Niche Pens have been selling Pelikan fountain pens and inks for over a decade. We discovered Pelikan by accident when looking for another make of pen, which is the market leader in the expensive pen domain. As a fountain pen user throughout school, when GCSEs had been finished and results were in, a pen was sought as a congratulations gift. We bought a used said Pelikan competitor from an auction website and when it arrived in the post after a couple of days, it was not as good as was expected for its value.
A little research on forums such as the Fountain Pen Network pointed us towards Pelikan. A brand that we had not heard of but made exceptional pens. Someone said that it is the best brand you've never heard of. A search on the basic Pelikan international website pointed us in the direction of the UK importers. An email to them to find a retailer did not give us much choice in our little corner of the UK, South Wales. We were a little surprised as this is an urban area with around 1 million people within a 45 minute drive. We had to drive into an entirely different country (England!) to a pen shop situated inside a department store in Bristol city centre.
The range of Pelikan was quite small, with little choice of colour, model and nibs only in Medium width. This was a little disappointing so we were drawn back to the internet and a retailer outside of the UK to get the model, colour and nib wanted (M805, Blue Striated, Fine nib).
Getting Our Stock We contacted the importers once more; we pointed out that there was nowhere locally to buy and that the closest place wouldn't offer a nib other than medium and said they were not available - we knew otherwise. Fortunately for us, we happened to speak to the Sales Director who suggested that as we had found an obvious gap in the market, that we could fill it! We knew that you could use the internet to find out about Pelikan and you could find a retailer outside the UK to buy from with the resulting import duties, taxes, shipping, delay and risk.
The obvious next step was to offer the full range from a UK shop with quick delivery and a modest saving over the high street shops who did offer the same items without the hassle of having to drive into the town centre, pay to park and traipsing around looking. We thought the website needed to be informative with nib comparisons, size comparisons, weights and dimensions so that customers could compare easily and make informed decisions without being able to handle the pens in a 'bricks and mortar shop'.
Our Website Born The www.pelikanpens.co.uk website was born and we have sold the excellent products that Pelikan produce in their factory on the outskirts of Hanover in Germany.