Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Matchup: Caran d'Ache Delicate Green & Monteverde Intima Neon Green

Happy Monday, pen lovers of the world! This week’s Monday Matchup up is brought to you by Caran d’Ache Delicate Green fountain pen ink and the Monteverde Intima in Neon Green. Sometimes you just need something bright and vibrant to liven up your Monday. The piece that Joe O. created with this matchup is beyond impressive. We gave him artistic freedom to be inspired from the ink, and while he technically didn't use the Monteverde pen to create his artwork, we still wanted to showcase it as a great complementary color match for this ink.

When Joe researched the name 'Caran D'Ache', he discovered that it's a pseudonym for a Russian-born French satirist/cartoonist, Emmanuel Poire. Caran D'Ache is a modified form of the Russian word karandash, meaning pencil. One daring cartoonist popped into Joe's mind immediately — an American cartoonist named Bill Mauldin. Mauldin’s characters, Willie and Joe, drudge through the often frustrating, yet, surprisingly funny, reality of life as grunts in WWII.

Since Bill Mauldin was such an effective purveyor of "grit" in both his images and in the nature of his characters, Joe chose to make his portrait in his own messy way using a 5mL syringe instead of a pen or brush. The unpredictable nature of the syringe allowed for unexpected results. Too much pressure on the plunger would cause a gush of ink to pool on the page. But just enough pressure would turn the syringe into a make-shift fountain pen. There was no preliminary drawing for this portrait, so the likeness is off a bit — a result from wanting to build the image with marks rather than using something predetermined.

Joe really had a blast making this portrait of Bill Mauldin. Ever since he received his book Up Front from his father when Joe was deployed overseas, Joe has been fascinated by how skillfully Mauldin was able to capture the distinctive soldier's brand of levity that manifests itself in the face of armed conflict.

For another take on this pen and ink combination, we also invite you to check out this pen review and ink review by our friend Ana at The Well-Appointed Desk blog.

Hope you enjoy this Monday’s Matchup as much as we do! :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 41, Open Forum

This week's episode is a little shorter, just a little! I am flying solo today but still have a bunch of fun questions in the Open Forum. Enjoy!

1) Vivian S.- Ink Nouveau (1:28):

I'm not a physically strong person, so having to take apart a pen is really tough for me; I always feel like I might break the pen because I find myself applying as much force as I can. Any tips on how to loosen pen parts (such as nib and feed, piston filler) to make it easier on myself to assemble and dissemble the pen? Thanks.
  • it depends on the pen
  • some aren’t made to be taken apart and applying that much force could break them
  • do your research first, see if others have taken apart your particular pen before trying it yourself (YouTube’s great here)
  • some special tools may be available from pen repair people, you’ll have to hunt (check FPN)
  • rubber gloves, rubber bands, rubber strips help give a better grip
  • stuck nibs help to rock back and forth instead of just straight pulling out
2) Patrick D.- Facebook (7:12):
What pen brand would you like to carry that you don't today?
  • Faber-Castell
  • Visconti/Mont-Blanc don’t want us
  • others we’ve considered:
    • Nemosine
    • Acme
    • Giuliano Matzzuoli 
    • Diplomat
3) Nichole B.- Facebook (9:27):
I am trying to get my friend interested in fountain pens but she is used to gel pens and I've had a hard time finding the right one for her. Can you recommend a pen and ink combination that would "float" across the page but won't break the bank?
4) mikhasan2- YouTube (13:29):
Hi, Brian. I was wondering why many fountain pen aficionados prefer resin over metal. I know one argument is that metal sections are a bit slippery or cold to the touch when compared to resin, but I think the durability and weight of metal pens are desirable traits to many that make up for these. Despite this, they seem much more popular with the corporate crowd than with hard-core fountain pen users. Of course, as is the case with most things, it has a lot to do with personal preference, but is there an alternative explanation you can offer? Thanks, and keep up the great work!

