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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Shipping Rate Updates at Goulet Pens


Every year, sometimes twice a year, USPS comes out with postal rate increases, and we try to absorb what we can without passing the extra costs on to you. After a lot of spreadsheets, analysis, and discussions, we concluded that this year we will need to raise our shipping rates slightly. One of our core values is "Be Honest", so we're letting you know in advance!

Shipping Internationally:

All of our international shipping rates are based on the weight of the order, and the country it's shipping to. There are three options:
First-Class International - this is the cheapest option, and only for lightweight orders. It takes the longest, and there is NO tracking. It could take up to 6-8 weeks for your order to arrive, but is much cheaper than the other two options.

Priority International - this is the mid-level option. There is limited tracking, and it usually takes a few weeks.

Express International - this is the fastest, most reliable option with full tracking. Most orders arrive within a week, maybe two at the most depending on how long the customs process takes.
Our offerings are the same, but you will likely see the shipping price go up by around 10-20%, once the international shipping rate changes go into effect on January 17. It should also be noted that none of these rates include any customs fees or duties, which vary by country and value of the order, so you will need to see what your individual country charges for those and pay them accordingly once the package arrives in your country.

Shipping within the United States:

If you aren't familiar, we offer a flat shipping price for USPS Priority Mail if you're located within the United States and its territories. That means no matter how much you order, your shipping price will stay at our flat Priority Mail price. It depends on your location - those closest to us in Virginia will be cheapest, and those farthest a little more expensive, because that's how rates are structured.

We haven't raised our Priority shipping rates in over five years. It was just Brian and me in our garage when we set our original prices! We just can't absorb this latest increase.

Effective January 15, our domestic Priority rates will be going up by $1. The new prices will be $6.95, $7.95, and $8.95 (again, depending on location). You'll still be able to add on signature confirmation for an extra fee if you so choose.

If you're serving our military and are located with an APO/FPO shipping address, your Priority mail shipping will still be free. That's our small way of saying thank you for your service to our country!

We'll still offer the economical first-class shipping for lightweight packages.


Why Do We Charge for Shipping?

I know some of you are wondering why we don't offer free shipping. Here's why....

Let's first visit our mission statement: "To provide fountain pen enthusiasts with the most personal online shopping experience through comprehensive education, exemplary service, and products we believe in."

Adding value instead of discounting price

To summarize, we believe in value-add, not discounting. This means we want to create an experience for you, when you shop with us. Everything from answering an email, to our videos, to our newsletters and thoughtful photography.... everything has a personal touch.

Every order from us receives a handwritten thank-you note, no matter how large or small. The act of slowing down to write a note to you helps to remind us that there is a real human person behind the order - you! And there is a real person behind every touchpoint of the experience on our side too. Just from the time you place your order on our website to the time it leaves our warehouse, there are at least six different people who work together to get it prepared and packed up.

Battle-ready packing

We believe in packing to survive the worst case scenario. We've seen boxes get really dinged up on the way from us to you, and our job is to make sure that your products arrive in pristine condition.  We want opening a package from us to feel like opening a gift to yourself. And the lollipop - well, we know that our slightly ridiculous amount of care can take a while to open, so the lollipop is our gift to you to entertain yourself while you're working to get to the goods!

No such thing as free shipping

We believe that the way we ship is worth paying for. And our team works really hard to make sure that the experience you get from us reflects that.

Even the retailers that offer free shipping, it really isn't free. That money has to be made up somewhere, whether it's built-in to the cost of the products, a sacrifice in shipping care or after-purchase support, it's made up somewhere. Free shipping promotions are something we have tried strategically in the past, and after crunching the numbers, it doesn't make sense for us to do that unless we cut back in other areas of our service and that would fundamentally change a lot about the Goulet experience that so many of you love. It's also really important to us to be able to take good care of our team members, and cutting corners in cost would hurt our ability to do that.

