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Sunday, October 30, 2011

November Flexpocalypse!



We've learned and improved from the October Flexpocalypse, and we're ready for another after just two weeks! A shorter wait and the highest number of pens we've ever had ought to give you the best chance ever to get the color flex pens you've wanted.

We'll be listing them for sale at GouletPens.com at 12pm (noon) EDT on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011.


We have greater quantities of all of the pens than ever before, especially Clear, Jade, and Lapis Inferno. This is going to be the smoothest and (hopefully) most drama-free Noodler's Flex Pen release we've ever had. See you there!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lamy Studio Trim Ring Mystery



I had a couple of people email me about a mysterious problem with their Lamy Studio suddenly not being able to close or post. I played around with my Studio for a minute and discovered that the trim ring on the grip section is actually removable. It's not common, but over time, the trim ring can unscrew and become detached inside the pen cap! A simple removal of the trim ring from the cap and rethreading back into place will get the pen working like new again.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kaweco Eyedropper Leak Troubleshooting



I have had a couple of people email me about troubleshooting their Kaweco eyedropper conversions. They have been getting some leaking, not from the threads on the body of the pen where you might think, but from the nib. There are three things to check in this situation:

  1. Ink Level- any eyedropper pen has the potential to leak or 'burp' ink when it's less than half full. The more air in the pen body, the more likely your hands will heat up the air inside and increase the pressure and there's only one place for that pressure to release....through the nib. If this leaking happens while you write, try filling your pen back up, that should help.
  2. Nib Setting- The nibs on the Kaweco pens are friction-fit, so they can be pulled out with relative ease. Make sure the nib and feed are set all the way into the pen, if not then it will leak.
  3. Ink Disagreement- Some inks are just better suited than others for eyedropper conversions in a given pen. The viscosity and flow is different for some inks than others, and any differences are amplified by the eyedropper conversion. Some inks will be slightly drier, and some will want to gush and burp. Since eyedropper conversions are sort of an 'after-market' conversion, some experimenting will be required.
Hopefully this pointers will help you to troubleshoot your Kaweco eyedropper conversion. Post in the comments or shoot me an email if you have any questions.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Write Time 10/26/2011


Watch live video from Write Time at 9 on Justin.tv

Thanks to everyone who joined us live in this broadcast! We didn't have a lot of new product info this week because just about everything new is in transit to us right now. We took some trips down memory lane with the early days of GPC and Ink Nouveau. We're in a bit of a nostalgic mood having just moved our business out of our house, and having an empty garage again just like when we first moved into our house. It's encouraging to see that so many of you still came to our broadcast to hang out with us even though we didn't have a lot of writing stuff to talk about. Thanks for all of the fellowship and support you've given us, we really do appreciate it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Write Time Topics 10/26/11


Rachel and I are ready for another Write Time sofa chat, so if you're around at 9pm EDT tonight, we'd love to have you hang out with us! We're basically just waiting for a bunch of new stuff to come in, so it'll be a low-key evening. We do have the new Violet Custom 74, which we're loving! Maybe we'll talk about that.

I'm really just feeling especially nostalgic. I posted my reflections of our company's growth now that we have an empty garage (here), and I'd love to spend more time reminiscing on all of the experiences that have been the most memorable over the last two years.

I also spent this past weekend reading Zappos.com Tony Hseih's book Delivering Happiness, which has done a great deal to help me personally to keep the focus of my and Rachel's vision with GPC. We've had some pretty rapid growth over the last couple of months, and moving our business out of our house has been a big transition for us, both logistically and emotionally. Tony's book has reinforced the importance of customer service, our employees' happiness, and our company culture (which is an extension of the values Rachel and I have had since the beginning). We'd love to share our thoughts with you as we grow and change (but keep the good stuff the same!).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Noodler's Flex Pen Cleaning



Since the release of the latest Noodler's flex pens, I've had several people emailing me mentioning that they were having trouble getting their new pens to flow properly. They tried shaking, pushing the ink down the feed with the piston, and dipping the nib, but to little avail. Nathan mentioned in a previous video about his Ahab pens that the new feeds on the flex pens may have residual oils from being machined that can cause flow issues. It's not every pen that will be affected, it seems that most are fine and some are affected.

In any case, it's a good idea to go ahead and flush your pen out before inking it up, just like I show in the video here. Just use water, dish soap like Dawn, and a bit of ammonia. Flush it with clear water after that, then you should be all set. If that doesn't do it, then the friction-fit nib/feed may need a bit of adjustment like I show in this video.

I hope this helps! If you have any further questions, just post in the comments or shoot me an email.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Reflecting in an Empty Garage



It's been two years since we started carrying fountain pen stuff, and we've moved our business from our dining room to our guest bedroom to half our garage to the whole garage....now off-site in a commercial space. Having an empty garage and a house that's now just a 'normal' house, I'm reflecting on the last two years of Goulet Pens and all that's happened in this small (now empty) space.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Flexpocalypse, Round 2!

