Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tell me what you want in an ink review

I am getting ready to start really cranking out some ink reviews. I've been back and forth about how to actually do them, though. The way my mind works, I tend to want to go waaaay overboard, to the point where I build it into such a project that it becomes too overwhelming and I never end up having the time to do it! So it needs to be simple.

I know that when you see an ink review, the first thing you do is go around and try to find reviews that a bunch of other bloggers have done on the same ink. What I want to know is:

1) What is it that's missing from other ink reviews that you'd like to see?
2) What is it that you really like in other ink reviews that you'd like to see in mine?

Telling me what you want to see is only going to help all of us! Here's the basic layout I was thinking of doing for my reviews:
  • Writing on my favorite, most consistent paper, Clairefontaine Triomphe, just a sampling really, something like an A5 sheet's worth
    • Keep it simple, write the pen, ink, and paper name, maybe my favorite quotes or Bible verses or something like that
  • Have 4 main sections to the review:
    • 'Good'- write what's good about the ink, performance, the bottle, price, etc, in very practical and 'non scientific' terms
    • 'Bad'- write what's bad about it, same fashion as the 'good'
    • 'The Deal'- give my bottom line summary of the ink, with suggestions about it's best use
    • Rating- I give one of 3 ratings:
      • Dump- the ink sucks, and you should dump it out of your pen immediately
      • Drawer- the ink is good, but doesn't have a practical everyday use. You'll want to keep it on hand to pull out from time to time, but not keep it inked up all the time
      • Devour- You'll want to load the ink into a garden hose because you'll love it so much
  • Pictures- there will obviously be good pictures, as well as a good scan of my writing. Pics of the bottle, pen I used, and the paper, etc.
  • Swabs- I'll use the same swabs I have on my swab shop to give comparison colors as well as complementary colors.
That's what I'm basically thinking for the layout for reviews. Eventually, I'd like to do reviews of the 280+ (and growing!) inks I carry, so having them be relatively simple will be key for me. If you've been following me at all lately, you know my time is quite limited. I have the general feeling it would be more beneficial to post 2-4 brief ink reviews a week than 1 crazy comprehensive review a month (or longer!). What do you think?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Noodler's, Platinum, Diamine, and Herbin 1670 update!

They're coming.....all of them.....this week! Now, I don't want you to fall out of your seat or go shooting me an email yet. I'm going to do a big release similar to what I did last month when the 1670 ink came in. Every week it seems I get busier and busier, as it's just Rachel and I working together (Rachel works full time for another company too), with some help from my sis-in-law Rebekah.

We're going to be crazy busy this week, so I am going to wait to release all of the new products coming in. I need to do some reorganizing in my shop, and we have a lot of web work to do to prepare for all of the new things. We have to do swabs for the Swab Shop. We have to do ink samples for over 120 new colors coming in. We're sending out the first month's samples for the Ink Drop. It's crazy.

So I'm putting this email up to let you know that the new stuff is coming, but I need to get my ducks in a row before I can offer everything. I'm working fast and working hard, so you won't have to wait too much longer, I promise. I'll blog, I'll send newsletters, I'll put updates on the web, I'll let you know when it's available! It'll be soon, and very soon, but you'll have to wait just a hair longer. We've been expanding so rapidly that I have to pace myself so we don't lose our minds. We're close, but not that far yet ;) Thanks so much for your patience!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hey, whatever works!

I've made it very clear before that I'm more of a paper and ink guy than a pen guy. If I had unlimited funds, then sure, I'd get m1000's and 149's all day, but I'm a young small business owner with a 7-month old....even if I DID lust after expensive pens, it's not an option for me!

I do love ink though, and I love to play around with as many colors as I can ink up and flush out in a day! Some days I spend more time at the sink than at my desk, haha! My point is that I'd much rather have a dozen cheaper pens that function pretty well, and have them all inked up at the same time with different colors. I currently have nearly 20 pens inked up, only 2 have the same color in them!

My daily workhorse tends to be the Pelikan Script 1.0. It's functional, pretty comfortable in my hand, makes my handwriting look GREAT, and best of all, is cheap and easy to clean! I have 5 of them I'm currently using. 5 of the exact same pen? Yup!

Here's how I tell them all apart:

Nothing fancy, I just write the name (or a variation thereof) on a small strip of paper (Rhodia!), cut it, and tape it on the back. When I change the color, I change the label! Easy, fast, and simple. Not the prettiest thing, but hey, whatever works (hence the post title!). Here I have PR Invincible Black, J. Herbin Rouge Hematite 1670, J. Herbin Poussière de Lune, Private Reserve Naples Blue, and Diamine Majestic Blue. What fun! Next week they'll likely all be different ;)

How do you tell which ink you have in your pens?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ink Drop logo!

