It's pretty hard to believe that it has been over three years of writing The Clicky Post and creating pen holders for my Dudek Modern Goods brand! Thanks for all of the continued support and interest as it has been a really fun ride.
Sometimes when we read blogs or websites, the writer or person behind it is a faceless mystery to us. I thought it might be a good time to do a little post about myself and the experience of balancing being a blogger, small business owner, family man, my career... trying to be human.
A Little Bit About Me
So, for introductions, I'm Mike Dudek, a real, fairly normal guy (outside of pen obsession) who is the writer and creator of The Clicky Post.
When I started The Clicky Post my wife and I had one small son, but since then we've added two more girls to the mix and have a very busy household with three small kids. By day, I work for a software company digging into small business marketing strategy, but by night I write the blog and also run my own small business, Dudek Modern Goods.
The last few years have really been life changing to sound completely cliche, but the experience I've gained in figuring all of these different facets of life out has been pretty amazing. Really, really tough at times, but amazing nonetheless.
I'm originally from Michigan but moved out here to Arizona when I was in my early teens. I'm now a bit more of an Arizonan than Michigander at this point...
Starting the Blog
As long as I can remember I've always been fairly particular about pens. I'd say in the last ten years or so I began trying all of the "over the counter" office store pens I could get my hands on, but eventually gathered a really small collection of what I considered to be "nice" pens. Pens like the Retro 51 Tornado, Fisher Space Pen AG-7, Lamy Safari, and a couple of Karas Kustoms Render K's.
I decided that I needed an outlet to share my passion for pens that wouldn't also be driving my family and co-workers nuts. It was time for a blog. I had never written a blog but figured I'd give it a go.
I have been (and still am) a fan of the Pen Addict Podcast with Brad Dowdy and Myke Hurley and eventually took them up on that free Squarespace trial they are always talking about to start my site and The Clicky Post was born.
Just as a gesture of thanks to Brad and Myke for the great content they were making, I asked if I could send each of them a wooden pen stand (pre-Dudek Modern Goods) that I had made and they kindly agreed. When they received their pieces they kindly made mention of them on the podcast as well as gave a shout out to The Clicky Post which gave some exposure to my new little blog.
A few years in, I've had the chance to write a couple hundred reviews to share my thoughts/ideas about this passion we have which has been really fun and I've had the cool opportunity to see and use a lot of neat stuff.
My style on the blog I feel is a bit more centered on the experience of a pen; how it makes you feel, the story behind it, the small details in the design and not so much the "technical" specs like weight, length, chemical composition... none of that stuff. Well, not very often.
I try to post about every 10 days or so which is sometimes tough due to family time, career, side business... life. But that is what I strive for and I try and make the posts high quality so readers enjoy them.
My favorite part of writing posts is getting to take the pictures. More-so than writing the posts themselves, getting some spare moments to photograph when the lighting is right (usually when the 3 kids are awake) is one of the pieces that dictates my posting schedule. I would say I take pride in trying to see the small, sometimes unnoticed angles of the writing instruments we use.
Honestly, writing and keeping up with all of this has been tough at times considering everything. There have even been days where I ask myself if I should give it up, but I tend to push through those times and keep writing and shooting. Taking a look inside the psyche of a pen blogger...
Making Wooden Pen Stands
Early on as my collection began to grow I discovered that storage was going to be a "thing". My personality is not the type to allow myself to toss all of my nice pens into a cup together so I knew I needed a solution.
I've always been one to tinker and upon seeing that I couldn't buy exactly what I had in mind I decided to make something for myself. I'm by no means a minimalist, but I do enjoy simplicity and a Bauhaus "function before form" type of mentality. I believe there is an elegance to simple, functional things when done right. I knew I also wanted my pen holder(s) to be made of a dark wood.
After purchasing a piece of walnut from my local lumber yard, I set out in my workshop and made the first versions of what would later be called The Cube.
I posted about the pieces on the blog as well as on social media and very quickly had people reaching out requesting to purchase one. I knew I needed a place to offer them so I created a page on the blog called The Clicky "Trading" Post to start. Clever, right?...
My first two offerings were The Block and The Cube which remain some of the most popular pieces. The line has now expanded to 12 pieces of various shapes and sizes and I'm always working on new ones.
As the demand continued to grow I knew my little brand needed an identity. I turned to a graphic artist I followed on Instagram, Brandon Wilson of Contrabrand, who helped me put a name to the company as well as created my "cube" Dudek Modern Goods logo that I love.
Eventually I outgrew my single page storefront on The Clicky Post and created dudekmoderngoods.com as the new online headquarters for the brand. The support has been and is still so amazing and I've been able to ship my pieces all over the world which is such a cool experience. Thank you.
3 Year Anniversary Giveaway
To celebrate 3 years of doing Dudek Modern Goods, I thought a giveaway would be in order to say thanks for all of the continued support.
Rather than picking the prize, the winner will get to choose the piece they want from the store which I will make and send out when its ready!
Also, through next week up until June 17th, I'll offer up a special 3 year anniversary promo code for 10% off anything in the store using code THEBIG3 at checkout.
How to Enter the Giveaway (the "fine print"):
- Contest will run through Sunday, June 12th and will end at 11:59pm Arizona Time, USA
- To enter, leave a comment below about "What is your favorite pen/pencil today?" (limited to one entry per person; no cheating!)
- I will arrange the entries in numerical order and randomly select a winner. The winner will be announced on the blog on Monday, June 13th and will need to connect with me within a week to claim their prize.
Thanks for letting me take the opportunity to share a bit more about me and what the journey has been like creating the blog and my little business and thanks for being one of my readers/supporters. Its been pretty awesome.