of perspectives for like cheaper stuff, for newbie stuff. It's just a different point of view and worth listening to, but especially if you want to listen to more about gender politics and all that, they have a really good discussion on that in this week's episode.

Yvgenii: Definitely something to check out. If there's something I believe in or a product I want to support, I will jump in head-first no questions asked and then Figure it out later - hence this.


Yvgenii:  This is one of those times where I am glad I chose yet again not to support Baron Fig. What the fuck.

Sarah:  I am literally face-palming right now. Like I thought I facepalmed last week for the whole Field Notes gendering notebooks discussion, but I didn't facepalm hard enough to even compensate for this week.

Phil:  This is like the Homer Simpson pace falm facepalm through the face. I'm blaming the alcohol.

Tami:  Why don't you talk about at the actual products are.

Jim:  I'll give like like the download because I mean initially before I got the product, I was kind of um yeah, I don't remember when they first posted the Kickstarter I want to stay like March or May sometime around then, and Baron Fig basically created a Kickstarter for like a set of bags. They created a backpack, a tote, and a messenger. At first it was just like charcoal and the Fig wine color, and they had an interesting color for the Baron Fig Squire, which I had heard prior was a good rollerball pen. Before this whole thing happened I wasn't like to in the weeds with Baron Fig, like I have a Confidant notebook it's fine it's not the best paper ever but it's also not the worst paper ever.

Phil:  Your version of the Confidant might not be bad but I had the original version Confidant.

Jim: Yes, so I mean at some point it seems like they updated their paper. So yeah anyway they put out a Kickstarter, this is an awesome bag it's designed to be productive, it's minimal, colors looked interesting. They got lots of good, like you know, they got lots of pledges, so they put a stretch goal for a slate blue color. Several months later they haven't, like I like most Kickstarters they haven't gotten that much of a delay I want to say they were one month late, which is fine that's not bad. But they had sent some email updates but it was written so, like I don't check every single Kickstarter update, but like some of them did detail certain things such as a color change.

Sarah:  Did you do the same thing I did, where like I got that email on the 29th and I was like they said something about color change and I was like, okay sounds fine, and they said something about a price change and I was like, okay sounds fine. I assumed it was like a slight color tweaking and like the backpack was $95 instead of $100. Like that's what the wording made the impression.

Jim:  Or or I assumed they would sell it down the line later for a bit less, which is like, ultimately that's not too bad for me, because they could do that later but you know.

Michael:  Let me ask when they sent when they sent the email about the color change did they send pictures to show the difference?

Jim:  I don't think so no

Sarah:   This this will all be linked in the show notes so everything that I reference is archived except for individual Instagram posts which I wasn't able to archive on WayBack Machine because the way that script works doesn't work with WayBack Machine, but yeah I have those linked separately but Baron Fig could still delete those posts. Everything else is archived, they can't delete, it that's what it is.

Jim:  Fast forward to, I want to stay say starting last week people started to receive their bags, and there's kind of an uproar. It started in many places, but like among them was the Pen Addict Slack. We some people complain that the colors they ordered weren't the colors they wanted, which is one problem, but then there's like serious questions about the construction of these bags. So before Sarah really fully dives into it, I got my bag as soon. As I opened my like bag that had the actual bag it's like fuck this is heavy as shit.

Sarah:  It is.

Jim:  I have so many other bags that are not this heavy.

Sarah:  Yeah I would agree. I held, I have another backpack that I use to like go grocery shopping with, and it can hold like a couple gallons of milk in this backpack, it is a hefty backpack. It is way later then the Baron Fig backpack. Like noticeably when I hold one in each hand.

Jim:  Yeah but like I mean it feels heavy but it doesn't feel quality either some things feel hefty but they feel like they can take a beating, and this feels like, I don't know, it feels like terry cloth or something. And I look inside like on the label and it's like 100% cotton and it's like, do I want to bag made of cotton?

Tami:  Weird.

Jim:  I don't think that's a great idea.

Sarah:  I don't know as much about high-quality bags and such, so like I'm the bag quality I can't really assess as well, cuz I know there are a lot of people out there like, oh I have like all these $200 bags or like quality bags. The most I've spent on a bag is maybe like 40 bucks at Target, because that's just what's been in my budget. This is been the biggest stretch besides this and the Lanier from Nock have been my biggest stretches in terms of bags. This was slightly cheaper than the Lanier, but I can tell that it's not as nice of Lanier, but I don't I have the, I guess the word is pallet, but like I don't have those senses, the experience to sort of tell those refinements we're like, oh yes this is a nice zipper versus okay this is an okay zipper. I don't have those skills yet.

Jim:  Gear / pen people tend to like nice bags and I'm sure most people in this chat actually have at least some form of nicer bag. Like I have a Topo Designs Daypack, I think it's the mountain pack I forgot what it's called I can look it up later, and it it's not that much more expensive than the Baron Fig bag I got it for a hundred twenty ish, and it's amazing. It's really well made.

Sarah:  I would like to get into bags I just haven't had the budget to get into bags. So I am new to it I will probably be very I mean a lot more experienced. Give me a couple years and some more budget. But it's been a budget constraint not a desire constraint. Did you feel test the bag at all?

Jim:  No.

Sarah:  Cuz I know you got the backpack and, did you get something else other than the Squire or...?

Jim: So I got the backpack with the rest of the stuff that came with it. So I got a backpack, the Confidant, the Squire, and the Archer pencils.

Sarah:  Okay.

Jim:  I forgot that Archer pencils were supposed to be included, so even though they're terrible terrible pencils, I don't actually care that much.


Jim: But like I'll post a few pictures in the chat that like are indicative of what these pencils are.

Sarah:  Oh yeah you had some good ones.

Jim:  Your files are too powerful what?


Oscar:  I haven't been following this as closely but, what happened where I heard that they were selling these bags outside of the Kickstarter before people that actually begun to receive them?

Sarah:  Okay let me go into the details. On the Kickstarter they advertised three colors is already mentioned, and they advertised the prices at, I think how it broke down was $85 with a backpack - early bird price - $75  early bird price for the messenger, and I think $45 for the tote. Those were all about $15 is below what the expected MSRP.

Michael:  what was the non early bird price on the Kickstarter?

