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Meet the Maker: Andrew Sanderson of Modern Fuel

In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better. Today, we're catching up with Andrew Sanderson, the Maker behind Modern Fuel. Modern Fuel’s metal mechanical pencil was designed by Andrew to be your “pencil for life" and it's made right here in the USA.

Modern Fuel

What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
Just pick one! I have a book full of ideas and I would add to it weekly and constantly start new projects. Organization was an issue and keeping focused was even harder. It wasn’t until I boxed everything up (to the delight of my wife) and picked one to commit all my time to that the magic started to happen.

How do you push through roadblocks in creativity or business?
Fresh air, I really find going for a walk or even just eating my lunch outside helps me make more progress. Business wise, I find talking with other designers and business owners is the best way to learn how to be more efficient, spend my time wisely and find new tools. I spend a lot of time reaching out to like minded makers in town.

What has surprised you most about starting a business?
That the possibilities are endless. No matter what you are making you have no idea of the scale and opportunities it will bring along until you are in the thick of it. If someone had told me I would start a successful growing business that is expanding into other products and gaining more and more attention from designing a mechanical pencil that I wanted I would have probably run off scared and not known where to start.

Maker Quote

What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
1. Always thinking I can fix things, this comes from my mechanical mind.
2. Being able to take advice and feedback (and doing something with it).
3. Always being willing to share my knowledge–people have done it for me and I try to do it for others. It always come back in spades.

What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
We live in a world where starting a business has never been easier, you just have to start. Start small, keep your day job, get honest feedback, work hard, and keep trying. It will happen and when the day comes to leave your job because your business is growing and don’t have the time to do it any more is a beautiful day.

Meet the Maker Modern Fuel

What Maker tool can you not live without?
Well that has to be the mechanical pencil! I really do use one every day and I could not function without writing down my thoughts and ideas. I do pair the pencil with a to-do list. I have the five days a week note pad/mouse mat and it helps me plan my weeks and not forget things.

What has been the most rewarding part of business for you?
The lifestyle working for yourself gives you. We just had our first child and although I work hard every day, I am home to spend time with my family and can eat lunch with them everyday.

To learn more about Modern Fuel, watch our video here. To read more of our Meet the Maker series, browse here.



  • Cole Says:

    Can this mechanical pencil use .09mm leads?

  • Jan Bickley Says:

    Your pencil is beautiful, but my problem is this:
    Pencils ARE used every day and for that reason they are an item that easily gets lost, borrowed, loaned, dropped, etc. Pencils always come with refills but I can not remember the last time one lasted long enough to replace the lead once -- much less the eraser. For something so utilitarian, I want it cheap and disposable. I buy packs of 20 at Sam's Club for jus a few dollars.

  • Gregory Libby Says:

    Where is the ordering information and specifications of the Modern Fuel pencil?

  • Diana Says:

    Very interesting and I love pens and pencils! I would like to buy one as long as I can afford the pencil.

  • Melanie Says:

    How do I order a clip for the pencil?

  • Tori Says:

    Melanie, Diana, and Gregory, You can learn more and place an order right here: https://www.thegrommet.com/modern-fuel

  • Tori Says:

    Cole, it uses .5mm lead (and comes with an extra 12 pack).

  • Cindy Wink Says:

    Read your story and it truly is an inspiration for many. Sounds like a great Christmas gift I would like to purchase. I am determined to shop USA! Will be visiting your site.

  • Lorraine Says:

    Great idea! While having disposable pens is a plus, having a special pencil for some situations is a very nice touch.

  • Michael Baker Says:

    Love pens and pencils.Would like to see a matching Ballpoint pen swell.

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