Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TWSBI Classic Now Posts!

Back when the TWSBI Classic came out in January of 2014, I was really excited about the pen. So much so, I shot a whopping 5 videos on it: Intro to the TWSBI Classic Fountain PenTWSBI Classic, 580, Mini Fountain Pen ComparisonFilling the TWSBI Classic Fountain Pen from a BottleWriting with the TWSBI Classic Fountain Pen, and TWSBI Classic Disassembly and Reassembly Demonstration. Despite all that education and praise I put out there, the Classic just hasn’t been a home run. And I think a lot of that is because of one fatal flaw (that I did point out), it didn’t post. 

Well, that’s changed now. TWSBI has responded to its fans and redesigned the filler knob (end cap) to the pen with a pair of rubber o-rings to hold the cap firmly in place while it’s posted. It goes on easy, and feels secure. It’s a nice adaptation, thank you TWSBI! So basically in this video I just show you what the end cap looks like and how the pen posts. Nothing too fancy, I’ve probably talked about this pen too much already ;) For what it’s worth, I actually think for the price, features, and overall size/design of the pen it’s actually really tough to beat. Time will tell if this new end cap will prove that in the pen community.

TWSBI’s already made this change on all Classics moving forward, so anything you buy from here on out should be the new version, check with your retailer of choice if you’re unsure. I know at GouletPens.com we’ve got all new ones. But what about for those of you that already have the old version? Well, TWSBI is going to get a supply of replacement end caps soon, and you’ll be able to buy one for a pretty reasonable price (around $5 probably) and swap it out yourself. 

What do you think of the change?

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Matchup #15: Noodler's Konrad Flex Pen in Amazon Pearl and Noodler's Green

Mondays might be tough, but one positive is that they equal a fresh start. New beginnings make me think 'green' and 'go'. So, to get you pumped up this Monday and propel you into the week, our Monday Matchup is vivid, fresh, and screams "get going!"

We’ve paired the Noodler’s Konrad flex pen in Amazon Pearl with Noodler's Green. It's almost like they were made for each other. This pair is spunky and allows diversity in your writing stokes as well as color. The green is on the darker side, but has some natural shading that works perfectly with the flex nib. If you're looking for something new and different, this is exactly the combo you need.

Hopefully this week's match gets you revved up for a new week with new beginnings. Sometimes a little change, like a new match, is all you need to start fresh and stay motivated. You've got this!

Caitlin did this week's drawing using the Konrad flex pen shown and a Noodler's brush pen. The writing sample was contributed by Alex to show off the pen's capabilities.

Hope you have a successful, bright, and fresh Monday!

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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Goulet Top 5 Picks for Fall

This post was written by our own Alex Ross.

Fall is officially here, friends. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a lover of all things fall. To me, it equals a new beginning or a fresh start. I loved going back to school shopping — getting new clothes and school supplies. One of the things I love most about fall, though, is the change of colors and style. I'm in love with the darker and golden hues that emerge, including the ones in the fountain pen world. Here are my top picks for this fall that will hopefully get you just as excited about the season.

Top 5 Fall Pens:

1. Parker Urban, Mandarin Yellow
I've been in love with this pen since the day we got it. Its golden yellow color is insanely unique and, in my personal opinion, gorgeous. This pen is a perfect pick for fall considering it looks like the changing leaves right outside my window.

2. Edison Nouveau Premiere 2014 Fall Edition — Autumn Harvest
This is a natural pick. What I admire about this pen are the flecks of gold and orange. It's extremely unique and was created with this season specifically in mind. If you want to show off fall, this is the pen to do it with.

3. Lamy Al-Star, Purple
The Purple Al-Star represents the darker tones of fall. The purple/maroonish color will be perfect for your day-to-day fall adventures. Plus, the color reminds me of game-days at Virginia Tech. Go Hokies!

4. Faber-Castell Loom, Metallic Blue
To me, fall encompasses many hues, and navy is one of them. Mostly as it gets darker earlier, the skies begin to fade into night as a dark, infinite blue. It is so deep and rich and makes me love fall nights all the more. Think cozying up by the bonfire with the stars bright and clear above you. This pen is about writing down those memories.

5. TWSBI Vac 700, Orange
This orange is pretty close to perfect for fall. It's vibrant but still has that dark, rustic feel to it. Orange is a signature color for all. Pumpkins and pens alike.

Top 5 Fall Inks:

These inks pretty much speak for themselves, so I won’t go into detail about why I chose each one. It was pretty difficult to narrow it down to just five though. All you need to know is that Diamine Pumpkin was my first love at Goulet simply because of the name. That might give you a glimpse into how much I love this season…

1. Diamine Pumpkin

2. Noodler's Burgundy

3. Faber-Castell Hazelnut Brown

4. Diamine Autumn Oak

5. Stipula Sapphron

I hope these fall picks inspire you to throw on your favorite sweater and scarf, snag a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and cozy up by the fire with your fountain pen. Slow down and get comfortable scribbling away letters, memories, and dreams. I might go do that right now.

