Friday, October 31, 2014

EPIC Goulet Announcement

Well, we've kept it secret long enough, and we finally need to let the cat out of the bag. Here it is, announcing one of the biggest projects we've every undertaken at GouletPens.com, with over a year and a half in the works. And we've kept it completely secret until now. EPIC.

We're completely rebuilding GouletPens.com from the ground up.

Our current site is great and we're very happy with it, for the most part. However, we had the opportunity to be an early adopter on a brand new enterprise-level e-commerce platform that will give us the foundation for building all kinds of things for the future. We've been working on this for a long time, all on top of our normal business operations. It's been a lot of work (especially from Rachel), and we're just about there.

So what does this actually mean? Why rebuild the site?

Well, we certainly have a good thing going on our current site. However, there are some forward-thinking things we wanted to build and the infrastructure supporting our current Volusion store just won't get us there. We've essentially outgrown the platform, and need to get on something more robust. Some of the features we plan to build will take a while to create, but we will have some nice features at launch.

What you'll see on our new site at launch:
  • Robust faceted search/filter capabilities (this will be huge!)
  • More useful and detailed product review system
  • Responsive design - mobile/tablet-friendly!
  • Cleaner look/rebranding
  • Enhanced photography
  • Improved navigation
  • and more :) 

What this means for Ink Drop

The reason we're choosing to announce this right now is because we are having to postpone Ink Drop for another month. For those of you that are Ink Drop members or have tried to join in the last month and a half, you know we took off October because we were going to 'rebuild the architecture of the program', which is entirely true. However, what we opted to keep secret was that it wasn't just Ink Drop we were rebuilding, but rather our entire site.

We originally had a launch date for this past Wednesday to try to get Ink Drop up and going for November, but things just weren't quite there and it was with a very heavy heart we had to decide to postpone the program until December. We know this is a disappointment to those of you who've been waiting patiently, and for that we apologize. We will make it up to you with something extra special in December's Drop, we promise.


As an added bonus to thank you all for your patience with the Ink Drop delay, we're putting all individual ink samples on sale - 20% off - until the end of November. No minimums.

We also have some other special deals in the works. Check back tomorrow and in the next week for some more announcements. We have all kinds of things up our sleeves. ;)

When we'll launch

At this time we're hesitant to give an exact launch date because we're still working with our developers to work out some kinks (or iron out some bugs, as Rachel says!). We want to make sure the site transition happens as seamlessly as possible, and want to take adequate time to train our team and get used to the new system. We have a certain standard for our customer service and how our site should operate, and we believe "it's better to do it right than do it right now". That said, we're looking to launch this in the next couple of weeks, and we'll do a follow-up announcement once we have the day and time selected.

Thanks so much for your fantastic support, and we're honored to be able to offer you a better shopping and writing experience than we've ever been able to before. We're incredibly excited for everything that we'll be able to offer you with our new site, and we're eager to get it off the ground.

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please let us know what you think of our big announcement in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian and Rachel Goulet

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 55, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

Goulet Q&A on a Thursday, what is going on?? Well, there's going to be a big announcement tomorrow, and I wanted to give Q&A its own day. Definitely make sure to check back here tomorrow. 

It's been a busy week launching new pens like the Delta Unica in Orange celluloid, the Stipula Splash, and Lamy gift sets! I'm not done yet either, there's a bunch more stuff coming. Until then though, sit back and let's chat about product reviews, pen shows, Noodler's Art Nib Packs, and how men and women write differently:

1) Tom J.- email - ( 8:16) 

The answer to this can be your guess-timate, I don't need hard data. But, what percentage of customers who buy a product take the time to leave a review of that product? I'm guessing it is less than 10%, but maybe not. These product reviews are so important to me (they have sold me on more items than not) and I devour them whenever I'm interested in a product. But, it seems like there should be more reviews of popular items than there are. Thanks.

