Friday, January 20, 2017

Goulet Q&A Episode 152, 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.

In this episode, I compare copper pens, talk about what inks look great in a demonstrator pen, and talk about the craziest products people send me to consider selling.

This week:
  • Did live Q&A last week, had fun, learned stuff

New/Upcoming Products: - (3:59)
  • Robert Oster inks
  • New Products will be coming, we've been taking a little breather
  • InCoWriMo will be starting up in two weeks, make sure you're ready

Pens/Writing - (6:49)

1) ryan.wolff2420- Instagram - (6:52)
What is the best pen to use with Liberty Elysium?

2) Aaron S.- Facebook - (9:51)
I want to buy a copper pen, but need help picking between the Karas Kustoms Ink, Tactile Turn Gist, and the Montegrappa Copper Mule. Which one would you pick if you could only choose one??
  • ooo, this is a toughie! Great comparison
  • Karas Kustoms Ink, $200
    • Pros: big, heavy, solid, minimal disruption to the body, so patina will show really nicely
    • Cons: big, heavy, solid! Not really a long-form writer, clip is really tight
    • Personally, I like the copper Fountain K better
  • Tactile Turn Gist, $139
    • Pros: more compact, good pocket pen, not slippery at all, most affordable of the group
    • Cons: not as easy to polish b/c of the lines, not quite as shiny as the others
  • Montegrappa Copper Mule, $375
    • Pros: most elegant design of the bunch, has a nice two-tone look that I really love, very smooth capping action b/c it's not metal-on-metal threads, polishes up real nice
    • Cons: most expensive, centerband is pretty prominent and breaks up the copper on the body
  • Honestly, they're all great copper pens and I can easily recommend any of them to you if you have the means

3) Katie.wk- Instagram - (20:15)
I've already got a Lamy Safari and a pilot metropolitan, and my ink collection is an okay size. I'm looking into buying a TWSBI pen next, but I'm a little confused as to how different the Eco and diamond 580 actually are. Should I stick with the less expensive Eco and get a nicer bottle of ink with it, or is buying the more costly 580 (and sticking with the ink I've got) worth the extra money?
  • in terms of actual functionality, the Eco and 580 are not vastly different
  • the biggest difference in the 580 has swappable nib units, the Eco does not
  • both are piston
  • both can be fully disassembled and come with tools to do so
  • both hold a lot of ink
  • both cap well
  • aesthetics probably influence your decision more than anything
  • if you're looking to maximize your utility, then get the Eco and the bottle of ink, that's what the Eco is made for

4) Mary P.- Facebook - (25:47)
I really like the Charlie pen that came with my Noodler's Heart of Darkness 4.5 oz bottle. Why doesn't Noodler's sell these little pens separately? Also, how does Nathan decide which inks he offers in the 4.5 oz bottles?
  • It's a "free" pen, and Nathan has never had interest in offering his free pens for sale
  • it's in there to sell his ink
  • the reason he includes it in some and not others is mainly because he absorbs the price of that pen in with the ink, and depending on the cost of dye components he can't absorb it for some of the ink colors
  • it's really about utility, and there's a slight bit of Willy Wonka stuff going on in terms of how Nathan decides exactly what he'll do, that's part of the magic of his brand

Ink - (31:19)

5) perrybeachy- Instagram - (31:23)
I've noticed some inks really stick to the sides of my demonstrator pens. Do you have a top 7 list of cool inks that display nicely in a demonstrator pen?

6) Marcos G.- Facebook - (36:37)
What type of fountain pen ink would you recommend using in a vintage fountain pen? The pen in question is a Sheaffer
  • Sheaffer ink is definitely a contender!
  • without knowing any details of your specific pen, I'd err on the safe side
  • boutique ink companies will have more saturated dyes and perhaps unique properties of the ink (Noodler's, Diamine, De Atramentis, etc)
  • If you stick with inks made by pen companies, it's generally a safer bet for vintage pens
  • Waterman, Sheaffer, Pelikan, Pilot Iroshizuku, etc
  • Of course, plenty of people use whatever the heck ink they want in their vintage pens, so you made just want to search FPN or post about it to see what others with the pen recommend

Business - (39:07)

7) Ken C.- Facebook - (39:09)
Have you ever been approached by people/companies who want you to sell their products, where you looked at them and said to yourself "Oh my god, I can't sell that!"? Whether they be hand-turned kit pens or some other thing that's not commercially viable (or even just plain horrible). If so, how do you go about responding? Do you honestly explain why you can't sell them? Do you feed them a generic "not accepting new products at this time" response? Or do you tell them to go away because their product sucks? I would LOVE to hear stories about crazy things you've been approached with.
  • I've definitely been pitched some stuff, yes
  • most of the time, it's somewhat related (not Shark Tank type craziness)
  • it's actually pretty manageable, usually Etsy-type products, more on the crafty side and not really someone ready to go full-scale production
  • I've been sent handmade pen sleeves/rolls, leather goods, hand-sticked notebooks and notebook covers
  • most of the time, it's not because it's such a crazy idea or bad product, it's that the person behind it just isn't quite tuned in to our customer based or has no real capacity for increased production
  • I'm always honest, and try to give feedback where I feel it's constructive
  • most of the time, it's just "I don't think my customers would respond to this" with some detail as to why
  • If it's a good concept but they aren't ready to wholesale, I'll get into that a little bit (that really depends on whether they even kind of grasp all that at that stage)
  • I always try to set expectations, like "you can send it to me, but I may not get back to you for a month or two after I've made some time to test it out", or "I'm interested but now is just not the time for me to be considering this, can we touch base in 6 months?"
  • these kinds of instances have the odds stacked against them, because where we've ALWAYS done best is when demand is stemming up through the community and we are hearing about a new product before we're in contact with the manufacturer
  • I don't think I've ever told anyone their product "sucks", because I feel like that's really subjective and isn't very constructive for them
  • I know how hard it is to get a business/brand/product off the ground, and I'll always give some kind of input back if they've gone through the effort to get it in front of me
  • emailing first always helps, I can shut it down right there if it's just a hair-brained idea

