Magic Word Media

The niche fountain pen business that’s thriving in Ipswich

Last month, eyebrows were raised in Ipswich following the broadcast of a locally filmed edition of the Antiques Roadshow. One of the key highlights of the show was the discovery that a rare Japanese fountain pen was valued at approximately £30,000. Whilst this was a jaw-dropping amount of money for a pen, one local resident wasn’t surprised at all.

Roy van den Brink-Budgen is a dedicated luxury and rare pen dealer.

He has been running his business, izods, from its Ipswich base for several years. With a reputation for being one of the UK’s leading pen dealers, clients trust in Roy’s knowledge and understanding of the luxury fountain pen market to look after their requirements. Not only does Roy work with collectors to help source extremely rare collectible pens (such as those shown on Antiques Roadshow), but he has also launched his very own range of luxury fountain pens, called the Paradigm collection.

Roy van den Brink-Budgen fountain pens
Roy van den Brink-Budgen

Roy says: “The last 12 months have been a complete whirlwind, with people having more time to take up new interests and to research things that they don’t normally have a chance to. Most people will have heard of brands such as Montblanc and Parker, but there is so much more to discover. Whilst most pens we sell are in the £250 – £1000 range, some very rare examples can have five figure price tags. People are attracted to luxury pens in the same way that some people like to collect watches or designer handbags. They are often drawn to a specific brand, and they enjoy being able to own and use something that makes writing feel special”.

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Roy’s business, izods, specialises in buying and selling preloved luxury pens.

Some people are looking for a quality fountain pen as a treat for themselves, whilst others are looking for specific makes/models to add to their extensive collections. Brands such as Montblanc are known for releasing limited-edition models as part of a dedicated range and collectors often aim to have the complete set.

Roy adds: “Pens are a great collector’s item because often individual models have specific stories attached to them, and they don’t take up too much space. For those with a little more disposable income, a luxury pen is a more accessible collector’s hobby than something like luxury watches, or vintage cars. Another benefit of collecting luxury pens is that if you buy the right models, they hold their value very well. We’re delighted to work with customers who are looking at purchasing their first pen, all the way through to those with multi-million-pound collections”

Despite the potential dual threat of both the pandemic and Brexit (much of Roy’s client base is situated across Europe), izods has flourished over the past year. Roy believes this is because people will always seek out trusted sellers and enjoy building a relationship with a specialist company.

As part of his business growth, Roy has also worked with a prestigious Italian manufacturer to launch the first-ever izods range of own-brand luxury pens. The Paradigm range of fountain pens is handcrafted from ebonite, with an 18-karat gold nib and a premium piston-filling mechanism to fill the pen with ink. The launch of the izods pen collection fulfils a lifelong ambition for Roy.

He concludes: “To many, launching an own-brand range, in the middle of a pandemic, and going squarely up against established global brands would have been something that they would have shied away from. It would have been incredibly easy not to take that risk, especially when, with a £400 price tag it puts the pens firmly in the price range of brands such as Montblanc. However, the response from customers who have bought the paradigm has been wonderful.  Each pen is individually handcrafted from beautiful materials, and they offer an impeccable writing experience.”

“I’m excited to see how quickly we can build awareness of the range. We’ve already started working on special editions for specific customers around and the world and there are other models in development. It’s been a great start and it always amazes me that something that started so small, has grown into a business with a worldwide presence. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to seeing what 2021 may bring.”

To find out which preloved luxury pens are available via izods, to find out the value of a pen, or to view the Paradigm range of pens, please visit www.izods.ink

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