Tell me Ryan, how did The Pear Tree get started?
The answer is almost so comical that you’ll think I made it up…but I swear that it’s the truth. James Partridge, the company’s founder, was on a mission to find “the perfect blue ink” for his personal collection of fountain pens. After messing around with as many different blues as he could get his hands on, it dawned on him that perhaps he could help other people who were on the same mission…and thus, The Pear Tree was planted!
At first, the venture was (more or less) devoted to simply selling ink, but it wasn’t long before we realized that the search for the perfect ink is often accompanied by the search for the perfect paper. We added some of our favorite products from Rhodia, Clairefontaine, and Exacompta, and we haven’t looked back. Fountain pens, roller balls, ballpoints, and pencils came along shortly thereafter.
What’s different about your company?
The main thing that makes us different from a lot of other retailers out there is that we really appreciate (and enjoy) the quest to find the ink(s) that are “perfect” ink for each individual customer. We hear from customers all the time that are really frustrated that they can’t find just the “right” (insert color of choice) for them. It’s a lot of fun for us to help them find those elusive shades that they’re looking for. With 16 brands in stock (and 6 or 7 more that we’re working on for the future), we’ve got a huge selection that our customers really love.
We also understand that while bottles of ink aren’t nearly as expensive as purchasing a nice fountain pen, they can tend to add up over time, especially if a customer can’t find exactly what they’re looking for. I’m sure that lots of fountain pen users have multiple bottles of ink that are about 97% full, and for one reason or another (it’s not quite right for what they’re looking for, it doesn’t dry fast enough, the color is too vivid, it’s not waterproof…etc.) those bottles will essentially gather dust on the shelf.
That’s the main reason that we introduced the “Ink Sampler” concept. It’s simple; pay one price, pick four inks that you want to try, and we’ll send you a sample of each one (usually around 2mL of ink). The sample is big enough that you can normally try the ink out in at least one or two pens so you can get a general idea of whether or not it’s what you’re looking for. For $5, it’s a great way to try a few inks without buying full bottles. It’s been enormously popular, and based on the feedback we’ve heard, it’s really been helpful to our customers!
Why did you choose to carry Rhodia?
We have a policy at The Pear Tree; offer the best products available that’ll meet the customer’s needs. James and I try to be our toughest customers, so if it doesn’t work for us, we won’t carry it.
In a nutshell, it’s our opinion that Rhodia is the best. We’ve tried a lot of different papers, notebooks, scratch pads, and journals, and we haven’t found anything that works better for use with a fountain pen. The quality is excellent.
Furthermore, we love the way that Rhodia continually pushes themselves to create new products like the Webbies, those little orange & black cahiers (personally, those are one of my favorite products EVER!), and dotPads. New products that offer customers more flexibility and more options are a big win in our book, and you guys have continually challenged yourselves to create better products for your customers. We really love that!
What’s in the works for 2010?
Lots of things. We’re still working on bringing a few more brands of ink, new products from a variety of manufacturers, and some cool new products that you won’t be able to find anywhere else! We’re really excited for what the future holds for The Pear Tree, and we think our customers will be, too!
So, did James ever find “the perfect blue”?
Not yet… :o)