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Goulet Q&A Episode 202: Comparing Paper, Heavy vs. Light Pens, and Goulet Meetings

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about how to compare paper, what he misses by skipping pen shows, and why meetings suck (but shouldn’t).

This week:


1) kolecoomer- Instagram (4:22)
What does Brian prefer…a heavier, more substantial pen? Or a quick, light weight pen?

  • it depends on what I’m using it for, but I lean towards heavier pens
  • I have big hands, so heavier pens don’t bother me, and feel sold in my hand
  • I don’t really love super lightweight pens, generally, but that’s not a hardfast rule
  • if I’m sitting down and writing for long sessions, I usually prefer a lighter pen, that’s just not as common for me
  • this is 100% personal preference
  • some of my tops: Pilot Custom 74 (22g), Pilot Metropolitan (26g), Visconti Homo Sapiens (43g), Lamy 2000 (25g)


2) @paks1969- Twitter (6:49)
Not fountain pen per se, but related. Do you have any plans to do an education page on the notebooks you carry? Like comparison tool w/bleed thru-ghosting tests?

  • I don’t, at the moment
  • oftentimes, the most distinguishing characteristics are pretty subjective, and I don’t know how I’d display them
  • truth be told, I took this question more to gauge interest and get ideas than to give a great answer! So help me help you!

3) coreyfraer- Instagram (9:30)
What are your favorite top-bound notebooks, staple, spiral, or otherwise? I’m a lefty, and they fit my usage best, but there aren’t a ton of them out there!

  • Rhodia is my fav top-staplebound, No. 16 and No. 18 dot pads specifically
  • Clairefontaine makes my fav top wire bound, the quality of the paper is fantastic
  • Maruman Mnemosyne has handy ruling
  • top bound notebooks are tough, staple bounds you basically have to tear off and it’s hard to use the back
  • wirebounds you can’t as easily use both sides of the page, and they’re just not as common
  • honestly, they’re just not that popular, which is why I think there aren’t a ton of them out there!


4) amyskretta- Instagram (13:50)
Which pen shows are you planning to attend this year? What about a pen meetup here in VA?

  • I am planning on DC, nothing else at the moment
  • It takes SO much out of me to travel anywhere and go to a show, I love it but it’s hard
  • pen meeting in Va has been on my mind, I’m not ruling that out by any means, but that’s likely even harder to make happen
  • can’t really do it on site, you have maybe seen the video and I don’t have a good way to host the public here (liability)
  • I don’t know what it’ll look like to host something, how many people would be interested (really), so it’ll require more thought on my part
  • definitely wouldn’t be a pen show, definitely wouldn’t be bringing a ton of stuff, it’d have to just be a hang out and play pens thing


5) @Archimage- Twitter (19:23)
Since you don’t go to exhibit at pen shows, what do you feel you miss out on by not going?

  • face-to-face, and all that means
  • customers, vendors, friends, it’s great to see everyone in person, selfies, memories together
  • I don’t buy things at shows, I’m usually informed or seeing things that are coming out from vendors in advance of shows
  • I miss out on some sales, for sure
  • exposure, not everyone who goes to shows is plugged in online
  • I can get real-time feedback in person, that’s cool
  • It’s a conscious choice, and one I’ve made for years to limit the shows I go to

6) @CavsQuizBowl- Twitter (24:55)
I would like you to talk about what are your most common types of orders. I don’t really need data. Do you get lots of beginners ordering a cross section? A hundred ink samples at once? Lots of cheap pens at once?

  • It’s honestly all over the place
  • there are some general trends that people who are newer to the hobby are often buying less expensive pens, maybe more of a cross section but often not
  • most people aren’t buying that many ink samples! just a few here and there with their orders
  • it’s so spread out, varied based on many factors

7) sammiethesammerI- Instagram (27:40)
I have a leadership question. How often do you have staff meetings and what do you use those meetings for? Do only your direct reports attend the meetings? Do you ever do company wide meetings?

