Truphae isn’t an ordinary online shopping destination. A mecca for gentlemen and collectors, those who know luxury and seek to find the best source to shop the latest in fountain pens, cigar accessories, lighters and small leather goods – it really is the best. Founded by Chris Henline, Truphae has blossomed into a go-to destination for those “in the know” that are looking for the best of the best in writing instruments and more.
What we love about Truphae is their attention to detail. Collectors can rely on them to curate items to their liking. They offer their customers something called, The Ink-redible Pen Box, a fun and playful box that is personalized to your budget and liking. In it, you can find ink, a fountain pen, paper and more – all tailored to what you want. Truphae can create a one-off gift like this, or you can even request a monthly shipping.
Truphae knows what’s best in the industry and they offer such names as: S.T. Dupont, Visconti, David Oscarson, Davidoff, Montegrappa and Mont Blanc. We spoke with Mr. Henline about Truphae; its beginnings, operation and future.
IC: Why did you start Truphae?
CH: One of my best friends in college introduced me to Montblanc, and the amazing writing instruments they offer for sale, and I was instantly hooked. Truphae started as a way to earn a little supplemental income while I pursued a career in investment banking. I was blessed to work on Wall Street through an internship, tied with a continuing education program. After the internship ended, I began struggling to interview for firms in New York while being located in my hometown in North Carolina. Because of this, I eventually decided to take a leap of faith and pursue my own company, Truphae, full time.
IC: Who is the Truphae customer?
CH: We cater to collectors…anyone who is enthused by writing instruments or cigar accessories. My hope is to cater to collectors in all income levels, by offering fountain pens from under $20, all the way up to over $50k. The aim is to have something for everyone – and to treat everyone as though they are our best customers. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we love for a living. Each and every customer plays an important part in growing this company.
IC: What is unique about Truphae’s offerings online?
CH: We like to offer a personal experience by making sure to communicate with each customer to the best of our ability. We’re also sick of the stock, white background photos online today. Each item has an effect on our emotions, so I feel as though our images should convey these feelings. We try to have genuine, romanticized photos of as many of our products as we can, so that the customers can truly see what their dream item will look like in a real life situation. We also offer a rewards program through the website, so you can earn rewards on purchases, newsletter signups, referrals, and even your birthday! Spend rewards points on merchandise with the click of a button. Our customers reward us with their loyalty, so it’s only right of us to repay the favor!
IC: Describe the Ink-redible Box
CH: The Ink-redible Box was an idea that was developed over the course of two months following the Washington D.C. Fountain Pen Supershow. We wanted to provide a unique experience to our customers that they couldn’t get elsewhere. The idea is that you pay a monthly fee, and receive a fountain pen-themed subscription box to your door every month – it’s like a monthly gift to yourself! There are a lot of enthusiasts that enjoy all types and colors of ink, so we offer the Inkmeister. This box is $25/month, and features a surprise ink bottle, along with a sample fountain pen. You can test out the ink with the budget fountain pen prior to putting it in a more expensive pen. For the adventuresome, we offer the Penthusiast. With this box, it is 100% tailored to each individual customer. Buyers can choose from fountain pens, ballpoints, rollerball pens, ink bottles, pen sleeves, and notepads. They can also make special requests, so they can tell us if there are any brand preferences, color preferences, nib size preferences, etc. This allows us, not only to tailor each box to the customer’s desires, but also to learn more about our customers’ desires so that we can grow our offerings to cater to their tastes. The Penthusiast comes with at least $100 worth of merchandise, so it’s also a fantastic deal! For the real connoisseur, we have the Collector. This is the same setup, but provides at least $200 worth of merchandise, and a coupon code for 10% off web prices (sale items included) as long as the subscription is active. Brands included in the Ink-redible Box include: Aurora, BENU, Pilot, Platinum, LAMY, Noodlers, Visconti, Esterbrook, Robert Oster and many more to come, soon! The more people invest in this idea, the more variety we are able to offer in the future!
IC: What are the ultimate must-haves in 2019?
CH: In the world of lighters, S.T. Dupont has some magnificent offerings coming in 2019, including a spectacular tribute to Monet, which also includes a limited edition pipe. In the realm of fountain pens, we believe the Ink-redible Box is a must-have, as it allows you to try out brands and items that you may otherwise never get to try! As for brand offerings, we are very excited to see what new editions come out in 2019, but you can be sure that there will be some unique items that you just cannot live without!
IC: What is your S.T. Dupont favorite?
CH: My current favorite is a couple years old, but it is the Phoenix Renaissance limited edition. It’s absolutely stunning in it’s deep red and gold color combination. The symbolism of the Phoenix is very important to the Truphae brand as well, as we literally started from nothing – our first inventory purchase was one pen that we purchased with a credit card. It has grown from this to thousands of items in just 3 years!
IC: What are your plans for Truphae in the future?
CH: I hope to continue adding new brand offerings to Truphae. We also have some exciting projects in the works to produce our very own ultra limited editions that will be available to our loyal customers in 2019. We will also be running promotions with the Ink-redible Box, where subscribers to the Collector Box will be entered to win some very valuable pens. It’s been an exciting 3 years, and I can only imagine what life has in store for us in the next years to come!
Truphae is unique, special and you know when shopping here that they’ve done the work for you. They’re experts who only offer the best – including this S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 Atelier Blue and Palladium lacquer lighter. After all of our research, it’s evident that there is no better place to shop for these important, beautiful accessories.