More Price Increases

I know it’s Friday, but unfortunately, I have some more bad news to share. You may remember earlier when we raised prices on Sailor and TWSBI that I mentioned we’d have more to come. They’re here.

I know it seems like we just have more and more prices increases over and over, but we’ve been trying to do them piecemeal to hold off as long as possible, especially while we still had a bit of stock that may have been purchased earlier at a better exchange rate, and also still holding out hope that the CAD might bounce back. Most of that stock is long gone and we’ve been buying at an incredibly weak exchange for a while now. As a small business, it’s been absolutely brutal.

Earlier, I had mostly been focusing on the price increases where we purchase directly from American manufacturers, and we see the exchange right out of pockets, but of course our Canadian distributors also purchase in CAD and have their own exchange difficulties and most have had to increase prices on us as well.

Almost all of these prices below are increases passed along to us from our distributors.

Rhodia: Our Rhodia distributor has actually been increasing their prices every year. For example, when we first started in 2013, and the CAD and USD were about on par, the MSRP for a A5 Webnotebook was $22.69, and we sold it for $22. The price was raised in 2014, and again in 2015.

It is now $27, and while we’ve kept our price at $22 for the last two and a half years, we’re really taking a hit on absorbing this price increase.

Most Rhodia products are going to see an increase across the board, but these are the biggest ones:
A5 Staplebound Pad – from 4.85 to 5
A4 Staplebound Pad – from 8.75 to 9.50
A5 Webnotebook – from 22 to 27

J. Herbin Ink Bottles from 11.00 to 13.50

Kaweco – also some increases across the board but the big ones are:
Sport – from 26 to 28.75
Al-Sport – from 78 to 92, but we will now be including a tin case with every Al-Sport purchase

Midori
Regular Size Leather Traveler’s Notebooks from 58 to 64
Standard Lined, Grid + Plain Refills from 5.75 to 6
Passport Size Leather Traveler’s Notebooks from 52 to 58
Standard Lined, Grid + Plain Refills from 4.50 to 4.75

Platinum
Preppy – from 4.90 to 5.75
Cool – from 53 to 62
3776 Century – from 220 to 266

Pilot Iroshizuku Inks from 35 to 40

These new prices will be taking effect on Friday, August 28, 2015. If you’d like to get something but won’t be able to make it to the shop before the price increase, you can always purchase online as an in-store pick-up, and we’ll have it waiting for you when you are able to make it in.

I’m sure you may be seeing similar price increases from small shops across Canada, and not just stationery shops but many independent retailers in general, and I know it’s tough. We’re letting you know about these price increases both so you have a chance to get what you need before prices go up, and also just so you know. We really appreciate it when our distributors give us a heads up about price increases rather than us just finding out by noticing it on our invoice when we get the goods in our shop.

But we’re also letting you know so you understand where our prices are coming from. The current US MSRP of J. Herbin ink bottles is $11 USD – we can’t possibly compete and stay alive if we keep our J. Herbin bottles at $11 CAD after our distributor has raised their prices to $13.50.

Especially compared to US retailers, who occasionally have price increases due to manufacturing or other costs, it seems like we have a lot or price increases, but of course the big difference is we have to see both the manufacturing costs as well as the exchange rate.

However, to keep things in perspective, our prices are still a bit friendlier than going across south, with such a terrible exchange. If you break out a calculator, you’ll see a lot of our prices are actually going to end up being better. For example, while a Webnotebook will now be $27 CAD from us, a $25USD Webnotebook will be $32.75CAD.

The only ray of bright shining light is that the Lamy prices, for which we had previously been anticipating an increase, are now being held where they are now by pure grit and determination and I think some negotiating or some other business-y moves from our Lamy distributor, LSF. Over here at the shop, it’s an understatement to say we are pretty big fans of Michael Pons from LSF right now. We might just have a big pink cardboard heart with his face on it. Just kidding, Mr. Pons. But not really.