Are you as pumped for fall as I am? What are your fall picks for pens and inks?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sneak Peek: Pilot Vanishing Point in Copper (2014 LE)

This year's limited edition Pilot Vanishing Point is nearly upon us. For 2014, it features a copper colored barrel with rhodium accents. It's a bit difficult to tell from these pictures exactly how dark the copper color is, but we'll get our hands on one in person soon enough to show it off!

It comes with a CON-50 converter and a 18k rhodium-plated medium nib, though you can purchase separate VP nib units to swap it out for another size if you so desire. It comes in a special white box with copper lettering to match the pen.

There will be 2014 total pens produced worldwide, and each pen has a unique serial number engraved. Full MSRP is $240, though we'll be offering it for $192. We've managed to procure a good number, but we don't expect them to last forever! Expected arrival date is sometime next week (late September/early October).

What do you think of this year's color?

Monday Matchup #14: Pilot Custom 74, Blue with Medium nib and Caran d'Ache Idyllic Blue

It’s a beautiful Monday here in Ashland, Virginia. The skies are clear and blue, the air is cool, and it feels perfectly fall. It’s already a great start to the week and we’ll add to it with some Monday Match-up.

This week we channeled our inner Brian Goulet and choose his favorite pen, the Pilot Custom 74 in blue with medium nib, and paired it with a true blue, Caran d’Ache Idyllic Blue. This is a bona fide Goulet combo, folks. The Custom 74 is smooth to write with, like a sailboat floating across glassy water early in the morning. And the Idyllic Blue ink has incredible flow, working seamlessly with the pen. It offers some light shading, but is overall a vibrant hue.

Caitlin chose to draw a quick and simple sketch of a sailboat, this week. Alex provided a writing sample to demonstrate how this pair worked together.

If you could create a “Goulet combo” what would it be? What do you currently have matched? Let us know!

Hope y’all have a fantastic week! Happy Monday!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 49, Open Forum

This week's Q&A talks about Pelikan m600 vs m800, cost effectiveness of fountain pens vs. rollerballs, pen shopping, and more. Enjoy! 

1) @y2bd- Twitter (5:46):
I've found that inks that are sheen-heavy tend to smear easily even days after "drying". Is this just to be expected?
  • That’s definitely been my experience
  • Sheening basically only happens when excess ink is sitting on the surface of the paper
  • Maybe not ALL sheen inks smear, but most do

2) Jasper B.- Facebook (8:53):
I'm thinking about getting a Pelikan pen in their "M" series, but i don't know if it should be a M600 or M800, I'm afraid of the size of the pen, it looks like the 600 is mostly cap and not so much pen, but i hear alot of people say that the 800 goes in the totally other direction and that it is much bigger than you would espect. I love the size of my Namiki Falcon and my Aurora Style, and the 18k nib is pulling me more towards a 800 than the 14k nib on the 600, what are your thoughts?
  • the nib on the m800 does feel a little softer, hard to say if it’s because of the 18k or just the bigger nib overall
  • going from a Falcon to an m800 is a pretty big change in size
  • check out Nib Nook for comparison
  • m800 is not just bigger, but heavier because of metal ‘guts’
  • i personally like the m800 more, because I like big pens
  • the size and nib on the m800 are pluses for me, you’ll have to decide what’s best for you

3) Ben C.- Facebook (12:18):
Hi Brian, I recently got asked this by a colleague and wanted to know your thoughts on the issue. Is it less expensive, more expensive, or approximately the same expense to own and use a fountain pen vs. a roller-ball pen (a Pilot G2 or similar)? I said it was less expensive based off the usage of my TWSBI 580 and Noodler's black ink after about 30 weeks. I know it's dependent on a lot of different variables so we assumed a roller-ball lasted 2 months and that the fountain pen needed refilled bi-weekly.
  • It’ll REALLY depend on how much you spend on your fountain pen
  • just ink alone, the most expensive is gel, then ballpoint, then fountain (usually, depends on the ink used)
  • if you’re like me and get totally hooked on fountain pens, then it will DEFINITELY not end up being cheaper! ;) 

4) Andrew H.- Facebook (15:14):
Brian, thanks again for these wonderful Q&A sessions, they are very informative. Small question, context first: I am using the Lamy Safari charcoal with the EF nib. I will in the next few weeks, be buying another Lamy Safari from your company. I want to start using bottle ink, because I've noticed that using a cartridge each week, is not very cost effective. Now the small question: you talk about saving money, using bottle ink vs cartridges.If I am only using up a cartridge each week, and then move up to use bottle ink, how much money will I be saving each month? The amount of writing will very from time to time, but I average one cartridge per-week. How long will a bottle of, let's say, X of 3oz, last me? Thanks again!!:)
  • Lamy carts $4/5-pack
  • you’re paying $0.80/week now
  • $12 (cost of Noodler’s 3oz ink) would equal 15-weeks of ink cartridges
  • 1 cartridge ~ 1-ml of ink
  • 3oz bottle ~ 90ml
  • 90 weeks of ink for you
  • 90 weeks of cartridges costs $72
  • total savings over the life of 1 3oz Noodler’s bottle ~ $60 