Rebekah, my sis-in-law, designed a logo for our Ink Drop club! She's a photographer, videographer, designer, etc. I call her an 'awesome-ographer'! So here's the logo:

Feel free to take it and use it as you wish. I know some Fountain Pen Network members have wanted to use it in their signatures, and that's totally cool! I plan to resize and make the logo available for download too, to make that easier.

Here's the smaller image you can use for your Fountain Pen Network signatures! Just copy the image location, click on the 'insert image' icon in your signature under 'edit profile', and paste the image location! Very simple. I uploaded 3 sizes of them, so you can display it as prominently or subtly as you wish! This logo will show up fairly big in the signature.

This logo will show up smaller, more subtle ;)

And this one will be even smaller yet ;)

So what do you think of it?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

BRAND NEW- Private Reserve Invincible Black

This is a brand new ink that Private Reserve has developed, so new in fact that the name wasn't even decided yet at the time I was notified I would be getting a sample. It wasn't until I received a sample bottle (not reflective of what the final, packaged product will look like) that I saw it is to be called Invincible Black.

I did an initial writing test with the ink, and I have to say WOW! It writes incredibly smooth, I mean, really impressive. I said an audible 'wow' when I tried it for the first time! And this was in a cheap Pelikano, too! The color is DARK. Stark black, no shading at all. See for yourself:

I like this ink (y'know, for a 'boring' black ink, haha). I plan to test this to the max, though not in this review. This is simply an intro 'teaser' review that I wanted to post to get some good ideas about how I might be able to push this ink to the limits. I want to really torture the living crap out of this stuff! I was thinking of things like soaking, scrubbing, ammonia, bleach (not the two together though!), lemon juice, UV exposure, you name it.

Supposedly the word coming down from PR is that nothing they've tried yet has been able to compromise this ink. Apparently, the paper gives way before the ink does. Give me some ideas of fun ways I can torture this stuff, and let's see if that's true!

I'm also eager to compare this to Noodler's Bulletproof (which I should be getting in very soon) as well as the Pelikan Fount India ink I've been meaning to test for frickin' forever. I think a comparison review will be underway soon!

Private Reserve Invincible Black is brand new, but will be available very soon in 75ml bottles for $18 and 2ml samples for $1.25 at GouletPens.com.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Write Time at 9: August 24, 2010

Join us live every Tuesday night at 9pm EST for Write Time at 9! We talk pens, paper, ink, and random other things (writing related usually).

Link to Ustream for the video.

Tonight's broadcast was going to be short (yeah right), 1 hour 20 minutes later, I stopped flapping my gums ;) I talked about Pelikan Edelstein, new Diamine colors (yup, still waiting), bringing in the whole Noodler's and Platinum ink lines, and of course, the Ink Drop monthly ink sample club! Amazingly, I didn't think to talk about the ink club until 50 minutes into the broadcast!! So of course the broadcast ran over...

The giveaway today was a Clairefontaine wirebound notebook (C8506). It went to the one who correctly answered the question "what does PEFC stand for". PEFC stands for the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. Clairefontaine has this certification, and you can find out more about it here.

There was a very active chat, and some good conversation about the Ink Drop that made us all come to the conclusion that there are a lot of things that 'could' be done with the program, but right now it's best just to keep it simple!

Oh yeah! And I actually tested that Pelikan Pink ink that's only available in the cartridge form! Here it is....

The video is 80 minutes long.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Better check your Éclat...

It's come to my attention that there may be a bad batch of J. Herbin Éclat de Saphir out there. There have been reports of sludge in the 30ml bottles of this ink for bottles sold approximately in the last 2 months. I've gotten word from Exaclair that they are dealing with this issue as we speak from the manufacturer.

I haven't heard of any faulty 100ml bottles, the only issues reported so far are with 30ml bottles. I also haven't heard or seen any problems with any other J. Herbin colors, only Éclat. For this reason I am voluntarily pulling all of my Éclat 30ml bottles off GouletPens.com until I get further communication from Exaclair about what has happened. I promise to keep you up to date as I learn more. Until I get more answers though, I would recommend that if you notice any sludge at all using any 30ml Éclat you've purchased from any retailer in the last 2 months, stop using it and hold onto it until further notice. If you purchased a 30ml Êclat from me, set it aside, and shoot me an email.

