PQ News & Announcements

  • iCloud, paperclips and Mrs PQ

    This morning I was demonstrating a test prep app for a coworker when a fellow co worker took note of my new iPhone 5s. He did so with such exuberance that at once there was a cadre of iPhone 5s admirers gathered around my phone inquiring as to specs and software. I know at this point I am supposed to say something remotely coherent, even intelligent about Apple and IOS technology, but instead I find myself looking with envy at my co workers clamshell phone. Mr PQ just wilted slightly, dismayed I’m certain that his tactic of showing me the new slider that gives easy access to a flashlight has barely moved the needle with me regarding IOS euphoria. I learned some time ago that while my Apple products won’t help me cultivate my garden, they do allow me to consolidate my tasks so that I have more time to cultivate my garden and that is indeed fruitful.

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  • What it means to be Pad & Quill

    PQ_Crafted_Logo_Color

    When you enter the world of e-commerce and begin talking with various consultants the conversation eventually leads to dropping the name of “a guy” they have overseas who can mass produce your product with shoddy materials and psuedo craftsmanship, while guaranteeing great margins. There is a prolific market for cheap crap, as non discerning consumers push for more and more. While business can be built within this paradigm, it’s not building with impunity. Continue reading

  • Knowing Yourself

    “Knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom”

    -Aristotle

     

    In spite of it being 95 degrees and humid here in the north, with cicadas buzzing in the trees and the sun lingering in the sky for a full 14 hours, it feels more like the holidays then the tail end of summer.  In our household, by the time December 22nd rolls around, every present under the tree has been shaken, measured and categorized with prolific guessing as to what will be found Christmas morning.  Every so often I’ll find a package with a corner that has been peeled back to reveal a small peak of what’s inside.  Sometimes we will go to great lengths to wrap packages inside of packages to deter this espionage, but at other times its more fun to allow some insight so the suspense grows.
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  • Crafted Part Deux - The leathers coming

    A post from Mr. PQ

     

    Really Brian, Part Deux?  Yes, really.  After Mrs. PQ's last post we got a wee bit of feedback from our French loving friends.  Surprisingly they were not that excited that she placed the French language and swearing in the same category.  So I thought maybe pay tribute to French in the title of this post (aka damage control).

     

     

    This is the second post about why Kari, myself and the team are really passionate about the word 'Crafted'.  In my previous post I mentioned our hard fought battle to find Buckram cloth that was not butt ugly.  We finally did and could not be more proud of the Cartella Linen Case for the Macbook Air that utilizes a gorgeously strong linen buckram cloth.

     

    Another battle was to find leathers that we felt met our high standards to be both durable and gorgeous. We have some amazing products planned that utilize these leathers.  Therefore the leather has to be awesome. Touring various tanneries in Mexico we saw in full detail how leather is made, what types of quality are used and why. How quality affects construction and durability.  Here are a few images from our visit.

     

     

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    Finished product getting ready for shipment on the 'horse'.

     

     

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    Various dyed hides in the drying process

     

     

     

    What is top grain, full grain, Nappa and bonded leather? Why are American hides better then Mexican? We found out we really had no idea! This was a entire education process by itself.  Once we started to fully grasp the art and science that is leather crafting, we began to search hard for the perfect colors, textures and types of leathers.  Again, we (Maybe I...) drove our folks to the south a bit nutty at times as finding those 'right' leathers is not easy.  Not too mention my horrendous Spanish.  Thank God I married a woman who paid attention in Spanish class.

     

    Anyhow.  After much prototyping, the final leather concepts we arrived at are mind blowing!  Seriously, they are so beautiful you truly have to hold them to appreciate the luxury and elegance. That opportunity is coming soon and we cannot wait to show you!  I think in my next post I'm going to shift from talking about Crafted materials to discussing our passion for the craftsman.

     

    Talk soon,

     

    Brian

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • How to Learn French in a Hurry

    From Mrs. PQ

     

    The other day I saw a book entitled "How to Learn French in a Hurry", and after checking my credit cards to make sure none of the quills were covertly planning to wing their way to France, chucking their education to follow their muse,  I began to ponder how one might "learn french in a hurry".  Teaching a teenager to drive your new car with manual transmission immediately came to mind.  There was a whole lot of "french" *that evening, coupled with the smell of a grinding clutch.  Opening a report card to discover the kid was serious when she decided to "just give up on school" spring semester.   As I confiscated her iPhone some sort of language accompanied the fire blazing from my eardrums, that, while indiscernible, was mutually understood.

