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A guide to help the average man... look less average

A New Venture

Mark Kwak

Source: YouTube @TLDToday

Source: YouTube @TLDToday

It's funny... half my recent posts are "what have I been up to lately" as opposed to real menswear advice. I suppose it's a sad byproduct of putting my blog on the back burner for quite some time now. One quick menswear bit - Adidas is killing it right now with their Ultra Boosts and NMD products!

Either way, I figure it might be worth it to share with you what I have been working on, and why I've been so MIA.

Over the past eight months or so, after I shot my short film and submitted it to film festivals, I've been working on a project that I think will become a real business sometime in the near future. I've had a lot of creative projects over the years to quench my artistic thirst: this blog, my podcast, my short film... But I've never done anything like this - a true business venture.

Let me give you the whole spiel:

I feel like in the last several years, particularly in San Francisco, I've been seeing a trend of folks upgrading their everyday items. Whether it be their water bottles, watches, laptops, sunglasses, notebooks, etc., people are starting to care more about the quality and aesthetic of every physical item they possess.

Maybe it's because these things help match or elevate one's lifestyle and aesthetic. Maybe it's because people want their small everyday interactions with things to be pleasant and not purely utilitarian. Either way, something is happening in this space, and you don't have to just take my word for it - just look at the marketplace!

S'well water bottles are incredibly popular, but really what are they? Simply a well-designed water bottle that costs a cool $30-40 and keeps your drink cold. No added tech, frills, functionality... The same with Moleskine notebooks. What do they do better than other notebooks? Not much, but they do look better, have an air of quality around them, and feel great in the hand.

Source: Instagram @mypaperprojects

Source: Instagram @mypaperprojects

And these items adorn the millions of beautiful Instagram photos of desks and coffee tables around the world. Yet in almost every one of those pictures, one item seems to remain wholly un-upgraded. That item is almost always included in those pictures, but rarely is it anything more than low quality and forgettable. And that item is the pen.

And I ask myself, why is that the case? Maybe because pens are everywhere and virtually free so why upgrade? Maybe because we're going more and more digital so pens don't matter as much? Maybe because nice, expensive pens seem like a complete waste of money?

In any case, after much deliberation and thought, I've come to the conclusion that actually, there is no overarching reason why people don't upgrade their pen the same as any other one of their items. Sure, people have told me plenty of their personal reasons, but none of those objections so far have swayed me from thinking there's a gap in the market on this one. So my goal for the past several months has been to develop a pen that might change peoples' minds on this very topic.

So there it is- as basic as it might sound- I am starting a pen company. And boy it's been a long and windy road so far, but I'd love to share my process with you guys on Simpler Man. Stay tuned for what I've been going through in this crazy process.