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      Baltimore Pen Show 2022

      If you may remember, I am still fairly new to the fountain pen world. In fact, last week's Baltimore show was only the third show I had been to. Luckily for me, I am hitting my stride and learning a few things about the industry and its people along the way. And, truthfully, these shows only make me appreciate my role at Esterbrook that much more.

      Here are a few things I have learned from attending the Baltimore Pen Show.

      Everyone's There to Have Fun

      Even though this was a work event for me, it didn't feel like it. For three days, I was able to meet like-minded customers who shared a similar passion as mine: using good writing utensils. I was able to laugh with strangers and old friends alike. Gathering together since the pandemic has had a somewhat more special feel to it - I appreciate my time with everyone more - and the Pen Show was no exception. Being able to walk around the other vendors and get to meet many of the retailers and customers of Esterbrook over the years allowed for me to get a deeper understanding of the company as a whole. Everyone has a story about their experience with Esterbrook. Now, it's my job to tell the modern story of the brand. And I'm excited to do it with all of my new friends (including Klarissa from The Snowy Studio below!).

      You Don't Know What You Don't Know

      When first walking into a pen show, it can be a little daunting for someone who is still learning. I myself would preface many questions with , "This may sound dumb but...". By the second day I caught myself and stopped. This is a community that is excited to share what they know and understands that everyone is at a different starting point. The love for pens can't be measured by the years one has been collecting, but y the passion of the individual themselves. If you don't know something, just ask. There will be a line of people waiting to help you along the way. 

      Try It Out!

      I live in a rural area, meaning I have to make pilgrimages into the city to get a pen, or order online without seeing the physical product. Usually this isn't too much of a hassle, but if it's a pen I don't know, the return process can be. I'm a big advocate of testing out pens. Esterbrook had an entire tray of various nib sizes for testing, which gave many people the chance to get a real feel for the writing experience before purchasing. Overall, this weekend, I found out I am a big fan of our Journaler nib and the Stub 1.1 nib. Both are on my Christmas list now!

      Conclusion

      I have never met a more vibrant, welcoming, and engaging group of hobbyists as the fountain pen community. I know I have found my professional niche and I look forward to future shows to continue to grow my knowledge of the industry.

      Until next time, Baltimore!

      By Brett Braley-Palko, Marketing Manager at Esterbrook