Sarah:  The non early bird price was, I know it was $100 for the backpack because that's why I backed the backpack, because I would get $15 off and I wouldn't get a chance to get it that cheap in the future. So that's why I decided to take the gamble and back the backpack because I would be saving that significant chunk of cash. However when they posted all the bags on the Baron Fig website, they posted them at the early bird prices. For available for pre-order, I know it dates at least back to September 20th 2017 when they were on the website available for pre-order at the early bird prices. No Kickstarter backer has ever, had heard anything about price differences at that point. That's because they were on the Baron Fig website that means they were subject to every single coupon discount, so in theory people could get them for less than the Kickstarter early bird prices on the website. And they were also different colors: they were the same hue, but noticeably different shades. And again, you can see this on the website at least dating back to October 7th 2017. That's as far back as WayBack Machine goes, but emails sent to backers suggest that they had finalized the color changes in mid-August, if not early August, because they mention stuff about tweaking colors. And same with the price changes, they said they had placed the orders which suggests they would know the final price or at least have a final practice quote, so they would if they didn't know that the prices were going to be reduced, they would know that price changes would be highly likely. None of this was conveyed to any of the Kickstarter backers until one week ago today, November 29th 2017, and that was one week after people noticed that the prices and colors were different on the Baron Fig website and were complaining about them on Kickstarter. There were four emails between the August email, where it suggested the colors were changed, and when people started complaining on Kickstarter. The emails said stuff about the production is nearly complete, they are doing quality inspections, there was even an email saying there was a quality control delay because they were the shipping was going to be delayed because they found a quality control issue, and there was an email saying that the bags were going to be shipped. So clearly they had no problem delaying shipment due to quality control issues, but but they never said anything about prices or color changes.

Tami:  And when you say color changes like what, so, what colors did these become?

Sarah:  So you can, so I put links in the Master Doc, I also posted just my Baron Fig links upthread in the audience so you can look at that.

Jim:  Let's post a picture of the original colors right.

Sarah:  Yeah so, let me pull that up and I'll link to that in the audience this will all be in the show notes.

Jim:  I mean while you're doing that I posted a few pics in the audience of the the pencil box that came so 

Sarah:  You can talk about the pencils then.

Jim:  I'm not a pencil expert, we have Andy and Johnny in the audience, and I'm sure they try these pencils. So like the first impressions that I get when I pull out the little cylinder that they come in, it's crooked and it's just like well, this is off to a good start, and then I opened it up and I like look at some of the pencils and like the paints real cheap and like there's cracking on the wood, it looks like someone bit on them, it's unevenly done...

Oscar:  See this is why I'm starting to believe that when Baron Fig says that they have a quality control, issue it means the product or item is too well built and they need to bring it down a notch. Cuz I've seen these bags and I know people that have gotten them and like, there's no way this could pass quality control, at least a decent quality control person, and still make it out into the market, I mean.

Jim:  Like I'd say QC is probably fine on them, because like, they probably they probably work as intended, I mean there's no

Sarah:  They definitely work as intended, I wouldn't say working as intended is good.

Oscar:  Well you had issues with the zippers didn't you, Sarah?

Sarah:  Yeah so, I got my bag last night. I backed the Fig wine backpack. So I did a a unboxing live last night, and I was pleasantly surprised at the color. I was afraid based on Baron Figs Instagram posts and website post that it was going to be very pink, but it seems that's just how they're photoshopping everything these days to be stylistic. It is definitely more maroon. I was expecting really crappy quality. The stitching and the zippers are fine. I will say the zippers had a vendetta against my umbrella, which I don't know why, but the zippers wanted to catch on my umbrella like no other and wanted to rip that fabric to shreds. I don't know what the problem was between the backpack of my umbrella.

Jim: So the zippers are a bit chintzy. They feel like like you know that like anytime you get something that's like a eBay special, and it just feels a bit rickety, and like maybe the metal's like, it's got cheap chrome plating like I can imagine it's going to wear off at some point. But it works.

Sarah:  When I went to take my stuff out of the front pocket of the backpack, where it has just the zipper, it actually hurt, because the zipper there wasn't enough clearance for the pocket to open. My hand kept brushing against the zipper and it was scratching the back of my hand. Just to get my stuff out of the front pocket.

Phil:  I did see a picture earlier, I think it was on the Pen Addict Slack that somebody shared, that the buckle like wear the strap buckles on is painted black. Well the paint was already already worn off and it was brass underneath.

Jim:  Yeah that was someone on the Slack channel.

Phil:  I'll see if I can find those.

Oscar:  I find it problematic that with these pre-sales and stuff that they think this is okay you know?

Sarah: Yes.

Oscar:  I know that our friend Krystal, squishyink, the girl behind Hippo Noto, she actually went to DC and she had her notebooks. She could have just as easily sold them or taken pre-orders there and made a profit, but she didn't. She respected her Kickstarter backers enough to say, I'm not going to do this, I'm going to wait until I have everything going out to these people, and then, as a decent person would do, list them for sale.

Jim:  Yeah I mean she had an issue with the ivory notebooks and, she ended up having to delay them slightly, but that's fine. She told everyone and everyone was like that's okay. :ike maybe people will be slightly upset but reasonably so you know?

Oscar:  And I believe that they had to make a small color change, I could be incorrect here, but she communicated it to her Kickstarter backers, and everyone was okay.

Sarah:  This brings up a couple issues I have. So one, when you talk about pre-orders, okay fine you want to pre-order for people who missed the Kickstarter, I understand. I did that with the Hippo Noto I had a late pledge. That happens. You have a really popular product. My issue is that Baron Fig posted on their Instagram on July 9th advertising pre-orders, which suggests that they had the pricing finalized at that point. Note that is only four days before their email to the July, uh, four days before their July email to their Kickstarter backers saying that the final order has been placed, so that suggests at that point, in early July, they knew that the prices were going to be significantly different, and they were placing pre-orders. I don't have any screenshots from early July for their pre-orders, but based off of what I saw from the end of September pre-order pages, it's likely those were also the early bird prices, as early as July. And also on August 13th they did a Instagram post advertising pre-orders using the photos with the old bag colors. Only two days later is when they sent that email that suggests they had finalized the colors, which are the new colors. They were advertising a product they knew they were not selling. Baron Fig is treating Kickstarter like it is a fancy pre-order system. Fine. A lot of people do that. However you are not delivering the product you are advertising as in your pre-order. Okay, yes, it is Kickstarter, there are risks with this investment, but you are also not treating your Kickstarter backers like investors, because that would also imply you're going be upfront and communicating with them. Can you imagine any sort of startup just going willie nillie and having some sort of major change with their product and not communicating it to their major investors?

Tami:  I don't know. I'm with you part of the way on this, totally, and lord knows I'm not a fan of Baron Fig, but there's a part where you just have to run a business, and you can't keep a thousand people looped in to everything. But what's changed my mind a lot about this whole thing too is that how they responded to Jim wanting to return a product.

Sarah:  What happened to you Jim? Cuz I emailed them today, like I used my bag for about two hours before I decided to return it. I was actually initially pleasantly surprised with the bag, but when I try to actually use it in real life the fact that I couldn't most access most of or like half of my stuff like in the zipper mesh pockets without it being totally unfolded meant I couldn't, like, I couldn't access half my stuff without like having the bag splayed out everywhere. And I was just like, this isn't usable for me, I emailed Baron Fig. They got back to me within half an hour complete with a shipping label and everything and were like, here, return it it's fine. I actually sent it off in the mail like, on my way like on my walk to the bar I stopped at a UPS drop box and dropped it in the UPS box, so I had it less than 24 hours. I will give them so much credit for hiring Andi as their customer service person cuz she is doing amazing work, and they need to listen to her when it comes to any sort of communications, cuz it feels like with this Kickstarter thing, even if she said something they did not listen. They need to listen to whatever she says cuz she's good at her job.

