Category Archives: news

Grand Central Holiday Show Update

Holiday Time at Grand Central

It is holiday time at Grand Central terminal and the decorations have come out both outside and inside.  This is a world famous cultural destination in Manhattan known for it’s shopping & dining. Right now, this is my home for the next 24 days!  Sales of pens have been brisk in the past several days after Thanksgiving,  so much so that I have to go back to my shop on Sunday and make more!  Big sellers have been the Kallenshaan inlay kits, watch part pens and my tobacco wrapped cigar pens.   The hours are long 10-8 but the sales are compensating for it.

Well its time to get some sleep and get ready for the Saturday crowd! Happy Turning – Barry

Grand Central Holiday Fair

Booth Image

Grand Central Holiday Fair is now open again and my booth got a face lift thank to my web designer

Right side of booth

Susan (thanks Sue).  One comment that the staff at the Holiday Fair mentioned to me last year was that I could improve on my signage and thanks to Sue we have done just that!  Now people can easily see what we are selling. Another comment from the staff was how the pens were made. We added some process shots on the walls so people can see just how the pens are made.  Of course we elaborate on the process to really get them focused on how much work goes into making one of the pens.

So far after 7 days of sales we are slightly ahead of last years pace but the real sales did not start until after Thanksgiving which is in a few days!  We will keep you informed!  Have a Happy Thanksgiving with your families and this will be the last day I have off for a while – Happy Turning – Barry

 

We Have A Winner! Pen Contest Results Are In


Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner Ronald Neely
for his Meteorite Blue/Green Opal Inlay Fountain Pen! 

The kit is a Sedona Black Titanium Fountain Pen Kit.
The judges had a very difficult time deciding on a winner but Ron pulled it out in the end!
Just some of the comments from the judges were “original,” “nice design,” and “great fit and finish.”  All entries in both categories were really great, but only one person could win the grand prize.
Advanced Category
First runner up:
Larry Morgan with his
segmented Ultra Cambridge pen
Second runner up:
Joe Spina with his
Rainbow Rhodium Venetian Fountain Pen
Beginner Category:
First runner up:
Oscar Fluitt with his
Shark Pit Elegant Sierra pen
Second runner up:

Jim Burkett with his
segmented Gun Metal Cigar pen
Popular Vote Category:
Joe Tuinstra with his Black & Blue modified Cigar Pen
Joe managed to get 725 people to look at his pen, and 117 to vote on it as their favorite!
 

On a personal note, this was a lot of fun for us here at Arizona Silhouette.
It is really enjoyable to see all the great entries with the creativity and diversity in kits and ideas.
I want to thank the judges, Tom Barron, Don Ward and Curtis Seebeck also the staff at AZ for their valuable input on making this a successful contest.
We look forward to doing this again next year!
Happy turning – Barry

 

 

Pen Making Contest Entries Are Closed, But We Need Your VOTES!

Midnight was our deadline for entries to our first Pen Contest.
Many beautiful pens that have been entered! All of our penmakers, expert and beginner alike, have done a wonderful job with their creativity and craftsmanship.

Now we need you to VOTE!
The best pens in the beginner and advanced categories will be determined by our judges, BUT the most POPULAR pen will be determined by the public. Please share this link with your family, friends and on social media. A last minute push in votes can move someone up and give us a surprise winner in the popular category! Let’s have some fun!

http://arizonasilhouette.com/blog/pen-contest/

Voting closes November 5, and the winners will be announced November 6th.

Good Luck to all the entrants.

Happy Turning,

Barry

Announcing Our FIRST Arizona Silhouette Pen Contest!

Arizona Silhouette is proud to announce our FIRST Pen Contest!

Let’s have some fun going into the Fall season preparing for craft shows or making gifts for the holidays.
Arizona Silhouette is sponsoring our first pen contest. It’s easy to enter, lots of GOOD prizes, and hopefully, a lot of fun for everyone.

Below you will see the FULL details, but the short version is:
Pay your entry $10 feeclick here     You will receive $20 in gift certificates in the form of 2 – $10 gift certificates by email – we pay you to enter! Save the order number from your entry purchase, you will need it for the next step. Only ONE entry per person.
Fill out the entry formclick here     Fill out all the information on the form, and include your order number from your entry fee purchase. Upload the best photo that you can of your pen.
Upload your photo
Share with everyone!
 send the link to your pen photo to all your family, friends, penturning groups & forums and fans on social media. The Beginner & Advanced categories will be decided by our panel of judges, but the “Most Popular” category will be decided by how well you share, schmooze, brag, promote, etc. Honestly, you could have a horrible pen, but if you get the most votes on it, you would win. LOL!

