Thanks to a friend and fellow pen lover, I recently discovered the Pen Addict Podcast, and it has become my favorite thing EVER. In less than a month, I have trucked through 109 episodes and counting, and am going to be really sad when I catch up because I'll have to wait a week between episodes. If you're familiar with The Pen Addict and the podcast, you'll know that Brad Dowdy is THE Pen Addict himself, and he recently started his own business with friend Jeffrey Bruckwicki selling awesome pen cases and accessories.
When I discovered Nock Co. I was immediately impressed with what Brad and Jeff had accomplished. Their kickstarter campaign was funded for over $70,000 more than their goal, and they have since launched a successful online storefront. Each of their pen cases are made in Atlanta, GA and are named for the various mountains throughout Georgia.
I knew I wanted to get a 3-pen Lookout case in the Steel/Mango colorway. Unfortunately when I went to place my order they were out of stock. I headed over to Twitter and asked when they were expecting them, and Nock immediately responded that they were loading up the machines with grey material and to check back at the end of the week. A few days later I placed my order, and went ahead and added a 3 pack of their dot-dash pocket notebooks to try out.
When I received my case, I was impressed by the craftsmanship - the sewing was precise and the stitching between each pen sleeve is VERY stout. You'll never have to worry about this thing falling apart. The material is thick, durable, keeps your pens separated and protects them from damage - I'm certain that if i threw this case on the ground my $350 worth of pens would be completely protected.
In addition to my Lookout case, I received my 3 pack of the Nock Co. Dot Dash pocket notebooks. The super-bright yellow cover was pretty cool, though admittedly is not my favorite color in the world. I was intrigued by the dot dash pattern that Nock has created, and I'm actually really digging it. It pretty much combines my two favorite paper patterns, dot and grid. The pattern is subtle enough to not be obtrusive to your writing, but dark enough to give you a guide to keep your lines straight.
Much like Field Notes, I expected the Dot Dash notebook to not be super fountain pen friendly. It is a 50lb paper, so you do get some feathering, though I was actually surprised that not all my inks feathered on this paper - so not all is lost; it is definitely still usable. In all honesty, I wouldn't even call this feathering, it's more just a matter of the ink seeping into the paper due to it's thinness. You don't get the huge offshoots from your letters that you see with something like a Mead notebook, though your lines just don't look as crisp. I tested the 4 inks that I had loaded up at the time, Noodler's Dark Matter, R&K Alt-Goldgrun, Diamine Grey and Diamine Oxblood. Most of them did surprisingly well; Alt-Goldgrun soaked in the worst, but that Lamy 2000 is a VERY wet writing pen (I've actually sent it off to Pendelton Brown to address some scratchiness and the fact that it's overly wet - more on that to come!).
There was quite a bit of bleedthrough unfortunately, however for my own use case I won't be using the back side of the sheet, so it's not a huge a deal for me personally. Not everyone skips the back side of the page, so this may be a dealbreaker for some of you.
All in all, I love both products, especially the Lookout. I plan on using my Dot Dash books to jot down blog ideas on the go, make grocery lists, etc. It's a perfect size to just throw into your bag or purse. On their own these products are enough to make me love Nock Co., however I do have another story that I'd like to share.
When I received my Dot Dash books, they were in a shrink-wrapped pack of 3. When I opened it up, I noticed that the 2nd and 3rd books had some brown ink smeared on the cover just above the Nock "N." It really didn't bother me as I will definitely do more damage to these things over time than that. However, I wanted to email Brad and Jeff and let them know, just in case they needed to look into an issue with these being packaged before the ink dried. So I went over to their website and shot them a message letting them know it wasn't a big deal to me at all, and that I just wanted to make them aware. Within an hour, I had a response that just said "Fixed." I figured that meant they were aware of the issue and had corrected it on their end. Fast forward a couple of days later; I found a package in my mailbox from Nock Co. I was kind of puzzled because I had already received my stuff, so my first thought was they accidentally sent my order twice. I opened up the package and found 2 new Dot Dash notebooks and a handwritten note that read, "Lori, I hope these two are better. -Nock Co." This absolutely blew me away. The issue I had was so minor, but these guys took the time to drop a couple books in the mail to me along with a handwritten note - to me there is no better customer service than that. If their products didn't secure my future business (they did), then their customer service certainly did.
If that hasn't sold you on Nock Co., then I'll point out that these guys support world domination ;)
Seriously though, check out Nock Co., The Pen Addict and the Pen Addict Podcast. If you're a pen fan, you'll love all three!
Lookout 3 pen holster: $20, 6 colorways
DotDash pocket notebooks 3-pack: $9, 3.5" x 5.5"
Customer Service: Priceless