Small Business Interview with Patricia Allen, President Pat’s Pens and Treasures
Tell us about your business.
We hand-craft pens–ball pens, rollerballs, and fountain pens. We are your prime source for unique, fine quality, made in USA gifts for yourself and your friends.
Our primary material is wood, both natural and stabilized. Stabilization allows us to employ materials that would normally be too soft to shape on our wood lathe, such as tree burls. We also use various materials in an acrylic base. All our pens are functional.
We are just now, May 2009, building a new web store. When you visit our current website, join our Email Team to receive immediate notice of our grand opening.
Our target audience is those for whom writing is important, including pen collectors and persons with a need for unique and meaningful gifts or personal rewards.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
Confidence, self-esteem, and the joy of a responsibility to those who look at and buy my pens and a reason to play with my lathe that’s what this business means to me.
I love people and I love to know that I’ve had a hand in their enjoyment of life. A good pen gives meaning to our writing, even if the writing is a grocery list.
This is the short version of a longer story of becoming am entrepreneur: My husband is a woodturner and I took some classes so I could appreciate what he was going thru. Wood does come off the lathe. It can be dangerous. Well, I really really enjoyed the classes. As I was leaving the room, honestly, I heard Spirit speak inside my head, ‘Pat’s Pens and Treasures’. I did not know there were wooden pens at that time, but I went home and ordered my first set of business cards. Two months later I competed my first pen. Another two months and I began selling them.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
Greatest influence? I have three. An online group of penmakers who give their time and expertise to help new and experienced penturners. I have submitted pens by photo to my mentors and had them evaluated for quality. The group has taught me skills with lathe, wood, and fittings that I would not have been able to find on my own. I am a professional penmaker because of my online mentors.
I am also influenced by my husband who has supported me with money, promotion, hugs and cheers. He loves my pens and tells everyone and me how great they are.
Without Spirit whispering in my ear back in 2005, I would never have imagined a business like Pat’s Pens and Treasures. Remembering has kept me going in the private moments of despair.
These are my greatest influences.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
You mean other than selling the first pen? (smile) My greatest accomplishment is having the guts to build a professional retail website. This is a huge challenge of faith in myself and in my quality. This commitment to be online effectively puts Pat’s Pens and Treasures into a new category of professionalism. I don’t think we ever know if we personally are ready to expand, but there comes a time when it’s weigh anchor and sail or sell the ship. We are sailing to the land of reaching people and touching their hearts with a personal pen.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
My best advice is don’t work for the money. When I’m thinking of what price I’ll get for a pen, I get all involved in supply costs, shipping, time spent…etc. Suddenly, the pen I’m working on seems small, and I forget why I’m creating it. Charge a fair price for your market and for you, then forget the money. Work for love.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Meet my quality standards. I make premium quality, classic pens for a market that wants them. When I drop my tolerance levels (how close the wood meets the metal, etc.) to more than 3/1000ths of an inch, my attitude drops, plummets is a better word. Meeting my quality standards means I am working to bless my heart. This way I am happy and want to be in my studio and can appropriately represent my pens to my markets.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you succeed?
http://www.volusion.com is my new web host. Working with them is a joy.
http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/penturners Industry specific support.
http://www.Ryze.com The first business networking group I joined and from whom I have learned so much.
What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
To have my website up and self-supporting.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Yes. File your sales tax on time, even if you don’t have any to pay.
How can our readers find you online?