Friday, October 31, 2014

EPIC Goulet Announcement

Well, we've kept it secret long enough, and we finally need to let the cat out of the bag. Here it is, announcing one of the biggest projects we've every undertaken at, with over a year and a half in the works. And we've kept it completely secret until now. EPIC.

We're completely rebuilding from the ground up.

Our current site is great and we're very happy with it, for the most part. However, we had the opportunity to be an early adopter on a brand new enterprise-level e-commerce platform that will give us the foundation for building all kinds of things for the future. We've been working on this for a long time, all on top of our normal business operations. It's been a lot of work (especially from Rachel), and we're just about there.

So what does this actually mean? Why rebuild the site?

Well, we certainly have a good thing going on our current site. However, there are some forward-thinking things we wanted to build and the infrastructure supporting our current Volusion store just won't get us there. We've essentially outgrown the platform, and need to get on something more robust. Some of the features we plan to build will take a while to create, but we will have some nice features at launch.

What you'll see on our new site at launch:
  • Robust faceted search/filter capabilities (this will be huge!)
  • More useful and detailed product review system
  • Responsive design - mobile/tablet-friendly!
  • Cleaner look/rebranding
  • Enhanced photography
  • Improved navigation
  • and more :) 

What this means for Ink Drop

The reason we're choosing to announce this right now is because we are having to postpone Ink Drop for another month. For those of you that are Ink Drop members or have tried to join in the last month and a half, you know we took off October because we were going to 'rebuild the architecture of the program', which is entirely true. However, what we opted to keep secret was that it wasn't just Ink Drop we were rebuilding, but rather our entire site.

We originally had a launch date for this past Wednesday to try to get Ink Drop up and going for November, but things just weren't quite there and it was with a very heavy heart we had to decide to postpone the program until December. We know this is a disappointment to those of you who've been waiting patiently, and for that we apologize. We will make it up to you with something extra special in December's Drop, we promise.


As an added bonus to thank you all for your patience with the Ink Drop delay, we're putting all individual ink samples on sale - 20% off - until the end of November. No minimums.

We also have some other special deals in the works. Check back tomorrow and in the next week for some more announcements. We have all kinds of things up our sleeves. ;)

When we'll launch

At this time we're hesitant to give an exact launch date because we're still working with our developers to work out some kinks (or iron out some bugs, as Rachel says!). We want to make sure the site transition happens as seamlessly as possible, and want to take adequate time to train our team and get used to the new system. We have a certain standard for our customer service and how our site should operate, and we believe "it's better to do it right than do it right now". That said, we're looking to launch this in the next couple of weeks, and we'll do a follow-up announcement once we have the day and time selected.

Thanks so much for your fantastic support, and we're honored to be able to offer you a better shopping and writing experience than we've ever been able to before. We're incredibly excited for everything that we'll be able to offer you with our new site, and we're eager to get it off the ground.

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please let us know what you think of our big announcement in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian and Rachel Goulet

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 55, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

Goulet Q&A on a Thursday, what is going on?? Well, there's going to be a big announcement tomorrow, and I wanted to give Q&A its own day. Definitely make sure to check back here tomorrow. 

It's been a busy week launching new pens like the Delta Unica in Orange celluloid, the Stipula Splash, and Lamy gift sets! I'm not done yet either, there's a bunch more stuff coming. Until then though, sit back and let's chat about product reviews, pen shows, Noodler's Art Nib Packs, and how men and women write differently:

1) Tom J.- email - ( 8:16) 

The answer to this can be your guess-timate, I don't need hard data. But, what percentage of customers who buy a product take the time to leave a review of that product? I'm guessing it is less than 10%, but maybe not. These product reviews are so important to me (they have sold me on more items than not) and I devour them whenever I'm interested in a product. But, it seems like there should be more reviews of popular items than there are. Thanks.

2) Eleen Z.- Facebook - (13:00)
What would you recommend for a fountain pen to be used as a highlighter for students? And What highlighter ink would you recommend? 

3) Brandon D.- Facebook - (15:53) 
I know you have said you don't go to many pen shows but coming up on my one year anniversary of getting my first fountain pen (and also my 21st birthday) i was hoping to go to the Columbus Pen Show on November 8th, my question: Is it worth it to go even if i am not able to purchase anything or should i set aside $150 or so to take with me? I currently live two hours away and don't know if i should use the gas.

