Jul 22, 20161599 views

Massdrop Profile: Meet Liz Mullen!

Our Massdrop Profile series introduces you to the people behind the communities you love. They’re responsible for sourcing products, communicating with members, and making our site an awesome place to hang out. You might recognize them from Discussions you follow—they’re the smiling avatars next to those tiny Massdrop logos—and now you can get to know the personalities behind the handles.
This time, we’re talking to Liz Mullen, who leads the Writing team at Massdrop. First, we’ll let you read a little about her background and passions. Then, we’ll turn the mic over for a community Q&A.
What do you do at Massdrop?
Play with pens all day!
When did you start getting into the writing community? What got you interested?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved stationery and writing instruments. I started hoarding Sanrio pens and pencils at a young age, and grew into paint markers and brush pens as I got more into art in grade school.
My mom has always loved using fountain pens, but I never tried using one until I was recovering from a motorcycle accident in which I injured my dominant hand pretty badly. Since fountain pens can glide on paper and lay down ink without any pressure required, it was much easier for me to write with them.
What was your first fountain pen?
My first fountain pen was a Platinum Preppy. The Preppy was a great starter for me because it came in a bunch of different ink colors, and had two nib sizes to choose from at the time. I also really liked the clear body, and have since built up my collection of demonstrator pens—they’re my fave!
Tell us about your writing carry. Do you use a different set at work than you do at home or on the go?
I have so many pens and notebooks to choose from that I’m constantly changing up my writing carry. I definitely use different sets for work, home, and EDC. Currently, my combo at home is the Pilot Falcon with a soft-fine nib and the Maruman Mnemosyne A5 grid notebook. At work, I use the TWSBI Diamond 580 Demonstrator with an extra-fine nib and the Rhodia Meeting Book 90. When I’m on the go, I use the Kaweco Liliput Fireblue with an extra-fine nib and the Midori MD A6 grid notebook.
What do you love about fountain pens? Are there times you use ballpoints, rollerballs, or pencils instead?
I love that there are so many different options to choose from in the fountain pen world: ink color, nib size, filling systems—all housed in different body shapes and styles. I use writing instruments that aren’t fountain pens, too, and usually carry at least one of each type with me at all times.
Each one (gel, ballpoint, pencil, permanent marker, etc.) is better for different situations, so I don’t discriminate. I use them all! For example, my favorite limited-edition Hello Kitty Uni Signo RT 0.38-millimeter gel pen lives in my purse, and my prized EDC ballpoint is the Fellhoelter TiBolt pen that I picked up in a drop last year.
How many pens do you have in your collection? If you had to pick a favorite, what would it be?
Er, I might have too many to remember the actual number… My newest favorite is a Pilot Custom 823 I ordered from Japan: clear body with the FA nib. I love demonstrators, vacuum fillers, and flex nibs, so this pen is an all-around winner for me.
Favorite ink colors and brands?
I really dig Pelikan’s Edelstein line, especially the Ink of the Year colors, and I’ve liked almost all of the colors that Sailor has ever made. I particularly like shades of teal, and some of my favorites are the Sailor Jentle Yama Dori, the J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor, the new Edelstein Aquamarine, Diamine Steel Blue, and Bungbox Fujiyama.
What’s your “grail pen”?
For a while now, I’ve been wanting a rOtring 600 fountain pen to match my favorite drafting pencil. After that, I gotta have the Pilot M90.
What did you do before working at Massdrop?
I worked at an online retailer that specialized in pens and stationery.
What’s your biggest passion outside of pens?
Motorcycles! My dad has ridden since he was a teenager, so when I turned 19, I got my M1 license and rode my little vintage 1989 Honda VTR250 everywhere (since I didn’t have a car). I used to commute on my bike, and got really into track riding for the first few years. Now, I’m more into dirt biking, and am hoping to get a plated bike to try some dual sport rides soon.
Any tips for those who are new to the writing community?
Don’t worry about the ink stains on your hands. Wear them with pride!
Okay, last one: Red, blue or yellow?
Team Mystic all the way!
Any questions for Liz? Leave them in the comment section below—or just drop a quick “Hello!” Want product tutorials, community updates, and more? Click the “Follow” button to be notified about future posts from this account.
Sunshineagh, ltopper, and 20 others