2) Eleen Z.- Facebook - (13:00)
What would you recommend for a fountain pen to be used as a highlighter for students? And What highlighter ink would you recommend? 

3) Brandon D.- Facebook - (15:53) 
I know you have said you don't go to many pen shows but coming up on my one year anniversary of getting my first fountain pen (and also my 21st birthday) i was hoping to go to the Columbus Pen Show on November 8th, my question: Is it worth it to go even if i am not able to purchase anything or should i set aside $150 or so to take with me? I currently live two hours away and don't know if i should use the gas.

4) Tristian N.- Facebook - (20:16)
So you just bought yourself a new pen. Walk us through your steps. Do you admire the packaging? Give the pen a quick sniff? Do you flush it first? Fill it up entirely or just dip the nib first? And lastely, how do you decide on your color? I only have 40 colors and have a hard time choosing, I can imagine this is even harder for you so I'm very curious on your though proces on this matter.
  • my process isn’t unlike what I do in most videos
  • Color is really by what strikes me, also what I don’t yet have/what’s unique in the pen line

5) Chris P.- Facebook - (36:15)
I just got the Noodler's art nib set as a gift. They're pretty fun, but I'm wondering: is it worth trying to smooth the non-tipped nibs? And are there any great tips from the artists on Team Goulet on how best to use these nibs (techniques, papers, etc.)? 
  • do whatever the heck you want with them, they’re cheap!
  • we’re honestly still figuring them out
  • my Customer Care team has been playing around with them and having a blast
  • I personally just haven’t been able to mess with them yet, honestly 

6) Jordan L.- Facebook - (39:04)
I like the (Namiki) Pilot Falcon and the idea of it being great for flex (assuming I don’t want to go vintage) is awesome. But I would be afraid how much you can actually flex it without worrying about springing it. How far exactly will the Falcon flex comfortably? Thanks!
  • some people definitely overdo it
  • we have a certain percentage that we just know are going to destroy their nibs
  • we have been trying to think of ways to help prevent this
  • these nibs are soft, but some popular videos out there show Falcons that have been modified for added flex, and people overdo it trying to emulate these pens
  • should be able to get it to spread to about a .9-1.0mm width regularly, much more and you’re pushing it
  • better safe than sorry! 

7) Bruce S.- Facebook - (43:07)
I've been watching your videos and have been into fountain pens for about a year now, and one question that always comes to mind when looking at fountain pen stores (brick&mortar and online) in the US is the limited nib grinds. It seems like a pen enthusiast would need to go through another country (i.e. Japan) or through a nib-meister to get some of these grinds. I'm at the stage where I have a good feeling on the pen shape, but interested in exploring grinds of pen. What's the best way to go about experiencing these nib styles not available to the US (posting, wave, music, coarse, etc.)? As a retailer and fellow enthusiast, do see a need or a move to get more of these into the US?
  • I don’t know much more about these nibs than you do
  • I am working to get more offered in the US
  • it’s always a consideration of what can be made in volume and how much something will sell 
  • distributorship needs to make sense, often doesn’t for obscure nibs 

8) Henry- Ink Nouveau - (49:27)
Is there a difference between a woman using a fountain pen versus a man? Any difference in writing line thickness, ink, pen or nib selection? Try comparing Brian's (your) writing with Rachel's.
  • I wouldn’t say definitely that gender matters, too many other variables
  • there could be assumptions made about hand size, writing angle, writing pressure
  • bigger hands: more pressure, lower writing angle, darker ink/thicker lines
  • smaller hands: less pressure, steeper angle, thinner/lighter lines 

9) Donna M.- Facebook - (54:29)
I vividly remember the first time I ever saw a fountain pen in action at age five. How did your love affair with fountain pens begin?

Thanks so much for spending time with me this week, I really appreciate it. Thanks so much for continuing to ask questions, and I'm sorry to all those whose questions I couldn't answer today. Be sure to check here if you have any old Q&A's that you missed. Have a great rest of the week!