8) CY.- Facebook - (51:58)
What are some products on your site that are commonly wishlisted (is that a word?), but do not sell as well as one would hope, given the wishlisting?
  • the wishlist is really more of a tool for you than for us, we don't "big brother" that feature, I don't see how that'd be particularly meaningful
  • what we do pay a lot more attention to is the email notification list for each product that's out-of-stock
  • this helps us estimate for product launches or restocking important things
  • this can definitely surprise us at times
  • the longer something is out of stock, the less reliable it is (when something's delayed for months)
  • the more expensive the pen, the less reliable this is 
  • Limited Editions are a complete roll of the dice (Lamy 2000 Black Ambers, for example)
  • paper is always a total crapshoot, especially planners
  • As anyone in retail knows, it's impossible to predict exactly what will sell well, but the email notification definitely helps us make sure we minimize running out at launch!

QOTW: What is your favorite ink to use in a demonstrator pen? - (58:13)

Thanks so much for joining us this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday Things: Everything in Its Place

Has your collection grown beyond just a few pens? Are your precious writing instruments lying precariously strewn on your desk without a safe place to stay protected? This Thursday Things collection is for you! Highlighting the great pen storage options we offer at Goulet, Thursday Things: Everything in Its Place features great options for keeping your beloved pens safe, sound, and portable. Pack up your pen storage woes and grab one of these great products in Thursday Things: Everything in Its Place.

Featured products from left to right:
Pens in cases from left to right:
Check out all these great storage options in the Thursday Things: Everything in Its Place shopping guide!

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

InCoWriMo 2017 Giveaway!

International Correspondence Writing Month, or InCoWriMo for short, is a month dedicated to exploring the joys of written correspondence. Some may say that snail mail is over-- a throwback to a prior era, unnecessary in a world full of tweets, texts, and email. While we're not against these forms of communication, for us here at the Goulet Pen Company, nothing can replace the handwritten word. And while receiving a letter is a beautiful thing, writing one is arguably equally as fun. So this February, embrace nostalgia! Take your fountain pen in hand and battle against the digital tide.

Join writers of the world by picking up your fountain pens and ink and scribing letters to friends near and far. The goal of InCoWriMo is simple: write and send a letter every day in the month of February. The InCoWriMo 2017 website is full of helpful tips and tricks, including a planner, an address book, and lets you in on how to join in on the fun.

If you are participating in this year, make sure you have the necessary supplies to make it through the entire month! We have a selection fountain pen friendly stationery, ideal for making your snail mail extra special. And as an added bonus, we're hosting an amazing giveaway! Read on to learn more....

Fountain pen enthusiasts know the importance of paper. To really make your ink shine, you want to avoid feathering and bleed through. We picked all of the stationery we carry at GouletPens.com with your fountain pens in mind. Here are some of our favorite stationery sets and supplies!

Original Crown Mill Correspondence Sets
Original Crown Mill Correspondence sets are perfect for penning a letter! Offered in note card and A5 size, the bi-color correspondence sets will give your letters a pop of personality. The paper is incredibly fountain pen friendly, making it ideal for for penning your letters in your favorite ink!

G. Lalo Stationery
Have a luxurious writing experience with G. Lalo Stationery sets. Made in France, the paper quality is perfect for fountain pen use, and is offered in several sophisticated colors like cream and champagne. Available in A5 and A4 sizes, with matching envelopes.

J. Herbin Wax Seals
Send your letter off in style with sealing wax! The J. Herbin Wax Seals come in two varieties: symbols, and alphabet letters. We carry two styles of alphabet letters - Script with a round seal, and Illuminated with a square seal. Both come in every letter of the alphabet. Not sure how to create a wax seal? Be sure to check out our step-by-step guide! It'll have you stamping in style in no time.

Atelier Gargoyle Sealing Wax
If you want even more colors of sealing wax, be sure to check out our collection of Atelier Gargoyle sealing wax. Not only is it offered in 31 stunning shades, this sealing wax is unique because of its gorgeous scent.  Various combinations of cassia, nutmeg, clove bud, litsea cubeba, lavender, vetiver, and pine create a lasting scent that will survive a trip through the postal service. While melting, the scent turns citrusy, but in stick form or after dried on the page, it has a pleasant earthy scent. Each color of Atelier Gargoyle Sealing Wax is sold by the stick for $6 each.

InCoWriMo 2017 Giveaway:
In celebration of InCoWiMo, we're giving away a fantastic prize package. One lucky winner will take home all of the following: 
  1. Pelikan Souverän M400 Tortoiseshell-Brown fountain pen in Medium
  2. J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre 50ml Ink 
  3. G. Lalo Ivory Correspondence Set 
  4. J. Herbin Sealing Wax Package Set with a Heart symbol and Gold Wax  
How to enter the InCoWriMo Giveaway:
  • Join the Goulet Pen Company Mailing list. 
  • Once you join the mailing list, you'll unlock 5 other methods of entry! Boost your chances of winning by completing all 6.
  • To see more of Rafflecopter's privacy policy, click here. Your email is never shared, and is only used to contact you should you win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest is open from January 18th at 12pm EST until January 20th at 12pm EST. The winner is selected at random and the chances of winning are dependent on the number of entries received. To read the official contest rules of GouletPens.com, click here.
Are you participating in InCoWriMo 2017? Who will you be writing to? Leave a comment and let us know!

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

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