Global Pen Expo – Gujarat’s first Pen Show promises a barrelful!
The Year 2020 is going to be a good one for the fountain pen. For starters, fountain pen sales, which had hit the absolute rock-bottom just a few years back, is steadily showing an upward trend globally and India is no exception. Young adults, some swayed by the retro chic and some as rebellion against the digital overwhelm of their lives, are picking up the fountain pen in ever increasing numbers. The hobby is becoming progressively mainstream, internet driven and a new breed of tech-savvy aficionados are stretching the horizons of both collecting and writing.
Secondly, the popularity and proliferation of fountain pen forums and collector / hobbyist / user groups is booming – their runaway success a case in point. That these groups often meet-up informally, to exchange views and sprinkle inks, is naturally a very welcome fallout. Another very interesting development in the world of fountain pens is the way Fountain Pen Shows are being organised, especially in India. Last year alone a number of them were held, which not only attracted the footfalls, but created the desired visibility, brought the scattered buyers and sellers together and generally led to the industry’s consolidation. Business, if the average spread across all the shows is considered the benchmark, was brisk.
And this year promises to do even better, for the high-water mark is all set to be inked right in the beginning on 7th, 8th and the 9th of February through the Global Pen Expo @ Ahmedabad.
The Ahmedabad Pen Expo is destined to be a success for many different reasons, none of them hard to comprehend. The biggest things going for the show is the organiser – Tushar Vaghela of Global Distributors and its sponsor – Vasani’s Pen Gallery. Both are hard core businessmen, that too related to the pen trade – one a distributor and the other a retailer. Between the two of them, they know the market like the back of their palms and are thus in a position to push their show forward and ensure its success. Besides, as members of the fountain pen fraternity, they know the real cost a participant has to bear to attend a show and are thus expected to take adequate steps to ensure that the return to the participants through counter sales during the show justifies the cost of participation and the expenses incurred.
The second point that needs to be noted is that the Global Pen Expo @ Ahmedabad is slated to be Gujarat’s first-of-its-kind and the organisers are leaving no stones un-turned to appeal to Gujrathi Ashmita, to not only attract the footfalls, but also ensure that the genuine buyers attend, as opposed to strollers crowding the tables with inane disinterest.
The retail sellers from around the region have been specifically targeted and the organisers are looking at using the show to create a platform where the retailers can meet the distributors and the manufacturers, so that new liaisons can be forged, orders booked and businesses transacted. As opposed to focusing on the individual pen lover and collector, the show will target the re-sellers who are generally bulk buyers, so that the participants may recover their costs through institutional channels even as they cater to the whims and the fancies of the individual buyers.
The organisers of the Global Pen Expo @ Ahmedabad have also taken on them the onerous task of proving a point – that Ahmedabad, which is certainly one of the richest cities in India, will shatter the myth that only the relatively cheap fountain pens move in the Indian Pen Shows with hardly any takers for the high priced offerings, irrespective of the draw of the brand or the quality of the product.
The fact that most of the 36 tables that are to be laid out at the show have already been taken up is another huge positive for the show. Presence of big brands from the world of fountain pens, writing instruments and accessories like Montblanc, Platinum, Parker, Sailor, TWSBI, Lamy have already been ensured and according to the organisers, negotiations are at the final stages with some show stopper brands, including the best from India.
Finally, the venue – SEEMA HALL, in Anand Nagar, Jodhpur Village, Ahmedabad, is extremely popular as a “go-to place” with the locals and if Ahmedabad residents and industry sources are to be believed, shows at the venue have never returned exhibitors unhappy or empty handed.
The fountain pen community, more than anything else is a fraternity – a brotherhood of pen lovers, collectors, sellers, pen turners, calligraphers, serious hobbyists, restorers and the like. The Global Pen Expo @ Ahmedabad promises to provide each one of them a unique experience – to meet and greet, to attract the eyeballs that matter and to take the cause of the fountain pen further. It will be about brands telling stories to an audience that is all eyes and ears. It will be about lovers connecting and collecting to their heart’s content. It will be about the lamb and the lion inking together. The commercial transactions that will follow, will be almost incidental.
In all, I am excited about the Global Pen Expo @ Ahmedabad. I will certainly make the trip and hope to write a full report on coming back, with stories about the friends I make at the show and the pens that I collect from Ahmedabad.
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