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Article: Pencraft the Boutique: A complete history

The Pencraft the Boutique store front as viewed from the junction of Gay's Arcade and Adelaide Arcade.

Pencraft the Boutique: A complete history

Pencraft was born on July 15, 1968, but our history begins long before.  

Colin Drewer, one of the business’ founders, was employed by Brown & Dureau from 1946 to 1963. Brown & Dureau were the Australian agents responsible for the original ‘Biro’ pen. 

After 17 years with B&D, Colin accepted an offer from Parker-Eversharp, now simply known as Parker, to become the South Australian State Manager.  

Once settled into the role, Colin set about his own personal goal of teaching himself the intricacies of prestige pens.  

As the years progressed, he mastered the skills to diagnose and repair them using the Parker Pen Service Manuals he gained access to. 

Twenty-two years after entering the pen industry, Colin gained such a wealth of experience and knowledge he felt the time was finally right to pursue his lifelong dream, opening his very own pen store. 

Now 50 years old, Colin, alongside his wife Jean, opened a boutique pen store called Pencraft, located in shop 30 Regent Arcade. 

Using his wealth of experience and knowledge gained over his career, Colin repaired and serviced a huge variety of pens in house while showcasing and selling beautiful pens he trusted in. 

The boutique’s floor was stocked with a wide variety of pens, inks, and refills from global brands like Montblanc, Parker, Waterman, Lamy, Cross, Sheaffer, Biro and Dasi Shorthand Pens. The store also carried a range of cigarette lighters, leather goods and gift wares. 

After 11 years of operation, Jean and Colin’s daughter, Jennifer ‘Jenni’ Fielder, and her former husband, Murray, joined the Pencraft team. 

As the team grew with the business, so did the need for space. The first move was in 1984 to 32 Regent Arcade, a much larger premise only a few shops down. 

Four years later, Pencraft found its new home on the corner of Adelaide and Gay’s Arcade, where it still resides today at shop 29. 

Jean and Colin Drewer retired from their boutique in 1983, but their daughter Jenni continued the business. 

In 2006 the business was purchased by current family owners, the Thorps. 

The Thorp family sought to elevate the level of luxury offered to Adelaide based pen lovers, expanding the range of special and limited-edition pens from brands such as Montblanc and Graf von Faber-Castell.  

Pencraft is now a destination for pen collectors across all levels, with clients no longer having to travel interstate to access highly regarded editions such as the Montblanc 4810 Master of Art collection and Graf von Faber-Castell’s similarly limited-edition Pen of the Year.  

In 2020, during the COVID pandemic, Pencraft solidified its place in a changing environment by updating the Montblanc offering to feature an expanded range of premium leather goods and launching an online store.  

Handcrafted in Europe, mostly in Florence, Italy, Montblanc Leather goods cater for a range of styles, with a commonality of exceptional craftsmanship and quality.  

One of the biggest modernisations has been complementing our bricks and mortar store with an online store front, which enables us to reach pen lovers across the country and is a growing market for the business.  

While the passion for writing instruments has been consistent for the past 55 years, the new ownership has demonstrated that even in these increasingly digital times, there is a demand for quality, personalized service, and fine stationery.  

Valuing the importance of community, Pencraft is now involved with the Pelikan Hub, a worldwide event bringing pen-lovers together; as well as offering workshops in journalling and fountain pen use.  

We currently stock a range of brands we trust in, facilitate repairs for pens new and old, and offer expert advice passed down from Pencraft team members before us.

Written by Leah Keren & Jana Clifford