  • I’d say your assumptions are generally pretty accurate here
  • this is something I learned coming over from making rollerball pens for corporate gifts in my pen making days
  • for longer writing sessions, lighter pens are less tiring in the hand
    • metal grips feel slippery after a long writing session (10+ minutes straight)
  • metal just feels less personal, colder
  • metal can be more durable, but resin is pretty darn durable too
  • really, it’s all about preference

5) anonymous- Facebook (18:51):

I have the 4 Pilot Parallel pens that I play with and have had them for about a month but I don't go through ink very fast. I want to flush them out but I still have half the cartridge left. Is there a way to save the cartridge for a flushing of the pen then reinsert the cartridge? Or should I toss the cartridge and insert a new one each flushing/cleaning? Or should I just finish the cartridge even if it postpones the flushing/cleaning another few weeks? 
  • you can definitely do that, if you’re putting the cartridge right back on
  • over a long time, the ink in the cartridge may dry out/become more saturated as water evaporates
    • can be reconstituted
  • you just won’t be able to save a partially used cartridge apart from the pen
  • bulb syringe works great to flush if sung cartridges (no converter), though Parallels come with a  ‘cleaning cartridge'

6) Steven B.- Facebook (23:17):

Two parter: 1) what is the single best selling item at Goulet? 2) since you all get to "play" hands-on with everything as it comes in, is there an item you carry which you feel SHOULD sell better - something under the radar maybe, that you think deserves more attention than it gets? (Not necessarily just about numbers: I'm sure you don't move a ton of M1000s but that doesn't mean they don't already get plenty of attention!)

7) mike- Ink Nouveau (29:35):
Would you consider having some nibs like your Goulet nibs or Edison’s, TWSBI's, etc. preground by nibmeisters and then keep them in stock? the way Franklin-christoff does with Mike Masuyama nibs? Or have an option where one can add "stub grind" or something to his cart and then take care of it for the customer, through a nibmeister, along with a warning that you are voluntarily giving up your warranty and that it may delay shipment by 2-3 weeks or whatever the wait time maybe. I think it would be a great service that many would love to take advantage of. I know that you have to keep good relationships with your distributors but binder, mottishaw, and pendleton, are all authorized retailers of pens like pilot, platinum, pelikan, etc. so I think at least some companies must be okay with it. 
  • this is complicated
  • warranty issues: if the pen is faulty, where do you send the pen? depends on the issue? 
  • markup: for us to handle the logistics/post-sales support/warranty void of that pen, we have expenses to cover. We’d have to mark up the grinding substantially from what a nibmeister might charge
  • transit time: we’re not near any nibmeister
    • would have to ship to them, wait, have work done then shipped out
    • what about other items in the order?
    • what about international orders?
  • supply/demand: most nibmeisters are busy as heck as is, little bandwidth
    • nibmeisters are in short supply, don’t need our business to stay really stinking busy
  • it certainly is an appealing concept, but I feel the logistics would make it unfeasible
  • I’d be open to exploring, but would be ‘cautiously pessimistic’ it would work out
8) Tom S.- Ink Nouveau (35:57):
I have an odd question, I am already budgeting to get a Pilot Metal Falcon, I love my standard SF Falcon, but want a Con-70 sized Falcon. My question is does anyone know if the sections or nibs are swapable between the two models? As that will help me decide if I should get the SEF on the metal or stay with the nib that works... I am a left hander and nibs are often either very nice to me or the worst thing ever. I am constantly shocked by number of people that assume, the nibs I actually favor won't work for me :)

  • swap away! You can share them, yes. 
  • SEF is noticeably scratchier than SF though
  • I typically wouldn’t recommend it for a lefty, but you seem to know what you’re doing so caveat emptor  
9) Christopher N.- Ink Nouveau (40:00):
Have you looked into carrying any products by Staedtler. They have a good selection of products, ranging from drafting tools to some nice fountain pens. 
  • no, not really
  • mainly pencils and ballpoints
  • some FP’s, but not enough to get me excited
  • pens seem like Sheaffer calligraphy set, Pelikan Pelikano, Lamy ABC, stuff we don’t do well with