I'm not an official spokesperson or anything for J. Herbin or Exaclair, I just want to keep you all informed about what's going on as I find out. I know we're all blindsided by this whole event, and the folks at Exaclair are going to work aggressively (as they always do!) to get to the bottom of this Éclat issue.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Private Reserve Highlighter Ink

You may have heard that Pelikan is coming out with the m205 duo highlighter pen/ink combo. Well, Private Reserve has just revived an old formula of their own highlighter ink called Chartreuse. An old formula? That's right....PR had a highlighter ink years ago, but discontinued it because of a lack of interest in the writing community.

So why is Private Reserve reviving their Chartreuse ink? No doubt it's because of some of the interest in the Pelikan highlighter ink. PR had the formula already, they simply had to whip up a batch and make it! Apparently, it does some really cool stuff under blacklight as well, so you'll be seeing some real interesting pictures from me!

But the highlighter ink isn't limited to just these two brands. Noodler's also has a highlighter ink called Firefly. So to me it raises the question, can the writing community really absorb 3 (at least!) different brands of fountain pen highlighter ink? Time will tell.

I haven't tried PR Chartreuse myself, but I will be getting some in soon. I will also be expanding my ink offerings at GouletPens.com to carry Noodlers, which includes Firefly. And next month when the Pelikan m205 duo's come in, I'll have 3 different highlighter ink brands to compare for you. Fun stuff!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Noodler's and Platinum....they're coming....

I placed in my order for the full line of Noodler's and Platinum inks. So there. Bing bang bong, it's done! I should have them in by late next week. You know what that means though, I have to do swabs for the Swab Shop, ink samples, and list all of them on GouletPens.com. No rest for the weary! It'll be worth it though, because Noodler's has been my last ink brand before I could really consider myself to be an ink 'powerhouse'. Now, there's no stopping me! ;) And yes, I certainly do plan to integrate Noodler's into the Ink Drop monthly samples!

So here will be all the full lines of ink brands we'll stock on GouletPens.com:
  • J. Herbin
  • Pelikan
  • Diamine
  • Private Reserve
  • Sheaffer
  • Caran d'Ache
  • Noodler's 
  • Platinum
What's next? Rorher and Klingner is on the radar, I'm also looking into smaller boutique inks like Abraxas, Roberson's, and De Atramentis. I'll go after some of the major pen maker inks like Sailor, Waterman, Pilot, and others as well. If you haven't noticed the trend yet, I want to carry everything. Every ink, every color, every brand. It may take a while to get there, but I promise you I will work hard to accomplish this goal!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Ink Drop- New Monthly Ink Club at GouletPens.com!!!!

This club is the first of it's kind ever done (that I know of) in the fountain pen world. At GouletPens.com we've set up a monthly ink sample membership club designed to provide a fun and exciting experience with testing various fountain pen inks!

The club is called the Ink Drop, sort of a play on words....the drop representing both the 'ink sample' aspect of the club and the fact the inks are literally being 'dropped' off in your mailbox!

Here's the deal:
  • Sign up for a $10 monthly membership ($15 for international members), and you are automatically mailed 5 ink samples (2ml) each month with a 'theme' for the month to hint your colors. Each month will be 5 little surprises for you to try! September will be 'Back to School' colors.
  • You can purchase full bottles of the corresponding ink samples at a 10% discount for the duration of the month!
  • Members gain access to a special Ink Drop 'members only' section of GouletPens.com for special deals on inks and other items (like glass pens or the empty glass bottles I have left over from all of the samples....)
  • Special Ink Drop newsletters will be sent out to members for the hottest news in the ink world, as well as first notification of the arrival of new colors and limited edition products.
  • I will do Ustream live broadcasts towards the end of each month with the topic of the Ink Drop colors, for an interactive chat about your experiences with the inks.
  • There are over 280 ink colors available at GouletPens.com, so you will always be able to find new inks you've been longing to try. Our current brands are J. Herbin, Diamine, Caran d'Ache, Private Reserve, Sheaffer, and Pelikan, and Noodler's and Platinum are ordered and on their way!
This is going to be an incredibly fun program with a lot of potential for fellowship and fun with other ink lovers. I'm a serious inkoholic myself and I want to share that addiction passion with all of you! ;)

Sign up for the Ink Drop monthly ink sample club today and join in on the fun!