I‘m not sure how this works because I’m new to mass drop and this type of thing. Just wanted to say that I’ve been collecting pens since I was a little girl as well and habe recently fallen back in love with fountain pens!! Hi!
Hi Liz! Thanks for all you do <3
Thank YOU! <3
Liz, you do a great job. You have introduced me to pens and products I would have never considered and your P&P for the pens I have purchased has been amazing.. Even if I can't buy them from Massdrop (such a Lamy) I now know what to and how to search for them down here in Australia. Keep up the good work and thank you.
Awe, shucks. Thanks @IanB! :D
Hi Liz, the first picture reminds me - when are we going to have another drop on the Franklin-Christoph 3-Pen Case? The last picture is pretty cool!
We're not sure exactly when we'll be able to offer the 3-pen case again, but we're working on it!
Thanks!! ^_^ That was a fun day, and I hope to get back there (Pismo) before the end of the summer.
Hi Liz! I love your job!
Me too :)
Hi Liz-Do you remember the Ducati pens from about 15 years ago? I am more of a pencil person, but love pens as well. Very fun learning about your background.
I've seen Ducati-branded pens online every once in a while, but have never seen one in person. They remind me of the Porsche Design pens - aesthetics heavily influenced by their namesake, but overall good writers. Fun to have in your collection especially if you have a Duc.
Rotring 600 and Pilot M90; I have to say, you have excellent taste :D
I too picked up the TiBolt pen, though the ink is a bit heavy from the refill included with the pen. For example, on a Moleskin notebook, the pen will dispense a heavy ink causing the writing to not stick to the paper. Do you have a recommendation on a replacement ink?
The Monte Verde refill that came with the copper Prometheus was less than stellar, though I am very happy with the Mont Blanc rollerball mar20 refill I replaced it with. Its great when the community and the designer recommend replacements for these pens as I don't mind paying for the refills considering the price of the pen. Plus I find it absolutely wonderful knowing I have a great ink refill matched with these amazing pens.
Looking forward to more exciting precious metal pens milled like the Ti and the Prometheus and Kara pens. It would be great to continue to see great designers bring pens (and pencils!) back to the community. As I tend to need a EDC pen more than say a fountain, I am always looking into the rollerball, ballpoint, and mechanical pencil drops.
If possible, please always include a "suggestion" on drop pages for pen refills that we can purchase after we receive the pen as I would most definitely purchase them if I know which one is compatible. Pen refill choices can be very confusing to know which one to buy.
See you on the next drop =)
The TiBolt takes Parker-style refills, which thankfully is a pretty standard format that many brands offer. Schmidt offers a finer tip in their P 900 refill, which IMO runs a little dryer than the Easyflow M tip refill that comes in the TiBolt. You can also use Fisher Space Pen refills with their Parker adapter (little piece of plastic that you stick on the end), though I have not tried that yet in my own TiBolt. Lastly, Ohto makes some awesome needle-point refills in this style, that offer finer writing. I've been meaning to try one of these out in the pen, but am waiting until the ink runs out first.
Both the Writing and EDC communities are always on the lookout for new and exciting metal pens. If you know of any particular brands you'd like to see offered, make sure to let us know by starting a poll or posting up here in Talk. :)
I'm working on a way to offer a comprehensive database on compatible refill types and the pens they fit, so hopefully that can be made available sometime in the near future as we work more in this new Talk feature. I try to include information on refill types in Specs of all Writing pen drops, and I'll do my best to make sure we include that information more consistently in the future!