Second, if you and your family were to dress up as fountain pens for Halloween, what pens would you guys dress as and why?
  • Noodler’s pen
    • Nib Creaper, Ahab, Konrad, lots of fun could be had with those

Thanks for the great videos and running an awesome business!

p.s. When will the TWSBI 580 USA arrive? 
  • we’re currently being told end of August, we’ll see once that gets closer if the date is pushed back at all 
10) William S.- Facebook (42:39):
Hehe...What paper is best if you are writing with an invisible ink?
  • Seems like you were intending to ask a silly question, but there’s a real answer!
  • the specific type doesn’t matter so much
  • off-white paper shows invisible (UV-reactive) ink so much better!
  • greater contrast 

11) Chad V.- Facebook (43:52):
So what does make the Aztek an awesome car?
  • probably the wrong week to ask me that! ignition issues
  • lots of great things about it though
    • cheap to acquire, though they have gone up rather significantly in value in the last couple of years
    • Walter White’s car!
    • clearly designed ahead of its time
    • fantastic turning radius, easy to park
    • SUV, but drives like a car
    • comfortable for both me and Rachel, which is rare to find
    • sits high up
    • is small on the outside, big on the inside
    • AWD
    • fabric inside is great for kids nastiness
    • so utilitarian, seats fold down/come out so easy
    • hooks and stuff everywhere
    • always super-easy to spot in the parking lot! 
Thanks for watching this week and thanks to everyone who asked awesome questions. Next week will be another Open Forum, so post any question you have in the comments below. Be sure to check out any Q&A's you might have missed here. Have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lamy Logo: Quick Look

The Lamy Logo is a pen that doesn't normally get a whole lot of attention, and that is surprising to me because it is fairly unique. It is straight all the way down, and kind of futuristic in its design. It’s pretty thin like the CP1, so those of you who are into thin pens will dig it. It also has a pretty flexible spring clip that’s inset into the cap a bit, I don’t know why I think that’s cool but I do. It has a snap cap, and pushes to post. 

Even though it’s made of metal, it’s aluminum so it’s still pretty light (18g), about the weight of a Lamy Safari. Its nibs are interchangeable with all of the stainless steel Lamy nibs. It only comes available from Lamy with fine or medium, but it’ll also fits the Lamy extra-fine, broad, 1.1, 1.5, and 1.9mm stubs. The matte stainless steel version starts around $35, and the brushed around $40. They’re cartridge converter pens that take Lamy proprietary cartridges or the black and silver Lamy Z26 converter which is NOT included with these pens, so you’ll need to pick one of those up separately.

The Safari and Al-Star get so much attention in the Lamy brand, but the Logo should definitely be on your radar if you’re shopping for a $40ish Lamy. For more details and up-to-date specs on the Logo be sure to check it out on GouletPens.com

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Matchup: Pilot Falcon & Platinum Carbon Black

It’s that time of the week again! Today, we bring you Monday Matchup featuring the Pilot Falcon inked with Platinum Carbon Black. This dynamic duo is a win-win in our book — you can’t help but love it.

Don’t let the artwork fool you. It might look like a photograph, but it’s really another fascinating drawing done by Joe O. When brainstorming, Joe started thinking about the element Carbon. As he was reflecting back on his chemistry and geology classes, he remembered the molecule Buckminsterfullerene. Ultimately, this led him to Buckminster Fuller, a neo-futuristic architect and inventor, and his trademark geodesic domes, one being the Dymaxion car he invented.

