Friday, September 26, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 50, Open Forum

I'm getting pretty amped up for the Business Gets Personal event that Rachel and I are attending next week with Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuck, and Dave Ramsey! Until then, I'm talking about the new TWSBI Classic postable end cap, writing left-handed, glow in the dark inks, and my social media approach and how I balance it with all I have going on. Good questions this week! 

1) Joy Noel- Ink Nouveau (7:35)
What criteria are used by the option on gouletpens.com to "Sort By Most Popular"? Sometimes the order surprises me. I presume each SKU is sorted according to the number ordered during some recent period of time. If so, what time period?
  • manual process right now
  • based on true popularity (of sales on our site)
  • we choose the time period, usually last 60 days is most relevant
2) Paradox Studios- YouTube (9:20)
I'm left handed and I have a lot of problems with cheaper pens (for example the Lamy Safari). Are these pens scratchy because of my writing position (I write with the hand above the writing line)? 

  • hand position likely has a lot to do with it
  • cheaper nibs aren’t ground to be used in that direction, usually
  • more expensive pens often are give more attention by nibmeisters at factory
  • cheaper nibs are barely touched by humans, if at all
  • more expensive pens go through tuning by humans

3) Miguel Landestoy- YouTube (12:40)
Do you happen to know if there is any glow in the dark inks? i think that would pretty cool.
  • have seen glow in the dark calligraphy ink, from J. Herbin (not sure if they still make it)
  • no ’true’ glow in the dark, but are some glow under UV light
  • Noodler’s Blue Ghost, Firefly, several others 

4) Alex Kartal- YouTube (14:50)
There's something that I've been wondering about for a long time is what's with the ninja turtle figures in the background?
  • What, I like Ninja Turtles!
  • Drew and I used to play pretend TMNT in school
  • My son now likes them, so I put them in there 

5) Dane M.- Email (17:05)I love my Pilot Vanishing Point F inked with either Noodler's Liberty's Elysium, Waterman Serenity Blue, or Diamine Oxblood, but very few notebooks or papers that I've found are both affordable and fountain pen friendly. Any recommendations for good paper on a budget?
  • depends on the format
  • bound journals are always most expensive
  • wire bound and staple bound notepads are more affordable
  • Leuchtturm bound journals are good
  • none of the paper I carry is “cheap”
  • Good experience with Black n’ Red, HP laser jet paper

6) Simdhuja M.- Facebook (21:13)

I get that the minimum quality of paper for serving the purpose of a fountain pen should say 24lb, but there are so many adjectives to the quality of paper like coated, premium, etc.... What are these and how many more varieties are there??? Its something like my fingers recognise the quality and texture of good paper but I get confused with these denominations... Please help...

  • sigh…this will always be confusing
  • aside from paper weight (gsm/lb), acid-free, pH-neutral, there really isn’t anything standard that’s marketed
  • some call premium, coated, ink-resistant, etc, but they could all mean different things
  • you pretty much have to go off the trusted review of an online source, or try the paper for yourself

7) Eric O.- Facebook (27:10)
Brian, Goulet pens has a strong presence in the social media/technology arenas. Do you ever rethink all the engagement efforts due to time constraints? Have you found a way to manage your business while growing your business? 
  • Social media/content has been a huge reason for the growth
  • no paid advertising
  • it’s always a balancing act
  • got help
  • spend a lot of time on social sites, always trying to hone and tone
  • no one ‘really’ has it figured out, it’s a moving target

8) Richard B.- Facebook (33:23)

I've been thinking about getting a Lamy 2000, but the new Lamy Studio Wild Rubin has peaked my interest. Both have a 14k gold nib. Could you compare the writing experience between these two? Which nib do you like better?
  • Oh, good question! Personally, I like the way the 14k Lamy nib on the Studio a little better
  • less of a ’sweet spot’
  • Like the pen body of the 2000 better
  • if I had to choose between the two for a daily writer, it would be the 2000, based on what I naturally grab to write with
  • Wild Rubin will make a MUCH more impressive gift 

9) Tristan N.- Facebook (36:27)

Does the Goulet team watch your videos as well?
  • yes, but not everyone watches every video
  • Customer Care team watches the most
  • Training/on-boarding have lists of videos to watch like FP101
  • just about everyone we’ve ever hired has known nothing about pens, learn as they go
  • special videos (like the Goulet Values) we’ll watch in our Wed. morning company meeting together 

10) Adrian C.- Facebook (43:10)

I know that The Goulet Pen Company has no control over this, but WHEN IS THE TWSBI 580 USA coming out?? I have been waiting on my next order so that I can include that pen! I know I am being impatient, but I just love ordering stuff from your company. Can't wait to put in my next order for some pens and ink!
  • I love your enthusiasm! 
  • The pen is available now from TWSBI, we’re getting our shipment TODAY
  • I’m recording this Thursday morning, so something crazy could happen between the recording and publishing of this video, but it should be releasing on GouletPens.com today
  • We will be getting one follow-up order next week or two weeks from now, but that’ll be all forever 

