Tag Archives: Wonder Pens

Reflections on Another Year as a Pen Clerk

Another year as a pen clerk! Who would’ve thought we’d make it this far…


Life has changed in many ways over the last year. We now have a new baby. Sometimes customers come in and say, “Oh, what a darling, asleep in the wrap, oblivious to all the pen and ink browsing.” And sometimes he is wailing and shrieking and customers quietly move away, unsure if it’s a baby or some sort of rabid gollum that’s strapped to me.

Our newest family member, the robot vacuum, has proven more useful than both the dog and the baby. Jon jokes it should be part of our family pictures, and not just because it spooks the dog by bumping into Super’s legs, much to Jon’s delight. Jon now sits on the couch while drinking his coffee and “vacuuming.”

Here are some lessons I’ve learned this year:

photo-251. I may think it’s okay to wear sweatpants in the shop on Mondays because it’s supposed to be closed, and your husband says “yeah, you look totally fine,” but inevitably someone will come knocking and look upon me…in my sweatpants. Coincidentally, or potentially ironically, our landlord – Portuguese grandmother Maria – gave Caleb a pair of Roots sweatpants (and sweater) that match my sweatpants exactly. Not sure if she’s giving me some sort of hint there…

2. I need to start preparing for the holidays in …the summer (mentally and otherwise). Last year, we didn’t know what we were doing, and we ran out of almost all our stock mid-December, if not earlier. This year, we thought we knew what we were doing (HAHA), and we still ran out of many items. Next year, no excuses.

3. A baby is happiest when he’s full, well-rested and has a clean diaper. This brief window is not long enough for an actual shower, but it is long enough for you to look in the mirror, and realize that a shower is indeed needed.

photo4. Instagram is a deep, dark black hole of time and eye glazing, where you can look at people’s pictures of pens and handwriting and stationery basically forever. It’s like the twilight zone.

5.. When Jon is in charge of grocery shopping, we mostly have meat and juice in the house. It’s important to have shopping lists.

6. When you arrange for Canada Post to come pick up packages at a certain time, it really means you should prepare for Canada Post to come and pick up packages at any time during the day, usually timed for when the shop is packed. So if you select “between 4 pm and 5 pm” they will come at 2:30. And if you select “between 12 pm and 1 pm” they will come at 4:30. It’s like a fun game.

7. You can never have enough masking tape. You think you can, because you order in bulk, and it seems like your limited shelf space is taken up with this all this “extra” masking tape, but you really can never have enough.

8. While getting business cards is not the defining marker for becoming a real business according to the government (they like them taxes), for us, it’s now official.


It has been a quite a year, with highs and lows and magical moments – receiving that first shipment of ink after the winter freeze, the first time the baby throws up on the dog, meeting customers that have ordered online from us since the beginning. 

I’m not sure if I will go back into teaching. There are many, many things I miss about teaching, and every once in a while, when an old student visits, and they’ve grown a foot and a half, I wonder about it. Who knows what the next year and the years ahead will bring.

I couldn’t imagine opening a business with anyone other than Jon. He is the tall to my short, the Collier to my Beaumont. He is our financial manager/accountant/hold-on-here as I flip through pen catalogues with delight.  And even though we have very different ways of doing things, I usually win, so that’s all I can ask for…although ever since Drake opened up his shop across the street, I’ve been harbouring secret dreams of opening up a business with Drake instead, and getting line-ups around the building. At which point, Jon subtly reminds me that we may be attracting a different type of crowd.

There’s much celebration here as another year draws to a close – a year in business, family, new partnerships and exciting goals ahead. We’re going to be sharing some of this celebrating tomorrow, on Instagram.

Thanks so much for keeping us around another year, and here’s to many more to come!

Wonder Pens Newsletter December 2014

Dear Pen Friends,

The snow has arrived, and with it, the holiday spirit! The shop is busy and warm, and we’re thrilled to see lots of familiar faces thinking of Christmas and holiday gifts for their loved ones. Our online shop is also busy, and we’re becoming close friends with our local Canada Post guys.

To add to the excitement, we’ve got lots of new things streaming in!


Noodler’s Neponset in Acrylic and featuring their flexy music nibs have just arrived, and we’ve got it in five flashy flavours. A bit of tinkering and love, and you’ll be flexing like nobody’s business. Also from Noodler’s, we now have their new General of the Armies – and we’ve got some big plans from Noodler’s for next year!