Jim:  Yeah to answer Tami I didn't have a bad experience with customer service, on the other hand I sent a mail through there contact form on their website. I wasn't, like I was polite I didn't make a bunch of swears I just said I can read verbatim, it's pretty short. I wrote: "Hello Baron Fig team, In general I've been a fan of your products and the Squire and confident I received were great. But I'm not happy with the quality of my Baron Fig messenger bag" - I said messenger bag I meant backpack - "that I got through Kickstarter. Notably the weight of the material, the strap design, and zippers used. I'd like to ask if I can return this product and get a partial refund. My Kickstarter email is the same one as this contact form." Within, as as Sarah said, like I want to say like either half an hour to an hour, like in that range, I got an email back from Andi, Andi Talarico, and she said, "Thanks for the feedback. Sorry the bag didn't work out for you. I've emailed a return label to you, and I'll refund you as soon as we get the bag in hand. No problem." Which, fine.

Sarah:  That's what I got too.

Jim:  I'll say I'll give them credit they are handling this well they aren't being babies about it. There are some Kickstarters or other projects where someone complains about the quality of the product and the creator/owner throws an angry fit and starts like, I'm trying to like you know correct the problem and then, then you've got a situation where it is, what's the word when it's the, when you like complain about something and it just makes people more obvious like about the problem?

Mike:  Yeah like Electronic Arts with Battlefront 2 right now?

Jim:  Yes exactly like when you try to like hide something - the Streisand Effect! The Streisand Effect. Whenever you know like if there's something's going wrong and you try to like you know tell people like no no no everything's fine more people find out about it. So they're going they're avoiding they're avoiding drama at least like from their side they're not really going further into it. I mean like let's be fair but they haven't tried to like come out and be like no these are they're awesome, it's like, you know, if someone doesn't want it they're returning them.

Tami:  And to send you a shipping label right away I even find like that to me goes a long way in terms of solving stuff. Anything they can do to make it easier for you for this disappointment. I got to say that's pretty good.

Jim:  So I'm going to invoke like two more like common adages: Sturgeon's Law says 90% of everything is crap, and I guess unfortunately this is one of those 90% of objects, and then Hanlon's Razor, which is never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. So I mean Baron Fig aren't exactly stupid but basically I mean I think this is their first project doing this and making stuff is hard, that's a known fact, you could ask anyone who's tried to make something. Like I think I'd like to think that this is a learning experience and they can like, you know, come back with a much better product next time around.

Tami:  This is their very first bag right?

Sarah:  It is their first bag but it is not the first time communication issues like this have happened with Baron Fig, and they have gotten drug through the mud publicly for this before, just this year.

Phil:  And like I can go to my grocery store and get a nicer tote for $20.

Tami:  No believe me I even went the other day cuz, Jim you posted your Squire, and I was like that's a good-looking pen, and I went to the website to cuz, I don't enjoy the company at all I find there adverse speak very aggressively obnoxious? But I just couldn't buy The Squire cuz they say the pen is the sword and to me I find that so aggravating that they took this amazing statement "The pen is mightier than the sword," and and they're like you know what? The pen is the sword, like that that's better, and it drives me nuts. So I just couldn't buy it for that reason. But I do got to say I mean the fact that they took it back right away is pretty big and would make me trust them.

Sarah:  What I don't understand from a business perspective, to me, if you know that you have this massive product change, I'm just talking about the color now I'm not even talking about the price, and you know that it's going to affect people's satisfaction with the bag

Phil:  And choice of color.

Sarah:  and choice of color, I would, as soon as I know that the colors are going to be changed I would let my backers know and allow them to change or cancel orders. That's going to save me shipping in the long run. What happened here is you have a lot of people that are sending their bags back and forth for exchanges, and that's going to cost you a bunch of money in logistics cost. That's probably making a massive logistical headache. So it just seems to me like it would be easier to handle this before any products got shipped out. It would be easier to handle it all just like change shit in the spreadsheet and that way everyone can rejigger their orders and everything is fine. I don't see why they wouldn't do that cuz that just seems like it would make so much more sense from a logistical and business perspective. And the price difference thing again I understand that shit happens in manufacturing, that shit might not come out as you intended. Prototypes might be different from the final manufactured product, prices might be different from the final manufactured product. Why would you not tell people that until months after you clearly know this information?

Jesi:  It sounds like what you're upset about is the communication rather than what actually ended up happening, like you're feeling like they're trying to be sneaky.

Sarah:  It's just falling on their faces in all different areas and like I feel like they can do better. They make good products, I'm not saying they make bad products. I did return my backpack, but that's because I field tested it after a day and found out it didn't work for me. I didn't return it for any faults in quality, I faulted it because it just didn't personally work for me. If it had worked for me I would have kept it.

Phil: But I also feel that there is a lot of, it has to work under this condition only with the design of the backpack, and it wasn't field-tested with normal backpack users.

Sarah:  For what they advertised where it's like oh you could hang it up and it will work as a workstation, it would work great like that, but it only works like that. There are little tweaks they could have done that it could work both like that and as a normal backpack, and I feel like what they rushed to production and, they could have taken another six months to really field test this and get things right and have their manufacturer pinned down and make sure everything was good before going into production. I don't know why they felt the need to rush, it felt very rushed with the way this has all played out. I feel like a lot of the drama that's going on is due to a lack of communication and straightforwardness from Baron Fig just throughout the manufacturing process and I feel like this could have been avoided if they let people know about these issues early on. Like if they had let me know in August the colors changed, here are comparison pictures, would you like to switch your bag color, I would have been cool with that. If they had let me know oh hey like the price is different, here is a refund, like here is exactly how much the price is different, here is a refund for that much price difference. And I'm not talking like okay the there are people on Kickstarter that paid $5 more that it ended up being the final price, I'm talking you advertised on Kickstarter that you would save about $15 off MSRP. I would like that price difference back.

Jesi:  I'm not all the way familiar with the whole thing wasn't there like some kind of coupon?

Sarah:  There was a 25% off coupon offered to backers that was good for a single week and you had to spend at minimum $25. After this whole incident I know a lot of people that don't feel comfortable giving Baron Fig more money in order to get that money back. For example in order to get that $15 back that I would have, that I expected to have saved by backing the Kickstarter early I would have to spend the equivalent of $60 on products from Baron Fig. I personally don't use Baron Fig products, that's not to say that the Baron Fig products are bad, it's just I don't personally use them, so that coupon to me is useless, and I can see a lot of people having a really bad taste in their mouth after this whole incident not wanting to give them more money in order to get that value back.

Jesi: Got it.