  • we used to never have formal meetings. In fact, I don’t think we had a single “meeting” until we had about 8 people on the team
  • we have 42 people here right now, and everyone in the company is in at least 1 meeting a day
  • we’ve framed our meeting structure off Pat Lencioni’s format in The Advantage (Death by Meeting), similar to Traction by Gino Wickman
  • they should be relevant, clarifying, exciting, and contextual
  • 5 types: Daily huddles/standups, weekly tactical, ad-hoc strategic, quarterly off-site, 1-on-1’s
  • leadership team meets each morning to discuss pertinent stuff that day, then leaders break to talk about their teams
  • weekly, each team is meeting to talk slightly longer (weekly) context, looking at scorecards/metrics based on goals set by their teams/the whole company
  • broader leadership team meets every two weeks, to talk about company-wide issues, how to help their team members
  • senior leadership team meets weekly about company wide issues
  • strategic meetings could be standing or ad-hoc, based on team/needs
  • special other meetings might occur as needed, like carrying new products, special training, or brainstorming content ideas
  • company meeting with everyone, every week (with some exceptions)
  • 1-on-1’s with everyone and their leader each week (mostly)
  • this is a LOT of meetings!! but they all serve a purpose, have goals, and are effective, or we fix them or stop doing them
  • meetings should be more helpful than not having them, not just be “because we’ve always done it that way”
  • we don’t do them perfectly, and we’re always reevaluating

QOTW: How much time each day would you say you spend writing things down with an actual pen? (44:42)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

February 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Thursday Things: Amber

Beautiful things, like a stunning piece of amber, take time to grow. No one appreciates this more than a patient and passionate fountain pen collector, who spends years cultivating the perfect collection of precious pens. This week’s Thursday Things draws on the natural beauty of Amber and pulls together a stunning array of fine orange products that capture the essence and beauty of these stunning stones. Bask in the warm glow of another great assortment of products and enjoy Thursday Things: Amber.

Featured products from left to right:


What pens and inks would you include in your ideal mineral inspired Thursday Things?

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

February 22nd, 2018|Thursday Things|0 Comments

Pilot Kakuno vs. Kaweco Perkeo: Fountain Pen Battle

Hi there, fountain pen friends. Lydia and Colin here again to bring you another exciting pen battle for the ages. This week, we’ve got the Kaweco Perkeo versus the Pilot Kakuno. It’s the battle of the bright and bold pens here on the Goulet Pens blog today. Read our thoughts below, then cast your vote.

Kaweco Perkeo

Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen- Bad Taste

Hi everyone! I’m Lydia and I am pleased to tell you why I love the Perkeo. I was drawn to this pen from the moment we announced we were going to carry it. The colors are bright and cheery and the pen has an almost cartoon-like appearance to it with its oversized cap and geometric body. Once I learned the names for each of the colors of the pen, I got an even greater chuckle. My favorite color combo turned out to be named “Bad Taste,” which in my opinion is reserved for only those with the best taste. The others are called Old Chambray, Indian Summer, and Cotton Candy. I just love these fun and playful names. The price point of the Perkeo is another feature to love. They retail for only $16 or $21 if you add a converter. That’s pretty amazing. The Perkeo take a standard international converter and comes ready to go with a Standard International Short cartridge and cartridge spacer already inside. Whether you buy one for yourself to use every day or carry around in a purse or bag so your never without a pen or even if you choose to give it to a school child as a gift, you can’t beat the price of the Perkeo.

The construction and components of the Perkeo sure deliver too. The nib is so smooth and a joy to write with. The resin body and cap are sturdy and can handle some rough and tumble, take anywhere action. The pen features a slightly molded grip, which unlike some other pen models, is not distracting at all. The grip is structured enough to guide little fingers into proper pen holding placement but not distracting for those of us that may have alternate pen gripping methods. It is truly a pen for all ages.

  • Great colors
  • Fantastic price point- even with the converter added on
  • Smooth writer
  • Can take a converter or cartridges
  • Slightly molded grip, not distracting or uncomfortable
  • Great for writers of all ages

You can find the Kaweco Perkeo in these fun colors at GouletPens.com, starting at $16.

Pilot Kakuno

Pilot Kakuno fountain pen- red/grey

Hey guys, Colin here, ready to convince you of how awesome the Kakuno is! What’s not to love about this playful pen? Equipped with a smiley or winky faced nib, this affordable offering will always bring joy to your writing experience. Curious about the name? Kakuno means ‘to write’ in Japanese, and that’s exactly what it’s ready to do. At $13.50, the Kakuno can hang with pens 5 times the cost!

As I mentioned in our last Pen Battle, I love the Pilot Con-70 converter. It’s a lot of fun to use and has a huge ink capacity. Usually reserved for the elite Pilot writing tools, the Kakuno is also compatible with this powerhouse converter. Sure, an $11.50 converter on a $13.50 pen might seem excessive (OK, it probably is), but doesn’t make it any less enjoyable!