Hope you enjoy this matchup and your Monday!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 40, Goulet Values

After announcing our Goulet company values last week, we've gotten tremendous feedback about how we run our company. There have been a lot of great questions about some of the finer points of how we make the "Goulet Magic" happen, so Rachel and I both wanted to open up and share some of the "why" behind what our company does. Some of it is about pens, but some of it really is just about what we believe and how we choose to run our company. It's a great insight into our way of doing things. Enjoy!

1) Kevin L.- email (2:54):
From the outside it appears quite evident what the values of your company and the team are so why the need to put it down on paper and spend the time doing it?

2) Patrick D.- Facebook (10:13):
What are some of the unique traits that make up a Goulet team member? Much like fountain pen users are a unique bunch I have to think that those working for a pen and paper company are likely to be a pretty fascinating lot. 
  • we do have a pretty unique group
  • DISC profiles
  • strengthsfinder
  • all of our staff knew nothing about fountain pens coming in
    • we like that
    • gives empathy for our new customers, which are many
  • many are completely ‘green’ coming in, allows us to mold them
  • those with previous work experience usually come from a much less caring place
    • they love how we treat our team
  • Key traits of those successful here:
    • team players
    • self-starters
    • high moral character/trust
    • caring/empathetic
    • detail-oriented
3) Tristan N.- Facebook (24:45): 
Does the GPC has some internal competitions we do not yet know of? Like who can disassemble and reassemble an Ahab the fastest? Desk chair races? Hide and seek? The floor is lava? Who recognizes this ink?
  • We’ve done some office competitions before, but just for fun
  • Annual olympics
    • shooting water into a vial with ink syringe
    • ink sample speed test
    • Airzooka
    • silicone grease shuffleboard down our ramp
    • Lamy Box Jenga
    • “guess the swab”
    • “guess the pen” macro images of pen parts
    • pen trivia
  • Cowtails

4) Dan E. - Facebook (31:03):
1. Most of the decisions we make in life, the kind that help define us, the kind that we defend, these are challenged at some point. Now there are two basic types of pleas or arguments that can be offered in defense of anything; emotional & rational. When making these decisions and defining your values as a company/family, was the process rational, emotional, both perhaps?

2. I am going to my first pen show next month (the DC Pen Supershow). Will the GPC be represented there? 

5) Mate F. - Facebook (41:22):
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much is integrity as a company important for you?
6) Danny - Ink Nouveau (45:16):
I was just looking at my latest invoice from you guys and I was admiring Jeremy's handwriting. It got me wondering if everyone there has good penmanship and if it's an unconscious or unspoken prerequisite for employment. I myself have terrible handwriting, it's kind of an all-caps scrawl. But I love the way fountain pens feel and write, even though I sometimes feel like I'm using them incorrectly because I can't write in cursive. I was just wondering if I'm all alone or if anyone on your team also doesn't write in cursive. 

7) Kate D. - YouTube (48:04):
Has the "Goulet Way" of doing things affected your life outside of the office, and if so, how?
8) @MobyProf - Twitter (50:47):I love the service week idea! How did that develop? What did you have to say “no” to to make it happen?

9) James B.- email (56:22):
Brian, one thing I would love to see is more about the choices you make for updates to your web site. Such prosaic matters as what video camera you use, whether or not to use professionals for filming, and just how you learned to do all the wonderful things you do. I don't know if that has been or could be part of one of your Q and A sessions or something else, but I for one would be most interested.

10) Michael P.- email (1:00:00)
Your new values do not focus on fountain pens in particular but generally on supporting individuals in their writing experiences. Given this, it seems that your new values would support selling ballpoints, rollerballs, and other writing instruments. Is this something you are considering for your company?

Thanks as always to everyone who asked questions this week, it was an honor to be able to share what we do on a deeper level. Next week we'll do an Open Forum again, so be sure to post whatever random questions you have in the comments below. If you missed any previous Q&A's, be sure to check them out here. Have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Matchup: Noodler's Ahab & Black Swan in Australian Roses

We're feeling a bit purple today. What better pair than a flex pen with an awesome shading ink? This week features the Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen in translucent King Philip Purple, matched up with the recently reformulated Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses ink (see today's earlier blog post). They make a lovely pair!