Michael:  What I don't get is you know with Field Notes last week, Baron Fig this week, there's obviously, people are upset with decisions these companies have made. Why is it that these stationery companies aren't like publicly owning up to it? Why aren't they just coming out and saying hey we might have made a mistake here, we get it, you know, we messed up. They can go on Kickstarter, in Baron Fig's case, or they can go on their social media or their email, and just say hey we screwed up, we're going to make it right, here's what we're going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again, we're going to study it and you know make sure we don't screw up again. Neither of these incidents have we heard anything publicly from either of these companies from what I can tell. Right, nothing from Field Notes last week about the Abercrombie & Fitch stuff, nothing from Baron Fig the changing colors and the perceived price differences and what have you. Nobody's just like coming out and and saying hey, you know, we messed up.

Sarah:  It was like a self-serving self-centered version of it, like not really an apology. What's really frustrating to me about this is like yes, this is a dumpster fire of a situation that is created by Baron Fig's own lack of communication. And if this had been the first time this had happened, okay, shit happens. But this has happened before. This has happened with the subscriber thing, where it just disappeared off the website and it took people barraging with tweets to get answers.

Phil:  And they got called out on another podcast.

Sarah:  And they got called from another podcast. And there is still no public announcement about the lack of subscribers. Hell on the FAQ on the Baron Fig website it still says how to gift subscriptions and how subscriptions work - there is no indication on the website that the subscriptions have gone away. Like I'm not as familiar with the whole arc of Baron Fig as a company, so I'm not as, I have heard there are earlier incidents but I'm not familiar with them so I won't detail them because I'm not familiar with them, these are the ones I am familiar with. From what I have heard Barron Fig makes really good products and people love their products and people love interacting with them when their products are in stock. My impression is that you can't actually trust Baron Fig in the long haul. If the product is listed on their website as in stock you can trust them to send it from their warehouse to you. If it requires any more trust than that, Baron Fig has demonstrated that you cannot trust them long-term with your cash, whether it be pre-order, subscriptions, or Kickstarters, and that is just what the track record says. There is an opportunity to fix that by being very open and humble and transparent, but everything the company has done so far has said the opposite of humble.

Phil:  I agree with pretty much everything you said Sarah.

Tami:  I just think that like objectively there's no right apology for everybody, like there's no apology that everybody would find as humble and that everyone would feel like serves the integrity of the company. So I'm not saying that doesn't mean this merit something and I'm not saying I'm not trying to in any way say what you're asking for is impossible I'm just saying like it feels emotional in a way, it's a business thing, and so all we're saying as customers, or not even we cuz not all of us are customers of them, it's just this was unsatisfying. Going forward like maybe a Kickstarter for somebody who's never manufactured that item before is not a safe bet. Although I do again I still feel like they did do by taking it back so quickly that in the end it was kind of a safe investment because you're going to get your money back.

Sarah:  Yes I agree they are owning it in the end, and I do give them that credit, and they are currently owning it right now. But in terms of public apology, it's more just acknowledging they fucked-up. I have yet to see anything from Baron Fig acknowledging that they fucked up. All I see from them is, we're awesome, but if you're unsatisfied please email us.

Tami:  But I think if you're waiting for people to say we fucked up in this world...

Jim:  I mean just look at Hollywood.


Jim:  I mean not everything they do is bad. The Squire pen is quite nice, I mean it's a rollerball it's simple. Kind of wish it had a clip but that's like preference so you know.

Phil:  It's minimalistic so it fits that standard.

Jim:  I mean yes. I also watched the Everyday Commentary video, and like the notebook works fine, not everybody likes them, but I mean like they're fine, you know, not a fan of the pencils whatever. I don't think this is any like you know mean-spirited or intentionally bad I just think maybe Baron Fig are a bit in over their heads on this one. Like you said we might even be jumping the gun for all we know maybe tomorrow there's like a big post that explains more things.

Sarah:  What leaves a bad taste in my mouth is that like they've had opportunities to fix this and they haven't. Like I feel like there have been multiple opportunities for them to learn and they haven't. Like they seem like good people and they're trying to do the good thing but they seem just so wrapped up in their own bubble of creative like, I get it but when something bursts into your bubble this aggressively you need to acknowledge it and own it. So much about the company gives off bro-y "nice guy" vibes and that might not be their intention, like I said I trust they're nice guys, but that is how they come across and I would love for them to fix it because they're doing some really cool things especially like with their collaborations and stuff, those are awesome, I love that they are uplifting people of color, women, and just like doing some really cool creative projects.

Tami:  Let's move on to a new topic.

Yvgenii:  We've gotten some feedback over the fact that we don't like Noodler's but maybe that's not entirely true, and and one of our listeners, who actually even gave us some feedback about how we weren't nice to Noodler’s, is actually here with us. So, MGM tell us where went wrong.

Mike:  From what my understanding was of like Nathan, so I've only been in fountain pens for like 3 years and it's only this year that I've actually started getting higher end pens, and you know like a couple Deltas and I got an Omas and the new Armando Simoni. So, that's new, but what I feel like Noodler’s did right was on one of his videos Nathan says, you know I'm trying to get more people involved. And I remember back like in the, I don't want to call it early days of the internet but like in the an early 2000s when the internet was still trying to come up, I was interested in fountain pens but I was still in the Marines, and there was no way I was going to, you know you could go to Staples back then and they would have like Cross fountain pens for over a hundred bucks. They would have, you know if you Googled anything Montblanc is the first thing to pop up, and I don't know anyone who's going to pay you know nine hundred, a thousand bucks, or even second hand five hundred bucks for a pen they're going to take to the field. So I kind of shoved the fountain pen idea you know under the carpet until I got out, and then I was like oh man fountain pen that only costs twenty bucks instead of $900. And that kind of got me into it. I'm I'm one of those people I'll research some but I dive head-in you know like both feet in. So I started buying Noodler’s inks, and, for me, I never really had a problem and I had like, 16 Noodler’s pens, and I only had a problem with one nib, one flex nib that I couldn't fix. I'm mostly a cursive italic guy so that's where I like to go. And, you know I see a lot of people say that they have issues with their pens that I never seem to have but, you know, it's like I could take the pen apart and the only thing that's spoiled me on pens now is, I'm used to, you know I still have like that Marine mentality of I have to clean everything like super clean. So their pens I can take apart and fully clean, whereas I can't tell if my Omas is clean if the ink is still slightly a color type thing.

Tami: That's a good point. I have actually hurt pens like the 823 by trying to take them apart, and then putting them back together and then if you do that you can really do some damage, so that's something nice about those pens that you can do that.

Jim: I do like pens that can be taken apart, but am also of the mentality that just cuz you can take it apart doesn't mean you should every time you want to clean. So like in my case, say for my TWSBIs even I only tend to take them apart when I feel like I need to regrease the piston or something like that, which isn't that often anyway.

