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#41 Hugh

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 10:54 AM

I think the possibility of CS remaining in business is slim (as outlined earlier in this topic, I'm yet to be proved correct on this!!), an expensive niche product in an economic climate that's questionable all conspire against them regardless of product and quality of such ( which at present appears problematic in some instances). The reality is Mary Burke has little option but to tow the company line, unlike Andy I have no sympathy for her for the simple reason you take the good and the bad in a job....how you handle the bad when your the "public face" is the real test and in that regard she's been wanting imo , when the going gets tough the "troops" do the real work (the BDC, Ruaidhri and Beth Irwin (aka "Ghost Plane" and claims to have designed the "Spirit of Life" series for CS...which explains her rather comical over the top support of CS...smart cookie though) while Mary just hangs around trying to look a "goody two shoes". I think it's a fairly safe bet to assume a financial connection between CS and the FPN (which would be costly, and not limited to CS either...I doubt the admins foot the bill) and this does explain the actions of the BDC and Ru...to some degree...but they fail ethically, and possibly in other ways leave themselves open. Regardless of that the FPN does suit a lot of people, as long as you accept their rules!!

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Hugh
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#42 AndyR

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 11:56 AM

The reality is Mary Burke has little option but to tow the company line, unlike Andy I have no sympathy for her for the simple reason you take the good and the bad in a job

Well I do tend to think the best of people until it is proven otherwise!

I would not like to see CS fail but from the outside at least, it doesn't seem their business model has changed since the administration and the customer service & QC still seems to be as bad, so I would be concerned if I was involved with CS. I understand they are intending to be at the London WES show in a few weeks so it will be interesting to see what sort of presence they bring and how prepared they are to field difficult questions from prospective customers - or indeed whether they actually turn up, following their non-appearance at the Northern show earlier this year. My own issues are not with CS, they are entirely with FPN and their lack of judgement and heavy handed administration.

Re the Spirit of Life pen, this was not a CS product, though they may have wanted to take some credit for it. I know the designer Henry Simpole very well and he takes full responsibilty for all pens sold under his own name. He simply used CS as a supplier of the base pen as he did with all his bespoke designs at the time. In the past he has done several successful designs for CS but the Spirit of Life wasn't one of them. I believe he now gets his base pens from elsewhere and of course his latest 'corporate' design is for Onoto....

Andy

#43 Hugh

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 11:49 PM

Well I do tend to think the best of people until it is proven otherwise!


Fair enough, my comments are only in relation to the FPN and CS forum

I would not like to see CS fail but from the outside at least, it doesn't seem their business model has changed since the administration and the customer service & QC still seems to be as bad, so I would be concerned if I was involved with CS. I understand they are intending to be at the London WES show in a few weeks so it will be interesting to see what sort of presence they bring and how prepared they are to field difficult questions from prospective customers - or indeed whether they actually turn up, following their non-appearance at the Northern show earlier this year. My own issues are not with CS, they are entirely with FPN and their lack of judgement and heavy handed administration.


They don't do themselves any good by not turning up, assuming the "new" owner/s what the business to continue then being "out there" is paramount and answering the hard questions a must. The QC issues is a strange one, with a product positioned at the more expensive end and hand made I just can't understand how it seems to be such a common problem, and it shouldn't be. At this point in time a business that needs an owner who can afford to run it at a loss, much like the late Kerry Packer kept Aust. oldest business magazine "The Bulletin" going....his son didn't hold the history in such esteem though...now closed. The JV with Brand Cellers doesn't seem to have come to much yet.

Re the Spirit of Life pen, this was not a CS product, though they may have wanted to take some credit for it. I know the designer Henry Simpole very well and he takes full responsibilty for all pens sold under his own name. He simply used CS as a supplier of the base pen as he did with all his bespoke designs at the time. In the past he has done several successful designs for CS but the Spirit of Life wasn't one of them. I believe he now gets his base pens from elsewhere and of course his latest 'corporate' design is for Onoto....


In all fairness to Ghostie it may well have been a typo and she meant to say "he" rather than "I", and me reading the non-existent into it !!