The writing samples are by Alex[andra] Ross, and the artwork by Joe O.

So what do you think of this week's pairing - a match made in heaven?

Color Change for Black Swan in Australian Roses

Update February 2015: Black Swan is Australian Roses has returned to its original formula, so the "old" color noted here is now the color we are seeing. We're leaving this blog post up purely for historical reference. 

Video Highlights:

  • Overview of the situation (0:01)
  • Showing inks that compare to the original color (3:17)
  • Showing inks that compare to the new color (4:52)
  • Inking up and writing with both colors in an Ahab flex (6:40)

It's true, the color of the famous Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses has changed from a burgundy to more of a purple. The difference is noticeable, but not as drastic as it sounds. I know this will seem like some big kind of scandal, especially given that this is one of the most popular inks sold today at GouletPens.com.

We discovered this a couple of months ago, when one of our on-point team members noticed a slight color difference when sampling up the color. We checked all the ink we had on hand and pulled the purply color off the shelf while we talked to our Noodler's distributor and the man who makes Noodler's ink, Nathan Tardif. We had to test some things, rule out some other things, as we thought that it could be a batch variation, maybe the ink needed more time to settle on its final color (because it can change slightly over time), and rule out every possibility that we could because Nathan told us he did not change the formula.

What we ultimately discovered through all this is that there is apparently some raw dye component that changed from Nathan's manufacturer that caused the color shift, even though the formula itself hadn't been changed by him. We asked him if it was possible to reformulate the ink using different components (as he's done before with other inks like Noodler's #41 Brown back in 2012), but he told us that in this dye family, there is no replacement. This is it, it's either this color or he discontinues it altogether.

We tested the ink, and the properties like shading, flow, water resistance and everything else are the same as the original color, it's just slightly more purple than burgundy. It's still a very impressive color, and I personally actually really like it for what it is. Of course, it's not the same as the original and I know that many of you will be disappointed about this change, and for that I'm sorry. Nathan is sorry, as well. All our hands are tied on this one.

The thing that's going to be just a little confusing in the meantime is that it's kind of unclear when the color change actually happened. Because it wasn't caught right away, it's likely that for several months the new color has been getting mixed in at the distributor and at retailers (more so at the retailer level, as I don't think this ink sits around long at all at the distributor). So it's not going to be clear which color you're actually buying unless the retailer in question knows the difference between the two and opens up every bottle to see what color they have, like we've done.

So I know what you're thinking, "Brian, do you have any of the old color left, I really really really want it!" Well, I'm sorry to say that we don't have any of the old stuff, everything we have at GouletPens.com from here moving forward will be the new color. And I'm willing to bet that at this point just about every other retailer will have the new stuff, too. You're going to be hard-pressed to find the original color still laying around anywhere, but if you absolutely must have it, I'd get on the phone now with whoever you can think might have it and start calling around asking them to test their stock.

It's unfortunate to have to announce a color change like this to one of the most popular inks, especially when we don't have any of the old stock to offer you. I'm deeply sorry for that, but please don't shoot the messenger. And please, please don't be upset at Nathan for it either. He is one man making all of the Noodler's ink in the world, and for him to have caught this before this point probably would mean that he'd spend half his time testing every batch of every dye component for a change every time he gets it in, which is impractical and would probably cut his ability to supply Noodler's ink in half if he did that.

It's an unfortunate circumstance, but look at the bright side. We now have a gorgeous intense-shading purple with a bulletproof component to it, something that actually has been highly requested. The purple dye itself isn't permanent, but the black component to this ink is.

