Some large retailers offer their own “brands” – products made with logos, company identification, colouring, or other identifying associations, manufactured by external firms.
Tell me if I am wrong, but pencil talk has not yet featured such a “house brand”. The reason is simple – the many pencils offered by grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, etc. are typically third rate, generally offering inferior finishes, scratchy leads, and little or no information about the pencil’s origin.
Ito-ya is a top retail stationer by any standard, their main store offering an incredible eleven stories of stationery shopping in Tokyo’s Ginza district. This is their house brand pencil.
Made in a wide array of finishes, the one we see here is matte grey. Picked from an online site, I’m wondering why I chose such a conservative example – perhaps two dozen different colour/finish combinations are available. Yet plain as the grey matte finish is, the quality shines through.
Round, the pencil has very minimal markings – “ITO-YA” in gold lettering.
The cap – in black – has a rubbery appearance. I asked myself if it might be an eraser. It is – a good one! With some force, it can be removed from the pencil.
The looks are great, and the pencil writes with a dark, rich line. It is a quality offering. I am suddenly recalling that round pencils from Japan seem to be far less common than hexagonal ones.
The pencil answers a frequent question here – is there a high quality round pencil? Yes there is – the Ito-ya.
The eraser format is an innovation – high quality, supporting the lines and flow of the pencil, with no metal ferrule required.
Overall, we have an amazing example of what a “house brand” can be.