Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Artisan: The Pen Place

Meet Crystal and Bill, our Saturday Artisans.

They have an Etsy shop called The Pen Place. I love their shop and I''m sure you will too. Who knows that pens can be handmade! It never come across my mind in the first place but I fall in love with their shop right away.

The craftmanship is astonishing! And it's wonderful to know that you don't have to be in the same generations to work well together.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?
The Pen Place started out primarily as a hobby for my grandpa. Our products are hand turned on a lathe. We mostly use Corian or similar products (yes, the same kind used for countertops) along with native and exotic woods. We mainly make pens, but also make pencils, letter openers, bracelet assistants, perfume pens and desk accessories. I have always been artistically inclined, so I come up with new design ideas and take care of the business end of things while my grandpa does most of the turning work. I also do scrimshaw (etching on ivory or substitute), and I plan to debut some scrimshaw pens in the near future.

Which part of creation process that you like to do the most?
For me that would have to be the designing. I have loads of ideas and not near enough time to do them! I would say my grandpa's favorite part is seeing the finished product and people's reactions to his work.

Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?
This is a constant process. Fortunately a lot of our finished items are small, so I keep them in rubbermaid-type plastic drawers. I have one drawer for items that need photos, one for items that have photos but need listed, one drawer for thank you/business cards and a 3 drawers for listed items. We do the same with our small supplies, and have shelving units for larger supplies.

Holiday season is fast approaching. Give us a scoop on your prep. What are you exciting to offer for 2010 holiday season?
Behind as usual! I am working on getting the scrimshaw pens ready, along with the bracelet assistants and perfume pens. I would also like to make and list a few desk clocks, but that is at the bottom of the priority list right now!

What is your favourite tool that you cannot live without?
I LOVE the closeup lens for my camera. It was really difficult getting nice pics of such small items, but the closeup lenses, pop-up photo tent, and learning to use the macro function have made a world of difference.

Saving money is important; tell us one thing that you do to save money?
I always save packing materials from things I buy and reuse them.

Any advice for others running their on-line shop?

I’ve heard people say ‘don’t worry about what other people think’. Well, if your craft is strictly a hobby, that’s true. If you want to sell your product it’s a good idea to take into consideration what your potential buyers think, what type of item they want, what level of quality they expect. Some people are lucky enough to find a following for their quirky, out-there products, so it’s not necessarily impossible, but it can be a lot harder.

You have to invest time into your online presence if you want to get anywhere. If you just slap up a quick listing, it shows. And it makes a negative impression, like you didn't care about your product or your audience. Read the how-to's, get tips from other sellers on the forums. You may want to just jump in there, but getting some advice is really a good investment of your time. Otherwise you may end up wondering why your item isn't selling, while any number of sellers could give you the answer like that.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's giveaway, but in the meantime, enter the 2 giveaways that we have currently: Skribblykids and Designs by Designs by Tracy Brigham.


  1. I learnt about how they save money, by reusing packing, such a great idea! :)

  2. I am more than impressed. The craftmanship is outstanding:)

  3. very cool. I adore my close up lens for my camera as well!!
    I think the clock idea is good! Anything crafted as beautifully as the items now will do amazing! :)

  4. I love craftsmanship and I can really appreciate this artist. Great shop!