Mike: Yeah, granted that is that is true and after I'd already been doing it for like a year, I realized when, it was another video I saw where Nathan is fixing up, of all things, what is it, a Sheaffer vac fill, and you know he's like yeah this is supposed to be like a 15-year fix, and I'm like maybe I should stop taking my pens apart every like 3 weeks to clean them. So, granted I cut way back on actually actually taking most of my pens apart but you know, it is what it is. And one of the other big reasons I kindof, I personally like Noodler’s inks, I remember seeing a video with Matt from The Pen Habit where he was talking about his semi-flex nib from FPnibs. So I was like OK, cool, I'm more of a cursive guy, but let me try some semi-flex, and I bought this and I couldn't write more than half a page and that thing would just run dry, and I'd have to Prime the feed and do it. And it got annoying and I just took that nib right off there. put it on an Ahab and never had an issue again.

Tami: And I'll fangirl a little bit about Noodler’s inks because they've been getting it so hard, but they are some of those Noodler’s inks I love. Like Noodler’s Eel Blue, like if you've got some dry pens, those Eel colors are awesome and naturally lubricating and they're really cheap, and 54th Massachusetts is great. Yeah I don't want to throw Noodler’s in the big burning pile of all trash, like it's a really also like coming into this hobby ink that was very low low budget and easy to try a ton of colors. 

Phil: My first two inks were Noodler’s inks, Noodler’s Black and Liberty's Elysium. I still use the Black pretty much all the time. The rest of my Noodler’s inks don't get used quite as often but I still do but I still do ink them up once in a while. But I think a lot of the problem with Noodler’s is not the ink itself, it's the consistency between batches.

Mike: That's the other thing I don't under totally understand about the pen community as a whole, is everyone, well not everyone, but a lot of people seem to dog Noodler’s, but apparently there was something up with KWZ before they became big, and everyone's like eh whatever they fixed it. But if Noodler’s fixes it no one seems to care. They'll just be like oh they suck, and then apparently there was something with Organic Studios, I didn't get all of that. But seems like no one seems to get as much hate as them, and of course I'm not sponsored by anybody it's just an ink I seem to like and just things I noticed in the community.

Jim: In general I like Noodler’s Inks for the most part especially their non-permanent inks they're just to me they're fine to me they're fine they work with most everything. There's many points that points to turn some people off of Noodler’s. I think one of them is Nathan Tardiff's attitude, he's very strong, like he leans a certain political bent, like we can get further into it I don't care we can say it like is a strong, hard libertarian. And he doesn't care about like he shows that in many of these like ink names. Some people find that fun and other people choose not to support that. On top of that he's like said some things in the past like you know he calls his channel Ink Needs to Last Forever so he has a strong focus on making sure his inks do last forever, and he says one thing that he doesn't care if like some of his inks might potentially damage certain pens but rather like he thinks it's more important that the output of them are also going to last forever on the page. Which is fine it just means that they're there for a different purpose. And on top of that like more recently, this isn't something he like, I'd say the Noodler’s hate has always been like slightly in the background but like more recently there's been some more negative things. So like the the DC exclusive ink, House Divided, that was kind of, kind of a shit show. Before that they had the American Aristocracy, where they had you know like like three different colors, but you weren't sure which color you were going to get when you buy, and he tried to pass it off as like a feature and stuff. Like you know there's a bunch of like things about that.

Mike: See I have I have House Divided and I actually like it because it goes down like a slightly lighter color and then you can watch it dry into like a darker color almost like with iron gall but faster. So to me that's a cool feature.

Tami: It's funny you were talking about the political stuff with Nathan, but I haven't seen any of it. I've just heard about it like third hand.

Jim: He talks about it in his YouTube videos, yeah.

Tami: Yeah I just haven't watched those videos and I will just continue to not watch them.

Sarah: I would actually like people to link to it cuz I also heard about it forever and I've, I have actually Google searched Nathan Tardiff politics to try to Figure out what the hell his politics are cuz I have been very confused about it. I've struggles to find what people are referencing and I would really like to see it to understand what's going on.

Phil: Check out his review, er his introduction of the Noodler’s Burning Red.

Sarah: Gotcha, cool.

Mike:  It's just one of those things that I guess is in every community. cuz you know I'm also I'm a Star Wars fan like whoever's kid is a Star Wars fan. and they have whole on Facebook, and they're like oh this company sucks and this company you know whatever, and then other companies are charging 10 times the amount of money for basically the same product, and you know people are like oh, but that's one guy type thing you know? So I get it it's basically in any community you're ever in is there's always more hate towards one people. Not whether it's supposed to be or not. Another thing I see a lot of people talk about is there's not a lot of sheening inks, which I'm not a chemist so I don't know how that all works, and you know I'm sure if he had Figured out a way to come out with some more sheening inks a lot more people would like it and you know, cuz that seems to be the big thing right now is sheen and shimmer.

Tami: Yeah I totally see what you mean. To me Noodler’s was great for coming into the hobby and then you get to experiment with you know sort of fancier stuff, and then you find the stuff that you love. Then you find yourself playing with crazy Japanese inks.

Phil: I agree. Noodler’s is a great way to get into the hobby. You get a massive quantity of ink. You get a giant rainbow of selections. But of course not everything's going to meet everybody's needs, or standards, or what they want so.

Jim:  And if you want to waterproof inks they're one of the better sources for them. Especially like if you're not looking for the standard you know like waterproof black or waterproof blue like they have waterproof orange and green and all sorts of other colors too.

Sarah: As someone who has personally tested a bunch of waterproof inks for lab notebook purposes I can attest that Noodler’s is the best source to go to for waterproof inks.

Yvgenii:  That's definitely one of those things like with Noodler’s, they were the reason I picked them over a lot of the other companies at first because Nathan did release a good range of waterproof, it's just my paper needs ended up changing and that's what changed me away from Noodler’s and more towards the other companies.

Mike: And unlike everyone's favorite Baystate Blue there that they love to talk about, I learn something by total accident you know I'd seen the video of his for Baystate Blue where he says hey use I think it's like 1/10 bleach or something, and I end up getting a second hand demonstrator, Ahab demonstrater that was just completely just blue, and you know I'd done that for a couple of days the one the like 1/10 bleach wasn't really doing anything, and like an idiot I was like screw it I'm just going to try pure bleach. And the pure bleach actually worked after about 6 days, but yeah don't put stainless steel in pure bleach because it rusts.

Sarah: No, that would be bad.

Mike:  Yeah yeah that was a little but I was a little chemistry lesson that I taught myself, that was awesome. But I ended up using after I think it was like 6 or 7 days of me constantly flushing I got all of the Baystate Blue, and the guy got the pen from was like I didn't even think that was possible.

Sarah: Would it be fair to say that like with Baron Fig where we say they should communicate more we, we could say that Noodler’s should communicate more on their inks with just some warning labels?