Just wanted to give a quick update on the next batch of flex pens. We'll be restocked on all 11 colors of the Noodler's flex pens on Tuesday, November 1, 2011, at 12pm EDT. We'll have MUCH larger quantities than the last release, including many clear pens!

Our shipment will be arriving a few days sooner, but our family will be busy with Rachel's sister's wedding all weekend, so we're going to delay our flex pen release until after the wedding weekend. We'd originally mentioned the Flexpocalypse Round 2 might be this coming week, but delays in getting all of the colors of pens made it so that we wouldn't be getting everything in until the end of the week, which conflicted with our family plans. It's always a challenge to balance your work and personal life when you run a small business, and we always strive to put family first. We know you understand and we appreciate your continued patience!

We have resolved some issues with our web server since the last Flexpocalypse, so we don't anticipate having the same problems with our website as last time. You will see our website go 'down' about 5 minutes before the big release while we work to put the pens in stock... then when we go back live at noon, everything will be in stock, ready to checkout seamlessly. You'll still be able to put other items in your cart, as long as it's before that 5-minute maintenance window. We'll have a message up so you know what's going on!

As for the Ahab flex pens, we still don't have a firm ETA on the release date. We know that you're eager to purchase them, and we'll release them as soon as they're available. Right now they are currently being produced in good quantities, so it's just a matter of weeks at this point! We'll share more as we learn more.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Write Time 10/19/11


Watch live video from Write Time at 9 on Justin.tv

Thanks to everyone who joined us for yesterday's broadcast! Believe it or not, we actually kept it to just over an hour...I can't remember the last time we did that!!! The chat was lively and we covered fun stuff like:
  • This past week's Noodler's Flex Pen release and all the madness that ensued
  • What we're going to improve for future releases of in-demand products (like Ahabs)
  • Incoming De Atramentis and Rohrer and Klingner inks
  • TWSBI arrival dates dates
  • Moving our business
  • October's ink drop theme and colors
  • Purple Heart ink
It was nice to kick back and chill out with you all. We're finally settling in to our new place, and though we've been really swamped, we're finally hitting a groove. We have some really exciting things planned for our website and blog in the coming months and we're really eager to share them all with you (when they're more materialized). Join us live next week for more chatting at 9pm EDT for Write Time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Write Time Topics 10/19/11


As many of you know (probably too well!), we just released the Noodler's Flex Pens on Monday, and there was a bit of drama involved with it, as there always seems to be. We had taken additional measures to ensure a smooth release, and we still had some hiccups, so we're going to give a retrospective on exactly what happened and what we're going to change for next week's (yes, next week's!!) new flex pen release.

We're also going to talk about our new ink, Purple Heart, which we've been using and loving.

We have some new timelines for products coming in like:
  • TWSBI ink bottles
  • Violet Pilot Custom 74
  • TWSBI pens
  • Noodler's Flex pens
  • Noodler's Ahab pens
There have been some interesting conversations going on here on the Fountain Pen Network about the flex pen release and the impending Ahab pen release as well. We can say right now that there are far more people interested in Ahab's than there will be pens available for the initial release and we'd like to talk about the best way to handle that.

So if you have time tonight, we'd love to sit and chat with you at 9pm EDT for another Write Time!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October Flexpocalypse!




After over 4 months of waiting, the next batch of Noodler's flex pens are finally arriving! There are more colors available than ever before. Here are all 11 of the available colors:
There are 5 new colors never used before in a Noodler's flex pen, except in some early prototypes last year and shown in one of Nathan's YouTube videos. Nathan's mentioned before as a guest on our Write Time broadcast that there are essentially an unlimited number of possibilities for colors for Noodler's pens, and he's proving that with these 11 colors.

Anticipation

Everyone, and I mean just about EVERYONE is dying for these pens to come in. Bloggers have talked about them, people have posted reviews on the Fountain Pen Network, Pentrace, Fountain Pen Community, Ravelry, Wetcanvas, Badger and Blade, and many of other forums. They've gotten quite the reputation as being the 'everyone's' flex pen. They aren't the fanciest, aren't the nicest, and aren't the most buttery smooth of all flex pens ever made. But, they are most certainly the cheapest, making them the most accessible flex pens around today.

The reason they have been held for release in previous batches is because of the labor involved in setting the feeds to the nibs. Nathan Tardif, the one-man-show behind all of the Noodler's inks and pens, has had to inspect every pen himself and heat set every ebonite feed to fit each flex nib. It's a specialized skill, and a time consuming process that has been dependent on his time to be able to complete. He spent countless hours on previous batches of pens, but that's no longer an issue. This batch will be the first to showcase the newly redesigned feeds that have eliminated the need for heat-setting, meaning that we're going to see more pens start to come in with (essentially) unlimited production capacity. The days of waiting months on end between flex pen releases has come to an end, so I'm told.

