WHEN IT COMES to the advancement of the species, mankind seems to have its finger on the fast-
forward button. On a fairly regular basis, giant leaps are made in varying fields from technology to medicine. But for every move toward the next new-and-shiny improvement coming off the assembly line of progress, there is a quieter, and equally meaningful, reaction. No doubt, we like our cutting-edge toys, yet people still take comfort in and certainly continue to utilize items that are,
Take car collectors. For every top-of-the-line Ferrari in the garage, there’s a recently rebuilt
classic car waiting for its turn around the block. In the fashion world, vintage designer handbags go for quite a pretty penny. It was the universal refrain in the industry, “when the computer age came, paper and pens would be gone,” remarked Larry Sitten, executive vice president of Westbury, New York-based Pencoa. Yet, writing instruments continue to hold court as some of the most commonly used promotional items in the business. With upgrades, viruses and glitches just waiting to render end-users incommunicado, there’s a lot to be said for simple consistency.
TEACH AN OLD ITEM NEW TRICKS
However, there’s consistency, and then there’s complacency. Even for the most tried-and-true products, distributors and suppliers must always keep an eye toward the future. Here are a few off-the-beaten-path ideas that are working to bring writing instruments, as a category, into the new year and beyond.
1) Capitalize on eco-conscious items. If there’s one way to get distributors to take a second look at an industry staple, it’s to come up with a green
version. These days, the “eco-friendly” designation is an extremely effective selling point, and to capture the growing sense of awareness, Sitten’s company has added a few biodegradable pens to its roster. As opposed to being crafted from petroleum-based
plastic, Pencoa’s EnviroPen is made of vegetable polymer. It is 81.9 percent biocompostable. Alternatively, “We have another pen that’s got a cardboard barrel and a wooden clip … it is probably about 50 to 60 percent degradable,” he maintained. Similarly, Quick Point and BIC Graphic USA are among the other suppliers jumping on this bandwagon.