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Hugh



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#44 AndyR

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:24 AM

Also in fairness to Ms. Plane, I understand the Spirit of Life was her original concept for a bespoke pen that was produced in a small quantity rather than the more normal one-off. Henry's first step in producing his bespoke pens is to take the initial idea, which can range in form from a vague concept to detailed drawings, and then convert this into a design that can successfully be turned into an overlay. So it is perfectly reasonable for her to lay claim to the design of the pen though, as I said, it was not a design for CS.

Andy

#45 Hugh

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 10:21 AM

Also in fairness to Ms. Plane, I understand the Spirit of Life was her original concept for a bespoke pen that was produced in a small quantity rather than the more normal one-off. Henry's first step in producing his bespoke pens is to take the initial idea, which can range in form from a vague concept to detailed drawings, and then convert this into a design that can successfully be turned into an overlay. So it is perfectly reasonable for her to lay claim to the design of the pen though, as I said, it was not a design for CS.

Andy


Thanks for clarifying that Andy, a definite "feather in the cap" for Ghostie.

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#46 Hugh

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 10:13 AM

Seems things go from bad to worse, this post on the FPN indicates CS has no distributers left in India. Given FPs are widely used in India and it has a growing middle ( as well as a a fairly substantial wealthy upper ...) class this can't good, I would have thought this market would have been potentially a good growth area.

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Hugh
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#47 AndyR

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 10:48 AM

If my company had QC and customer service issues, I'd want to concentrate on putting these right before worrying about supplying distant emerging markets such as India & China, so there may be an element of taking stock and hunkering down to get the basics sorted out before expanding the distributor network.

On the plus side for CS, they did at least have a stand at the London WES show yesterday, lower key than in past years but they seemed to be busy most of the day. I did find it slightly surprising that quite a few visitors to the show that I spoke to were still under the mistaken impression that the modern company and the 'vintage' company were one and the same, similarly with Onoto! Obviously that's why they spend the money acquiring the rights to the name in the first place but it still doesn't sit comfortably with me, I'm afraid.

Andy

#48 Hugh

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 08:39 PM

You may be right, but I wouldn't call India an emerging market as such and definitely more potential than ,say, Australia which has a local distributor ( of sorts..) . Of course it may not have been the company but the distributors that pulled the plug, still overall a retrograde step in the big picture. I'd agree buying a trademark is a quick way to acquire a history, while CS is a bit coy about the past it's always seemed Onoto was very open , maybe just shows how little people care if the product delivers. I have no issue with using an expired TM if the past is openly embraced, I do take issue with the CS approach though....buy a TM doesn't give you the right to "own" the history!!

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Hugh
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#49 Hugh

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 10:09 AM

Following the above topic ( CS in India) on the FPN it just gets stranger...it appears CS didn't know that their product wasn't available in India. Strange days indeed.

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Hugh
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#50 FarmBoy

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 02:30 PM

Following the above topic ( CS in India) on the FPN it just gets stranger...it appears CS didn't know that their product wasn't available in India. Strange days indeed.

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Hugh


Perhaps they [CS] use the FPB as a market research tool?

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#51 AndyR

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 05:55 PM

Those with a passing interest in the matters discussed above would do well to view the recent FPN CS forum topic regarding the CS newsletter announcement of the Elegance Pen of the Year 2011 before it is censored.

Irrespective of the merits of this rather tasteless pen, I see 'northlodge' (aka Paul, owner of the Summit pens website) has again raised the thorny question of moderation of the CS Forum and its use as the marketing arm of 'New CS'. No doubt his post and the following one from 'The Good Captain" will be removed before too long and these two good people will receive the obligatory threatening e-mails from the FPN admins.

Andy

#52 david i

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 06:11 PM

Those with a passing interest in the matters discussed above would do well to view the recent FPN CS forum topic regarding the CS newsletter announcement of the Elegance Pen of the Year 2011 before it is censored.

Irrespective of the merits of this rather tasteless pen, I see 'northlodge' (aka Paul, owner of the Summit pens website) has again raised the thorny question of moderation of the CS Forum and its use as the marketing arm of 'New CS'. No doubt his post and the following one from 'The Good Captain" will be removed before too long and these two good people will receive the obligatory threatening e-mails from the FPN admins.

Andy


Do invite them to comment here ;)

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#53 Hugh

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 08:00 PM

Thanks for that Andy, what is surprising is how many actually find the way "that forum" is run acceptable!!

