At Levenger it is because of the finely crafted objects that come to us from Japan that we feel such a strong connection.
The Japanese have a rich tradition in calligraphy and a special love for fountain pens. They make some of the world’s finest pens, including Sailor, which is known for its remarkably flexible gold nibs. Their venerable craftsmen make very fine points, cherished for Japanese Kanji, their language pictograms, and then make ultra-broad nibs—the ones they call the music nibs, and that delight note-card writers like me.
The same company that makes popular disposable Pilot pens also makes the retractable nib fountain pens known as the Namiki Vanishing Points.
We were able to make contact with the Namiki/Pilot factory shortly after the earthquake and tsunami. All their employees were safe, and there was no damage to their factory. They were dealing with occasional power blackouts, a minor inconvenience in the face of such an enormous catastrophe.
We also know that the small family tannery that produces the hides for our popular Carezza leathers is a safe distance from the devastated Sendai. These hides travel from the tannery to another family business in China, where some of the world’s most skilled leather workers transform them into bags and wallets so soft to the touch, and yet so durable and long-lasting. These leather goods then travel across the ocean to a third family business, Levenger, where they arrive at our loading docks in Memphis.
Somehow the global economy becomes much more personal when you know some of the families that make these businesses what they are.
Our family—the Levenger family—was lucky, in that all of the people in Japan we know and are honored to work with are safe. We hope the same is true for any family, friends, or colleagues that you know there as well.
We are all more connected than we know.