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The write choice: Submarine Pens is tapping the market with scented pens

Mumbai-based Submarine Pens has made significant strides in the Indian and global market. It caters mainly to B2B players, but is eyeing retail customers with its range of scented pens.

The write choice: Submarine Pens is tapping the market with scented pens

Thursday February 23, 2023 , 4 min Read

Who knew pens could be more than just a writing tool? Submarine Pens has been working on that with its new offering: fragrant pens.

The Mumbai-based company’s new range of fragrant pens includes a unique coffee collection. Launched earlier this year, the collection features Americano, Cappuccino, Mocha, Espresso, Latte, and Macchiato modes, designed to give users a sensory experience with the aroma of coffee beans while writing.

The range has been created by Shalin Gandhi, Founder of Submarine Pens, who has been in the pen business for over 25 years.

Submarine Pens started its journey with the metal pens business in 1995. It has since then made significant strides in the Indian pen market and has established its presence in Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and New Zealand.

The coffee collection is a new touch to its wide range of metal pens, including the crystal series, doctor clip pens, fountain series, mini pens, pens with pen drives, and more. 

Catering majorly to the B2B space, Gandhi says the personalisation and gifting market for pens has grown significantly in the last decade. Capitalising on this growth, he envisions reaching Rs 100 crore in revenue in the next three years. The company’s revenue currently stands at Rs 28 crore. 

Submarine Pens

Range of coffee pens by Submarine Pens

The metal pen business

Metal pens may be a niche product, but Gandhi believes it is easier to start a metal pens business as the cost of investment is lower as compared to plastic pens.

“Plastic pens are mass-produced items, requiring machinery that can produce large quantities. With metal pens, the demand is less compared to plastic pens, and so the machinery required is not as vast.”

Gandhi started Submarine Pens with an investment of Rs 10 lakh. Before that, he worked with his father in his plastic pen business, where he gained basic know-how of the industry.

Initially, he sold pens in the wholesale market as the retail market was not static, and he faced a lot of ups and downs. Gradually, he learned that metal pens have a lot of innovation possibilities. He introduced different styles of pens while manufacturing as an ODM for other brands like IGP, Vistaprint, etc. 

By 2012, Submarine Pens was in full swing, and Gandhi ventured into the corporate gifting space. 

He says that Submarine Pens operates in a niche category, but does not offer luxury pens. However, he claims that no B2B player, especially international companies that it competes with, sells with with the quality offered by Submarine Pens under Rs 500. 

In the B2B range, the company’s products are available between the price points of Rs 15 to Rs 1,500. In the retail segment, it is present in all outlets of Archies, one of India’s largest gift stores.

In 2019 too, Gandhi had introduced fragrant pens (strawberry and lemon) for corporate clients. But, it has entered the retail market with this offering for the first time with coffee pens.

The future of pens

Digitisation in offices, colleges, and even schools may have hit the demand for pens. But Gandhi highlights that the demand for customised pens has seen a big jump in the last seven to eight years.

“If we talk about growth, my turnover doubled during COVID-19, and we are on the rising curve,” he says. 

Interestingly, the pharma sector is one of the major contributors to this growth as medical companies and representatives prefer gifting customised pens to doctors. Financial institutions, too, are another sector where the company sees huge demand. 

At present, Submarine Pens has a range of more than 120 SKUs, available at all A+ stationery and gift shops in Delhi and Archies all over India. 

The company sells around 15,000 pens a day and soon plans to launch a NASA collection, with an unlimited shelf life and an air-pressured refill. 

Gandhi says he is focusing on increasing the company’s global retail presence to grow the business further.

Edited by Suman Singh