And hey, it's still a pretty awesome ink. Just look at what our very own Joe, Alex, and Sarah did with the new color in today's Monday Matchup:

I'd love to hear your thoughts, good or bad. I put together information like this to "Empower through education" (Goulet Value #4). Leave me a comment below to share what you think.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Friday, July 11, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 39, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A this week is back to just me, no Rachel this time. I'm sorry! But notice how much shorter it is...hmm...ah, that's misleading because I answered fewer questions than last week. I still managed to go on plenty of rambling tangents on my own! The theme this week is an Open Forum so I took all kinds of random questions. Enjoy!

1) Mary B.- Facebook (5:39):
Having just gotten the Goulet Pen flush, syringe and blower, how best to clean and refill a piston filled pen? I know how to use the cleaning stuff with the twist converters, but I have several piston types where I cant see the contents of the barrel or inkwell.
  • piston pen is like a converter pen where the converter isn’t removed 
  • you have to twist and twist and twist
  • you can remove the piston on some pens and flush with a bulb syringe from the back
  • watch Goulet Pen Flush Tutorial video 

2) JoyceAnna D.- Facebook (9:51):
Is there a secret to avoiding inky hands at the end of the work day?
  • I’m the wrong person to ask! Inky hands are a point of pride around the Goulet shop
  • avoid filling and cleaning during the day
    • get a pen with a large ink capacity, use cartridges
  • minimize shaking the pen as much as possible
  • minimize extreme temperature changes

3) Brian H.- Facebook (12:31):
I have had a Nemosine fountain pen for quite a while and want to order another one. Do you have any plans to carry this brand in the near future?
  • we had looked into them, made contact with the manufacture and gotten samples
  • products seem pretty good, reviews have been good
  • what stopped us was values alignment
  • we like to understand the ‘why’ behind company’s existence, and never got clear answers
  • we run a personal business, and we only see success from brands that believe what we believe 

4) Leslie I.- Facebook (16:40):
Will you be carrying the Midori Traveler's Notebook Army Edition?
  • no, it’s not in the US
  • British Army symbol from WWII on it, came out early 2013

5) Kate D.- Facebook (17:46):
How does one fill an aerometric/sac filling pen? I recently got an inexpensive Jinhao that is an aero filler and I can't figure it out. Help me, Goulet Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope!
  • squeeze the bladder
  • put the nib completely in the ink
  • let go of the bladder, let it sit for a few seconds
  • do it again (this time you can keep the nib in the ink)
  • pull it out, wipe the nib, go

6) Jennifer Z.- Facebook (22:12):
If a screw-on cap on a plastic pen becomes difficult (impossible) to twist, is there a lubricant you suggest?

7) Cara E.- Facebook (24:23):
When will you have more Konrad flex pens in stock? Tahitian tortoise color in particular. This will help me decide whether to wait or get my second favorite color. Thanks!
  • just talked to Nathan Tardif last night
  • more pens are coming, he’s ’turning the corner’
  • been backed up with ink and Neponset (which will be coming soon) 

8) Pavel K.- Facebook (26:39):
Which pen would you recommend as a starting one in "nice"(~100$) category. I already got Lamy Safari.

9) David H.- Facebook (29:37):
Totally random question: what was your major in college?
  • Brian- started in business management, ended up with residential property management
  • Rachel- started in music/comp. sci., then human development, ended up in business management/human resources

10) Luis M.- Facebook (37:51):
How does the fine nib from different brands compare to each other? Do you mind doing a demonstration? I have a couple of fountain pens around and I am a big fan of fine nibs, but there is no consistency on the thickness of the line with each different brand. Thanks!
  • Nib Nook
  • they aren’t entirely consistent, like women’s dress sizes, vary by manufacturer
  • in general, european nibs are ground broader in the extra-fine and fine sizes than Japanese pens
    • Japanese and European medium and broads are usually fairly comparable
  • nib is a factor, but so is the feed, so flow can vary from one pen model to another within the same brand
  • other factors like ink and paper matter, too 

11) CJ C.- Facebook (42:05):
Some of us live in dry areas where even 20% relative humidity is considered to be "muggy" (even to me, and I used to live near DC). This causes a problem with fountain pens: unless the cap creates an excellent seal, inks soon dry in nibs/feeds requiring either a drop of water to rehydrate the ink or a cleaning. My Metropolitans, for example, require an exercise session every 2-3 days to raise the odds that ink will flow when I need it. This isn't a problem with my Platinum pens (including the Preppy), even with the more problematic inks, because of their famous inner cap. 