Logistics of Ordering from GouletPens.com

Now to the part that really matters to you, how can you get one (or more) of these pens in your hand? The good news is that Nathan has made far more of these pens available than ever before...the bad news is that there is also more awareness and demand for them than ever before, too. It's really hard to say how quickly they're going to go. Judging from previous releases though, they'll go fast.

We are getting a pretty good stock of these pens at GouletPens.com, but we also have yet another record-breaking email notification list for them. We've exercised every possible option to notify you all ahead of time about getting these pens, putting up notices on the product pages for each pen, and posting on Ink Nouveau. We'll also be sending out a separate email to everyone on the list in advance

So, here is what you need to do to have the best chance to get the pen(s) you desire from GouletPens.com:
  1. Sign up on the email notification list RIGHT NOW for the pens you want, which you do by clicking on the 'email me when back in stock' link right below the 'Add to Cart' button on the product page, then typing in your email. As soon as we make them available for purchase, you'll be notified by email. This isn't required for you to buy the pens, but is just an extra reminder to let you know as soon as the pens are live and available for sale.
  2. Get to GouletPens.com as close to 12pm (noon) Eastern US time on October 17th, 2011 as you possibly can, because that's when we're releasing the pens for sale. We chose this time to accommodate the most number of people around the world as possible.
  3. Load other items into your shopping cart ahead of time. Get to GouletPens.com early, and load up whatever else you want before 12pm EDT. Once we make the flex pens live, all you have to do is add them to your cart and checkout with everything. The first ones to checkout get the goods, just having them in your shopping cart doesn't reserve them for you!
  4. Arrange for someone else to purchase them if you're not able to. If you have an important meeting or appointment at the time of the release, arrange for a family member or friend to help you purchase it. Though we feel we have a good stock of pens and won't run out immediately, it's impossible for us to predict how fast things will move. We may have a run not only on the pens, but on other products we regularly stock. It's likely we'll be out of stock on a number of products once the release happens.
  5. Make sure your credit card or PayPal is working properly. There's nothing worse than going through all of the excitement of getting your goods only to find out your card expired or you forgot to update something on your PayPal account. If you have an account with us already, make sure your address is up-to-date. Get it all straight ahead of time so you know you're good to go when you checkout.
  6. You have to order through GouletPens.com. If you call us right after noon, we're going to refer you to our website, if we're even able to answer right away. There will be such a mad rush of people flocking to our site, sending us emails, and calling us, that we can't guarantee that we'll be available at the time of the release. We're sorry if this inconveniences you at all, but it's the only way we can manage everything with our small team. If you are having technical issues with our website at that time email us and we will help you as soon as possible.
Here are some other pointers about this event:
  • Purchasing your pens only matters if you checkout. Holding them on your wishlist or shopping cart doesn't actually reserve your pens, it all depends on who checks out first.
  • You can call us, but we may not be able to answer. Email is preferable, and will give you the greatest likelihood of a quick response. We only have one phone line so email allows us to address issues much faster.
  • We have decided not to impose a limit on the pens purchased because we trust everyone will be reasonable. These aren't the last pens that will ever be made, more are already on the way to us next week. Remember, they're just pens! ;)
Why doesn't GouletPens.com take pre-orders or do waitlists?

There are several reasons why we don't take firm reservations, or worse, take your money in advance:
  • Limited supply. There's nothing worse than thinking you've got a product reserved for you, only to find out it was oversold. Then you're stuck scrambling at the last minute trying to find it anywhere you can, and it's very stressful!
  • Delays!!! They happen ALL the time, across all brands. If we had started to take pre-orders for these flex pens in June after the last release, we would have been holding your money for nearly 5 months. That would be insane.
  • Damage in shipping. It happens! Sometimes we're anticipating a big order of new product and we get things in and 1/4 of the product is crunched, wet, or defective in some manner. Then what? If we already sold it, we have to explain it to a group of disappointed (and likely angry) customers. Nope, we like to get things in hand, make sure we know exactly how many we have, then sell them.
  • We just can't manage preorders. If we had been taking reservations or pre-orders for these flex pens over the last four-five months, we would have to contact everyone individually and collect payment for the pens right now. People change their minds about wanting them, people want more, or less, they move, they change emails, it just gets way too complicated to handle. We're a small team here, and while we do have more help now than the last release, we're also busier, so we have to handle everything in a way that reasonable for us. This 'landrush' approach is the best way for us to be able to manage it all in a way that maintains our sanity.
Many retailers do preorders, and it is tempting to do because it snatches the attention of the eager buyer. But, for all of the reasons above, we feel that the longer term strategy of doing things the way we do it is a better way. It's better for us, and better for you. You know if we sell you something, you're going to receive it, and you won't be oversold.