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#54 Hugh

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:23 AM

Well I think this rather ludicrous outburst from the FPN Moderator sums up the CS forum to a tee:

"There have been quite a flow of comments concerning the limited edition pen launched in December. Everybody has a right to their own taste however it would be much appreciated if we can try to keep comments as constructive as possible. I know it can be hard as we are dealing with emotions, however can I please remind you that this forum is for the joy of Vintage and Modern Conway Stewart pens. If we can make sure that this message board has a friendly environment I am sure we will encourage more people to visit this site and to feel comfortable in participating with the conversations. For instance, when a new person visits this forum for the first time and reads people's opinions that have been posted in an unfriendly manner, it can give the wrong impression that we have a hostile environment. I know that some people will disagree with me, but many people have mentioned to me via email and telephone that this thread has a few comments that come across as being extremely negative and this has a knock-on effect to the forum. I do not wish to have to make comments invisible, but I really do wish to ask that when we do post opinions, to try and be a little more friendlier with the approach please. Just keep in mind of the new people that could be reading your response and the impression they receive about the whole forum. <br style="color: rgb(28, 40, 55); line-height: 19px; background-color: rgb(250, 251, 252); ">
This limited edition sold out within a few hours of the newsletter being circulated and in fact it was also over-subscribed with many people upset that they didn't have the chance to purchase the pen. This enamel pen sold out quicker than any of our previous limited edition enamel pen designs. -- As they say, different strokes for different folks --

Now, on to the pen in the above picture. I can't tell you the name of the above model just yet, however I can confirm that it will be a regular edition model and available in Rose Ripple Ebonite, Woodgrain Ebonite and Classic Black resin and in a choice of two filling mechanisms -- Lever or Converter Cartridge. We expect to launch the pen by the Los Angeles Pen Show (February) and if we can launch it sooner, I will post an update of the new edition, just like I have done in previous years.



There are many great people who are active in this forum and because of the friendly environment I agreed to volunteer my time in being a moderator and to respond to questions from modern Conway Stewart owners. Let's please continue in attracting more people to enjoy the Conway Stewart brand and especially more people who have a passion and possess knowledge about the vintage models. "





I wonder if she actually took the time to read and understand what she wrote.


Regards
Hugh




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#55 AndyR

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:56 AM

Well I think this rather ludicrous outburst from the FPN Moderator sums up the CS forum to a tee:

"There have been quite a flow of comments concerning the limited edition pen launched in December. Everybody has a right to their own taste however it would be much appreciated if we can try to keep comments as constructive as possible. I know it can be hard as we are dealing with emotions, however can I please remind you that this forum is for the joy of Vintage and Modern Conway Stewart pens. If we can make sure that this message board has a friendly environment I am sure we will encourage more people to visit this site and to feel comfortable in participating with the conversations. For instance, when a new person visits this forum for the first time and reads people's opinions that have been posted in an unfriendly manner, it can give the wrong impression that we have a hostile environment. I know that some people will disagree with me, but many people have mentioned to me via email and telephone that this thread has a few comments that come across as being extremely negative and this has a knock-on effect to the forum. I do not wish to have to make comments invisible, but I really do wish to ask that when we do post opinions, to try and be a little more friendlier with the approach please. Just keep in mind of the new people that could be reading your response and the impression they receive about the whole forum. <br style="color: rgb(28, 40, 55); line-height: 19px; background-color: rgb(250, 251, 252); ">
This limited edition sold out within a few hours of the newsletter being circulated and in fact it was also over-subscribed with many people upset that they didn't have the chance to purchase the pen. This enamel pen sold out quicker than any of our previous limited edition enamel pen designs. -- As they say, different strokes for different folks --

Now, on to the pen in the above picture. I can't tell you the name of the above model just yet, however I can confirm that it will be a regular edition model and available in Rose Ripple Ebonite, Woodgrain Ebonite and Classic Black resin and in a choice of two filling mechanisms -- Lever or Converter Cartridge. We expect to launch the pen by the Los Angeles Pen Show (February) and if we can launch it sooner, I will post an update of the new edition, just like I have done in previous years.


