Sunday, February 26, 2012

Same Blog, New Face

"Hey, why don't you give me a call sometime? I always like to get to know my customers by voice."

I saw this message on an e-mail from Nick Miller, the man behind Quality Briar, after we'd been dealing with each other for a while. His website provides great value for high-quality pipes and is one of the few that carries a good number of Russian carvers, so I had become a frequent denizen of Quality Briar.

At first, I figured that Nick was just wanting to connect with a customer, as he seemed to me to be that kind of guy. I meant to call him, I truly did, but school and work and everything just got in the way, as life tends to do.

A couple of weeks later, I placed another order, for this pipe in particular:

(Michael Parks Pipe with Deer Antler, Photo by Ethan Brandt)

Along with a confirmation from e-mail from Nick came another, slightly more insistent, appeal: "Hey, man. Call me when you get a chance."

This contained no questioning tone and seemed to leave me no wiggle room. I picked up the phone and called him within a minute of getting the e-mail.

"Whoa, I didn't expect to hear from you so fast," Nick said on the other end of the line.

Since that time, I have gotten to know Nick quite well. He's a call-them-how-he-sees-them type of guy, who often says exactly what he thinks and what he thinks is very often right. He's quick to crack a joke or break into an anecdote or explain something casually, as if it were the most basic concept, that I had been unable to grasp after trying relentlessly.

The result of that initial phone call, and the many that have followed, is exactly what you are reading right now.

For a long time, the "Blog" section on Quality Briar went unused, gathering cobwebs. It was very much like Val Kilmer's acting career: the pieces that were on there were good, but there just weren't enough of them. That is what Nick called me to change.

Pipe School is now going to be continuing on the blog page of Quality Briar. It will still be Pipe School and will still feature the same content, along with some additional writers pitching in every now and then. The main difference is the URL. I know, change is scary, but this is good change, have no doubt about that.

I have enjoyed what Nick has done with Quality Briar, much as I have enjoyed the process of making Pipe School a reality. I am excited to announce that the two will now be coming together, something that I have no doubt will make each of us even more valuable to you, the piping community.

I just recently posted my introductory post on Quality Briar and I am working on my second one as we speak ("Do I Aspire to Own a Bo Nordh?").

Thank you very much and look for the first real entry on Quality Briar within a week!

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