Jet Pens – A uniquely amazing online store

I discovered an online store about seven years ago that’s unique in so many ways and a model for customer-focused on-line retailing. They offer products unavailable elsewhere and provide a wealth of information to help you make intelligent buying decisions. It’s a great example of how a small company is able to compete with the behometh Amazon.

Jet Pens is an online store that began operations in 2005 selling stationary supplies, pens, ink refills, paper, art supplies, pencil cases, diaries, notebooks and much more. Many of the products are imported from Japan and are unavailable from other retailers.

Those of us that have travelled to Japan have likely experienced the huge variety of stationary supplies, office gadgets and paper goods Japan is known for. The Itoya store with its huge red paper clip logo located in the heart of the Ginza is a famous shopping attraction with its nine floors of office supplies spread among two buildings. JetPens reminds me of an online version of that store.

Japan has been a leader in innovating 0.5mm pencils and fineline pens, much as a necessity to write their very detailed Kanji characters. The Hi-Tec needle-point pen was a huge sensation for how smooth and how thin a line it wrote when it was introduced in the 1980s. It’s now evolved into the popular Hi-Tec C pen that writes with a line as thin as .3 mm.

Japanese designers also took the ring-bound Filofax-styled appointment book and created a huge industry with products and refills of all sizes and shapes, filling an entire floor of Itoya and several aisles of most department stores. Many of these products are available at JetPens, including one of my favorites, the Travelers Notebook System.

Jet Pens is not only an online retailer, but also a learning, research, and exploration site. There are scores of detailed guides and videos describing their products, comparing them with one another, based on the company’s extensive testing. There’s no effort to push one brand or another, no promotional listings or ads, just information that lay out the facts with incredible detail. Some of their guides are listed below.

Beginners’ GuidesTypes of Pens & InksPen Refills Ultimate GuideThe Difference Between Ballpoint, Gel, and Rollerball PensHow to Store PensJapanese Stationery: What’s the Big Deal?Guides: Fountain PensBeginner Fountain PensThe Best Fountain PensCleaning A Fountain PenHow to Write with a Fountain PenFountain Pen Filling Systems ExplainedHow to Install Ink CartridgesGuides: Gel PensThe Best Gel PensFine-Tip Gel PensWhite Gel PensQuick-Drying Gel PensGuides: Mechanical PencilsBeginner’s Guide to Mechanical PencilsThe Best Mechanical PencilsLead Guard PencilsMechanical Pencil LeadsGuides: Wooden PencilsThe Best Wooden PencilsGraphite Drawing PencilsThe Best Colored PencilsLead Grades ExplainedThe Best ErasersGuides: Multi PensThe Best Multicolor PensCustomizable Multi PensDIY Multi PencilsHow to Refill Lead for Multi PensGuides: PaperPaper Sizes ExplainedJapan’s Paper CultureThe Best NotebooksFountain Pen PaperUnique Japanese BindersGuides: PlannersDIY PlannersPlanner Stickers, Pens, Stamps, and MoreHow to Choose a PlannerHabit Tracking ToolsGuides: HighlightersThe Best HighlightersPastel HighlightersHighlight EffectivelyGuides: MarkersThe Best MarkersThe Best FinelinersThe Best Paint PensTechnical Drawing PensPermanent InksGuides: Arts & CraftsThe Best StampsThe Best Watercolor SuppliesThe Best SketchbooksThe Best ScissorsGuides: Calligraphy SuppliesBeginner Brush LetteringCalligraphy Pens & InksHow to Use a Glass Dip PenCalligraphy TipsThe Best Pens for 2022The Best Pencils for 2022The Best Pencil CasesThe Best Planners for 2022

Jet Pens also does something unusual that I’ve not experienced with any other retailer. With so many choices for a single product category, the company offers assortments of competitng products so you can compare for yourself. For example, you can purchase sets of gel pens, erasers, markers, fine line black pens, white gell pens, and much more.

There are also extensive in house and customer reviews. The in-house reviews compare similar peoducts and makes detailed recommendations based on how they will be used.

Jet Pens is located in San Jose and shares information about its operations with its customers, including the drawing of its headquarters heading this article. Shipping is provided at no charge on orders over $35.

Visiting the site is almost as much fun as visiting Itoya and discovering what’s new. And there’s always something new. For examply in it’s What’s New tab, there are more than 22,000 items!

by Phil Baker