QOTW: What was the most embarrassing Halloween costume you ever wore as a kid? 

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Matchup #19: Kaweco ICE Sport in Pink and Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk

This week's Monday Matchup is bright and lively for you — hopefully it'll help you wake up and get going for the week (you know, along with all that coffee, too). We've paired the compact Kaweco ICE Sport in Pink, with fine nib, with Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk ink. We love this match because it’s a unique pick, likely to stand out and warm you up with all this cooler weather. The Kaweco ICE fits comfortably in the hand and also in your pocket, purse, or backpack. You'll want to take it with you everywhere. With the Fernambuk ink, which has incredible flow and nice saturation, you can leave bright, vivacious notes for yourself or friends throughout the day sure to make it brighter. You can't help but smile with how fun this pair is.

Our gifted photographer, Sarah, drew the sketch for this week's Monday Matchup, while Alex sampled how the pair performs with a writing sample.

What pen and ink combos liven up your day? Whatever it is, ink it up! Hope you all have a dazzling Monday!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 54, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

This week I talk about inks, nibs, and the effects of cold weather on pens! I really ramble on a bit today, only covering 8 questions, but I go in-depth about some of the behind-the-scenes logistics of how we do our ink sampling. Enjoy!

1) Nguyen T.- Facebook  (8:57) 

What are your top 5 favorite shading inks within the Noodler family? Let’s leave out Noodler's apache sunset since it's sadly out of stock for the time being. 

2) Jay K.- Facebook  (15:03) 
Is there a gold nib available for the Lamy Safari? I know this sounds like putting a Ferrari engine in an Accord, but I have a three-point grip and the Safari section is perfect for that. All I've used up to now are stainless steel nibs, and I want to see what all the fuss is about.
  • there is a 14k nib that’ll fit a Safari
  • sells only on certain Studios
  • used to be available from Lamy USA, isn’t anymore
    • heard rumors they might consider carrying them, but that’s not confirmed
  • 14k Lamy nib is pretty awesome! worth the price though? 

3) Elizabeth S.- Facebook (17:53) 
New to fountain pens, have a Lamy Safari fine nib and an Ahab Flex pen; I really like the way both feel and write, but appreciate the look of the Flex too (such a beautiful pen). I use my pens primarily for note writing. What would you suggest for my next purchase, a well-priced pen that is beautiful and feels good in the hand, and would broaden my experience with fountain pens.

4) Nigel L.- Facebook (24:23) 
When will we be able to sign-up for the new style Ink Drop
  • very soon, you’ll get an email if you were a previous member
  • we’ll blog about it, too
  • bear with us! 

5) Eric O.- Facebook (27:08) 
Now that the cold weather is upon us, what are the risks associated with fountain pens and cold weather? Ever hear of someone's pen exploding from freezing? Here in South Dakota -10 is common in January and February.
  • some inks don’t do so great in transit in the cold, esp. Diamine
  • haven’t heard of a pen exploding, no
  • carrying the pen, keep it insulated, or in a shirt or pants pocket that’s close to your body (shirt is best)
  • check out Noodler’s Polar inks 

6) Beth T.- Facebook (31:30) 
Talk to us about the Omas pens and if you've ordered enough for all of us!

7) Dionne C.- Facebook (38:54) 
I bought a Pilot Custom 74 (your love child) per your raving about it from Goulet pens. I love the pen but have one issue. Ink gets trapped in the nib section that I can't get out when I pull the nib to clean. In between the nib and collar I guess. What can I do to get it out. This is the only draw back of this pen. Totally unrelated, cake with out a doubt.
  • yup, I have the same dang thing on my pen
  • I just live with it, but it’s the pimple on this otherwise flawless beauty 

