Jespers of Harrogate is celebrating the fountain pen revival with a special Fountain Pen Week, instore and online, between Monday 27 August and Monday 3 September. It will include instore events, discounts on fountain pens, a free prize draw, and a pen amnesty, where people can swap their old fountain pen for a new one. For details, see the website.
The current fountain pen revival comes as no surprise for the Harrogate retailer, which has cited research showing that millennials are turning to fountain pens for a more personal way of communicating, and as a respite from the digital world they usually inhabit. What was once regarded as old-fashioned and out of date is now an item worthy of sharing on Instagram.
Jespers of Harrogate wants National Fountain Pen Week to help people discover the joy of writing with fountain pens, and to experience for themselves why it is making a comeback.
Peter Jesper, the fourth generation of his family to run stationers Jespers of Harrogate and a lifelong fan of fountain pens, was not surprised by a recent article he read in The Telegraph about the trend. Peter said: “Over the last two years, sales of fountain pens here at Jespers have increased by about 20 per cent, and a good proportion of those are to younger customers.
“Fountain pens are definitely being discovered by the younger generation but, at the same time, older customers are continuing their passion for them or rediscovering their old pens and bringing them to us for repair and restoration. We’ve recently done several restores on old Parkers and Conway Stewarts, and these are always lovely to see before and after.”
Peter said there were many factors to choosing the right fountain pen, and one of the reasons why Jespers continues to maintain its position during tough times on the high street is the expertise and advice they offer when people are looking to buy a fountain pen – something which has been largely lost in the current world of retail.
Peter continued: “Lots of older people have bad memories of using leaky and uncomfortable fountain pens at school, while the younger generation simply have never used one. For all of them it can be difficult to know where to start when trying to find the right fountain pen, so they appreciate the opportunity to get expert advice on the high street.”
As well as keeping long-standing fountain pen enthusiasts happy with traditional names such as Parker, Montegrappa and Lamy, Jespers now stocks emerging brands including TWSBI, Kaweco and Conklin, which are attracting a new generation of writers. And limited-edition pens such as the recent Game of Thrones-inspired range from Montegrappa also create extensive interest.
Peter concluded: "The world of fountain pens is exciting and varied. There’s a real following for it, especially online, as I discovered when I posted a YouTube video about why you should use a fountain pen, which has so far had 118,000 views! People are sharing their love of fountain pens every day through blogs, social media, news articles and forums, which seems slightly incongruous when they’re talking online about a traditional way of writing!”