     

    One other way to learn french in a hurry is to go to an e-commerce site, find a product you love, and then become foiled by technology, unable to make a purchase.  I received an email this week from our crack customer service staff regarding a gentleman in Great Britain who had been trying for two weeks to buy one of our lovely new Cartella Linen cases for Macbook Air.  There was so much technical jargon in his letter that it made my eyeballs bleed.  I would have been speaking french at that point, but he was using the lovely Queen's english.  The very fact that he persevered for two weeks to own one of our products was enough for me to jump into the conversation and reward his patience with a Cartella, gratis.  I'll have to sneak my way into the shipping area to send it off to him, as Mr. PQ keeps me largely relegated to my office, (that I affectionately call The Dungeon), where I can do the least damage to servers/websites etc.  But we have one more satisfied customer, joy, and the new web site is coming along swimmingly, including the debugs for international orders and so continues another day in the Pad and Quill universe.

     

    *For our international readers:  it is an American custom to use the phrase "excuse my french" whenever one impolitely drops a course or inappropriate word into conversation.  I'll be researching and reporting back on that custom for my next blog post.

     

    Kari

  • Fireworks, Tans and Pencils

    A 'PSA' from Mrs. PQ.

     

    There is a certain craziness in the air when retailers begin stocking back to school supplies next to the aisle of clearance red, white and blue bunting, patriotic frosting and leftover fireworks.  There isn’t a kid I know who wants to trade in the sun-tanned, mosquito-bitten, Kool-Aide-smile life of summer for the hard desk chair, homework every night, life of fall on July 5th.   However, retail drives the rhythms of life at least for one mid summer afternoon at the Pad & Quill household because Mrs. PQ knows if you don’t jump on the school supplies in July you will be paying full retail in August.

     

    With four kids to equip with pencils, notepads, and clothes, (god forbid we can’t forget the clothes), there are no greater phrases then “discount” and “sale” when it comes to shopping.  Except perhaps, “Mom, I need a new backpack, can we go to REI?”

     

    At Pad & Quill we feel your back to school purchasing pain, especially for those with kids heading back to the higher institutions of learning.  So we have some “Sale” and “Discount” goodness for you.

     

    Our Cartella case is perfect for protecting that Macbook Air and also will make the college or professional kid of your life look quite amazing.  Our various handcrafted iPad and iPhone cases also fit the bill for protection, practicality and of course beauty.  For a limited time, use this code for a great deal on any of our cases.  BT88

     

    Now if I can just figure out why we have about 6 reams of left over paper from last year...

     

    Mrs. PQ

    Kari

  • No mere reed in the wind

    Some thoughts from Mrs PQ.

     

    "Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken by the wind."

    -Johannes Brahms

     

    So, here we've arrived at the end of the 3rd year of our little family company.  Even now it's hard to discern if the inspiration drives the craftsmanship or the craftsmanship drives the inspiration.  Brahms saw his inspiration flowing down as ideas from God that he would see take shape in his mind as harmonies and orchestration.  He then put Quill to parchment and penned some of the most beautiful scores of all time.

     

    At Pad & Quill we are surrounded by inspiration that comes from multiple angles.  Whether it be the beauty of the Baltic Birch and leather we use in our iPad and iPhone cases or the dedicated and diligent work of our employees, or the hours our vendors invest in crafting a prototype for a new product. Our teams and our resources directed with tremendous heart and soul bring our products to you, our customers, who are busy crafting their own masterpiece.  So from our workshop to you, here's to another productive year and CHEERS!

     

    Kari

  • Crafted

    That's a word I really love.  Crafted.  It lends to what Kari and I are all about. When your really thinking about what drives you, motivates you to get up and look through new designs and products I'm finding I can't get this awesome word out of my head!

     

    Terms like 'handmade', 'designed', 'curated' are all great descriptions that we both have used in the past to describe our products.  But c'mon!  Crafted.  I mean, that says it all about what drives us and where we want Pad & Quill to go.  We love crafting the old with the new and we think when you do, something really amazing comes out on the other side.

     

    Some examples you ask?  Sure!