8) Alexandre J.- Facebook (42:08) 
I like to ink drop myself every couple of months with your random ink sample package, and I was wondering what the process is for picking random inks, and also if it's possible to add a comment in the order to restrict the pool of random inks, perhaps exclude a color category or two. Although of course I realize that can easily be abused, for example by asking for 8 random samples among Kaweco's 8 ink colors
  • it’s pretty dang random!
  • all our samples are pre made
  • we have to watch out for low-inventoried colors
  • we really try to mix it up and vary it by price, too, even though they’re only $1.25 each
  • it is the most popular ink sample color we sell

Make sure to ask me any questions what you want in the comments below and I'll try to add it in. Be sure to check out old Q&A's you've missed here, and have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fountain Pen Puns

I recently reconnected with a buddy of mine from college that I haven't spoken to in over 10 years. Completely on his own he discovered this blog about 6 months ago, and because he lives overseas and has a slow internet connection he was never able to see my videos. It wasn't until he was visiting the US that he watched one, and finally realized that he knew me! He reached out to me through Facebook and we reconnected, and were even able to meet up and see each other. It was wild! I never would have thought that an old friend would get into fountain pens on his own and then stumble upon my store. Very small world!

So that sets the stage for what happened next. Because we'd reconnected, we started texting back and forth a little bit. Well, last night conversation ended up turning into a battle of wits creating fountain pen puns, and it went on for hours! It ended up being such a hilarious conversation I saved it and wanted to share it with you here. In case you're wondering, I'm the bald eagle. Enjoy!

What funny pen puns can you think of? I'd love to hear it in the comments :)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pilot Vanishing Point 2014 Limited Edition Copper

Every year Pilot releases a numbered Limited Edition Pilot Vanishing Point, and this year it is the color Copper. This video shows a quick look at the pen and what makes it unique.

As Pilot releases their annual VP LE, they engrave a number on each pen, out of a total of whatever that year is. So this year there will be 2014 pens made worldwide, last year there were 2013, you get it. There's a sticker on the outer sleeve of the box that matches that engraving on the pen. These are sent randomly to retailers, so special requests for numbers are nearly impossible to fulfill.

The Copper LE is $192 at GouletPens.com ($240 list). Pilot is only shipping the pens with medium rhodium-plated 14k gold nibs, though you can swap it out with another Vanishing Point nib unit if you have one. These pens write like a dream, especially the medium nibs which run just a little smaller than most other brands' medium nibs.

The box is special with the Copper LE, as well. Normally Pilot does a leatherette box with a belt buckle kind of clasp on it, but they've changed up the box this year. It is white and copper to match the pen, and really looks like a small jewelry box, especially with a slide-out-drawer that holds the cartridge and instruction booklet.

One question I've been asked a surprising amount of times is whether the pen will tarnish or patina, like copper is known to do. The answer I'd have to say is no, in fact I highly doubt there's any actual copper in the pen at all. I believe it's just a copper colored lacquer that covers the pen body.

What do you think of this year's Vanishing Point LE?

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Matchup #18: Metallic Pilot Vanishing Point in Desert Orange, Medium nib and Diamine Pumpkin

It's getting spooky at Goulet Pens on this week’s Monday Matchup. We've paired the Metallic Pilot Vanishing in Desert Orange with Diamine Pumpkin ink. You could call it the October match or Halloween combo if you want, because that's exactly what it makes us think of! The Pilot Vanishing Point has a buttery smooth nib that will allow you to fly across your paper while Diamine Pumpkin ink matches perfectly with not only this pen, but also the season. We promise it won't disappoint with its bright color and unique shading. You'll love your writing experience with this duo.

Our very own Madigan M. did this week's sketch. Alex R. provided the writing sample.

Here's to broomsticks, pumpkins, and Octobers! Have a fall-tastic Monday.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 53, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

There are so many new things coming our way very soon and I am excited to tell you all a little about them. We're launching an exclusive on the new Omas Ogiva Alba, Pilot Copper Vanishing Point 2014 LE, and Lamy Studio Wild Rubin. I also have all kinds of interesting questions this week from using writing as a de-stressor to rumors about fountain pen nibs. Enjoy!

