"Pipes Digest" Lighters

Custom Imprinted Zippo Pipe Lighters

Custom Imprinted Pipe Lighter

September, 1996

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So, these are pipe lighters, which differ from standard zippo lighters only in the design of the wick chimney. They've been custom imprinted with a design resembling the Pipes Digest signature file.


You only really need three things:

  1. An idea for a lighter. This was mine:
    The design.
    You actually don't need a finished design, design services are included in the fees.
  2. Some people who will buy your lighters
  3. This phone number: (304) 897-5065. This is "The Studio", a promotional products distributor. They are a Zippo distributor, and will be your link to Zippo. Ask for Earle Miller, who was very helpful to me.

The Process

This project started off innocently enough, as a `neat idea', and grew to consume just about a year of my life. I had put together a group order for a stock zippo lighter, and the dealer included a catalog with my order. The catalog informed me that the minimum order for custom imprinted lighters was just fifty lighters. Well sure, that's a bit much for one person, but a mailing list with a thousand or so subscribers would have no problem, I reasoned.

So, I posted to the list with a short poll asking if enough people were interested, and what kind of lighter they'd be interested in. I got around sixty responses, so I came up with a design and started taking orders. All in all, I got about a hundred orders.

Once the lighters were printed, the task of mailing them out took over. I have one major recommendation for people thinking of a project like this: Have your customers send you a self-addressed mailing label with their check. This will save you so much work, it's incredible. If you get international orders, ask for "International Postal Money Orders" from those people. These can be cashed at your post office, and you won't have to deal with exchange rates at all.

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