International Purchases vs Local Purchases

Hello ūüôā Today I am going to discuss how I calculate reasonable international purchases vs local ones.

If at all possible I prefer to buy my inks/pens locally, you receive it faster, don’t have to pay additional VAT and/or import tax, not to mention the shipping fees. Unfortunately, the ink/pen that you want is not always available or is ridiculously priced – and in those cases importing it tends to be my only option.

When importing I look at the following points:

Is the product available via a South African company?

No – Import is the only option.

Yes РIs the product priced the same/similarly as in other countries? IE: £5.95 vs $12.95 vs R139.00

Yes – Purchase locally.
No – Will the product work out cheaper to import myself?
Yes – Import product myself.
No – Purchase locally.

In the example below I will be using Diamine Red Dragon, this example includes delivery to either the nearest post office or straight to your door.

Want It All

(Local Website – that has been around for ages)

(Door to Door Delivery)

Diamine Red Dragon 80ml x 1 = R 1583.00

Want It All Payment Screen

Want It All Payment Screen

Write Gear (Local Website – recent addition)
(Door to Door Delivery)

Diamine Red Dragon 80ml x 1 = R 189.00

Write Gear Pay Screen

Write Gear Pay Screen

Pure Pens (UK)
(To the nearest Post Office)

Diamine Red Dragon 80ml x 1 = £ 9.87

£ 9.87 x R 17.56(current exchange rate) = R 174.76
+ 14% VAT = R 199.22
+ R 30 Sapo Handling Fee = R 229.22
+ R 22.92 10% Customs Tarrif (Even though technically fountain pen ink is is duty free – but just in case)

= R 252.14

Pure Pens Pay Screen

Pure Pens Pay Screen

So in this case I would buy the product from Write Gear, if the colour or brand I wanted was not available then Pure Pens would be my next go to option. I’m pretty sure all of you can see why I wouldn’t even consider Want It All…

I should mention, international websites tend to ship to South Africa extremely fast. Additionally the packages also arrive in South Africa in a few days. The problem is our very own Post Office and Customs. If there are no strikes and backlogs I have had parcels from Pure Pens arrive in about ten days. On the other had I recently waited seventy six days for a parcel to be processed by SAPO.

I know I mention Write Gear in almost every post – but i’m really not sponsored by them or anyone else promise… They just happen to¬†be¬†exactly what the fountain pen community in South Africa needs.

Hope some of you found this useful. Hmmm, wonder if there will ever be enough interest for group buys in SA.



A new website in town: Write Gear

Soooo… I know I said my first review would be the Lamy Safari, but I just received a package from a new company on the web and decided to talk about them first. The companies name is: Write Gear – you can find them on, they are a new SA online store specializing in fountain pens and ink.


If you would like to find out more about the company and how it started click below:


I am not going to start with the products in the box but rather the actual box the products where delivered in. ūüôā (I’m mean that way) –¬†The parcel was delivered via Dawn Wing courier service.
Dawn Wing packaged parcel.

Dawn Wing packaged parcel.

Inside the dawn wing plastic bag is a plain brown cardboard box with the Write Gear logo on each side, as well as a Write Gear sealing sticker that you need to ‘break through’ before you get to see inside.

Write Gear 'sealing' sticker.

Write Gear ‘sealing’ sticker.


The Write Gear box logo. (Love it - so understated)

The Write Gear box logo. (Love it – so understated)

Your first look inside reveals a hand written note followed by…. bubbles lol. Well ¬†actually bubble wrap, lots and lots of bubble wrap. (It’s a good thing)

First view of box content - a hand written note from Write Gear.

First view of box content – a hand written note from Write Gear.

Box with lots of bubble wrap.

Box with lottts of bubble wrap.

The note is a really nice touch, not only does it show you that some-one has taken the time to hand write a note – but you know its personal because it has your name on the top and a reference to the actual products in the box. Inside the note I also found a Write Gear sticker.

In my opinion the best part about a hand written note – is the fact that you get to see how a particular ink looks like. In this case Sheaffer Skrip Green.This allows you to decide if you would like to buy it, or if you already have something similar in your current collection.
Hand written note using Sheaffer Skrip - Green.

Hand written note using Sheaffer Skrip – Green.

And finally – the actual products. Each product comes individually wrapped in bubble wrap and colourful washi-tape, you also get sweets in my case strawberry SuperC. I ate these while contemplating if I should rip the bubble wrap apart, or pretend to be civilized and find a pair of scissors.
Write gear haul bubble wrapped.

Write gear haul bubble wrapped.

Once all the bubble wrap was taken care of, I was left with this:
Write gear unwrapped stationery haul. (Lamy, Pilot, Jinhao, Moleskine, ink vials)

Write gear unwrapped stationery haul. (Lamy, Pilot, Jinhao, Moleskine, ink vials)

Each of these products will get there own review in the coming weeks so i’m not going to go into detail. A few things worth mentioning though is that: Currently the website has some introductory offers running. These offers are great value for money and an easy way to find out if fountain pens are for you.

Also at the time of posting they have stock of the Lamy Limited Edition(2014) Neon Coral Fountain Pen, Superbalist sold out of these really quickly Рso if you where hoping to get one and missed out, they can be found here:

I also received an additional ink vial – I must say these are pure genius. It allows you to try out an ink before you commit to buying a whole bottle. To my knowledge the only other web company that does this is in America.

Dealing with Write Gear has been an utter pleasure and I look forward to my next order.

Weekly Word: schadenfreude


An Introduction

Hi all ūüôā

Don’t you just hate it when you google something awesome, get super excited about it – then google some more, only to find out that its not available in here in SA? (Story of my life…)

In addition, some South African site’s that do offer the product¬†turn a $3-95 platinum preppy pen into a R290-00 pen with a ‘saving’ of R165-00. Seriously? A saving? Its a $3-95 pen at retail, not even cost! Oh and btw this excludes local delivery. I can import it myself for less – and that would include delivery.

So I decided to start a blog, that would provide reviews of stationery products that can either be bought in South Africa, or can be imported without much trouble and insane shipping fees.

First on my list – one of the easiest fountain pens to get hold of in South Africa, and without doubt – one of the most recognizable fountain pens in the world… The Lamy Safari.


Weekly Word: schadenfreude

Any guesses bright sparks?