2018 is really the year to fall in-love with the Kakuno. With the recent additions of the Pilot Hand Lettering sets, the nib options available on the Kakuno skyrocketed. By summer time, we should have EF, F, M, Fine Stub, and Medium Stub! Also, beyond the sleek gray body or the cheerful white body, they are also adding a clear option, coming in April! Now you can really appreciate the ink swirling around in that Con-70…

You can grab this pen for just $13.50 which is a steal in my opinion! To summarize:

  • Smiling Nib
  • Affordable Pilot Pen
  • Con-70 Compatible
  • So many nib options!
  • Demonstrator body soon

Now it’s your turn to weigh in! Do you prefer the Pilot Kakuno or the Kaweco Perkeo?

Leave us a comment as well letting us know the why behind your choice! What pen battle should we do next? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Write on,
Lydia & Colin

February 21st, 2018|Pen Reviews|0 Comments

Robert Oster Orange Rumble: Ink Review

Robert Oster Orange Rumble

Hello! Kelsi here with another great ink to review! This time was Robert Oster Orange Rumble, which is one of the newest inks offered by the brand. If you like orange inks, I thought this was a really nice shade, and it had some surprising results I wasn’t expecting! Read on to hear more…



Robert Oster Orange Rumble Ink Review

Robert Oster Orange Rumble Ink Review

Robert Oster Orange Rumble

Supplies Used:

Smear Test (Dry Time):

  • About 20-25 seconds – This ink was almost dry at 20 seconds, but still smeared a tiny bit.

Drip Test (Water Resistance):

  • Low – This ink didn’t have much water resistance. When water was applied, it almost completely disappeared.


  • High – There wasn’t much of a noticeable difference between the swabs on the swab test. You can see where some black came out in the ink at the end of the swab where it was especially saturated though.

Ease of Cleaning:

  • Easy – I found it easy to clean out of my pen after writing with it!


  • Medium – I wouldn’t say this ink had a ton of shading, but it definitely had some variation on strokes as I wrote, and it wasn’t a one-dimensional color.


  • Medium – This ink wasn’t super wet or super dry, it was a nice “middle ground” flow.

Packaging and Aesthetics:

  • The Robert Oster 50ml plastic bottles are pretty standard, but they get the job done!

Inks Similar in Color:

J. Herbin Orange IndienNemosine Solar Storm 1859Diamine Autumn Oak

I was not expecting to find the black hues in this ink! You can even see where it came out in the writing sample with the broad nib. I thought this made the ink even more interesting! If you have a setting where you can use a “fun” color like this burnt orange, I think this is a great option.

You can find a 50ml bottle of Robert Oster Orange Rumble at GouletPens.com for $17, or a 2ml sample is also available for $1.50.

Write On,

February 20th, 2018|Ink Reviews|0 Comments

Goulet Q&A Episode 201: When You’ve Plateaued, Stub Nibs Across Brands, Brian’s Dream Interview Guest

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Visconti QC, stub nibs, and his dream interview guest!

This week:


1) @CosseyGroup- Twitter (10:44)
My pens have been tuned to perfection and I love them. Sadly, this means I’ve plateaued. What can I do now? Buy other pens that I don’t need? Get weird pens for the sake of their weirdness? I love having great pens, but miss the naive wonder of novice pendom.

  • I empathize, as I’ve been in this for a bit
  • surely the magic wears off a little bit as you gain experience
  • there’s ALWAYS a place to feel novice in the pen world!
  • Here are some solid ideas:
    • technical geekery- filling mechanisms, obscure materials, repairs and restoration, nib tuning
    • historical- go vintage, dive deep into particular brands, countries, or periods of time where history shaped the pen world (WWII for example)
    • artistry- Maki-e, handmade stuff, sterling silver
    • collector- get into a certain brand, and go on the hunt to collect Lamy, Pilot VP’s, Esterbrooks, Parker 51’s, Sheaffer Snorkels, or go higher end if you want to stay feeling novice!
    • creative- use them as tools, improve handwriting/drawing, produce creative works and that may drive your pen passion in a new direction
    • benefactor- the best way to learn is to teach! share your knowledge with others, that will inspire you to grow your own knowledge as an “expert”, build a community, great a Facebook group, bring others in the community together
  • I find Instagram to be a great place to find “inspiration”
  • Click around the hashtags people are using around fountain pens, start liking and bookmarking things that hit you in the right way

2) Gabriel P- Facebook (20:55)
Are stub nibs sizes consistent between brands? It would make sense they did since stubs explicitly say how broad the nib is in milimeters but it doesn’t seem that way from the nib nook pictures.