Mike: I know with Baystate Blue they tell you straight up you know like you know don't mix this with other stuff. I mean it's one guy so I know he's not you know like he's a little recluse out in Massachusetts just making ink and going and apparently like, feeding sharks to death on the ocean whenever he wants to or whatever. But that was one thing I noticed was like I had to go to full on bleach for several days to get that actually out of there. Now granted no one's going to do that with a high-end pen, I wouldn't mind doing that with even like a TWSBI if I had to, but I know we talked about right before the show talking about just overall pen maintenance, like how many people out there you know say that they clean their pens and you know I'm not going to try and bash anybody, but how many people actually just clean their pens thoroughly instead of just running them under water or whatever. You know I bought several second hand pens that people told me they cleaned and they

Jesi: But you know we talked earlier about how you found out that they really shouldn't be taken apart. That, that was a 15-year cleaning instead of a every 5 days cleaning. With vintage pens you have to understand that a lot of those look at as collector's items, they were not meant to be repaired period. They weren't meant to be taken apart, they weren't meant to be to do all of this rigorous cleaning with.

Phil: They were the day's Bic.

Jesi: Yeah, they were meant to be thrown away after a year. And when people do get into those newer boutique inks, those inks are great for modern pens. If you get them into vintage pens, you run the risk of melting the material inside, you run the rest of jamming up the entire feed system so that you're not going to get to use that pen again. But the biggest thing with those is that they are so saturated with color, that's the thing that gums up all these pens, and it's not just Noodler’s that has that, any of the the inks that are recent, that are very saturated very bright, they all have so much of that coloring in them that they're going to do the same to vintage pens. It's not just Noodler’s, we do pick on them.

Mike: See I know like Private Reserve came up and I don't have a whole lot of pens with sacks I think I only have like three of them in my collection but I have a lot of the, I have five Sheaffer vac fills and I've used all kinds of Noodler’s and I I get it right out, there's and I just do the little ridiculous flush for an hour, you know being bored by the sink, and then if it's I don't even want to call it problematic but maybe problematic to me cuz I'm crazy about how clean I want my pens, is I'll do you know like my own little pen flush that I got the recipe off SBRE Brown's video from like 5 years ago, and I'll leave that in there for like 5-10 minutes, shake it around and I've gotten everything out of even vintage pens. Now again I have one Sheaffer PFM that has a sac, and one Conklin I just picked up, and I haven't even inked that up yet. So I can't attest to sacs at all, I just know what I've done with the back fills and they've worked fine.

Jesi: Well, but also um, I mean, there's a lot of these pens that you don't understand what you're doing on the inside to them long term. And you know if you want to use them at that level that's absolutely wonderful, as long as they're your own pens.


Mike: Obviously I'm I don't know maybe I'm like a break from some of the pen community because it's like okay, you know, I'll use it just to try it and if it you know if I ruin the pen hey man I'm out you know, whatever plus I had Jeff from Powers Pen Company fix up the pen so, if I really screwed up then I'll just message Jeff and be like uh... my bad dude.

Jesi: Yeah, just from the other side from us, you know repairing vintage pens that's my advice is just to use ink that's gentle on them.

Sarah: And I'm one of those people that just throw whatever into vintage pens and hope for the best.

Yvgenii: I think you may be.

Jesi: Sarah...


Mike: See what's funny is like I I like Noodler’s so much that I have family back in like New York and Vermont and I haven't visited I haven't visited in like 6 years but I've actually thought about I was thinking about doing it this year but it didn't work out, but maybe next year. I've thought about flying out and then go to the Commonwealth Pen Show just to meet Nathan, and be like yeah yeah I can meet my family later. But that's how much I actually like their product, and you know like I said with the FPnibs thing like's it's a Jowo nibs that's customized and the Jowo could not, the nib unit could not could not handle it, but my Noodler’s is perfectly fine. You know, so that's kind of why I like their pens because I have no issue just tossing like I don't know a $90 nib on there just to test it out and it works, like you know like I'm not having to constantly prime a feed to write a letter. So that's kind of why I had the appreciation for it, and from my point of view it's like if this company, small one-man operation can Figure out how to make an ebonite feed for a $20 pen, $25 pen, why are you like a lot of bigger companies like just, you know pawning it off to somebody else, and just going with a typical plastic feed. Like I can understand if you're making pens under a hundred bucks, but if it's like the huge huge companies out there, stop using plastic.

Yvgenii: You have a point there I mean just, he's he's found a way to get the price point where it it's very attractive for the price point alone. If there was more consistency there, then that price point would be unbeatable. I mean it's kind of like when TWSBI had some of their problems with the 540s and the 580s cracking and breaking. Great products, really damn good products, but just really bad QC, and I think Nathan's kind of in that same situation there. Great product, good price point, bad QC.

Mike: So um if anyone has Ahabs out there they don't like, I'll take 'em. Just send them to me, I will, so far like I said I think I've gotten, but I've even got my roommate into pens because in that little package where I got the Baystate  Blue demonstrator, he sent me like a Konrad, and I already have like ten Konrads, so I asked my roommate I'm like, my hey man you in the fountain pens? And he said and he's like, no. Want one? Yeah. so now I got him into fountain pens. So  you know not only are we fountain pen people but we've got to be enablers.

Sarah: Always be enablers that's part of the territory.

Jesi: that's the best part of being into pens.

Yvgenii: I think we just broke Jesi's brain.


Mike: Like the one point I wanted to make about the Hippo Noto you guys were talking about, I know like some of you don't have Facebook but I'm on a bunch of Facebook pen forums and everyone seems to love those things. I don't have one though, I just stick with Rhodia, and I'm not a fan of Tomoe River, personally, cuz it seems like too thin, even the little thicker version, but

Sarah: That's fair, I definitely get that. [00:56:06] 

Mike: I saw one that seems to getting good reviews was that Raphilo or whatever I saw on Anderson pens so. I want to try that just so I could cuz I'm now at the point where I want to try sheening inks and I think that's what took me so long to get into sheen is because on Rhodia you'll get some but you're definitely not getting what you see all these pictures on Instagram, and it's like wow that stuff is awesome and then you put on Rhodia and it's like eh.

Jim: Rhodia is like the good, you know, like starter like upgrade paper but then the more brands you try the more likely you are to like find some more interesting ones. So I don't know if you've heard of the Mnemosine notebooks from Maruman?

Tami: I love those.

Jim: I their paper's like very similar to like Rhodia but it's like a step above.

Tami: Yeah I'm with you on that.

Mike: Yeah I heard about it and then, what was it, it was like no one was carrying them for a while, and then they came back so. I'm like I'm still dipping my toe in the water when it comes to stationary, so... eventually I'll get there. I went the opposite way apparently for most people as I bought a ton of pens and ink and then we'll just put it on whatever paper.

Yvgenii: I'm still a padawan in the world of stationary so, it's it's one of those lovely situations where I have yet to realize the full potential of paper.

Sarah: I will stan for the Kokuyo paper for forever. It's not as good as Maruman, but it's got slightly more tooth so it works with fountain pens and pencils and like rollerballs and stuff so it's a good all-around paper. It's a bit like Leuchtturm but it comes in a bazillion different like rules and formats and ever-everything and it's available on Jetpens and it's cheap, compared to nice paper, I love it.