The New Colors

Arizona:

This is a yellow pen with orange striations through it. The overall look of the pen ends up looking like a fiery peach color, quite pleasant and vibrant.




Bumblebee:

This a yellow pen with black striations through it.




Jade:

Jade is the first Noodler's Piston-Fill pen to be available in green! It has white striations.




Mandarin Yellow:

This solid yellow pen had previously only been available in a non-flex version - this is the first time it is available with a flex nib.


Panther (Pink):

This pink pen glows under UV black light!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Special Write Time with Nathan Tardif of Noodler's Ink, 10/12/11


Watch live video from Write Time at 9 on Justin.tv

Nathan Tardif of Noodler's Ink was nice enough to give us some of his precious time to clarify some of the Noodler's ink properties. We spent a good hour and forty minutes answering all kinds of questions on inks, flex pens, and future prototypes of Noodler's pens. Nathan was kind enough to send us some pictures of future pens he plans to roll out. I know these pics will be a TOTAL tease, especially because we don't have any estimated time for their arrival. But it gives you an idea of the kind of cool things that Nathan's working on:










We also briefly discussed the Noodler's 2011 Artist's Contest. Here's Nathan's video that we referenced:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Special Write Time with Nathan Tardif of Noodler's Ink


Tonight is going to be a very special Write Time! Nathan Tardif of Noodler's Ink is going to join us tonight by phone to dive deep into the complex characteristics of all of the Noodler's inks. We've recently worked with him to categorize all of his inks and put together a spreadsheet for an easy reference to show each ink's properties. You can see the spreadsheet here. There are a lot of questions to be answered, and we will hear the explanations straight from the man himself!

We're also pleased to announce our first Noodler's exclusive ink designed by us Goulets! We've had a lot of you asking for it for many months, and we're finally going to reveal the ink tonight, live with Nathan. We're incredibly excited about it. We're going to make it available with the release of the next batch of Noodler's Flex pens, which we plan to release for sale on Monday, October 17th at noon EDT.

So if you have the time, stop by tonight and listen to the genius himself, right here. If you're not able to, that's okay too. We'll be posting a video of the broadcast tomorrow, as well as an audio podcast.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Write Time 10/5/11



Boy, it was great to be back! We missed everyone last week, but we certainly had enough to talk about this week. Sheaffer VFM's, TWSBI ROC-100's, Noodler's Flex Pens, our big move for our business....just excitement all around.

We were getting a lot of questions about new products and their scheduled availability, so here's a list of what's coming and when:
  • We're moving our whole shop! Friday Oct. 7 at noon- any orders placed on GouletPens.com after this time will not begin shipping until Wed. Oct 12. We're moving our whole facility and we'll need a few days to  get organized before we begin shipping again. Our website will remain up the whole time.
  • Noodler's Flex pens- tentative GouletPens release date of October 17th, barring unforseen shipping delays. Ahab flex pens are going to be a couple of weeks later, no exact date yet.
  • Kaweco BB nibs and new pen colors are coming 'late October', we're told
  • Taccia Savanna, sometime in October 
  • Lamy Dialog 3 in black, sometime in November
  • TWSBI ink bottles, smoke 540, Vac-700, italic nibs, and others.....no dates yet.
Be sure to join us next week during a super-duper special broadcast! We'll be announcing our first true Goulet exclusive Noodler's ink with a special guest by phone....Mr. Nathan Tardif himself! We're going to share our collective thoughts creating the ink, as well as dive deeper than ever before into the properties of the various Noodler's ink and Nathan's logic behind his ink classifications. Quite a buzz has stirred up since we helped compile a list of Noodler's ink properties, and it's generated a lot of questions about the very specific properties of certain inks. We plan to go deep and settle some long-asked questions about Noodler's inks. So if you have any questions for Nathan, let me know. He'll be joining us for our broadcast live at 9pm EDT on Wednesday October 12th.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Write Time Topics 10/5/11


Blogging has been light the last few weeks, I know. And it will be for the next few weeks. Rachel and I are working overtime right now, not only because new stuff like the TWSBI 540, ROC-100, Noodler's Brush Pens, and Sheaffer VFM's have all arrived in the last week, but because we're in the process of moving our business. We'll get all into it in the broadcast, but basically we've grown too much to continue running Goulet Pens out of our home. So tonight, we'll talk about:
  • All the new stuff we just got in, like TWSBI's, VFM's, and brush pens
  • Our decision about moving and what it will mean for us and you
  • Detailed update on Noodler's Flex Pens (with dates and color availability)
  • Update on our Noodler's exclusive ink
This ought to keep us set for tonight. If you have the time, stop by and see us live at 9pm EDT here. We'll be recording and posting this broadcast tomorrow as well as putting an audio version into a Podcast, so that'll be a first!

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