1) Matt J.- email - (9:10)
I have made note of your particular dislike of cartridges as opposed to bottled ink. While selection & variety are surely arguments for choosing the bottle, I am curious to know if there are any technical or experiential differences to speak of. 
  • color selection and cost effectiveness are definitely the biggest reasons I love bottles
  • the ink is the same in both bottle and cartridge, so no difference there
  • some pens may flow better/worse with a cartridge instead of converter (like Pilot pens before the agitator started coming in the Con-20 converters)

2) Melissa R.- Facebook - (14:16)
So there have been a few quick-selling items recently. I'm wondering, in the history of Goulet Pens, what item has been the fastest to sell out?
  • Stormy Grey was pretty ridiculous (so was Rouge Hematite when it first came out)
  • new TWSBI pens are always kind of crazy
  • Noodler’s flex pens, back before they were available regularly
  • no doubt the Noodler’s Neponset will be gone in about 5 seconds whenever it comes in 

3) Mike M.- email - (21:29)
I have been into fountain pens and calligraphy for about a year now. I am also an engineering student and have recently caught the attention of Rhodia proposing them to develop an Engineer's Paper Pad that takes well to fountain pen inks. I would love to see this product come to life and perhaps Goulet Pens could carry it at some point! Here is the link to the blog from Rhodia.

  • I have talked to Exaclair before about custom notepads/rulings and Rhodia/CF is willing to do it
  • minimum quantities are really high
  • there’d have to be significant demand
  • go over to the RhodiaDrive post and let them know if you really want this, comment here, or keep an eye out for Mike’s post on FPN

4) Kari S.- Facebook - (23:43)
I am sort of new to the hobby (I own 3 pens now :-D) and I was wondering if there is a good fountain pen history 101 resource out there that you could tell us about?

  • FPN is a great resource for random things in Pen History sub forum
  • Richard Binder has a TON of awesome info on his site 

5) Ben K.- Facebook -(25:22) 
Which fountain pen/s would you recommend for drawing? Also, which ink would be best for this application as well?

6) Eric O.- Facebook - (28:26)
What does a $1,000 pen have to offer versus a $150 pen versus a $25 pen?
  • think of pens like vehicles
  • The $25 pen would be a moped
  • The $150 pen would be a Honda Accord
  • The $1000 pen would be a Bentley
  • all of them will get you where you need to go, but it’s a matter of ‘the finer things’
  • usually pens near $25 or so will be function over form, nib smoothness might be hit-or-miss, there just isn’t a lot of human touch on those products, manufactured with full automation
  • $150 pens will usually start coming with gold nibs, which is the biggest price jump right there, but also will have really nice fit and finish
  • $1000 pens will write great, often have some kind of unique or cool filling mechanism, be made of more exotic materials, have much  more hand craftsmanship, and often have a backstory to their theme, often limited in number
  • definitely a law of diminishing returns!

7) Jack T.- Facebook - (34:42)
Hi Brian--although I've been into the whole fp thing for some years, it's only recently I've noticed how often I turn to my pens/inks/paper for de-stressing purposes--do you think or hear much about the applied psychology of writing with fountain pens…?
  • I do think about it, actually
  • the thing I love most about fountain pens is that no one has to use them, they use them because they want to
  • the very fact I’m in business shows that there is clearly some psychological benefit to using these things or else no one would (unless they were crazy, which we may be)
  • I’ve read articles on how writing things down improves your memory, increases synapses in your brain, all that kind of stuff, sure
  • can’t recall any literature I’ve read on writing and stress-relief, but I know it’s true, it works cuz I do it
  • there’s an initial stress of learning to get comfortable with your handwriting and learning to use a fountain pen, but once past that, it is a stress-reliever
8) Kevin L.- Facebook - (43:09)
Is there any going back to a pen from your past once it leaves your collection no matter how it left?
  • I haven’t yet had a pen ‘leave’ my collection!
  • I’m a bit of a hoarder, but for good reason! I always want pens for my vids
  • I’ve had products I’ve dropped from my store then carried again, though (Kaweco is one) 