In any case, please do a rain dance for the exchange rate. We sometimes feel like we’re really at the mercy of the Canadian dollar. We really appreciate your business and support over the last two years. And we’re hoping to stick around for a few more.

18 Comments

  1. RonB

    That you for the heads up, it’s greatly appreciated! Let’s hope our upcoming elections helps our dollar… On a different note, is there a way to get notified when the ECO is restocked?

    • Thanks for the support! I have had my fingers crossed for what seems like a year and a half now… 🙂
      Unfortunately, no way to get notified on the ECO as the product lets you select nib sizes, which are stocked separately. However, we’re hoping for some early September!

  2. Tim Parris

    I hear you about the price increases and truly appreciate the length of time that you’ve held off. I believe that, even with your new prices, you remain competitively priced for the market.

  3. mfranks

    As much as no one likes price increases I’d hate to see you guys suffer over a few dollars per product for us (which adds up for you). Hang in there and we can all hope together than the CAD does better soon (try paying off US student loans right now).

  4. mickeyobe

    It once was that the only inevitables were death and taxes.
    Now we must include price increases.
    I guess there is no point squawking.

    • Haha 🙂
      However, I never really thought we would have so many price increases! We would’ve priced a bit different starting out had we given more consideration to fluctuations in the exchange rate….. 🙂

  5. Mr Ahab

    No need to have to explain or feel guilt to us, your customers, for something not really in your control. Price is only part of the equation for many of us. I shop with you guys much more for the customer service and to help support a small business and family as much as anything else even though I has alternatives on the other side of the country. I’m hoping others feel the same sentiment. Now, if I could only find a way to use up more ink faster…

    • Thanks so much for your support! It truly is great to hear Canadians who are interested and genuine about supporting small and family businesses. Sometimes I think “money talks,” but we’re hoping that family business can also be sustainable, especially in this type of a community. Thanks again for following along with us 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing this with us. Just want to let you know how much we want to ‘have your back’ as we’re all in this together and you guys have done a lion’s share in hard work and risk in order to have our back when it comes to finding reasonable and quality writing supplies here in Canada. Don’t know where we’d be without you!

    • Thanks so much for your support!! I really appreciate this. I always feel a bit deflated every time I have to announce bad news like this, but it’s nice to know (or hope??) we’ll bounce back 🙂

  7. The need for price increases necessitated by the fall of our dollar shouldn’t be a surprise to us. No one likes to pay more, but I think most buyers understand the need to charge more. I, for one, would like you to be around for a long time. One place where you definitely beat the (US) competition is shipping costs. Even with (supposedly) lower US prices there is no way I can get things shipped to me for the $8 Cdn that you charge. To me, that’s another benefit of buying from Wonder Pens (perhaps a benefit that you should promote more). Keep up the great work.

    • Thanks so much for your understanding! You’re right about a lot of customers being aware that the falling dollar makes things a bit tough for Canadian business, but I’m always worried that there will be a bit of sticker shock every time we announce what the new prices will be.
      I sometimes go on a bit of a rant about Canada Post (we still subsidize on that $8!), but actually it’s the most cost effective and comprehensive option here in Canada. Thanks again for supporting our small business 🙂

  8. Raising prices is inevitable. What’s nice is that your customers are kept in the loop, complete with vital stats about exchange rates. Erin and I love coming to the bricks and mortar shop and chatting about the various products (Brass Sport, Brass Sport, Brass Sport) and supporting local businesses is very important to us. From our butcher, to our green-grocer, and our wonderful stationery/pen supply store, its these vendors that make our communities so vibrant. Thanks for the update!

    • Thanks so much for your support! I couldn’t agree more with you about local businesses and community – it’s so important and almost fundamental to neighbourhoods to have small and owner-operated businesses that build relationships and community. I’m really sad about the price increases, but I’m hoping (because Jon has crunched a lot of numbers…) that it’s another step to staying in this business for the long run. I’ll hope to see you and Erin soon! (And also to have the Brass Sport in soon…)

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