I'm curious -- what other pens or brands, under say $200, offer anything near the sort of protection from drying that Platinum does? Thanks to everyone at GPC; the work all y'all put in to serve your customers is very much appreciated.

  • you’ll want pens with inserts in the cap to help prevent drying
  • Platinum definitely has this down
  • other good pens include:
  • put small piece of wet sponge in cap to act as humidor
  • store pens in airtight container (ziplock bag)

12) Terea P.- Facebook (45:54):
How do you determine which products to carry? conversely when do you know to discontinue products?
  • blend of customer demand and personal experience
  • we often know what to investigate because people keep asking us about a particular product/brand
  • we look into it, seeing how to get them and what the distribution chain is like
    • check other places the product is available, see if there’s an opportunity for us to ‘fill the void'
  • get the product in our hands, without a solid product we won’t do it
  • look for values alignment of our companies, good communication/support for the brand 
  • if all this checks out, we’ll usually start to dabble, not often we dive in head first
  • as products sell and awareness comes about, we ramp up inventory/marketing
  • discontinuing is tougher, it’s often never clean/easy to decide
  • external forces
    • US distribution ceases/changes hands
    • line/product gets discontinued
    • price increases 
    • stock issues (perpetual backorders)
    • we get dropped (rare)
  • internal forces
    • poor sales
    • quality issues (we have high standards)
    • host of potential challenges with distribution
    • we don’t discontinue much for these reasons

13) Ravena J.- Facebook (54:42):
How do you get an expensive pen serviced that was given as a gift? I was given an Aurora 88, but the piston needs to be replaced. I don't have any paperwork other than the booklet I was given with it, but I'm definitely willing to pay for the repair. Help?!
  • find out where it was originally purchased and contact that retailer for help
  • contact the distributor or manufacturer directly form warranty (they may still want to know where it was originally purchased to make sure it’s authentic)
  • for Aurora, contact Kenro Industries: https://secure.kenroindustries.com 

14) Alexander F.- Facebook (56:12):
Here's a #GouletQA question (I really Love that you offer these Q&A sessions!): I got J. Herbin Rouge Hematite but it doesn't really show the gold sheen when I write with it, only when I put a drop directly on the paper and then smear it. Same issue with a Lamy Vista and a TWSBI, any suggestions on how to get that sheen to come out?
  • 3 different versions of the ink
  • everything we have had for the last two weeks and moving forward are the ‘new’ version
  • the sheen varies depending on the absorbency of the paper a lot
  • the wetter the pen, the more sheen might come

15) Craig A.- Facebook (57:32):
Have you considered stocking J. Herbin's metallic ink pads for making two-tone wax seals?
  • we used to years ago, didn’t have a great response as a result
  • we could carry it again, but people seldom ask about it

Thanks to everyone who has been asking questions lately, I'm getting so many really good ones! I'm just not able to answer them all each week, and I'm sorry for that. Please keep asking, I will do my best to answer as many as I can :) Next week's episode will be on July 18th, 2014 and will be Episode 40, with Goulet Values as the topic since we just made our Goulet Company values public earlier this week. Rachel will be joining me for this one, and we'll also look to have some other members of our team pop in for relevant questions, so please as things specific to any of them if you'd like! 

Be sure to check out old episodes of Q&A if you've missed them, and comment below if you have questions for next week. Have a great week, see you then. 

