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Friday, October 14, 2016

Goulet Q&A Episode 142, 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 episode, I talk about using pens in dirty environments, building business relationships "Goulet style", and which current pens I think will become vintage classics.

This week:
  • Welcome Brenda!

New/Upcoming Products - (1:44)

Pens/Writing - (9:59)

1) Ryan M.- Facebook - (10:01)
I have had a pilot metal falcon for quite some time now and it has never occurred to me until recently. With how soft and thin the nib is on the Falcon is. Would it ever be possible to "wear out" the nib due to flexing over long periods of time?
  • oh yes, that can happen
  • with proper usage, it will last decades
  • if you're flexing out to it's max, it'll wear sooner
  • the more you flex it, the faster it'll wear
  • once it's worn, there's not a whole lot you can do about it
  • what'll happen is it'll get really soft and you will be more likely to spring it, or it could crack (though I haven't ever heard of that happening yet with this nib)
  • this can happen with other soft nibs, too

2) storiesbehind- Instagram - (16:35)
What's so special about music nibs? and what's an affordable one, I could try out to see if I like them? Would you recommend them for lefties? I imagine them to have a heavier ink flow... sending you this question from germany! love your channel!!!

3) keirwilliams1- Instagram - (22:32)
We all know of yesteryears most famous pens, like the Parker 51 and the Waterman 52. But in your opinion, what pens of today are going to be the vintage classics of the future ? Loving the Q&As, as usual, and cheers from the UK :)
  • great question! 
  • for one, I don't think there's really anything today that will be as iconic as these pens, because they came from an era where most people writing things down were using fountain pens
  • these pens were like the smart phones of their day
  • These were iconic American companies selling pens in the US, little of which happens today on either front
  • These were mainstream and sold at scale
  • what made them iconic (in very general terms): reliability, affordability, brand recognition, popularity/availability
  • the ones that would be the closest equivalent today would be the iconic pens that have stood the test of time from the larger pen brands
  • Lamy 2000, Lamy Safari, Pilot Vanishing Point, Pilot Falcon, maybe even Pilot Metropolitan - this list would probably look different depending on what country you're in, though
  • Sadly, I don't think Parker or Waterman are making pens today that will be considered vintage classics like the 51 or 52
  • other niche pen models/brands I think will have a special place in pen history will be Visconti (innovation/design), Noodler's (disruption), TWSBI (affordability)

Troubleshooting - (35:41)

4) Steve W.- Facebook - (35:51)
I work in a very (silica) dusty environment, is there any fountain pen you would recommend for use in and around dirt and dust, or should I just put up with ballpoints when I'm on the clock?
  • that's a tough one, bc dust/dirt is really not a fountain pen's friend
  • go with something that's easy to clean off, and ideally a steel nib bc it will hold up well in tougher environments
  • Karas Kustoms, Tactile Turn come to mind
  • you'll likely need to clean the pen more regularly
  • brass sheet will be your friend
  • get something you can disassemble/remove the nib/feed at least
  • depending on just how nasty your environment is, you may elect to stick with ballpoints, but I'm sure if you're determined enough you can make it work

5) Alexander P.- Facebook - (39:18)
Can the nib and feed be removed and separated from each other on a Pilot Vanishing Point? If not, what are some extra tips to help keep these as clean as possible?
  • yes, you can pretty easily pull out the nib on the VP
  • feed is a tougher, don't worry about doing that
  • doing this can be good if you really have a gunky ink in there
  • otherwise, it's not entirely necessary
  • flushing with a good bulb syringe will really take care of it

6) Wayne B.- Facebook - (44:51)
I am new to fountain pens. I'm having difficulty with filling pens. I think that they are full but they run out very quickly which tells me that I didn't fill them up to capacity. Can you help?
  • the #1 mistake new pen folks make is not immersing the nib all the way into the ink, so check that
  • fill it slow, to minimize air intake
  • when filling a new pen, fill it, expel it all out, then fill it again (that removes the air bubble)
  • this will fix 98% of all your filling problems
  • another thing to consider is that you may actually be using that ink faster than you think
  • one thing common when switching to fountain pens is that you are actually using just one pen instead of rotating them around like is common with disposable pens
  • fountain pen ink is more fluid, so it will go faster than BP or RB ink
  • it'll go faster on absorbent paper, too
  • finer nibs make the ink last longer

Personal - (50:47)

7) Travis W.- Facebook - (50:49)
If I wanted to send a hand written letter to you (Brian), would it be filed into the trash because you're too busy? If not, how would I go about insuring it got to you? Also, how many varieties of Jens are working at Goulet Pen Company now?
  • I definitely don't just trash letters to me! 
  • you can just write it to our office and put my name on it, it'll get to me if it's addressed to me personally
  • I am challenged these days to handle all that's on my plate
  • Jenn is my executive assistant, and we've worked out a nice little system
  • she receives my mail and reads it, and we make time to go over them each week
  • she'll look up the email if it's a customer (it usually is), and I'll email back if that's all I'm able to do
  • I'll hand write back if I'm able, though I really have not been able to do this much lately and I can make no promises
  • It is important to me to at least acknowledge every letter I get (though I'm not perfect)
  • when Rachel and I announced our miscarriage this summer, I received about 50 handwritten letter, unsolicited, and I just finished contacting everyone this past week
  • There are 3 Jennifer's in our company, Jenni is our Video Production Specialist, Jenn (two n's) is my Executive Assistant, and Jen (one n) is our HR Manager
  • it gets a tad confusing at times but we're able to work it out
  • we also have a Katy and Katie
  • We've have two Rachel's before
  • We've had up to 3 Sam's at once

Business - (55:48)

8) fountainpen.ink- Instagram - (55:51)
How do you build a good relationship with another company (Goulet style)?
  • Goulet Pens Purpose Statement: To prove that business can be personal
  • it's one thing to build a relationship with a customer, working with other companies is sort of different, but not really
  • My rule: business is really just all about people, doesn't matter what industry you're in or what you sell
  • we have a service mentality with everyone we work with
  • the "other companies" we interact with include suppliers, mail carriers, consultants, service vendors, and others
  • we ALWAYS look for a win-win, because that's what sustains a business relationship
  • giving 51% is always the best bet
  • Our company's values apply just as much to companies we interact with as anything else
  • Empower through education: we help provide projections, sales reports, QA reports, etc for our suppliers
  • Be Honest: we tell manufacturers when we're seeing defects or quality issues with products that sacrifice their brand reputation (even if it's hard to hear)
  • Express gratitude: we write cards and gift gifts to our mail service truck drivers at the holidays
  • it's almost easier to please other companies we interact with because they so seldom see personal touches (unless they're being sold something), that it can really wow them
  • it's all authentic, it's never for cashing in a favor

QOTW: What pens do you think are being made today that will become vintage classics? - (1:04:25)

Thanks so much for joining us this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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