Mike: Well thanks to Mr. Fountain Pen Day himself, on his YouTube he had Life Paper, so I ended up ordering some of that but I ended up getting the cream version. While it's pretty decent paper, or not cream, the little tannish paper, it doesn't always run with every ink to me I don't you know I don't know it doesn't look great with every ink so, maybe I need to get a white version of a Japanese paper that I think is pretty good. So that's why I thought I found the Graphilo on Amazon, and the only reason I went to Amazon is because I personally like A4 size, A5 in a little too small for me.

Tami: Did anyone hear the Pen Addict podcast today where Brad was talking about the guy who hadn't bought pens all year but had bought paper and ink?

Sarah: To be honest I was busy archiving Baron Fig web pages during the Pen Addict podcast.

Jim: Yeah I had like meetings at work cause you know things are going to shit so I, yeah.

Tami: Oh, gotcha, well so somebody said that they didn't buy any pens in 2017 but did buy a ton of, did spend money on paper and ink. And as somebody who has bought way too many pens the past few years, I was wondering if anyone else was feeling tempted to give that a shot but I also

Mike: I think I've actually hit my my breaching point because I know the last pen I got I got three pens all within like literally a week, two weeks of each other. I got my Armando Simoni, Ogiva Perla? Yeah Perla. The only thing I really don't like about that is someone decided let's put three section rings on there and you can feel them so it's a little annoying, and then I got a good deal, cuz I thought I saw it, it was on FPGeeks, someone sold their, it was a wild celluloid in the 360, Omas 360 and the Omas Arco celluloid Ojiva, and I was like screw it I'm buying it.


Jim: Nice. Brown Arco?

Mike: Yes, yes had to do it. And you know it was a good price they actually write pretty well but I'm, you know I'll mess around with Noodler’s pens and TWSBI pens and basically almost any kind of Jowo nib but the Arco for whatever reason, it only likes to write wet when it's like 20 degrees off the paper, just not a writing style for me. So I'm probably going to send those off to, you know one of the good nib meisters out there so I can, you know, do that. But overall I hit, I'm like at 50 pens right now and I've seen a couple of new pens come out, and I'm like nah I'm good.

Sarah: Speaking of which we've got we've got a question from a cupcakegirl on Discord: how do you decide when to sell, a pain lack of use? Need to fund another pen? Hot market for a particular pen? I know I personally will sell pens when I just realize I don't use it anymore. It's just why, is this taking up space and I could use that money to buy a pen that I like and use a lot.

Phil: That's my cue too. If it doesn't fit my hand it goes off into the wayside and gets sold.

Jim: I've almost never done the need to fund another pen thing mostly cuz, whatever I'm spending money on pens it's from like an from money I know is disposable that I won't need in case of rainy day. At least I haven't gotten to the point where I really need to sell a lot of stuff. It's like especially when it's a nib I don't like. So like I had a really good Sailor 1911 Rialo, and I sold that at the Atlanta show because it's too small for me.

Tami: I have a really hard time selling pens. I keep doing a thing where I decide to sell one and then I'll just decide to use it one more time, and then fall back in love with it.

Phil: To make sure you don't really hate it. 

Mike: I have that problem too, it's like I think my other problem is like I never know what to sell or how much to sell things for. I can go online as a buyer be like ah this dude that's priced way too high, but as an actual person who wants to sell anything and I always feel like I'm going to either cheat myself or, I suck at negotiations when it comes to like barter or so if someone tries to give me anything less I'm like uh no dude I said this amount and I'm not going less.

Sarah:  I hate bartering so much.

Jim: That's the way of pen shows.

Sarah: I know and I hate it.

Jim: Especially when it's vintage, you know.

Mike: I think I've also been ruined by Craigslist because anyone who's ever bought or sold anything on Craigslist you can get some of the most off the wall, he man I'll trade you this for that, uh no I said cash only.

Tami: I think the thing too is I've only sold on Slack where I feel like I know everybody, and so I never want to I always feel like I'm screwing somebody if I ask too much, or, you know what I mean? It feels more like friends swapping.

Jim: I've sold on Reddit. Reddit's a good place to sell they have like a nice, so like the mods there are very vigilant. Actually disclaimer Oscar is a mod on like the Fountain Pen Swap subreddit. And they try to like keep track of like shady people so like if, someone reports you know problem with the seller, they try to like find out about it. Reddit's like one of the safer places, especially like most of, my biggest problem with selling pens is  most of the ones I did want to get rid of are a bit too cheap, like I don't feel like I want to sell off my, I don't know. I have this like Sheaffer 100 Ferrari pen that I can probably sell for like maybe 10 bucks or 15 but, is that worth it? Cuz by the time I like post it in the mail it's going to be like three or four dollars off.

Tami: Right right.

Sarah: I've sold a lot of pens on a Ravelry, so that's the knit & crochet social media, and that has the same feel as Slack where it feels like you know everybody. you can trust everybody even if I have never communicated with them before I, if I buy stuff I trust them to get it to me, if I sell it I trust them to get the money to me. It's very intimate .I don't want to rip them off so I very know what you mean there Tami.

Tami: I also end up getting very excited of somebody likes a pen that I sold them, and it ends up feeling very personal.

Sarah: Yep, had that happen too.


Mike: And one quick, I know this is bad or whatever but, I know I like a lot of pencil talk came up earlier and since I'm in school right now for electronics technology I'm constantly using pencils when I'm not using pens, so if anyone out there uses mechanical pencils and like some of the vintage, uh, the vintage celluloids you see out there but don't want to spend a whole lot on like a vintage pen, you can get the pencil version like cheaper cuz I just got a Sheaffer 1.1 millimeter mechanical pencil that's the green fleck with the red veins, and I've seen those go for like over two hundred bucks as a pen, but I got the pencil for like 25 bucks.

Sarah: That my dad 's really into mechanical pencils so I might need to look into that for gifts.

Jim: It's the same as you know like like the ballpoints and rollerballs are also less, I don't want to say less desirable, but I guess there's less hype around them anyway.

Sarah: Yeah I've definitely been at pen shows were I'm like looking at the fountain pen version, and they're like, look at you can get the whole set for like a little bit more, and I'm like, I personally am into fountain pens so I don't care but I like, that is kind of a shame that like the rollerballs and the pencils don't go for as much cuz they're equally nice they're just don't have the hype around them.

Mike: Somebody was saying when they were in college they could only use pen or whatever. If it was like that for me when I was taking calculus 2 and calculus 3 I would just have to turn in like 25 pages of scribbled out stuff, which is which is why I was, you know, like okay during school I'll use my pencil unless it's something I've already worked out where like electronic, I just took applied circuits, and you have to show some work but you didn't have to show all the basic work, that I would use you know like my TWSBI for, my TWSBI Vac 700, and I'm like OK, cool, can actually use some of my inks, and I'll use my homework for that but when it was like calculus and we had to show every step? No way man, I would turn in I's probably have to turn in 50 pages.

Sarah: That was definitely me in college I showed all my work like that. All the scribbles and all.

Tami:  Franz just asked an interesting question, if anyone is trying to focus on collecting a certain pen model or brand? He actually asked vintage pen models, but I was going to expand it and say just pen model or brand.