9) Alex S.- Facebook -(45:58)
How do you rectify a misbehaved ink? I have Noodlers Bad Blue Heron and no matter what pen i put it in, the nib creep is so bad that it leaks all over the section. I've tried diluting the ink with a small amount of water and it still has leaky issues. I know it's not the pen as I've had this ink in other pens and other inks in this particular pen (Noodlers Ahab) and other inks don't leak. Any advice is appreciated!
  • I don’t think it’s that something is wrong with the pen, but the pen/ink combo
  • this is a really wet/creeping ink, and the particular pen you have it in seems to be a bad combo
  • the Ahab is also a REALLY wet pen, so you’re dealing with two super-wet things here

10) Matt S.- Facebook - (48:39)
Is there a good way to prime a Platinum Preppy eye dropper fill, that will make it easier to get more stubborn inks like Noodler’s Rome Burning to start flowing smoothly? Or should I be resigned to never getting a clean 'comparison' writing sample for this ink?
  • ink it up, let it sit for a minute or two
  • you can hold the pen like you’re writing with it, bang your hand on the desk to force ink down
  • use a paper towel to wick ink through the feed
  • some inks just take a while to get moving, but usually are okay once a flow is established 

11) Ben W.- Facebook- (51:51)
Something that initially kept me away from fountain pens was a rumor I had heard about once you use a pen, the nib is forever altered. What this meant, was that if someone else used your pen, it would ruin the nib. Could you address this and possibly where this idea originated? Thank you.
  • I’ve definitely heard this!
  • It’s total bunk, in my opinion
  • I think it’s something that people say when they don’t want to share their pen, which is fine for them
  • some people honestly don’t know how to write with a fountain pen and will screw up your nib if you let them, you have to coach them
  • the idea that the way one person writes could affect a nib (with normal use) in something as short as a person’s signature is just ridiculous, these nibs are made of METAL for crying out loud 

12) Whitney B.- Facebook- (57:36)
How does using a gold nib make the writing so much smoother when there is some other alloy used as the tipping material? I know it works, I just don't understand how.
  • tipping quality does vary, and supposedly more expensive gold nibs will have a ‘better’ tipping alloy
  • more time/hand work is given for more expensive (gold) nibs
  • the main smoothness felt has to do with the softness of the gold metal over stainless steel
    • the gold acts sort of like a shock absorber on your car, smoothing out the inconsistencies as you write
  • newbies might not notice the difference, but experienced writers probably will 

Make sure to just ask me any questions what you want in the comments below and I'll try to add it in. Be sure to check out old Q&A's you've missed here, and have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yafa Video Tour With Owner Yair Greenberg

Several weeks ago, Rachel and I had the honor of visiting Yair Greenberg at his headquarters for Yafa, Inc. in Canoga Park, Ca. Yafa is our distributor for Monteverde, Delta, Stipula, and Conklin, but they're much more than just a logistics company moving products from one place to another. They actually have a heavy hand in designing and developing products for these brands, and we've collaborated with them before with pens like the Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Nighthawk (which we miss dearly).

In addition to getting to see a slew of new pens that are slated to come out in the next several months, we also had the opportunity to tour the Yafa facility and sit down with the owner and founder, Yair. He started the company 36 years ago, working with his wife just as Rachel and I started out in the early days of GouletPens.com.

This video tells a bit of Yair's story and shows you a side of the fountain pen industry that you often don't get to see. There are deeply passionate and knowledgeable fountain pen lovers at Yafa that have a huge influence on the type of products that are available to you and me, and I'm honored to be able to show you a little insight into their world.