5) Emily P.- Facebook (19:40):
The cap to my Pilot Plumix got stuck and refuses to twist open. Help?
  • twist harder!
  • use rubber glove/band
  • break it if you have to, it won’t do you any good closed anyway, it’s only $9 to replace 

6) Exequiel L.- Facebook (20:37):
Hi Brian, what is your favourite pen made by Noodler's Ink?
  • it *will* be the Neponset once I get it in!
  • so far, the Baikal Acrylic Konrad

7) Edgar H.- Facebook (21:54):
What is your favorite Lamy ink color?
Also, I have an idea for the Q&As. It seems that you have not enough time to answer all the questions you want to, so, I was wondering that It might help if, instead of just Open Forum videos every week, you make something like specific "Paper forum" "Ink forum" (etc.) videos.
  • Lamy Turquoise, by far
  • did the topic-based Q&A’s for a while, look on Ink Nouveau 
  • I actually like getting ‘too many’ questions

8) Laura P.- Facebook (25:14):
What pen would you suggest for someone who loves fountain pens but is basically terrified to purchase let alone use one? That would be me!

9) Christine D.- Facebook (27:00):
Is there a listing of De Atramentis "people" and "flowers" inks as they correspond to the standard line? I've been poking around a bit and don't believe that the name on the side of the bottle is always the standard color (for example Alexander Hamilton says aubergine on the bottle - but it's not clear if that is Aubergine the ink or if De Atramentis is just saying that Alexander Hamilton ink is aubergine, the color).
  • no, we don’t have a master listing
  • we’ve been asked about putting that together, honestly it’s confusing for us too
  • definitely some overlap 

10) Rob P.- Facebook (29:21):
(paraphrase) How soft is the Falcon nib compared to the Nib Creaper under normal writing pressure? I use moderate pressure and find that the Nib Creaper will not flex if I write normally. Is the falcon nib much softer? I know you have a slightly heavier hand so I would be interested in your opinion. Thanks!!
  • I think they’re somewhat close, Falcon is probably a little softer, but the Noodler’s flexes further 

11) Kien N.- Facebook (32:02):
I have some issues with my Konrad that has the Goulet 1.1 stub nib on it. When I inked the pen up, there was ink inside the part where the nib and feed fit into the pen. Even though I only screwed the cap half way through, the cap became too tightened onto the body after 1-2 days. However, despite the tight cap, the ink inside still dried up and I had flow issues afterward. I am not sure if the issues are connected or if they are independent of each other. What should I do to get it working well?
  • I don’t think the ink had anything to do with the cap being tight
  • what ink? That matters
  • try heat setting
  • wide open feed on these pens, they will dry up in a shorter-than-normal timeframe 

12) Aaron D.- Facebook (35:45):
If you could add any dealer to your line which would it be and why?
  • several I’m considering, can’t say who
  • nothing firm in the works at the moment
  • working on some other cool stuff right now
  • who would you want to see me pick up? 

13) Mate F.- Facebook (38:26):
What do you think is the best cartridge out there? Also, what pen would you recommend for no more than $50 that can take standard international?

14) Garrison G.- Facebook (40:00):
Hey Brian I love your company and thank you and your team for all you have done my question is I am in middle school what pens do you think are great for me ? Once again thank you

15) Melanie S.- Facebook (43:25):
Is the TWSBI Diamond 580 in red white and blue a myth? Why does it keep getting pushed back? Been waiting since at least August for it.
  • TWSBI 580 USA is not a myth! It’s been in the works since spring
  • should just be a couple more weeks
  • one-shot deal, you’d better jump on it if you want it 

16) Kari S.- Facebook (48:03):
I know it is possible to special order pens. Is it possible to order a specific ink as well?
  • anything is possible, but usually not practical
  • we stock most ink regularly
  • only special order requests are usually for De Atramentis
  • tough because it takes 2-3 months to get shipments in, so we don’t do special orders anymore for them 

17) Lori P.- Facebook (52:15):
When will Lamy announce the new colors for 2015?
  • Lamy Studio Wild Rubin is the only thing I know is in the works (mid-October)
  • I’m sure there will be more colors next year
  • Don’t know what yet 

18) Shawn D.- Facebook (54:23):
Any chance if you'll be getting in the Rhodia No. 80 pads? If so, when and what will the price be?
  • yeah, we will at some point but not right away
  • should be available now
  • price is around $10

Thanks to everyone who asked me questions this week. Be sure to say hey on my personal Twitter handle @BrianGoulet_. If you have any rando pen questions for next week, just ask below! And check out any old Q&A's here if you've missed them. Have an awesome week. 

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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