Weekend Reads 8/21/10

This has been a CRAZY busy week for me, as is no secret to you if you've glanced at any of my posts this week. Normally I have time to peruse and choose whatever posts I find that I like throughout the week. This week I had to actually set aside specific time (late last night!) to read through the 120+ posts in my reader to find the gems for the Weekend Reads. Enjoy!


Diamine Delamere Green- Okami Whatever

Noodler's Blue- The Harmless Dilettante

Noodler's Cayenne- The Harmless Dilettante

Noodler's Purple Warpum- The Harmless Dilettante

Noodler's Burgundy- The Harmless Dilettante

Iroshizuku Yama Guri vs. CDA Grand Canyon- The Dizzy Pen


Ever Try Clairefontaine Fine Art Papers?- Rhodia Drive


Pelikan m205 Duo- Lady Dandelion

Overrun by Fountain Pens- Inkophile

Sharpie Liquid Pencil- The Pen Addict

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Pelikan Edelstein Inks

Pelikan is coming out with a brand new line of high-end inks in fancy bottles called Edelstein (pronouced Ey-dell-shtine). This ink has been in development since summer of 2009, and is finally coming to market! I have just placed my order in for them and I'm expecting them later this month, though I have no definite ETA. I do not have any idea what the ink's characteristics are, or even the ink volume (it is rumored to be 50ml), though I can assure you that as soon as I get this ink in my hands, I will let you all know!

There are 7 colors with a gemstone theme: Ruby, Mandarin, Aventurin, Jade, Topaz, Sapphire, and Onyx.

There is a nice display (which I am supposed to be getting one!), though as of right now it's not available for purchase to the 'public'. I already asked ;)

The ink will list for $20 a bottle, putting it in the ranks with Caran d'Ache, Pilot's Iroshizuku, and the new Sailor Nano inks. Basically, nice inks in sweet bottles.

The new Pelikan Edelstein inks will be available soon at GouletPens.com as 2ml samples ($1.75) and full bottles ($19), as well as be on the Swab Shop (though it may take me some time to get them up there!). Email me if you're interested in pre-ordering.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pictures of DC Pen Show 2010

My friend Sam took some great pictures of the 2010 DC Pen Show. They're mostly from our booth's perspective, since we were pretty busy and he hardly had time for pictures at all. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Write Time at 9: August 17, 2010

Join us live every Tuesday night at 9pm EST for Write Time at 9! We talk pens, paper, ink, and random other things (writing related usually).

Link to Ustream for the vid.

Tonight I babbled on and on about the DC Pen Show....but c'mon, I've been waiting for it for 8 months, and I just spent the last week completely immersed in it, what do you expect? Long story short, awesome show, a lot of work, I suggest going next year if you can. I'll have some pictures coming out on Thursday's post.

About an hour into the video, I get onto other topics, mainly how I'm going to laser focus my efforts now that the DC Show is done. I'm no longer selling any pens (once I clear out) and I want to be the paper and ink master. I plan to improve the archiving of Ink Nouveau to make my reviews more referenced, and spend a lot more time just diving in and reviewing more products in the future.

I got into a good discussion with folks in the chat, especially DizzyPen, a respected blogger and multi-posting guest blogger here on Ink Nouveau, about bias in product reviews. Basically, what I have to say about it is that everyone who does a review in the writing world is biased. Either you are a retailer or paid blogger, in which case you're clearly biased and there's no use denying it, or you're doing it for fun, which means you either love or hate your products enough to review it, which is bias! There is no official organization set up to oversee third party individuals to review writing products.....everyone involved in our writing world is doing it because they want to, they are in the business, or both.

Bias is what motivates us to this obsession! To me, bias means you care, and everyone in the fountain pen world has passion and cares about it or we wouldn't do it at all. What in the world are you doing reviewing ink, paper, and pens if you don't care about the result, right? The key to me is full disclosure. Be up front and real about your bias, don't hide it. We're all smart, and you can tell if I'm a lying douchebag or if I'm legit. I won't try to fake you out.

I will be completely up front and honest and say that when I do reviews, I am hoping that you will buy a given product from me if you indeed wish to order that product. I put links in the review and try to make it easy for you to do so! However, I don't coordinate my purchases of any products with the release of a review, nor do I try to do reviews of things I want to 'clear out' or anything like that. Honestly, 9 times out of 10, I end up doing reviews for the things people ask me about the most, or things that I just think are cool (like wax seals!). The products I sell are easiest for me to review....I buy them at wholesale, I usually have them handy, I know them intimately, I get good info and difference perspectives from my customers who use them, and my distributors are able to pass down great information and history to me. With products I don't carry, there's far less detail I can go into, and generally, it's more of just a 'first impression' kind of review. It also could be less accurate if there are any quality control issues (think Moleskine paper) from one product to another, my review could be different from someone else's just because of an inconsistently produced item (without my knowing!).

