One of my coworkers can remember the details of every meal he has eaten. If you ask him what present he took home from the staff Christmas party in 2007, he won't have a clue, but he will know what kind of chicken was served and every dessert available and the dessert he liked the most.
I can't remember what I ate for lunch two days ago, but I distinctly remember the hot pink fountain pen I got for my 10th birthday. I still have and will forever cherish the beautiful, weighty silver ballpoint pen my dad bought home from a business trip when I was 13. To this day, I hold a grudge against the classmate who broke my Sensa Cloud 9 after history class during my sophomore year of high school.
For a long time, my dad was the only person I knew who enjoyed pens—and notebooks and planners and file folders—as much as I do. We bonded in the pen aisle of the local office supply store as easily as we bonded on the baseball field or watching favorite cartoons. Shortly after I started blogging, though, I started making friends online. And one of the best parts about the Internet is that it makes it so easy to connect with people who share your interests and passions and who don't think you're at all crazy for having more pen cups than beverage cups in your home
Fast forward to September 2011 when I got a follow and a tweet from @EuroPaper.
@rachelskirts Thx for the follow! We're huge @lotr fans too & just finished the extended versions for the 4th time #weneedtogetbacktowork :)— EuroPaper (@EuroPaper) September 12, 2011
@rachelskirts Too true! We just launched last week; so exciting!! & yes, we tend to abuse the privilege of exclamation pts (!!)— EuroPaper (@EuroPaper) September 12, 2011
It was the start of a beautiful romance. I started buying products from their site. They featured a link to my site on the sidebar of their blog. I signed up for and won a free Moleskine planner in one of their first giveaways. They highlighted one of my blog posts in a link round-up.
Then they joined Instagram and posted a photo of some misplaced inventory with the caption, "Look what we just found! What should we do with these extra journals?" As a joke, I called dibs on the cat-themed journal. As a not joke, they sent it to me. It's like they have a step-by-step guide posted in the breakroom entitled "How to Win Rachel's Heart."
At that point, I was so enamoured with everything about European Paper Company (EPC) that I was singing their praises at every available opportunity. Eventually, my dad subscribed to their weekly newsletters and shortly thereafter became an insufferable know-it-all about their selection of notebooks. Of course, he insists on buying two of every kind, one for each of us to try, so I really can't complain.
He also entered a giveaway, one I didn't even know about, and was one of ten winners. When he submitted his mailing address to EPC to claim the prize, he mentioned that I was his daughter and joked that I would likely be jealous of his new notebook. So they sent me a notebook, too. (Also also, they wrote this charming comment and this charming tweet, both of which thoroughly warmed my cold, dead pirate heart.)
I cannot say enough nice things about the European Paper Company and the people who work there, but I do need to end this blog post eventually. To sum up: these people are doing everything right in my book. They are incredibly generous, not only with product giveaways but also in how they treat other people in the industry, fellow pen and paper enthusiasts online, and their customers. They have a genuine passion for the stuff they sell. They embrace everything related to social media and use it not just to promote their own products but also to form actual relationships. It's almost a bonus, then, that they sell quality products.
They have not sponsored this post in any way. I have been meaning to write up this love story for at least a year. I think it's important that they know how much I appreciate what they do, and I think it's equally important to document what a stellar business-consumer relationship looks like in the digital age. Thanks for being so cool, European Paper Company. I look forward to being a customer and gushing fan for a long time.