A New Noodler’s
I’ve decided to end my 2022 DC Pen Show series here. While I have a couple more posts peripherally related to the DC show, I’m going to post them as “stand-alone” entries.
Straight up, this post has caused me some trouble. First, I wasn’t sure it was something I should write. Then, I didn’t like how I’d written it. Then I questioned if I should post it. Now, well, I think it’s about as good as it’s going to get.
Because this is a contentious topic, I’d like to remind everyone reading that all comments on my blog go through manual review and approval. That isn’t unique to this post.
Now, then, for those who don’t know about the Noodler’s situation, I’ll provide a short history.
Nathan Tardiff, owner of Noodler’s has long been known to be very opinionated, especially regarding the government and politics. He has a history of letting those politics into the Noodler’s brand, primarily in ink bottle labels and product names. On top of that, he has chosen insensitive and inappropriate names for his products beyond the realm of politics.
As I understand it, this has caused quite a bit of drama over the years. However, for some reason, that drama exploded into scandal this year.
In February, the Noodler’s show-exclusive ink was pulled within a short while of the announcement. If my memory serves me correctly, Nathan issued a poorly-received apology, soon followed by a slightly better received apology, and things died down for a while.
Then, there was an even bigger scandal around a different ink in May. Several retailers dropped Noodler’s from their inventory, some calling it a permanent decision, others acknowledging it was temporary, dependent on Noodler’s making changes. A the height of the scandal, Nathan issued another apology stating he would be changing bottle labels and product names and that he’d be donating $3,600 to the Anti-Defamation League. Announcements were made shortly thereafter about the product name changes. Some of the most notable include Apache Sunset to Southwest Sunset, Dragon’s Napalm to Dragon’s Fire, and Rome Burning to Rome.
And that pretty much brings us to the DC Pen Show.
What I Learned at the Show
I can hear the questions now, “what does this have to do with the DC Pen Show?” Well, Luxury Brands of America, Noodler’s distributor, used the DC show for a soft relaunch. They had Noodler’s products available for sale at their table.
Carol and Bryce (mother and son) Gillet, shared their plans to rehabilitate Noodler’s’ image. The new product names and labels are only the beginning. Their plan is to take Noodler’s back to its roots, back to why Nathan originally started the company.
To that end, they had “For the love of ink and catfish” stickers and a great blue shirt that read “This shirt was white but…” on the front and “I filled my pen with Noodler’s baystate ink,” on the back. There’s another shirt potentially in the works, too.
While speaking with Bryce and Carol, I learned that the infamous “stinky” pens from Noodler’s are specifically made from that material because it’s biodegradable. Which, honestly, is pretty cool and should be better advertised.
But that wasn’t all I learned about the Noodler’s situation while at the DC show. Unfortunately, the rest of what I learned left me feeling disillusioned by the pen community.
I’ve mentioned many times how wonderful the pen community is. We have rallied together to accomplish some truly amazing things. I’ve seen us bolster members of the community in fabulous ways. And I have yet to personally meet any jerks, although I’ve spoken with one online. Unfortunately, this fabulous experience made what I learned even more shocking.
During the Noodler’s scandal, people were sending death threats and telling people to kill themselves. I can’t believe there is anyone that vile in the pen community. I am disgusted that there is. I understand that people were upset by the situation, but it is NEVER OK to descend to that kind of behavior.
I’m purposefully keeping my recounting vague as I don’t think it’s really my place to share details. However, I was so shocked, I had to mention it. I will say that I trust the veracity of what I heard, as well as the source. For anyone who knows more of the story, please don’t share it in the comments.
So, Where Do I Stand?
I’m willing to bet, after reading this post, people will be curious to know where I stand on Noodler’s as a company and their products. I’m all for giving people the opportunity to show they’ve changed. I’m also open to a company revamping. However, I’m not a fan of Noodler’s products.
I gave up on Noodler’s years ago. I have issues with the inconsistencies in the inks. And, I despise the Noodler’s pen smell.
That said, I won’t advocate for a Noodler’s boycott, nor will I advocate for the community to give the company a second chance. This is definitely a situation where each person needs to decide for themself if they would like to continue purchasing Noodler’s products, and, as a community, we need to respect each person’s decision.
Note: I’m having difficulty putting my thoughts into words here. I hope you find my writing coherent in the last few paragraphs.
Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you found my post interesting. I don’t have additional comments this time. I’m pretty sure everyone already has their opinions on this subject.