Hello everyone, my name is Christian and I am the owner and founder of this here website. I am also officially obsessed with pens, notebooks, fountain pen ink, wood-cased pencils, and just about any other office & art supplies. I'm not exactly sure where the obsession comes from, but I'll delve into some of its roots in a later post. First a bit of an introduction.
By day I am the CEO and co-owner of our family business - Randy's Hardware, Inc. We have a small chain of hardware stores in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I am also a father to four children, three of which were born at home, the last which my wife and I delivered alone after the midwives left for a little break. If that statement didn't already clue you in, I am also married to the strongest and most capable woman on the planet. She keeps me functioning and without her I couldn't possibly do a single thing, even get out of bed.
So, with all of that out of the way, how did I get connected to fountain pens and why should I be trusted to write anything? Well, this year I had the incredible opportunity to open a small boutique style hardware store in a busy downtown area. It has been a real experiment for me to try out different merchandise and see what would work in a completely different setting than what we are used to. One line of products that I knew would sell, but I didn't know how well, is fine writing supplies. There just isn't anyone within hours of my stores selling fine writing. So I brought in a few products and what do you know, it started selling like hot cakes! This lead me to start looking into more companies and vendors and my personal obsession suddenly became a viable business opportunity.
Now I have the business to somewhat support the obsession, but that still doesn't give me any expertise. So, why my perspective? I think my lack of insider knowledge within the pen world is exactly the strength of my perspective. I will be able to offer my opinions from years of selling durable, heritage-quality goods and that mixed with my no room for nonsense attitude should make for a unique perspective. At least, that's what I hope. I don't consider myself a pen guy. I don't know the ins and outs of every pen. I don't have sponsorships from pen companies and I plan on saying when a pen is worth the money and when it's not. In fact, I adjust my store's inventory to match my thoughts.
Stick around! Let me know if an irreverent and occasionally sarcastic look at the pen world and its wares sounds interesting to you. If there's one thing I am good at, it's accepting negative feedback. Just remember, I've already told you, I'm not a pen guy. Also, that's the best picture that's ever been taken of me and I never wear a suit to work.