Now a little disclaimer here, I personally shot all this footage and the video/audio quality isn't perfect. Jenni is my videographer and did a tremendous job cutting together the footage that I gave her, but I take full responsibility for any cinematic critiques! 

I'd love to know what you think of Yafa and with this style of video. It's a bit of a different approach to what we normally do, and I'd appreciate your comments below. Thanks!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Matchup #17: Jinhao X750 with 1.5mm Goulet Nib and De Atramentis Charles Dickens

Mondays are all about making lists, scheduling for the week, and getting stuff done. For that, you need a workhorse of a pen and ink combo. The Jinhao X750 (with additional 1.5mm Goulet nib) paired with De Atramentis Charles Dickens ink is exactly the workhorse you need. This pair is bold, consistent, and sturdy — an "I'm a bulletproof vest" kind of pair. Nothing will stop you this Monday as long as you have this week's match in your pocket.

The grey Charles Dickens ink will keep you on the edge and motivated this week with its subtle shading and consistency as you’re crossing off the to-dos. Plus, you’ll have a ton of flexibility with the Jinhao X750 with our Goulet nibs. You can use the standard medium Jinhao nib for quick notes and fixes or add some depth and variation by swapping on the 1.5mm Goulet nib. Either way, with this duo you’ll be sharp and on point for whatever Monday throws your way.

Drew B. donated his skills this week to sketch the drawing. Alex R. provided the writing sample. Both used the Goulet 1.5 italic nib.

Have a fantastic Monday!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 52, Open Forum

Folks on the Goulet Team are getting married, having babies, it’s a great time to be hanging around here. I’m all jazzed up about my experience in NYC with Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuck at Business Gets Personal, and the 15-minutes of fame I had with them on stage in the “Hot Seat” segment. I talk about this and answer questions about Organics Studio ink, nib swapping, and give advice for starting a business.

1) Austin Malone- YouTube - 
Can you give us the deal on Organics Studio? ...I thought Organics Studio could have blossomed into something great.
  • Tyler was a student a Uof Maryland
  • just graduated, going to grad school in NYC
  • couldn’t keep up ink production in his studio apt.
  • has expressed interest in picking it back up after graduating, whenever that will be 

2) Roberto Alonso-YouTube - 
Hi Brian. How do you fill a fountain pen with an ink bladder (for example a Pilot Metropolitan) when the ink bottle is half empty, for "tall" bottles I'm finding difficult to do it in a clean way. Any tricks?
  • wear gloves, haha! 
  • use ink syringe
  • decant into a sample vial

3) Bl00dLust2012-YouTube - 
I'm a student and I carry up to 4 pens sometimes with various colors for note taking. What is a good, yet not too expensive, 4-6 pen carrying case? I've looked in a few places such as Amazon and they're either too expensive or are cheaply made.
  • Nock- can buy direct now, we will be carrying it when they make it available to retailers in a month or two
  • Aston Case-10, we used to have Case 6 but it actually costs more!

4) @MobyProf- Twitter - (18:50)
What's the timetable on the TWSBI Vac Mini? By Christmas—please?

  •  sigh…ya got me there. I just don’t know. No firm date yet, but I’d say probs not

5) Sarah M.- Ink Nouveau - (19:35)
Does Clairefontaine make French-rule pads? I use a lot of pads at work, and I just fell in love with the seyes rule, so seyes rule pads would be awesome.
  • They do make them, but they’re not imported by the US distributor (Exaclair) so they’re hard to come by
  • GouletPens.com has 6 French-rule notebooks, 2 side-staplebound, 2 side-clothbound, 2-side wire bound

