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Thread: First Pen Show.... Impressions and Tips for First Timers...

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    Default First Pen Show.... Impressions and Tips for First Timers...

    I had the pleasure of attending the Dallas Pen Show this past weekend. This was the first show I have ever attended. There were 60-70 vendors confirmed.

    Pre-show- I was very glad to post here and have some faces to look forward to trying to meet. Among those, was Will with Redeem Pens. I spent about 5 minutes with him and he was very informative and passionate about pens. As he mentioned, the show was busy, and others were interested in his amazing pens.

    Prep... Bringing Cash was very helpful. The few times I needed to use cash, it came in handy and vendors appreciated it.

    Prep... A bag was helpful, although the Dallas Club gave bags out at the entrance. I would suggest a backpack, which made it easier to get through the crowded areas.

    Prep... There was a suggestion to bring food. Food was readily available around the corner. I may amend this to say bring food in your cooler/car. I didn't need anything, but I would assume if you are spending the day, it would be a good alternative. The coffee shop had Starbucks, and there was not a line that I saw.

    Map- This is one thing to look out for. I assumed most shops/vendors would easier to seek out. Most did not have signage and the tables ran together. The vendors were all very friendly to each other at most times.

    Research- I saw vendors that I sought out. In order to do so, I had to make a few circles around the room to find a map, decipher the map (not as easy as you might think), and then walk around until you find them, or until it is timely.

    Testing- It was awesome to test pens that I had only read about. Almost all pen types were there to try.

    Other products- Inks for sure, but a number of leather and paper goods vendors were available.

    Vendors- Research your vendors... I cannot stress this enough. Not all vendors are created equal! To me, they fell into 3 categories... Educators, Sales, and Hobbyists. The Educators were amazing. Really passionate about pens, can lead you to what YOU want, and be very honest about the flaws and realities of what you are looking at. These are the people you should seek out in my opinion. Will is a great example. The president from The Pen Market was incredible. Took lots of time to go over pens and really gave confidence that the products they have are as described. I have read many times to look for a reputable seller and to develop a relationship. I now understand.... The "Sellers" brought price up before I even asked about the pens. If they didn't have it, they had what you needed in the back and would cut you a deal on a pen they just acquired... All within 3 minutes! IMO, if a vendor mentions price before you ask or before you show interest, run. There may be some room to negotiate if you want, but good luck. The Hobbyists were by far the most fun. One gentleman (Al?) was demo-ing Conid pens, and the passion was amazing. (Conid ordered BTW!) The want to share knowledge was by far one of the better experiences at the show.

    Vendors- When you go to a table, you may not e talking to the person in charge. On more than one occasion, a few people mentioned they did not know pricing and some where there to just focus on accounting.

    Vendors- I was amazed that a number of vendors did not know the basics about the products they brought.

    I can say with certainty at this show, 100% of the tables were approachable. Everyone was willing to engage, and most were willing to take time to talk. It took a few tables, but once I made the decision to tell vendors "First Pen Show", it made life very easy and they even gave me tips.

    The Dallas Pen show and people, overall, were great. It seems like the right size for a new collector to get started. I'll be back, and more prepared next year. Good luck and thanks to everyone at the show.

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    Default Re: First Pen Show.... Impressions and Tips for First Timers...

    I really appreciate that you took the time to tell us all about it in such great depth and detail. Thank you.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: First Pen Show.... Impressions and Tips for First Timers...

    It sounds like you have had a positive experience, which is great. I have been to a good number and have only had one bad experience where I put too much trust in the seller, I am at fault for that I know. Most sellers, 99.9%, are friendly and approachable, some can be a bit goofy and inept, appear totally disorganized and not have much idea of the sales process, but thats ok I guess. One seller had turned up with a table full of pens, but no paper for testing. I lent him a new A4 Rhodia pad. I saw him later in the day, he handed me back the A4 pad which was dripping in coffee, with a 'you will never guess what happened?' . I think I might.

    So pen show vendors are a usually excellent but take time to meet other show goers, the coffee areas are a good place to sit and chat, have coffee and talk about what you have seen. Take some notebooks, a bottle of ink and a few of your own pens to hand around.

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    Default Re: First Pen Show.... Impressions and Tips for First Timers...

    I'd say for a first time pen show attendee, you came out with a wealth of wisdom and observations that I didn't remember getting on my first one years ago now.

    I just remember feeling very overwhelmed as in "ooh, aah, wow, too many beautiful pens... I can't believe it ... wow, so many pens..."

    It was a pleasure to chat with you. Some of the vendors whom I know to be really nice people may seem a bit quiet, but that's just because they are collectors first and they are not salesperson or trader by nature. I am not a salesperson material by any stretch of imagination, but I am saddled with a teacher's heart, and I love educating people so they gain a broader horizon and an extra perspectives or two.
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: First Pen Show.... Impressions and Tips for First Timers...

    So just back from my first pen show.

    It was pretty fun volunteering at check in for a few hours and helping out here and there. I would recommend it. Having a chance to meet vendors (not as a buyer) was nice.

    When I got there in the early evening Sat, the lights were dim for awhile... Then they went totally out! There was a power issue at the hotel. The show closed an hour early. Major bummer for everyone.

    I had a a chance to watch Mr. Mike Masuyama work, which was really enjoyable. What a great, talented guy.

    In the 15 minutes before the lights went out I stumbled upon an inexpensive, mid-century Elgin wristwatch in surprisingly good condition, running, with box.

    Today I arrived mid morning for my shift. No drama today and spent the rest of the day wandering around the show. I got two pens, both Parkers, one with pencil.

    I didn't really spend any time looking at inks because I have too many. And new pens I can get online anytime. So I looked at vintage pens from some of the vendors. It was cool seeing that many vintage pens in one venue.

    Also, seeing all the various vintage pens in person was quite useful because I could find out how they felt in hand and what they looked like moving in real light.

    One that's been on my list (a Sheaffer model with triumph nib) was *way* shorter than expected and I have to cross it off my list now. Glad I didn't blow money bidding on one on ebay.


    I should have thought to bring a loupe and a light to closely inspect before buying. It probably would help to ask to try out the pen with ink, and ask basic questions like 'has it been restored?' and 'what is the typical restoration process' and many other things, especially if you aren't familiar with the vendor.

    Overall, a good experience. Glad I went.
    Last edited by azkid; October 14th, 2019 at 10:29 PM.

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