2020 has been a very strange and difficult year for all of us to say the least. If someone told us in 2019 how 2020 would turn out, we would have asked them to put it in writing and sent it to the nearest sci-fi/horror story contest! But needless to say, many of us experienced extreme hardships both on a personal and even professional level.
Luckily, each of us individually here at ProtoPens, (and that is about all 5 of us), have managed to somehow dodge the virus. We took all of the recommended precautions, and we still do. We even took precautions with each and every one of your orders and disinfected both the box and its contents. And so far, so good.
However, like most of the small businesses around the world, ours was not spared too. We barely made it out! 2020 was supposed to be the year when we made big changes to our website and introduced some amazing new features. Unfortunately, as most of you, we too were in for a big surprise. For most of 2020 we saw 70% to even 80% less sales compared to previous years. As both you and us know, pens and fine writing are not a commodity we cannot live without for a while, they are probably one of the niches in the human beings creative tapestry. So we knew exactly what was going on and we didn't take it too heavy-heartedly. We were so close to going out of business that that option too was on the table for months.
Interestingly though, while pen sales plummeted, in the first two quarters of 2020 we saw extreme increase (5 fold) in our parts and refills orders. Since at this time our postal service had decided to bury its head in the sand, we had no other shipping options besides DHL. Despite these extremely high shipping rates, many of you opted to buy that certain part or a refill, often even at 5-10:1 shipping cost vs. product price ratio! This told us that while most of you were in lockdown, you wholeheartedly decided to tackle that "repair my pen" project you didn't had the time to do before. However, despite that parts and refills alone are not very sustainable to our business nor are intended as our primary revenue stream, we took extreme pride and urge with each and every one of your orders, knowing how much anticipated they are and how much joy and happiness it will bring to any of you if you successfully repaired your pen! We even made it a point to list as many parts and refills as we could source, so you can have a wider selection.
And surprisingly, those parts and refills orders, together with some pen orders from our amazing regular customers is what kept us going, keeping us afloat. We are not out of the woods yet, and we hope we can provide you with new amazing pens and service in the years to come. So THANK YOU so much to all of you who made an order with us this year, YOU helped ProtoPens stick around for a while longer!
& the Amazing PROTOPENS Team