FedEx and UPS

Currently we don't offer shipping through UPS or FedEx which is something that is requested frequently. It's something we're looking into for 2016, though it is complicated logistically for us to set up. The reason we ship by USPS is mainly for cost, as they almost always come in cheaper than the other guys for lightweight orders like most of what we ship out. With USPS rates going up, we are now revisiting the other carriers to see how feasible that would be for us to offer alongside our current USPS rates.

The road less traveled

There are a lot of factors in choosing where to shop, and we know that you work hard to earn your money. We do our best to offer fair prices, both for products and for the shipping. All we hope is that you can appreciate the value we provide for you and the fountain pen community and choose to support us with your order.


What are your thoughts on shipping when shopping online? Do you think our service is worth paying for? Would you like to see FedEx or UPS as additional offerings (even if they cost a little more than USPS)? We have a lot of strategic conversations around shipping and are very, very open to your feedback here.

Write On,
Rachel & Brian Goulet

12 comments:

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  2. RIP Australian customer and our crappy currency....

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  3. I'm always torn. I love you all and what you do, but frequently I save money and get free shipping (prime or >35$ order) from Amazon.

    Many colors of Iroshizuku inks there are 22-24$ depending on the many factors Amazon uses to raise/lower price and their popularity. So that's 22-24$ total with free shipping. Even for those colors priced very slightly over 28$ on Amazon ship for free.

    Now, at Goulet, the same bottle of ink is 28$ regardless of color + 6.95$ s/h. If I can save ten bucks on a silly bottle of ink and it's delivery to my house, I will. Same goes for my new Vanishing Point. Cheaper on Amazon, shipped free, and still came with a valid US warranty.

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  6. "If you're serving our military and are located with an APO/FPO shipping address, your Priority mail shipping will still be free. That's our small way of saying thank you for your service to our country!" And that is another reason why I love this company. Great policy

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  7. I'm also torn. I also have Amazon prime and most things there are cheaper and offer free 2-day shipping. I purchased two pilot vanishing points from you despite them being cheaper with free shipping on Amazon. I wanted to support a small family business. However since I have a limited income I will continue to try and support your business as I can, but may have to supplement my shopping elsewhere.
    I do know I appreciate businesses that offer free shipping over a certain price, I.e. Free shipping for orders over 50 dollars or something like that.

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  8. I think your service is worth paying for, and I really like that you use USPS.

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  9. I just can't fathom customers who say they "love what you do, but ...". I wonder how many you guys have brought over to fountain pens just to lose sales to Amazon, a company which can't care about the product or their customers on such a personal basis.

    I don't buy all of my products from you. I have a local pen store that I need to support, who's prices are similar to yours when shipping is factored in. But some things he doesn't carry, or doesn't get right away. You're always my next go to. I've had to purchase a few things on Amazon in the past (family members getting me gift cards for obviously the wrong company) and there's always an issue with the shipping.

    So, Goulets - I appreciate what you do, and I respect that businesses need to make a profit. Absorbing shipping costs would affect the quality of your business. I recognize that. Unlike others, I have no "but". I just understand you and respect your role in the fountain pen insdustry.

    Rock on, Goulets!

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  10. I mostly shop with you because i love shopping small businesses. I used to be one myself. But I'm now on a limited income so i too find myself going to Amazon for certain things but certainly not all things. And I'd pay more for UPS or FedEx but that would mean fewer purchases. Especially since i live in Hawaii.

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  11. The shipping charges do change how I will buy from Goulet, but that already applied. I understand that there are shipping charges, so I bundle my orders to get the best value. Amazon may do it free and cheaper, I usually get a very poorly packed, oversized box. When it comes to these products, it is worth the extra money to get it here intact and undamaged. Goulet also offers an experience and wealth of knowledge that Amazon can't touch.

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  12. I have amazon prime and have puchased ink in the past from Amazon. However, I much prefer the way that my orders are packaged and shipped from your company, and I've never had any ink spilled or items damaged. My son always looks forward to the tootsie pop in the package. I love how you pack the items with care and I always enjoy seeing the note with an ink sample to perk my interest for my next purchase. #1 for customer service!!

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