4) Tristian N.- Facebook - (20:16)
So you just bought yourself a new pen. Walk us through your steps. Do you admire the packaging? Give the pen a quick sniff? Do you flush it first? Fill it up entirely or just dip the nib first? And lastely, how do you decide on your color? I only have 40 colors and have a hard time choosing, I can imagine this is even harder for you so I'm very curious on your though proces on this matter.
  • my process isn’t unlike what I do in most videos
  • Color is really by what strikes me, also what I don’t yet have/what’s unique in the pen line

5) Chris P.- Facebook - (36:15)
I just got the Noodler's art nib set as a gift. They're pretty fun, but I'm wondering: is it worth trying to smooth the non-tipped nibs? And are there any great tips from the artists on Team Goulet on how best to use these nibs (techniques, papers, etc.)? 
  • do whatever the heck you want with them, they’re cheap!
  • we’re honestly still figuring them out
  • my Customer Care team has been playing around with them and having a blast
  • I personally just haven’t been able to mess with them yet, honestly 

6) Jordan L.- Facebook - (39:04)
I like the (Namiki) Pilot Falcon and the idea of it being great for flex (assuming I don’t want to go vintage) is awesome. But I would be afraid how much you can actually flex it without worrying about springing it. How far exactly will the Falcon flex comfortably? Thanks!
  • some people definitely overdo it
  • we have a certain percentage that we just know are going to destroy their nibs
  • we have been trying to think of ways to help prevent this
  • these nibs are soft, but some popular videos out there show Falcons that have been modified for added flex, and people overdo it trying to emulate these pens
  • should be able to get it to spread to about a .9-1.0mm width regularly, much more and you’re pushing it
  • better safe than sorry! 

7) Bruce S.- Facebook - (43:07)
I've been watching your videos and have been into fountain pens for about a year now, and one question that always comes to mind when looking at fountain pen stores (brick&mortar and online) in the US is the limited nib grinds. It seems like a pen enthusiast would need to go through another country (i.e. Japan) or through a nib-meister to get some of these grinds. I'm at the stage where I have a good feeling on the pen shape, but interested in exploring grinds of pen. What's the best way to go about experiencing these nib styles not available to the US (posting, wave, music, coarse, etc.)? As a retailer and fellow enthusiast, do see a need or a move to get more of these into the US?
  • I don’t know much more about these nibs than you do
  • I am working to get more offered in the US
  • it’s always a consideration of what can be made in volume and how much something will sell 
  • distributorship needs to make sense, often doesn’t for obscure nibs 

8) Henry- Ink Nouveau - (49:27)
Is there a difference between a woman using a fountain pen versus a man? Any difference in writing line thickness, ink, pen or nib selection? Try comparing Brian's (your) writing with Rachel's.
  • I wouldn’t say definitely that gender matters, too many other variables
  • there could be assumptions made about hand size, writing angle, writing pressure
  • bigger hands: more pressure, lower writing angle, darker ink/thicker lines
  • smaller hands: less pressure, steeper angle, thinner/lighter lines 

9) Donna M.- Facebook - (54:29)
I vividly remember the first time I ever saw a fountain pen in action at age five. How did your love affair with fountain pens begin?

Thanks so much for spending time with me this week, I really appreciate it. Thanks so much for continuing to ask questions, and I'm sorry to all those whose questions I couldn't answer today. Be sure to check here if you have any old Q&A's that you missed. Have a great rest of the week!

QOTW: What was the most embarrassing Halloween costume you ever wore as a kid? 

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Matchup #19: Kaweco ICE Sport in Pink and Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk

This week's Monday Matchup is bright and lively for you — hopefully it'll help you wake up and get going for the week (you know, along with all that coffee, too). We've paired the compact Kaweco ICE Sport in Pink, with fine nib, with Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk ink. We love this match because it’s a unique pick, likely to stand out and warm you up with all this cooler weather. The Kaweco ICE fits comfortably in the hand and also in your pocket, purse, or backpack. You'll want to take it with you everywhere. With the Fernambuk ink, which has incredible flow and nice saturation, you can leave bright, vivacious notes for yourself or friends throughout the day sure to make it brighter. You can't help but smile with how fun this pair is.

Our gifted photographer, Sarah, drew the sketch for this week's Monday Matchup, while Alex sampled how the pair performs with a writing sample.

What pen and ink combos liven up your day? Whatever it is, ink it up! Hope you all have a dazzling Monday!