Pens, Passion and Entrepreneurship

Reflections on the Atlanta Pen Show


My wife and I made the trek from Columbia to Atlanta last weekend to catch the Atlanta Pen Show and the live recording of the Pen Addict Podcast. We went last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. (I wrote a post about last year’s experience, too.) Some quick thoughts on our new annual tradition:

Preshow. #atlantapenshow

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The Pen Addict Live. We wanted to go to the Atlanta Pen Show, but the live recording was the main reason we made the trip. The Pen Addict is a great show and I listen to it every week.*

The episode they recorded was excellent, as usual. Once again this year, Myke and Brad were joined by the equally awesome Ana Reinert. But they also had a couple of interviews on the show, too. Vito from Story Supply and Brooks from Carolina Pen Company both talked about their businesses. It’s always great to see and hear from people who are so incredibly passionate about their craft.

Seeing Vito and Brooks on the live show crystalized something that I’d been thinking about for a while. Yes, the Pen Addict is about pens (and ancillary stationery products), but it’s also a celebration of entrepreneurship. Myke and Stephen took their mutual love of podcasts and started their own podcast network. Brad and Jeff started NockCo and are building an amazing case business. Ana has a new product for sale, the Col-o-ring. Vito talked about what drove him to start the Story Supply Co. And I honestly have no idea how Brooks combines polymers and makeup to make the beautiful pens that he sells through Carolina Pen Company. 

Myke and Brad routinely bring in creators to talk about their products and creations. They support, encourage and build up the creative community.** I really do think that support is a big part of what makes the Pen Addict — and the larger pen community — amazing.

NockCo Sinclair. I enjoyed the show, but I didn’t buy much. (I’m still working my way through all the ink I bought at last year's show.) I checked out some vintage pens, but didn't see anything I had to have. 

One of my favorite purchases was the NockCo Sinclair. I was in the market for a smaller case… I love my NockCo Brasstown, but I wanted a smaller case for carrying with me to meetings. NockCo had some exclusive colors for the pen show circuit. I was eyeing the olive/lime Lookout. I seriously love the olive/lime colorway and you know how I love my bright greens… But once I saw the Sinclair with a black waxed canvas exterior and a garnet*** interior, I was sold. I’m a lifelong Gamecock fan and the creative director at the University of South Carolina. For a case to carry around campus, the garnet and black case is perfect. I’ve really enjoyed using it this week and I’m thrilled with my purchase. Hopefully, they’ll make some more pieces in this colorway, because I will buy them all.

Coffee #atlantapenshow

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Waffle House. There is a Waffle House in the parking lot of the hotel and we decided to grab a bite Saturday morning before we left Atlanta. (Myke and Brad have mentioned on past shows that they tend to frequent this Waffle House during the pen show.) It was packed. We found our way to a couple of open stools at the counter. The waitress told me that the weekend had been one of their busiest ones of the year. I guess we can blame the Atlanta Pen Show for the crowd. Next year, they should completely hook Myke and Brad up with some free coffee or something.

* I listen to a bunch of other Relay FM podcasts, too. I'm a Pen Addict, but I'm also a fan of the whole network.

** Unless your product is a bogus Kickstarter rip off. Then Brad will tear you limb-from-limb.

*** Officially, the color is burgundy, but I'm sticking with garnet.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. In his spare time, he is trying to figure out how to use all the ink he has purchased. Follow Bob on TwitterInstagram and Micro.Blog.