For any given product, there is a lot more to it than just the piece that ends up in our hands. There are people's dreams, designs, ideas, lives, and hard work behind every one of them. I enjoy learning about the people behind the products I use and review, but every now and then there's a story that is really exceptional.
That's the case with Schneider products. What makes Schneider awesome isn't just the products--though those are great, too--but their partnership with an American distributor called Stride.
Stride is a small, woman-owned business (WBE) that is devoted to employing and enriching the lives of adults with intellectual delays. The company was founded by Barbara Brennan and is now run by her daughter Kerry Brennan Bertram. They provide a workplace that emphasizes their employees' strengths and gives them opportunities for advancement within the company.
Stride has partnered with a number of companies, including Schneider, and now all Schneider pens sold in the US are packaged, labeled, shipped, and sometimes assembled by Stride employees. So, when you purchase a Schneider pen, you're also supporting a company that's doing a great deal of good in the world.
If that's not reason enough (it is), those pens you're getting are also awesome products.
The ballpoint pens are called the Slider Rave XB. They're retractable, with a solid, satisfying click. The body is ergonomic and rubberized and the clip is one of the best ever. It's strong, well-anchored, flexible, and wide enough to clip to a thick book cover. The ink is waterproof, fast-drying, and available in black, blue, red, and green. The pen is refillable with the long Slider 755 XB refill. The 1.4 mm stainless steel tip uses Viscoglide Technology, so the pen writes very smoothly, almost like a gel pen. It's a fantastic workhorse pen and should write for a whopping 2.5 miles. I wish I could stash these in every office supply closet in the world.
Another Schneider offering is the Xpress Fineliner. These have the same rubberized ergonomic shape and awesome clip as the Slider Rave, but have a cap closure and the familiar felt tip. The tip is .8 mm and protected by a metal casing. The ink is waterproof and available in red, black, blue, green, purple, and pink. The ink's claim to fame is that it will not dry up even if left uncapped for a few days. These tips really glide over the page and give you a smooth, crisp line. My only gripe is that I wish there were more colors, and then I would want all of them.
Fortunately, when I need a pop of color, Schneider has the Link-it markers. These are a total marvel. It looks like a set of mini-markers--half 1 mm felt tip and half .4 mm fineliner. And it is--but then they transform into a mech supermarker. The back ends have a clever and unique snap system that securely links them together. I've seen markers that link together before, but not like this. They look like normal pen ends, but if you press down the spring-loaded green sleeve, you can see a yellow locking mechanism. This is some really cool engineering and they are way fun to play with. And, as with other Schneider products, the writing experience is fantastic. Both tips write wonderfully and there's a great variety of color. They come in a handy easel stand. The rubberized triangle profile is comfortable to hold so you can color to your heart's content.
Schneider products are also extremely environmentally friendly. They are made almost entirely from bio-based materials, Co2 neutral, and carry the prestigious Environmental Management System (EMAS) verification.
If you want to do good by your fellow humans, your planet, and your pen cup, I'm not sure you could do better that this. I am totally and happily won over.
(Stride Inc. provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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