 All that being said, I do plan to do more 'comparison' reviews, like I did with the Moleskine/Habana/Webbies from back in the day. Also, more torture tests!

The giveaway this week was a 50ml bottle of Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue, in honor of the DC Pen Show! It actually went to DizzyPen, who has received many 'loser' emails for the contest, but never won (until now)! What's even more exciting is she's never used this ink before! She was the first to correctly answer the city where my wife and I met, which was (and The Homestead hotel) in Hot Springs, Va. Congrats, Dizzy!

This broadcast went long, over an hour and a half, with an extra 30 minutes of unrecorded bonus time in the chat. If you're short on time, skip the first half and watch the latter half.

Getting things back in order....

Another DC Show post, I know, ugh! The show whooped my butt, and now I'm back and ready to get things back in order. Here's the mess I have to sort out though:

Nearly empty shelves:

Bin after bin after bin full of stuff we just brought back:

And here's the shipping table.....covered in stuff!

On top of all that, I have a dentist appointment in the morning! I have more than 55 orders to process that came in while I was away at the DC show, so it's going to take me a little longer to get them all out than I had initially planned. I was hoping to have them all out later today....now it's not looking so hopeful. It kills me that this DC show has disrupted everything so badly, and I just can't wait to get things back in order so I can get back into my rhythm again. Luckily, I inventoried everything in the bins while I was still up in DC, so at least I don't have THAT to worry about. But still, it's a lot to sort and put back!

I'm asking for a ton of extra patience from everyone who ordered from me during the last week and for those who order in the next couple of days. I promise this will be the longest you'll ever have to wait with me. For normally getting out every order within 24 hours, it's killing me that I'm so far behind right now....I'm going to be working quadruple overtime now to catch up, so please be patient with me and I'll be back up and going again in no time!

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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Winding down

I've already kept you up to date on the DC Pen Show for 2010 on Friday and Saturday, but I have to say that Sunday was actually my favorite day. For one, I didn't have to haul anything and set it up! Everything was set up from Saturday already, we just basically strolled in and were ready to go. Nice!

Sunday is always slower than Saturday, and for me, that was a great thing. The pace was still good, but not insane like Saturday was. I opted not to film anything for Sunday, because it was very similar to Saturday, except all the hauling was done at the end of the day.....so you can take yesterday's video and play it in reverse if you want to see how it went :P

The great thing about a slightly slower pace day was that I got to spend more one-on-one time with everyone, including fans of Ink Nouveau and GouletPens.com, new fans who hadn't heard of us before, and other vendors as well! I was able to meet Richard Binder face-to-face (although quickly, because he had a line of people waiting to get their nibs adjusted!), Pendleton Brown, David Oscarson, and I even managed to squeeze in an interview each with Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Co. and Ernest Shin of Hakumin Urushi Kobo about their joint Urushi pen project, which I'll be posting later this week.

I was also able to meet face-to-face with Karen Doherty, the Marketing VP of Exaclair, Inc. I talk with her regularly on the phone and trade emails constantly, but this was my first time talking with her in person. I was able to share with her all of the things you all have been clamoring for, including more 1670 ink, off-white Triomphe/Webbie tablets, more colors in 100ml bottles, and a possible new refillable small Quo Vadis notebook as well as some new stuff from J. Herbin. All exciting stuff! I'll be sure to keep updates coming as I find out the latest in the writing world.

I keep getting asked a lot about whether or not the show was 'worth doing'. I think it's pretty well understood at this point that the show was a lot of work (for every vendor there, especially those with big spreads and heavy products). Other 'competitors' of mine have been doing the DC show for years, and may even do the whole show circuit....DC, LA, New York, Chicago, Raleigh, Philly, Ohio, Dallas.....honestly, I don't know how they do it. We at GPC spend so much time running our well-oiled machine of a website, and the show has been a serious disruption to the flow of our normal operation.

As to whether or not we'll do the show again, it's up in the air at this point. There are many factors: financial, time, physical effort, of course, but also at this time next year it's possible that Rachel could be pregnant, I could have employees, our shop location could be different, etc. Keeping in mind that we only started selling ink and paper as of November last year, and we've grown exponentially since then. I have no idea where we will be at this time next year. It'll be about 6 months before I need to decide whether or not to do DC again next year. I would do a lot differently next year though, as I laid out in yesterday's post.

