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Custom Pens

2011 September 2

On my last shopping trip I was helping my friend, a middle school teacher, pick out some “welcome back” presents for her new students. Each year, she picks out a unique gift for each person in the class as a way of helping to prepare them for the school year and get them stocked up on supplies. While in the past she had ordered fancy book covers, clever puzzle games and paper folders, this year she wanted to do something that was a little more personal and that the students could get a lot of use out of. The book covers and folders of the past had only lasted a few months into the year, as over many days and days of tossing them into lockers and book bags and carting them through the halls, they ended up ripped and torn and were no longer useful. So, after a few days of searching for the perfect item, my friend decided that this year she would get custom pens made for her students. This was the first year they were allowed to use ink pens in the classroom so they would definitely appreciate this new writing tool. She could customize them with the school’s logo and colors, they would last quite a long time, and best of all, they are pretty inexpensive when bought in larger quantities.

We thought the hard part would be finding the product we wanted to give the kids, but it turns out the hard part was actually choosing between brands, vendors, and companies that provide custom pens. After searching online and looking through a few catalogs provided by the school, my friend felt a little overwhelmed and more confused than ever. How would she ever decide which company to order from or which brand of custom pens to choose? She decided that the best way to learn about the products would be to call a few of the companies offering the best prices and quality items to see if they could tell her more about each product and check to see if they had any specials running.

Her order was pretty simple: red pens with a black cap and the school district’s logo printed in white. While she only has about thirty kids in her class this year, she noticed that many of the companies had a high minimum order of about 100 or more when it came to small products like custom pens. What she would do with 100 pens or more, she didn’t know, so she was determined to find a lower minimum order. As it turns out, putting a call in to the companies we researched online and to the companies whose catalogs we had paged through really paid off. Most of the companies were holding promotional “back to school” sales that were unadvertised on their product pages and offered steep discounts for all items in their “education” categories. Plus, speaking with a sales representative or account manager really made a difference because my friend was able to get a virtual sample emailed to her that showed how her custom pen would look, and she was also able lower the minimum order for her custom pens by about half, significantly cutting down her prices and making her order a better fit.

After comparing a bunch of quotes and pricing schedules for custom pens, my friend finally found the perfect item for her “welcome back” gifts for her students. The custom pens she ordered came in about one week, and even though she had to order a few extra, she was pleased with the service she received and also with the custom pen that she gave to her students! After the first day, the students were quite pleased with their gift bags and were happy to start using the pens my friend had provided them with in class. But the students weren’t the only ones who noticed; many of the other teachers in the school saw the pens my friend had ordered and asked her about where she had ordered them from. It turns out that they would like to do the same for their own students, and thought it was a great “welcome back” item that reflected the school’s colors and logo quite well. So, all of the hard work and time it took to look for the perfect item really paid off in the end because she got to order exactly what she wanted, her students were pleased with their gift, and the other teachers wanted to order some for the other students as well!

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