Write On,
Brian Goulet


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Goulet Pen Company Values

"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." -Simon Sinek, Start with Why.

I love this quote from Simon because it's so, so true. In the world of e-commerce it's so easy to put up a website and mask all aspects of humanity, if that's the goal. But ever since Rachel and I started GouletPens.com in 2009 we sought to do the complete opposite, to leverage every online tool we could to show how personal an online store could be, to prove that business can be personal. Those of you who've read this blog, visited our site, and certainly been a customer of ours have experienced this firsthand. But we've never clearly articulated our "Why", until now.

It's been over a year in the making for us to define our company mission, purpose, vision, and values. What seem like just a few words or sentences were actually unbelievably difficult to define, though the process itself has been far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

We've tried just about everything you can think to define our Goulet culture. Rachel and I went on a long weekend retreat on Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Mountains last spring to start the process, and we came back with a notebook full of rambling, almost incoherent notes. We hired outside professional consultants to try to download our brains and say what we couldn't. They said it, but it was in their words, not ours, and it didn't resonate with our team despite the best of intentions.

What we came to realize is that we needed to involve the whole company, and look to define what it is that motivates us each as individuals and as a company to create that special, hard-to-pinpoint experience that you get when interacting with GouletPens.com in any way.

All in all, we went through countless notes and 15 different official drafts, had close to 40 different meetings in every setting from one-on-ones to small groups to company-wide, and actively involved every single person in our company to define the things that make up our “Goulet magic”. I personally have read around 40 different business leadership books since starting this process, and while these books have covered a wide variety of business topics, many of them inspired ideas for this very process we went through.

We’re so honored to present these to you, and we know that you will better be able to understand what we’re all about through what we've articulated here on our site. We give more context around our values and how we live them out in our company here - it's worth a few minutes of your time to check it out. It is our hope that by sharing with you what our deeper purpose is behind everything that we do, our “Why”, that you will have a deeper understanding about who we are and help us to spread our message by telling others what it is that makes us unique.

I would personally love to hear what you have to say about our values. If you’re inspired, email me at culture@gouletpens.com to let me know what you think, or leave a comment below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Monteverde 36-Slot Pen Case: Quick Look

I know how it starts, you get a pen and think it’s cool. Then you get another, maybe something a little different. The obsession takes hold and before you know it, you have pens in their cases, your drawer,  in your briefcase or backback, your purse, your bathroom sink, and you think to yourself, “I have to find a way to store all these pens!”. I’ve been there, and I struggle to manage my pens to this day. 

However, one thing I’ve found that has helped a lot is this new Monteverde 36-slot pen case. It’s pretty straight-forward, it’s a pen case that holds pen, I don’t know how to jazz it up any more than that. It has a nylon cover with faux-leather binding, the stitching is pretty solid.

Inside you have a faux-velvet interior which keeps the finish of the pen from getting scratched. The single-loop elastic band holds the pens in place, and it holds everything from the skinny Lamy CP1 to the fat Jinhao 159. The divider folds over one side of the pens to keep the two sides separated and safe each other.

The one thing that I can see as a drawback to this particular case is the fact there isn’t a double-loop, so theoretically pens can bump into each other side-to-side. However, my experience has been that this really is not an issue, except perhaps if you know you’re going to be seriously tossing around and abusing your case on a regular basis, in which case you’d probably want a hard case instead of a soft one like this anyway.

The Monteverde 36-slot pen case isn’t what I’d consider to be a premium product, but then it isn’t a premium price, either. If you’re like me, then you know that every dollar spent on pen storage is one dollar less to spend on a new pen (or ink). For $40 (or $1.11 per pen) it’s going to be really tough to find a more affordable pen storage option, especially something portable like this. I personally am using a couple of these to store my own pens. A word of caution though, putting your pens in a case increases the likelihood of acquiring more pens, so use with caution ;) 

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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