     

    We love crafting old with new regarding materials.  When we pick a material, we really think it through and drive our vendors crazy.  I assure you I've had some serious eye rolling because I don't pick the standard material, it has to be just right.  Recently I looked far and wide for a very tough buckram cloth that goes on the outside of our  Cartella Linen for Macbook Air. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE HOW UGLY BUCKRAM CAN BE. Oh my word.

     

    We wanted an old linen look and feel to the material that would last as well as it was lovely to hold. Tying old and new.  Not easy, but we found a gorgeous version of this material that feels like holding an old library volume.  I like it so much that some of our new iPad 5 cases will be covered with this buckram as well this fall.  (Yes, I'm assuming a new iPad 5 is coming)

     

    Cartella-205

     

     

    Another example of 'Crafted' would be the new leathers that we are coming out with in a few months, but I'll get to that on the next post. :)  The images are amazing.

     

    Brian

    Mr. PQ

     

     

     

  • We Give - Mrs. PQ

    Summer is officially underway, and sadly, I am already underwater.  I’ve typically hit my summer groove a few days before the urchins take their last exam, but this year the final exams were more herculean then usual and we were sprinting and stumbling right up to the final day.

     

    I plotted math education and reeducation with a friend over coffee and deduced that with a little effort my one child might actually graduate from high school and therefore from my basement after all.

     

    Rowing season began with a two-hour practice and ended with the consumption of a large pizza, half a pound of grapes and a pint of chocolate milk.  Hence, Feed My Starving Children takes on a whole new meaning.

     

    In the Pad and Quill household, after we pay the employees and Uncle Sam, the vendors and the merchants, the mortgage broker and the guy who keeps the lights on, but before we buy clothes or dinner out, we give.  I swallow my food easier when I know we’ve taken food from our plates and placed it on another’s.  We play more joyfully knowing we’ve afforded a reprieve from the streets for a kid to go to camp.  We learn more completely when our learning includes teaching others.

     

    So, we give.  And that is one of the most exciting things about watching our company grow.  As you our customers invest in our products, we in turn can feed hearts, minds, tummies and spirits.

     

    -Kari

    (Mrs.PQ)

    (Kari)

  • Are you there God? - Musings of Mrs.PQ

    Pad & Quill is going through some growth changes and this has reminded me of my own awkward transitions.  The passing through of eight middle school springs now, I’ve noticed a certain trend associated with the greening of the landscape and the return of song- birds from the south.  The inevitable homework assignments beseeching a parent to walk down the tortured, awkward, memory lane of their pre pubescent youth.

     

    “Who taught you health?”

     

    The gorgeous 6th grade substitute that all the girls had a crush on, who later decided to teach “health” to my best friend’s mom and well, that was awkward.

     

    “Mom, I can’t write that!”

     

    “Who were your friends?”

     

    I was so shy I was left choosing between the girl who spoke in a self-invented language somewhat akin to Farsi and the boy who ate paste.  Since I was no linguist, I chose paste boy.   As I was ravenously hungry all the time, it worked out ok.

     

    “Mom???!!!!!”

     

    “How did you feel about how you looked?”

     

    I was a skinny, flat-chested tomboy.  The one effort I made to correct this failed miserably.  Taking a cue from Margaret of, Are you There God? fame, I borrowed a bra from my mom but stopped short of stuffing it. My attempt at a feminine figure fell far short, so instead of looking like one of Charlie’s Angels, I looked like some disgruntled animal had burrowed under my shirt and died.

     

    “uggh Mom!

     

    “Did you have pimples?”

     

    Yes

     

    “Did you get along with your parents?”

     

    No

     

    “Did you do well in school?”

     

    Sort of, the shyness part was certainly a detriment.

     

    He asked a few more questions and scribbled some notes.  I went and mixed a drink happy for once that this kids atrocious spelling would keep him out of trouble.

     

     

    Here at Pad & Quill, as we pass through the adolescent faze of an start up, when so much can seem uncertain and mistakes can seem to out number success it’s good to have the perspective of a parent, knowing that the right input of hard work, integrity and staying true to one’s core beliefs can grow a company.   Within this season of company introspection, we’ve built a great, solid team around us, we have some amazing new products in our supply chain and we are greatly looking forward to bringing resplendently beautiful, wonderfully functional products to our customers.

     

    -Kari

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