There are many great people who are active in this forum and because of the friendly environment I agreed to volunteer my time in being a moderator and to respond to questions from modern Conway Stewart owners. Let's please continue in attracting more people to enjoy the Conway Stewart brand and especially more people who have a passion and possess knowledge about the vintage models. "



I wonder if she actually took the time to read and understand what she wrote.

Regards
Hugh

So much rubbish in there that I find it hard to pick out the highlights! I'll just go for three for the time being.

1/ The hostility (as opposed to slightly controversial comments about CS) is only ever introduced by the FPN moderators and administrators.

2/ It is very kind of Mary to volunteeer her time to moderate the forum and respond to modern CS pen owners. The fact that she is a director of CS who is using the forum almost solely to promote the products of her company is, of course, neither here nor there.

3/ '.... attracting more people who have a passion and possess knowledge about the vintage models' would be easier if such people hadn't already been banned, persuaded to leave by unpleasant administrators or just drifted away, plain bored by the quantity of posts glorifying modern CS pens.

Andy

#56 JonSzanto

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 06:46 PM

You know, I'm new to pens, and they are a small part of my life. Online passion, and online vitriol, are just par for the course in our day and time, and even if it isn't a subject matter that I would routinely go to the mat about something (as in politics or social matters), I don't like to be told to tone it down.

What I find odd is that they would mention that the particular pen sold out - why do they have to worry, then? My beef is a lot more straight-forward: I had a genuine interest in a pen, there was only one place to ask about it, I might even be a potential customer, and yet it took days, maybe a couple of weeks, to get a response to my very basic request for information. Things like this are *far* more likely to turn me off to the purchase from a company than a only-moderately unruly internet forum.

Put on the big girl and big guy panties and deal with it, I say.

#57 vintage penman

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:29 PM

Oh God !!! It's off again on FPN. Isn't it high time for the CS moderators / police / gestapo / whatever to grow up and actually accept that not everyone out there will like everything they say or do.

CS and FPN might just learn something if they removed the blinkers. Constructive criticism can be beneficial.

#58 david i

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:35 PM

Oh God !!! It's off again on FPN. Isn't it high time for the CS moderators / police / gestapo / whatever to grow up and actually accept that not everyone out there will like everything they say or do.

CS and FPN might just learn something if they removed the blinkers. Constructive criticism can be beneficial.




Per Albert Einstein: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


Perhaps time to invite those who would have an actual discussion, to hold it... well... here ;)


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#59 Hugh

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 10:29 AM

You know, I'm new to pens, and they are a small part of my life. Online passion, and online vitriol, are just par for the course in our day and time, and even if it isn't a subject matter that I would routinely go to the mat about something (as in politics or social matters), I don't like to be told to tone it down.

What I find odd is that they would mention that the particular pen sold out - why do they have to worry, then? My beef is a lot more straight-forward: I had a genuine interest in a pen, there was only one place to ask about it, I might even be a potential customer, and yet it took days, maybe a couple of weeks, to get a response to my very basic request for information. Things like this are *far* more likely to turn me off to the purchase from a company than a only-moderately unruly internet forum.

Put on the big girl and big guy panties and deal with it, I say.


Hi Jon,

The "grapevine" seems to indicate there have been some quality issues of late with the "new" CS pens, where that is at present I don't know. There is also a very large question mark over the long term future of this company to that end it may be prudent to ensure any purchase is not directly with the company unless the product is delivered at time of payment. UK insolvency allows a company to be sold "pre pack" , as this was recently, which can be neatly used to sidesteps creditors. To be fair there is probably no issue with buying a pen if you like it, and the one you posted looks pretty good to boot.

Your point about the pen selling out is interesting, I think like you do on that. Still I think this gem "many people have mentioned to me via email and telephone that this thread has a few comments that come across as being extremely negative" defies belief, given the rather basic comments. Some of us here have had unpleasant experiences in the CS forum on FPN....which does make such posts by Mary look absurd...or as Andy put it.


Regards
Hugh
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#60 JonSzanto

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 06:38 PM

Thanks, Hugh. I admit to being only moderately informed about the more recent history of the company, and that is information to consider. As to the rest, I suppose it has already been covered, and I realize there are some that have had more 'in-depth' involvement in that particular drama than I'll ever have!

Maybe, as someone suggested, I should consider a vintage pen rather than a new one that looks like one... ;)




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