Phil: No only Jesi.

Sarah: Yeah I would say Jesi.

Tami: Jesi for sure with the Esterbrooks, right?

Sarah: Yep.

Jesi: Well, yeah Esterbrooks and I also like to collect all of the colors of the TWSBI. I like um, I like all the 45s with Franklin-Christoph. I'm kind of obsessed with rainbow colors.

Sarah: Who wouldn't be obsessed with rainbow colors they're awesome.

Tami: I I like the rainbow colors but I am unfortunately have fallen down the Sailor, um yeah I'm trying to get out.


Jim: Did you guys see the new Sailor they posted like it's a One Shirt collaboration and has this like.

Sarah: That like olivine color thing in the Slack that I want really badly?

Jesi: It's gorgeous.

Jim: I was ready to buy but then it's like extra fine and fine, and it's like too thin for me so my money is safe.


Phil: My issue is it's a 1911. I wand a Pro-Gear

Jim: 1911 Rialo so it's the piston yeah.

Sarah: I didn't realize it was my nib sizes. I am clicking.


Jim: The Engrish on this page is funny by the way. Please choose him, pen point EF - look they're gendering nibs, Sarah.

Sarah: If anyone wants to donate this pen to me I will gladly accept but I cannot afford it right now.

Mike: I definitely noticed myself for like work stuff I like fine or extra fine, just cuz, well at least I used to have to do a lot and then it went all-digital so it's not as much but, if I'm writing pen pals? The broader the better.

Jim: So I like fine for western fine. Sailor's fine is just to thin for me so that's why for Sailor, their medium fine and their medium is like my sweet spot and their broad is like awesome. Love the Sailor broad.

Sarah: A western fine is about as thick as I'll go, unless it's a cursive italic. 

Tami: Unfortunately for me I like Sailor from extra fine to broad. I really I like everything.


Tami: I really do I have everything from extra fine, fine, medium fine, medium, and broad. It makes it hard to say no.

Sarah: I'm almost jealous because I definitely see things come up and like any sell-trade, Slack, whatever. And I'm like that's beautiful but it's just not the right nib for me. I guess this is good or bad, cuz for me it's I'm not spending my money on it, but then I don't have the pen. Versus you it's like yes I will take that, this, I will take that, yes please, oh my bank account hates me.

Jim: I'm telling you Sarah if it had the right nib size it would be already on the way.

Sarah: If it wasn't over $300 it will be on the way.

Tami: It's so pretty.

Mike: I obviously I obviously don't need to talk about my credit card right now with all the Omas I just bought then.

Sarah: Do you have pictures?

Mike: Uh I... hold on.

Jim: Circling back to like the initial discussion so, everyone is talking about like collecting different lines. I go the opposite route I really hate having more than one of a certain pen, and right now I have to Franklin-Christoph 45s, and it's like there's this burning desire for me to sell one of them and I probably will.

Jesi: Oh, Jim? Le me give you my email.


Jim: Do you have the Cherry Ice one?

Jesi: Yes... I want the Amber Ice and the, like neon green or yellow.

Jim: Okay so the Amber Ice is the one I'm keeping. If I ever do think of selling that I'll let you know, but for now that's staying with me. Like I'm still like I've basically tried almost every brand, there are still a few haven't tried, I haven't owned a Montegrappa and a few things, so I'm still in like that exploratory phase.

Sarah: Just get the Chaos it'll be fine.

Jim: I don't think I have the credit score to take a look at that.


Jim: Yeah I don't know mean I do I'm not like into collecting stuff. I'm not too far into the vintage rabbit hole, like I've I've got like a couple of Parker 45s, some Esterbrooks, I recently like, last time I went to DC I got like this nice flexible, I forgot the brand name. It's like a really old pen like 100 years old or something.


Jim: It was from Susan Wirth's table - it's pretty good.

Sarah: Susan Wirth's table, even now that Susan Wirth is no longer with us, it's still a dangerous set of tables cuz it's just like oh look all the bright lights and the shiny and I want everything and I can't afford it all.

Jim: They aren't the cheapest pens, like you can find better deals on vintage on other tables but everything they have there works flawlessly. And they have so much choice that it's easy to find what you want. And they'll even like label some of the pens, it's this like extra wet or extra broad, and it's like hmm.

Sarah: And I love that they actually have every single pen inked up instead of just dipped because that does make a substantial difference in testing how it writes.

Jim: Definitely especially with vintage cuz like like vintage feeds don't collect as much ink as modern feeds do.

Sarah: Like I would pay that premium as just that I am paying for this good, this good thing I am paying this extra fee.

Yvgenii: I actually kind of like what ended up happening with the S&A here at the end. I think next week we're going to start doing that as well, try to pull one where we've gotten the question from somebody and then pull one from the audience like that was actually pretty cool. You know, we've been, we've been going for a good long while here.

Sarah: That's putting it mildly, but that's partially my fault.

Mike: Whoever asked me about Omas I just posted some.

Sarah: Oooooh.

Tami: Oh my God those are beautiful,

Yvgenii: Very nice. We will all drool over the Omas later. Thank you to everyone in the Discord for joining us tonight, you guys are awesome. We definitely we're we're grateful for all the support, we appreciate what you do for us listening week after week, showing up to the Discord, putting stuff in chat you guys are awesome. If you want to keep supporting what we do, head on over to our Patreon at Don't forget to keep listening, like, comment, subscribe, recommend this to your friends, and follow us on Twitter @byobpenclub. Till next time say goodbye everybody.

Everyone: Goodbye everybody!

[Outro music]

Oscar: To those of you who did not have the opportunity to listen to this episode live, we had Joey from Baron Fig come into our live stream during our discussion about Baron Fig. Joey claimed that he had shared a public apology on Sunday, December 3rd on Baron Fig's Facebook. After some research we found that the only thing that was posted on Baron Fig's Facebook on Sunday was a promotion for their Squire stand, and yes we do have that archived as well. Why you wouldn't share this apology to your backers on Kickstarter or on your website I'm unsure, as not everyone uses Facebook. Along with Joey a few other people, and we cannot confirm if they are affiliated with Baron Fig, joined us on the livestream, and shared some very hateful words. One of those people decided to join us, and share some especially bigoted and racist comments prior to being kicked from the livestream. As a minority I find that these statements are especially offensive and believe that nobody should be subject to this sort of response from simply stating their views and opinions on a product in a group. Joey, from what I saw and heard tonight, I will not support Baron Fig in any future endeavors, or recommend this product to any of my friends or colleagues. From what I saw tonight this was a completely inappropriate response and speaks volumes to me about this company and what their response to being critiqued is. I would personally rank this company below Mr. Rosenberg's Esterbrooks. If you make a mistake, accept it, listen to your followers, and move to correct it. Don't retaliate at the group sharing their views and expressing their opinions on it. It just makes you look worse and hurts your company. To everyone else thank you for listening and enjoy the rest of your day. Goodbye.

BYOB Pen Clubtranscript, season 1