Friday, July 24, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 88, 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.

In this week's Q&A, I talk about my ink swab process, my fanciest pens, and what I learned from working with my dad. 

Here's some of the recent products and videos we've been 
working on at GouletPens.com: - (:43)

Pens/Writing - (5:03)

1) Inlovewithjournals –YouTube - (5:12)
I like to post my caps. Can you tell me which pens have caps that actually screw to the barrel when posted?

Ink - (7:25)

2) Travis W. - Facebook - (7:32)
What are your favorite inks available in cartridges - preferably grouped by color and/or proprietary design.

3) @clazbill –Twitter - (10:09)
For swabs, or written ink tests, how often do you redo them to check for fading?
  • really no need, I keep them filed away in temp controlled and dark storage on acid-free, pH-neutral paper
  • sunlight is what causes fading

4) Brian H. -Facebook - (12:47)
I use love using Noodler's Bad Blue Heron in my Pilot Metro, but the nib creep is so bad that it gets on the grip when capped (even when stored tip up). From what I understand this could be caused by the saturation of the dye that's in the ink. Is dilution an option to help/stop the nib creep? Or does this sound like its a pen issue?
  • It sounds like something else is up
  • Ink really doesn’t creep so hard it crawls out of the pen when it’s nib up
  • could be getting in the cap when carried around and dripping down when you put it away
  • could be leaking, maybe improperly seated converter
  • I recommend a thorough cleaning, cap included and try again
  • maybe try switching inks and see if it still does it, that’d help rule it out

5) Ferraraphotographics- YouTube - (19:30)
What's the big deal about mold?  How easy is it to have a pen infected. What is the long term damage to my pen? Is it just a good cleaning and I am back to normal?  I have bottles of ink that are 15+ years old. No sign of mold. Is this more common in very humid climates?
  • mold isn’t super common, but it does happen
  • most inks have biocides to fight mold growth
  • if it gets moldy in your pen, you can disinfect it with a bleach solution, how much it needs depends on how bad it is
  • I don’t know if it has anything to do with humid climates, it has more to do with mold in your environment 

Business - (24:33)

‏6) @roguishknave-Twitter - (24:39)
How exactly do you make your swabs? In particular the large swab. Do you make multiple passes with the Qtip or just one?
  • Standardized on Clairefontaine Pollen cardstock, 210g
  • cut up into 2”x2.25” cards
  • write ink name with a glass pen 
  • completely saturate the q-tip, swab a single, intentional swab
  • let dry, scan in 

7) Shubhranshu D. Facebook - (28:53)
Is the introduction of the Cross Townsend a change in GPC strategy to include some of the more expensive brands or FP ranges? Costs for selling a 20$ and 300$ FP would remain fairly similar... Except inventory carrying costs etc maybe slightly higher.... Would GPC move up the premium ladder?
  • It’s not really a change in strategy
  • we’ve been carrying pens in this price range for a while, like Platinums, VP Radens, Omas, etc
  • carrying rollerballs was really more of a tangent than carrying Cross
  • I don’t really consider Cross to be a “premium” brand, not like Pelikan, Delta, Montegrappa, Visconti, Mont Blanc, Cartier…
  • We dabble in the higher end stuff, but it’s not so much our focus, we’ll go there as people ask us for it

8) tgrant5 –YouTube - (36:14)
What are your ""staple"" books ( or other resources) that has helped shape ""The Goulet Pen Company "" that we know today? What are the top 3 lessons that you learned while working with your dad?  As a frequent customer, I thank you and your wife for running a great company and (from my view) a positive place to work for your team members.
  • Some top books: Gary Vaynerchuck’s Crush It (why I do videos/social media)
  • Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership (hiring, culture, mission/vision)
  • Simon Sinek’s Start With Why (purpose)
  • Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage (organizational health)
  • Top three things my dad taught me: Work Hard, Be Honest, Be Flexible (no joke)
  • working with him though, he taught me to figure things out, even if stuff broke down and I didn’t know what to do, I had to figure it out

Personal - (49:42)

9) AJ Mangino –YouTube - (49:47)
Brian, I know you really like your Custom 74 (as I do mine) because it is beautiful and reliable. I have to wonder though, with a collection of 300 pens, you do not have any higher end pens that have some special 
value or just write like a dream? I know you are a new pen retailer but I have to imagine that you have some awesome pens that would knock the Custom 74 or Lamy 2000 out of your top 2.
  • They’re not my top pens because they’re “the” best ones I have, though they are pretty awesome
  • Big fan of the Omas Ogiva (Cocktail will be coming out this fall)
  • Waterman Carene in  fine
  • Pelikan pens are great (pricey but write really well)
  • Parker Duofold writes nicely, VERY wet
  • Lots and lots of Edisons are very special to me
  • Other special pens, ones that have been a gift like my Namiki Custom Impressions
  • My special ones I don’t write with as often, only on occasion, same goes for my premium level pens
  • I am very utilitarian and have a value mindset, so I love the Custom 74, Lamy 2000, VP, and other pens like this for the value aspect and I don’t have to be too careful with them