6) Ravena J.- Facebook - (20:42)
Is it easy to swap the nibs from Pilot pens? For example, I'm planning to buy a Pilot Stargazer, but I love Pilot's Soft Medium nib over the standard Pilot Medium nib and would like to see about getting one to swap it out. Is this even possible?
  • Generally the nibs are easy to remove, esp. with Goulet Grip
  • Stargazer comes right out, same with Custom 74, Metropolitan, etc
  • They use different nibs on many of their pens, some will share
  • Only VP nibs are available separately
  • Nib units (with grip) are available by special order for some pens like the Falcon, but they’re pricey (about 60% cost of the pen) 

7) @Twoznek- Twitter - (24:24)
Does the Sheaffer 100 & 300 have the same nib?
  • sure as heck seems to be to me
  • see side-by-side in Pen Plaza 

8) Scott Rodgers- InkNouveau - (25:24)
Can you recommend a bottled ink that comes closest to "dollar bill green"?  
  • I honestly can’t name you one!
  • OS Gregor Mendel, but that’s gone 

9) @SgtStretch- Twitter - (27:01)
Can I swap the nib on my 580 with any #6 nib without getting a TWSBI nib+section unit?
10) Adam K.- Facebook - (27:58)
What is your favorite ink that is no longer in production?
  • Parker Penman Sapphire
  • Omas Blue (old formula) close second 

11) Tanmay B.- Facebook - (27:58)
What is the best but cheapest everyday writing pen? With a fine or extra-fine nib?

12) Ben C.- Facebook - (30:57)
Hey Brian, love the videos! It is always nice to see the amount of energy and passion you have for what you do. Any advice on getting into the ink making business, or just advice on starting your own business in general? What are the pro's and con's of being a small business owner these days?
  • Ink making? Oh boy, that’s tough
  • not my area of expertise, but my suggestion would be to test test test test test and then sell direct, build up a loyal following, and then wholesale
  • Starting your own business
    • start small, don’t go all in unless you have money saved
    • start part time if you can, prove the validity of the business with profits before hiring!
    • get ready to work your butt off, and make sure you realllllly love what you do, otherwise you won’t make it through the tough times
    • get ready to fail, a lot. "Fail early, fail often, fail forward!” John Maxwell
  • Pros are pride, freedom, potential to make good income, fulfillment in work, diversity of tasks, can focus on strengths (usually), ‘job security’ dependent on your own dedication
  • Cons are risk, long hours, sacrifice of hobbies/social life (usually), odds stacked against you, massive amount of failure to learn from (could be a pro!)

13) March R.- Facebook - (44:04)
Ok so I have a question on ink cartridges. How do you know which cartridge will fit in your pen?
  • Check on specific product pages for descriptions/pictures
  • Cartridge/converter guide (not all-inclusive though)
  • FPN resource? looked for one, couldn’t find it 

14) Cheryl C.- Facebook -  (45:30)
I own a Namiki Falcon, fine nib. I've had it about 18 months. I didn't use it often as I was a little disappointed in the flex of the nib. I recently started using it more often and I've noted more flexibility to the nib. Is this my imagination, or do the nibs develop more " give" after repeated use?
  • yes, nibs do break in (esp. gold nibs)
  • with that much time that’s passed, it could be that you’re writing differently than you used to
  • I personally lowered my pen angle drastically my first year of using fountain pens
  • Ballpoints need to be held really upright, natural tendency is to do that with FP’s at first
  • FP’s work better at a lower (45 degree) angle, especially soft nibs 

15) Steve K.- Facebook - (48:47)
How many pens do you keep inked up at any one time? What do you think is too many (i.e., you run the risk of some of them clogging up)?
  • Oh gosh, way too many
  • At least a dozen or more at once
  • I do get help cleaning my pens these days
  • I definitely let some of my pens clog/dry up before cleaning them, definitely
  • I don’t always practice the good pen hygiene I preach!
  • I just love inking up new colors 

Thanks for watching, and for asking such awesome questions. Be sure to check out old Q&A vids here. Have a great week!

Question of the Week: How many of your pens do you keep inked up at one time? 

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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