11) Dane M.- Email (45:13)As someone still relatively new to fountain pens, I'm trying to branch out and try new things, but really have trouble adventuring past Metropolitans, Safaris, and my Vanishing Point. Are there any more "adventurous" pens that you would recommend for a noob like me? :) 

12) @blushinpencil- Twitter (48:16)

How did you get into fountain pens? Writing, collecting, etc.
  • LONG story, check out 4-year anniversary video “Reflection After 4-years
  • stumbled into at age 25 after making rollerball pens
  • the ink drew me in
  • ink and paper was my life for first year, then expanded into pens
  • Preppy, low-end Pelikans, Noodler’s, Lamy, Pilot

13) Simdhuja M.- Facebook (51:13)

Which pens have ebonite feeds and how does one differentiate ebonite to others (if any)???
  • it’s either ebonite or ABS plastic (injection molded)
  • Noodler’s uses all ebonite
  • Omas uses all ebonite
  • there may be others, but none that I know, none others at Goulet
  • ebonite is hard rubber, plastic is…plastic
  • they’re usually both dark, so you kind of have to see them yourself to know, or trust the seller advertising them 

Next week I'm going to have to shoot Q&A a little ahead of time, because I'll be in NYC at Business Gets Personal. I'll still be able to have everything uploaded and published while I'm gone though, I have a great team that helps me with that stuff now! I have a good backlog of questions so I'll be dipping into those, otherwise you just ask me what you want in the comments below and if I see it in time, I'll throw it in the mix. Be sure to check out old Q&A's you've missed here, and have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Aurora still make ebonite feed for their pens, but they're pretty high-end stuff.

  2. That must just be on some of their pens then. I have a couple Auroras and they definitely aren't ebonite feeds.

  3. Interesting comment from the fellow lefty about his experience with the Lamy Safari. That was my first fountain pen, and I too am left-handed. I have the fine nib, and it was the relatively smooth and pleasant writing experience that really got me into the habit. It does sound as though the questioner and I have a different hand position though, but I never have found it to write "scratchy". I have a number of fountain pens now, but the Lamy is still one of my workhorse pens for my journaling and other longer writing tasks.

  4. danitrio uses ebonite feeds on all their #8 nibs, for sure. I think they do on their #6 nibs but im not completely sure. danitrio might be a brand for you to look into as their retail presence isn't too strong (im assuming it would be special order only - some of those dani's are expensive! the real elaborate maki-e ones can push 30k) as far as i know, only mottishaw is retailing them in the us and he also only does them by special order.

  5. For Dane M., Question 5: while there are wonderful lower priced fountain pens, it is a shame that inexpensive fountain pen friendly paper is so elusive. I used Noodler's Black for years on cheaper papers and it works quite well with them with finer/less wet nibs. Using Noodler's Black (or other highly saturated or pigmented inks) with an F or EF nib should help when using inexpensive common papers. However, this eliminates those beautiful colorful and shading inks (I love D. Oxblood!). My Vanishing Point F nib is a little drier than my Pilot Cool F nib (but it is by no means dry). It works fairly well on cheap copy paper using Black Swan in AR.

  6. Thanks for the great tips, Brian, and for the Pilot Metropolitan I got from Goulet Pens a few weeks ago. I have a question: At what point should I refill the pen? I can usually tell a page or two before the pen runs out of ink that it's running low. I usually just apply a bit more pressure and continue writing until it's completely out of ink. Is this OK? Or should I refill before it's completely out? I don't use a lot of pressure, but I'm not sure if the medium pressure I put on the pen for those last couple pages will do any damage to my Metropolitan or not. Thanks!

  7. hi i m kinda new i guess to fps. i just got 2 lamys and would probably be getting twsbi soon, but would you guys be lowering your shipping prices for international orders. i live in Australia and everything here is basically overpriced which is sooo ridongculous!

  8. I hope you enjoy your visit to my little town, New York City!

  9. lefty hand positions seem to vary greatly, and that could certainly be the cause of the difference between you two. It could also be the way the nib was ground, hard to say.

  10. Yeah ... Definitely. But the plain urushi pens are within the realm of affordability. 800 to 1200 or so depending on the model. Still expensive but I think reasonable for an oversized urushi pen with an oversized nib. One exciting thing about danitrio is their flexible nibs really are pretty flexible. http://www.leighreyes.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/wpid-DSC04525-2010-09-21-11-29.jpg

    I hope you'll consider carrying them by special order, they're really fantastic pens.


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