Troubleshooting - (55:03)

10) Leah K. -Facebook - (55:08)
I'm fairly new to fountain pens, although I used one many years ago.  Recently, I was using my fountain pen to take notes during a webinar on my computer.  With the ceiling fan on, it may have dried out the pen a bit, as I noticed it didn't seem to flow well.  I wound up actually putting more ink in it, even though it probably still had a decent supply left.  How could I have prevented this or what should I have done in this situation?  
  • ceiling fan may have been somewhat of a factor, not as much as you think
  • probably just the pen was uncapped too long
  • this is common for anyone switching over to FP’s from ballpoints/rollerballs
  • new habit to cap pen when not using it
  • some pens are easier to cap than others, this can help in making capping more of a habit
  • some pens/inks dry out quicker than others

QOTW: What are the 3 most impactful books that you’ve read? - 58:28

Thanks so much for spending time with me this week, I really appreciate it! Be sure to check here if there are any old Q&A's that you missed.

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Brian, what about one of my all-time favorite pens that screws on to post... the TWSBI Mini.

  2. 1) Freddy beat me to it, the TWSBI Mini. Another great Q&A!

  3. Kaweco Liliput Stainless Steel Fountain Pen also screws to post

  4. Inside the Magic Kingdom: Seven Keys to Disney's Success by Tom K. Connellan - really resonated with me as to what the customer experience should be like and got me working on how to get my business there.

  5. This isn't necessarily a question for a future Q&A, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway:

    Brian, what are the odds of a clipless Vanishing Point? There were a few times last week when a VP would have been perfect for my current project, but I've never bought one because the clip really bugs me. It's a great pen with a fantastic nib, and I can't be the only person out there who's seriously considered buying one but stopped for this very reason. Any way you could mention this idea to Pilot? Thanks!

  6. For the question of the day:

    Studying as a full-time college student and working part-time, I haven't dedicated myself to too much recreational reading. But, some good inspirational books I've read recently are:

    1) Pastor Andy Stanley's "The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating"
    2) John Maxwell's "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership"

  7. Montblanc Starwalker also has a screw for posting the cap.

  8. I have a question about the QOTW: did you mean impactful as related to business/work? or related to life in general? I probably have several sets of favorite books on different topics, but I don't have a separate one for 'work'......

  9. And I have a question about ink samples. Recently you showed PR Black Cherry on one of your Monday Match Ups, and I liked the color and decided to try it. Then I looked in my ink sample collection and realized I had it already. I filled up a pen and started writing with it and was shocked by the difference in color. Instead of 'black cherry' it is nothing more than what I would call dark brown. Do inks change color over time, sealed in the bottles or in sample vials? These vials are in a drawer in my desk, in the dark, no particular temperature changes, and I haven't opened this vial before now. It is probably less than a year old. I have had this experience before with ink in bottles, but that was with ink that was years old, and I figured it was a natural result of air and the chemistry of the dye interacting over time. ???

  10. Freddy beat me also to the TWSBI Mini. Great pocket pen (especially with a stub nib)! Another such pocket pen which you don't sell (except by special order?) is the Montblanc Bohème, and it also has a "vanishing" nib. The only problems for me are its price and its small ink capacity--too much barrel taken up by the "vanishing" mechanism.

  11. Happy to hear you will we carrying the J. Herbin fountain pen (received one as a gift from "across the pond") ... cute, efficient, writes nicely and as a point of interest ... a Monteverde Mini Converter fits it and seems to work just fine ... thus far anyway! Doubt you can promote that pairing as a US distributor for both companies, but wanted to make sure you were aware of it. In the meantime, there are plenty of J. Herbin and other standard international cartridges out there to satisfy almost everyone's ink color preferences. The J. Herbin pen and a tin of their ink cartridges made for a very nice gift!

  12. I think you've missed Kaweco Liliput when counting all pens with screwed on posting cap. Also I like the design on Lamy Logo, it is not exactly a screw-on posting pen, but they do have this notches for secured posting.
    The stipula passaporto has already discontinued I think. But Massdrop was able to bring it back once last month and I was luck to get one :)

    There seems to be a bit of a hobby crossover for people who like well made modern items based on the 'old fashioned'. Every day I use an Edison Collier to write, an Edwin Jagger razor and brush to shave and an Aeropress to make coffee. I'm wondering if Brian uses any other modern items based on historic stuff?

    There seems to be a bit of a hobby crossover for people who like well made modern items based on the 'old fashioned'. Every day I use an Edison Collier to write, an Edwin Jagger razor and brush to shave and an Aeropress to make coffee. I'm wondering if Brian uses any other modern items based on historic stuff?

    There seems to be a bit of a hobby crossover for people who like well made modern items based on the 'old fashioned'. Every day I use an Edison Collier to write, an Edwin Jagger razor and brush to shave and an Aeropress to make coffee. I'm wondering if Brian uses any other modern items based on historic stuff?


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