Quick Links to the FULL details:

Prizes
Categories
Judges
Rules


Prizes

10” Turncrafter Variable Speed Lathe – Grand Prize

Grand Prize:
10” Turncrafter Variable Speed Lathe ($399.95 value US Only, No FPO, APO)
Best pen from both beginner & advanced categories combined, decided by the judges
1 grand prize will be awarded

1st runners up:
$75 gift certificate to Arizona Silhouette’s Store
1 First runner up prize will be awarded in both beginner & advanced categories
Best pen in both beginner or advanced category, decided by the judges

2nd runners up in both beginner & advanced categories:
$50 gift certificate to Arizona Silhouette’s Store
1 Second runner up prize will be awarded in both beginner & advanced categories
Best pen in both beginner or advanced category, decided by the judges

Popular Vote category most votes in either Beginner or Advanced Category:
$75 gift certificate to Arizona Silhouette’s Store
Only 1 pen can be the most popular! Decided by your penturning friends, family & fans. Post the link to your pen on all your social media accounts and ask people to vote for your entry!

Judging & Rules

Categories:

Beginner – a pen maker who has successfully made less than 500 pens
Advanced – a pen maker who has successfully made more than 500 pens
Popular Vote – This can be an entry from either category – this is a fan favorite pen. Use social media to get out the vote for your pen!

Panel of Judges:

Tom Barron – owner of Maneater Crafts  https://maneatercrafts.com
Curtis Seebeck – owner of TurnTex Woodworks   https://www.turntex.com
Don Ward – Author of “Turning Modified Slimline Pens”   http://www.redriverpens.com
The Staff of Arizona Silhouette   

The Rules:

  • Contest starts August 31 and runs thru November 1. All entries must be submitted by November 1, 2018. Winners will be announced on November 6, 2018 on Barry’s Blog, Arizona Silhouette email list, our Facebook Page and any other places that we can think of. Winners will also be notified by email.
  • Entrance fee for either category $10 – Once entered you will receive two (2) $10 coupons to AZ store. (we are paying you to enter the contest!) These special double your money discount coupons will expire in six months.  Only one (1) entry per person and only one coupon can be used per order. Buy your $10 entry fee here: Click Here
  • Put your sales order number from purchasing your $10 entry on the photo upload form.
  • The pen you are entering must be made from a pen kit purchased from Arizona Silhouette.
  • Only 1 entry per person. Yes, you can vote for your own pen. Only ONE set of 2 – $10 gift certificates will be issued per person.
  • Only 1 vote per person, per entry. A voter can only vote once for an entry, but they can vote for as many entries as they like, in all categories.
  • Pens can be made from wood, stabilized wood, cactus, antler, acrylic, acrylic you made, casted items, polymer clay, stabilized squirrel poop, get the picture?
  • Please no CNC made pens – pens are to be turned on a lathe.
  • Fill out the official Arizona Silhouette entry form on the blog Click here for entry form and send a good quality photo of your completed pen by November 1, 2018 for it to be considered. (max photo size 10MB, must be JPG or PNG)
    If your image is larger, you can use an online photo resizer website like https://bulkresizephotos.com/
    For some tips about “how to photograph your pen” click here
  • Judging of the pens will be based on quality of workmanship (fit & finish), originality in design and choice of materials and overall eye appeal – “Eye Candy.”
    The judging of the pens will be done by a panel of judges who are penturning experts including: Tom Barron – owner of Maneater Crafts, Curtis Seebeck – owner of TurnTex Woodworks, Don Ward – Author of Turning Modified Slimline Pens and The Staff of Arizona Silhouette. The decision of the judges is FINAL, and once announced, the winners will receive their prizes by mail or email.
  • After judges narrow down to the finalists in the categories, the finalists may be asked for further detail photos of their pen.
  • By submitting your photo entry, you are granting Arizona Silhouette the right to use that photo for marketing and promotional purposes on all our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and others. You retain the copyright to your photo.

Short Vacation

Arizona Silhouette is going into our 7th year so it is finally time to actually take some time off.  Well I am only going to take a few days while Lenora will stay at the beach all week.  Arizona Silhouette will be closed for Monday and Tuesday but will open back up on Wednesday.  On Thursday, I will be off to the Washington DC Pen Show and be there for the weekend.  So if you are in the DC area come see me at the DC Pen Show.  Michael will be in the warehouse filling orders and answering the phones on Wednesday. thru Friday.Talk with you later – Happy Turning – Barry

Pricing Your Work & Discounts

Beetle Wing Pen

 Pricing your work and discounts….

