Looking to start an Ink Club

I have been toying with the idea of an Ink Club lately. I’ve been preoccupied with the DC Pen Show (just ended this weekend), but now I’m ready to start putting together things like this.

There are several ways to do this thing….full bottles, samples, etc. I’m going to speak very ‘big picture/hypothetical’ here for a minute. What I was envisioning was doing 2-3ml samples like I currently do, maybe 3-5 a month, for say $7-10ish a month, shipped. Okay, so you have that, and if you like a given sample and want a full bottle, you get x-amount off of the bottle. Club would be all automatic sign on/off, you could quit/opt out any time, all done through Gouletpens.com. No problem.

What’s nice about this is shipping costs stay low, I’m already doing samples so it could happen pretty quickly, and I have the Swab Shop so it would make comparing inks easier to do too. I can even set up a ‘members only’ section on my website where we do special deals and info for Ink Club members. I carry the full line of every ink brand I stock, which is currently J. Herbin, Diamine, Private Reserve, Caran d’Ache, Pelikan, and Sheaffer (all in all about 180 colors). I’m very VERY soon going to acquire the full line of Noodler’s and Rohrer and Klingner (another 125 or so colors). That should be a good selection even for the ink hoarders! I am after all nothing more than an ink hoarder myself with the need to enable others

I also really like the idea of the bottle a month of a given brand….however that is going to have to be more expensive in the $15-20 a month range, especially if doing 80ml bottles of Diamine and or large bottles of Noodler’s. Perhaps the Ink Club could have two different ‘levels’ or ‘memberships’? One for folks looking to slowly acquire every bottle of a given brand (with the option to opt out of a given month if you already have that bottle), and another for those looking to try samples of several different random inks across brands. Or perhaps the cost of the membership for the ‘bottle club’ would vary based on the brand? I’m really just thinking out loud here. Any thoughts?

Update: The club is now active! Check it out, it’s called the Ink Drop.

2017-10-11T13:41:40+00:00 August 18th, 2010|Ink Drop|25 Comments
  • Would totally join the sample club! For my wine club if we order additional wines off the list we would get member discounts–perhaps if people like the sample, they can reorder from the Goulet Pens website? (although I am sure you are not really making that much profit compared with your level of work!)

    Also is it possible to include other items such as paper into the month's selection? I'm probably complicating things here…

    -jomielll

  • I like this idea, especially if you begin to carry Noodler's inks. Subscription-by-brand may be a good place to start so people have a better idea of the territory they're in.

    Looking forward to hearing more.

  • It's on like Donkey Kong.

  • Since all the samples are already accessible online, what if you instead started a members-only newsletter. Along with "packages" of ink samples, you can include a little bio on each type of ink. As a someone who is new to the world of fountain pens and inks, it seems there is a huge learning curve for the various types of products that are out there. An exclusive newsletter separate of your online reviews would give more of your customers an incentive to sign up.

  • A newsletter would be part of the deal. You'd get exclusive updates, info, and details about whatever we're doing that month!

  • Oh, not to mention first grab at new items, sales, discounts on cosmetically damaged goods, etc. 😉

  • "Brian Goulet said…
    A newsletter would be part of the deal. You'd get exclusive updates, info, and details about whatever we're doing that month!

    Oh, not to mention first grab at new items, sales, discounts on cosmetically damaged goods, etc. ;)"

    Where do I sign up?

  • You know my feelings Brian, we're discussing this on the FPN. I'd like to go with a sample type plan so I can try more brands and shades and then purchase larger bottles of inks that I like. Count me in.

  • I like the samples idea with a percent off the full bottles if you want to take the plunge. That way each month we can get multiple colors, while with a bottle a month we get less variety. Whatever you do I'm sure it will be good. I'm in.

  • The love the idea of this with bottles or samples, but I'd definitely need the option to opt out. I already have about 80 bottles of ink, I don't want to end up with a bunch of duplicates.

    If we can work out an effective way to opt in and out at will I'm TOTALLY in!

  • Lyssa

    Would love this, especially if I could combine a separate order from you with the samples of the month.

    it sounds like a lot of work though, for you to keep track of this… are you sure you want to add to your workload (sounds like your hands are full at the moment).

  • This sounds like a wonderful idea.

  • Yes, this is sounding good. I like what Surfbits said ….

    "I'd like to go with a sample type plan so I can try more brands and shades and then purchase larger bottles of inks that I like. Count me in."

  • Lyssa, I don't think combining shipping will really be and option, especially for the sample bottles. I'd be sending them first-class mail instead of Priority, so I couldn't really combine everything. I would also need to keep a strict schedule of the ink samples every month, so trying to coordinate them with other orders would be too difficult for me to manage. Besides, I have $5 flat shipping anyway, which is pretty reasonable for a normal order.

  • How about if I look to start just the ink sample club first? It would be easier for me to set up, manage, and ship the inks. Once I get the whole process down, I can look at the full bottle club, especially once I get the shipping rates worked out (that could eat me alive if I figure it out wrong!). How's that sound?

  • Anonymous

    If you decide to start an ink of the month club (samples or bottles), I am all in. Please keep us posted.

  • I would absolutely join the sample club. I think it's a fantastic idea.

  • kvka

    Would this be available for international customers? The shipping cost would be higher for us, but membership cost could also just be raised for us, right?

  • Sam

    I totally dig the idea of an ink sample club. It takes me about a month to really become "acquainted" with the inks anyway, using them day to day on lots of different papers. I already have a long list of inks I want to try from perusing the Swab Shop, so a sample club would be a great way tackle that list!

  • Sam

    I know some clubs allow members to pass on the selection of the month. This may work best with full bottle club members like dizzypen that already have a million bottles. Maybe send out a newsletter to full bottle club members giving a little info about the selection of the month, and requiring a response by X date if they don't wish to receive the selection for that month.

  • How about if I look to start just the ink sample club first? It would be easier for me to set up, manage, and ship the inks. Once I get the whole process down, I can look at the full bottle club, especially once I get the shipping rates worked out (that could eat me alive if I figure it out wrong!). How's that sound?

  • Anonymous

    If you decide to start an ink of the month club (samples or bottles), I am all in. Please keep us posted.

  • Lyssa

    Would love this, especially if I could combine a separate order from you with the samples of the month.

    it sounds like a lot of work though, for you to keep track of this… are you sure you want to add to your workload (sounds like your hands are full at the moment).

  • Yes, this is sounding good. I like what Surfbits said ….

    "I'd like to go with a sample type plan so I can try more brands and shades and then purchase larger bottles of inks that I like. Count me in."

  • Oh, not to mention first grab at new items, sales, discounts on cosmetically damaged goods, etc. 😉