Mike was kind enough to take some time out of his very busy schedule to tell me about how he came to be making pens out in Hawaii, what he’s up to currently and some exciting news about future plans.
There’s also an utterly amazing giveaway!
Tell me a little about your background
I grew up in Hector, NY (Finger Lakes Region) on a 100 acre grape farm. I have a degree in Graphic Design … I always liked designing and making stuff.
How did you come to be designing and making pens in Hawaii?
My “Big City” job at a behemoth liquor company changed directions and I was looking for something new. My wife grew up in Hawaii and we were ready to settle down and start a family. Shortly after moving here in 2006 I had a wild idea to put a V8 in a VW Vanagon and needed an adapter. The options are limited out here, but I was directed to a machinist that would take on such a random project. I walked through the front door of his machine shop and never left. I quit my job and started spending all my time learning the trade.
What led you to pens in particular?
I didn’t like the exposed threads on capped pens and the designer in me needed the accent colors. I saw pens getting well funded on Kickstarter and thought I might have a shot.
How important has Kickstarter been to your success?
VITAL — Getting an inside look at the market’s acceptance of a product is better known than guessed. Also, getting the funds up front helps execute the project properly. We’ve reinvested any extra profits for infrastructure, we have 3 or 4 lathes running most every day now.
How do you use pens and pencils day to day?
I use pencils quite a bit drawing out sketches of things that come to mind … Then ink them out with a TechLiner.
Apart from your own, do you have any particular favourite pens?
Sure, Machined Pens for sure. Prometheus Alpha, Karas Ink, Tactile Turn Movers and Shakers and the Darriel Caston D Rocket Titanium and Zirconium OVAL Bolt Pen Funding on Kickstarter currently.
Which of Ti2’s pens is your favourite?
TechLiner, Urban Camo Shorty presently…
What do you feel makes a good pen?
Magnets … I think a good pen has to unique. If you can bring a smile to someones face when they check out your pen … That’s awesome.
Are you planning new products?
Yes! We just launched the Ti2 Whar-Biner.
We are planning a new pen middle of 2015 and an electric tracked vehicle towards the end of the year.
Mike has very generously offered this amazing pen as a giveaway to one lucky reader:
It’s a Ti2 TechLiner Urban Camo Shorty and you have no idea how hard I’m finding it not to totally rig the giveaway and have it for myself. It’s a beautiful pen. You can read my review of the Acid-Washed Brass version here. (Note: I bought that pen myself and reviewed it before I approached Mike about this interview and giveaway. It was because I loved the pen so much that I got in touch with him.)
There are two ways of entering and you’re welcome to do both and double your chances.
The first way is to leave a comment here, telling me what your superpower would be if you were a superhero. (If you don’t tell me a superpower, your entry won’t count! Also, you’re all superheroes in my opinion!)
The closing date is 9am GMT on Sunday 22nd March. All the entries will be listed and numbered and I’ll pick a winner using random.org.
Thank you Mike for your time and for this giveaway.