Lamy fountain pens have long been an important part of our line-up, for some reason we’ve never carried their Black Purple Al-Star! We’ve now got it as part of our regular offering, as usually, in any nib size you’d like. Keep posted for next year’s Special Edition Al-Star and Safari colours, to be announced early 2015!

TWSBI has just released its 580AL in orange, and it’s available in nibs sizes from EF – B, perfect for those Apache Sunset lovers.

We’ve also recently received leather pen-holders from Quiver, to attach to your notebooks and keep your pen in its place on the go. Available in brown or black, and they fit any of your A5 notebooks, like the Rhodia Webnotebook.

The Kaweco line keeps expanding with more new things! The new Kaweco Brass Sketch-Up Pencil is heavy and features a super thick lead, and we’re barely keeping up with all the new Liliputs – now in Stainless Steel, Eco Brass and Copper.

We’ve gotten a lot of requests for Parker pens, and we’ve now got the Parker IM, as well as their iconic Jotter Ballpoint, for when you need to write in triplicate.

Field Notes’ Winter Edition Ambition as well as their new regular line Cherry Wood are in shop, and will be up online over the next week.

Most exciting of all, we’re now offering Waterman pens! We are starting with the Hemisphere and we’ll be growing from there. Expect to see their inks in the new year. Remember, we can generally do special orders for any pen from lines that we carry regularly – just ask!

This holiday, we’ll have our regular hours until Christmas Eve, when we’ll be open from 11-1, and then we will be closed until January 2nd. You can continue to place orders online, which will be shipped out with a small delay.

Thanks so much for another wonderful year and best wishes for a happy Christmas and holiday season,
Jon & Liz

Winter Ink Shipping (#Canadianproblems)

It’s that time of year!

Temperatures are beginning to dip, and we’ve had our first few snowfalls. It’s the time of year when Canadians buck up and take it in the chin (or cower near the rad, growing paler day by day…).

This means a couple of things if you’re ordering ink online!

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1. We are going to be sending orders containing ink – ink bottles, samples or cartridges (even if you order a pen that comes with a single cartridge!) – to the post office for pick up. Your delivery person should be leaving you a card to let you know it’s there, but you can also follow along with the tracking info we send.

This is even if you know that you or a family member are going to be home, or if you live in an apartment or condo. Your delivery person does not carry all of the mail for their entire route when they leave the sorting facility. Canada Post sorts mail and packages to be dropped off in the grey “pick-up boxes” along a mailman’s route. Your mailman picks up that section of the route’s mail as they progress, and the time between the package being left in the grey pick up box, and your mailman actually delivering it could be a while – in fact, while it should not happen, it could even be overnight.

Please note that inks expand as they begin to reach freezing, so even as the inks reach 10 degrees, 5 degrees, the liquid is expanding. It is not only after temperatures reach 0 degrees and lower.

2. Diamine ink bottles have a particular weakness for chilly temperatures, and unfortunately, we’re going to be pulling our Diamine inks out of commission very soon, as the weather drops more and more. If you can no longer order it online, it means temperatures throughout Canada are too low to ship Diamine. We have tried our best, but even with sending these bottles to the post office, extra layers of bubble wrap, “do not freeze” stickers, and a kiss for good luck, there are too many broken Diamine bottles for us to continue sending them out in the winter. We are truly small business, and we just cannot absorb the loss of so many bottles as well as potential damage to other items in your shipment.

3. If you purchase a bottle of ink from us, you may receive it with a small portion siphoned out into a plastic vial. This is to protect the bottle from cracking or breaking if the ink inside expands too much.

4. We will do these precautions automatically, at our discretion, and based on our experience with other shipments in your province or town. If you would prefer to have us do something differently, please make a note in the order comments, at your own risk!

5. At the risk of sounding like a pushy salesman, I might encourage you to consider your ink purchases sooner rather than later. Reason one is that your ink has the highest chance of getting to you safely and we can both breathe easier knowing that ink has not been spilt in vain. Reason two is that not being able to ship out ink also means we won’t be able to get ink in from our distributors. If we sell out of one, or two, or a few more savoury flavours of ink, we won’t be getting it in until next spring. I still get minor anxiety attacks thinking about last year and our empty shelves…

All that being said, you can always come visit us in store! And with winter coming, I hope you are taking brisk walks and drinking hot chocolate. We’ve got lots of exciting things to come in the next few weeks as we work up to the holiday madness!