What price do I charge for my handmade pen?  That is the number one question I always get.  My answer is, it depends on the show, and the location of the show. Also, how much did you pay for your exhibit space?  If you are only paying $35 for a six foot table at a church bazaar and the people are coming in for free you would have a difficult time charging $250 for a pen.  You have to understand your market.  If you are paying $1,200 for a 10×10 booth and the guests are being charged $15-$20 to get into the show, then yes a $250 pen will be sold. People coming into a craft show that costs money expect to pay more for handmade items. When you are pricing your item, take into consideration your time (it is worth something – what do you want to pay yourself?). How much did my material cost me and what about the cost of electric and all your tools. These are all factors which should come into effect when thinking about what to charge for YOUR one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

I frequently check out venues for future attendance, and I see other pen makers there charging low prices for pens – like $20 for a bolt action pen!!  The person selling the pen tells me they are retired and feels like $20 is a fair price. So, exactly what did it cost them? The pen kit costs approximately $14, he said he got the wood for free?  He had to drive over to the house where the tree was (gas money) he used a chainsaw, (how much did that cost?) then he had to come back to his shop and cut the wood up into pen blanks with a band saw (cost for band saw & time spent), then make the pen (time to make), how about the overhead of his electric,  tool cost and finishing supplies? All of those factor into his profitability but if they are happy getting $20 for a pen, I certainly cannot change their mind.
However, what this does is lower the value of all the other pen makers work.

I love this one.. “what if I buy two” can I get a discount?
My response was “thank you for asking but these are handmade, I do not buy these from China so when you purchase these I will have to make two by hand to replace them.” That usually politely tells them that you will not give them a discount. In the 42 days at the Grand Central Holiday Craft show, I only had one person tell me that “evidently YOU DO not want to sell anything” because I would not bargain with him, and he walked out.
I sold the pen he wanted the next day for my full price!
Your work is worth something so don’t let anyone intimidate you because they want a discount!

Happy Selling ,

Reader’s Choice Award Nominations

Sea Shell Pen

I wanted to share some exciting news with my blog followers, I was just nominated for a Reader’s Choice Award (see below)  – By the way if you get Pen World Magazine please vote for me!

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that Barry Gross has been nominated for an award in the 24th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards competition sponsored by PEN WORLD magazine:

Seashell – Best Artisan Pen: Hand Crafted

Established in 1994, the Readers’ Choice Awards is the only international awards program for the pen industry and is based on the votes of PEN WORLD readers. A panel of long-time PEN WORLD readers served as judges, carefully selecting the nominees from a long list of pens featured in the magazine during 2017. There are twelve different categories of recognition and five nominees within each category.

Readers cast their votes from the official ballot in the April 2018 issue of PEN WORLD, which was shipped recently. Voting continues through June 15, 2018. Winners will be notified in July and will be featured in the August issue of PW. The awards will be presented at the Washington D.C. Fountain Pen SuperShow, August 2-5, 2018 and the San Francisco International Pen Show, August 24-26, 2018 or as determined by the winner.

Pen Makers are artists, craftsmen, innovators, and even historians.  It is a privilege for PEN WORLD to applaud their accomplishments through the Readers’ Choice Awards. Congratulations and good luck!

Nicky Pessaroff  – Editor-in-Chief – Pen World Magazine

More Thoughts on Grand Central Holiday Fair – Talking Sales

The Woodworking shows are over for this year and both Lenora and I want to thank all our friends that attended the shows and supported us throughout this winter.  It was great to see all the friendly faces again in all the cities that we visited. The schedule for 2019 is currently being worked on and will be released shortly, so we expect to see all of you again next year!

Cigar Pens

More thoughts from the 2017 Grand Central Holiday Fair.
The best sellers in dollar volume were my Cigar Label©, Watch Part©, Beetlewing & Sea Shell pens. .50 caliber pens were a hot item selling 48 pens which was a surprise for NYC. At the low end, we had Slimline pens made from colorgrain & rosewood selling over 80 pens. These items kept us busy. The Slimline pens sold for $45 each with a box.  I found that people wanted these in a box rather than a pouch because most of these were going to be given as gifts. These pens did sell well however, next year we will have other items at a slightly lower price point so we can capture the “secret Santa” market.  My Cigar label pens ranged from $175 to $695 depending how they were packaged with an engraved pen “cigar box” or a matching custom cigar box and label.  The watch part pens ranged from $250 to $1,400 depending on the watch dial and how many watch parts were actually placed on the pen and if the nib was an 18kt gold nib.  The Sea Shell pens are hard to turn because of all the seashells in the acrylic so they sold for $325 each as a rollerball or a fountain pen. The Beetlewing pens sold from $275 for a ballpoint to $695 as a FP or RB.  All of my more expensive pens came with a box, and was sold as a package.  It made a big difference having matching boxes for the pens, most people commented on how nice it was to have a matching box for a pen to give as a gift, or keep for themselves!

More to come later – Happy Turning – Barry