Technically, not the entire staff of The Well-Appointed Desk went to the St. Louis Pen Show this weekend but Jesi, Jaclyn and I all descended on St. Louis while Laura attended a conference in Chicago so a couple things happened — or more specifically didn’t happen.
First, nobody prepared posts for the days we were gone and I blame myself for not being more organized. Hopefully, you all were either in St. Louis or spelunking in the great outdoors this weekend so you didn’t even notice, did you? Cool.
Second, none of us took a group photo of the three of us in the same place at the same time. Though we did take pictures of our many similar pens.
What was interesting about this pen show for us was that all three of us were there in different capacities. Jesi helped out at the Dromgoole’s table as their ink maven, I had my own table for The Well-Appointed Desk/Skylab Letterpress and Jaclyn attended an actual attendee, even going to a nib tuning class hosted by Ralph Reyes of Regalia Writing Labs.
Jesi and I arrived on Thursday and spent an inordinate amount of time just goofing off and playing with ink. Partially, this was done to help calm me down since I forgot an entire crate of merchandise and odds and ends and was in a tizzy. The biggest issue was that I forgot the credit card reader in the absent crate so Bob ended up having to ship it to me overnight. $$$$$
Friday, with crate in hand, I was able to set up my table and actually sell some product. I feel a little out of practice setting up tables for shows and feel like I should have done a test set up at home so I could zhoosh the whole thing. I think the set up was okay for the first time I’ve done a show in over two years.
The show featured over 90 vendors in one large ballroom making shopping and browsing easy. Lots of pen show vendor regulars were present like Paul Erano, Dromgoole’s, Kanilea, Hinze, Federalist Pens and many, many more. There were also a ton of classes offered as well.
I suppose the biggest news, at least on The Well-Appointed Desk table was that the much discussed XXL Col-o-ring product did make an appearance. We have named it the Col-o-ring FOLIO. The name is based on the full sheet size originally used for the Gutenberg Bible. The original folio size was 12×17.5″ but we took some liberties with the size to best utilize every inch of our full sheet size so our FOLIO is 12×16″ and is filled with 40 sheets of original Col-o-ring paper, glue bound into a pad and covered with a kraft paper cover to protect your project. The cover uses a lighter weight paper to allow it to easily be folded back and not be too cumbersome. The back of the pad has a chipboard backer to provide support and protection.
The Col-o-ring FOLIO will be available for purchase this weekend. We just need to get the listing in order on Big Cartel and Etsy and make sure we have mailing boxes and shipping rates established. The price for a FOLIO is $40 plus shipping and due to the size and weight, the FOLIO shipping costs will be around $8 – $12 in the US (final shipping costs TBD).
Above is the very quick-and-dirty video I made showing the FOLIO compared to a Col-o-dex and a Dipper. More photos and information will be available this weekend.
Friday, we had dinner with the crew from Hinze Pens at a nearby pub. A good time was had by all!
Later, we popped into the auction to do our best to lighten the mood.
Saturday was a whirlwind. There was the normal hustle of a Saturday although not as much hustle as we all had hoped. Jesi and I however, taught a class for attendees called All The Inks where we firehosed the crowd with our knowledge and banter about ink. Then we let the group try out several ink sampling techniques.
After Hours activities were minimal as Jesi and I were 100% exhausted. I did spend some time swapping pens to try with a lovely group of people before I was pretty much asleep on my feet.
Sunday was a bit busier than expected but it did not make up for a slower than expected Saturday. For attendees, the slower Saturday and Sunday made shopping and chatting easy and fun but for vendors, there was a good deal of fretting about making enough sales to cover expenses for the weekend.
Before I knew it though, the show was over and it was time to pack up and this was genuinely the first time I had a moment to take photos of the show but it’s like taking pictures of the morning after the circus was in town. It’s mostly empty box tumbleweeds and empty water bottles.
The St. Louis Pen Show was only two years old when the pandemic hit and then it had to hibernate for two years due to the pandemic so it really had to start over, IMHO. I hope that the St. Louis community can genuinely support a show of this size but as it is right now, for vendors it’s challenging. For attendees though, it’s a great show.