I can't say at this point whether I will do it again next year or not, but I can say unequivocally that I won't even be thinking about another show until next year's DC show. It's kind of a catch-22....I do a show like DC to get business, which makes me busier, which makes it that much harder to do shows. Something has to give....either spend my time having quick response on the website and make videos for the blog, or I don't shows. It's kind of one or the other, especially with just my wife and I working together (with the baby, no less!). So yeah.....but I probably should speculate on next year's show too much while my back is still sore and I have to load the trailer back up to head home from this year's show :P

Monday, August 16, 2010

Aftermath of the DC Pen Show

So this will be a short post today, and it's a little later in the day than usual, sorry! The DC Pen Show whooped my butt, and I decided to sleep in this morning (at least as long as my 7-month old would let me.....8:30am!). I'll be writing a far more substantial and conclusive DC show post tomorrow, but for now, I'll just say that it was a great show, and I had a blast talking to everyone.

Some changes I'd make next time: 

-Get a table with electricity and wireless internet so I can have people cruise on the Swab Shop live at the show and watch Ink Nouveau videos.

-I'd bring about half the paper (especially Rhodia pads which were ubiquitous) and twice the ink.

-I would not set up at all for the pre-show, but only for the weekend (I would attend the pre-show just to meet other vendors).

-I would purchase my products for the show and have them shipped directly to the hotel so I wouldn't have to haul them there, only back (after I've sold a bunch, hopefully).

The show was one of the busiest in years (I was told by those who have attended for years). I was able to network with some vendors I was very eager to meet and even do a couple of interviews, as well as meet a lot of GouletPens.com customers and fans of Ink Nouveau.

In the end, with 3 free helpers, a free place to stay, and a very busy and by all means extremely successful weekend, I about broke even or perhaps came out a little ahead for the weekend. I haven't been tracking, but if I had to guess I'd say I've invested 100 hours or more into the show prep, the actual show, and the work to get back to normal after the show. So was it worth it? Financially, not yet. Only time will tell if it will help in the long run.

What I will say is that I am glad I at least did this show once, and that even if I don't do a huge spread like I did this year, I will at least attend and blog about it next year. The logistics of doing a show like this for a vendor with my type of products are quite frightening, and I surely won't be able to make shows like this a regular part of my operation, I simply don't have the manpower.

For the rest of the day today, I'll be pulling out and double-checking everything I have left over from the show to inventory and put back on GouletPens.com. Thankfully, I'm going home about 8 bins lighter than when I came, but as you can tell, it's still quite a bit left!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

DC Pen Show- Saturday 8/14/10

Only one word to describe today. BUSY! The show was packed, everyone was having a great time, and I was told it was one of the busiest days seen in the last 10 years at the DC show. It was awesome! I wanted to show a bit of a 'day in the life' of what I did on the big Saturday for the 2010 DC Pen Show, so I did sort of a video diary (when I wasn't CRAZY busy working the tables at the show), so enjoy that!

Here are some pictures of the GouletPens.com DC show setup. Not bad considering we had less than 1.5 hours to get our table assignments and set everything up before the show opened up. It was hectic from the get-go, and hardly settled down for us all day long.

A special thanks to everyone that came out to the show to meet us! It was great to finally be able to see some of your faces (as you get to see mine all the time, haha!).

We brought Diamine, Private Reserve, Caran D'ache, and J. Herbin inks to the show. Here's our bangin' ink setup with some home-brew swab charts (cuz you know swabs are my thing).

We brought the full spread of Aston Leather pen cases, because I really wanted to see what people thought of them in person. These are the hardest things to portray accurately online, especially the feel and SMELL of them!

We brought the full line of supple and pearlescent J. Herbin wax seals, too. They were a big hit, as we were the only ones at the show with wax seals. I don't know why, they freakin' ROCK!

We had a bunch of paper as well. Clairefontaine loose sheets, Triomphe, Airmail envelopes, sketchbooks, CF staplebounds and clothbounds, Rhodia pads, Habanas, Webbies, and on and on.....we were trying to basically see how much paper would hold on the table before collapsing, and they held just fine ;)

The show was great, we met people who came from all over the country, even Hawaii!! We had a blast, and look forward to meeting even more great paper and ink fans on Sunday.

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full-screen viewing.

Don't miss anything! Subscribe to our Weekly Email Newsletter!

Disqus for Goulet Pens Blog