  • Yes and no
  • The width of the overall nib tip is usually consistent, but the line it draws may not be
  • it depends how it’s shaped, especially rounded corners may draw a line significantly smaller than the advertised width
  • this was a big reason why I wanted to do the Nib Nook in the first place
  • I aspire to do some more measuring of the differences between physical nib size and line on the page
  • what it actually looks like on the page is really what matters, of course!

3) Scott S- Facebook (33:14)
Brian, Why has no one, like Noodler, designed a set of pens that have interchangeable parts: 3 types of nibs, 3 types of finger grips, 3 types of fills, 10 different barrels. I imagine they would add more barrel designs and finger grips through the year and so forth.

  • People can’t handle that many options (I learned this in early GP days)
  • 3 options are usually best, more than that and demand drops off significantly
  • trying to stock all these parts and pieces, understand how they work together, and distribute them through retailers is very unappealing, logistically
  • Selling direct, manufacturers can offer something more like this
  • Karas Kustoms have interchangeable parts
  • Tactile Turn, too
  • Edison Pens can adjust custom parts
  • Several pen makers have done sets and kits, and they usually aren’t super popular, honestly
  • Osprey Pens Milano has the closest to what you’re describing

4) Kathleen P- Facebook (41:00)
Thoughts on how quality control is going at Visconti? I see some great new Van Gogh and Rembrandt colors are planned

  • I just met with Coles of London (Visconti’s US distributor) last week
  • QC is going to be a focus for them, we’re already starting to see it improve
  • it takes time to address some of these issues
  • a lot of issues are exacerbated by the price of the pens, bad news travels faster and farther for high end pens
  • they have some really, really cool stuff planned for this year!
  • some lower-priced stuff, reworking their nibs, new LE’s
  • QC is going in the right direction, we will continue to make this a huge focus, and increase our own knowledge (especially nib) in 2018

5) Kevin L- Facebook (47:59)
Shouldn’t demonstrator fountain pens be piston fillers and not cartridge/converters to be the real deal?

  • not necessarily
  • demonstrator is a fairly loose term these days, just to mean “clear pen”
  • I don’t know if there are hard and fast rules of what makes something a “demonstrator”
  • I would consider something a demonstrator if you can see the inner mechanics of the pen, whatever they may be
  • Conklin has a clear crescent filler, that’s a demo
  • Lamy Vista, demo
  • Pilot Custom 823, demo
  • TWSBI 580, demo
  • I don’t think it is exclusive to pistons, at least not in my book, not how we have them at Goulet Pens, and not how I’ve general understood it to be in the general pen community


6) @HattiePalms- Twitter (54:19)
I’ve noticed over the past few months the number of interviews you’ve done and places you’ve traveled to interview and tour. Question: Where would you love to go next (place or tour)? What would your dream interview (or interviewee) be?

  • I have definitely been traveling more, it kind of just stacked up that way
  • I’m an opportunist, so if I’m traveling somewhere, I usually try to combine it with a video interview/meetup/etc
  • honestly, I’m very content, I travel REALLY well, but I’m also 100% comfortable as a homebody
  • Rachel and I have talked about going back out to Colorado, we honeymooned in Estes Park
  • I love seeing pen manufacturing facilities, so I’d love to tour everyone’s (eventually)
  • Pilot would be amazing, Visconti, Aurora, Stipula, Pineider, Montegrappa, Pelikan, Clairefontaine, J. Herbin, Conid, just everybody!
  • Going to Rome/Vatican would be pretty cool
  • Dream interview was Jake Weidmann, bucket list complete! Honestly, probably him again!
  • Gary V would be pretty rad, 1-on-1

QOTW: What’s the next ink you think you’ll finish? (1:02:42)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

February 16th, 2018|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

Thursday Things: Vibrant Pink

Flamingo pink flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.

Could the LAMY VibrantPink release have been any better timed with Valentine’s Day just a few days later? We’re feeling all the love for pink in this week’s Thursday Things and we couldn’t think of a more fitting way to show it! Thursday Things: Vibrant Pink is an homage to all things bright and bold, just like a nice piece of bubble gum.  This collection really packs a pink punch. Grab your rose colored glasses and take in the perfectly pretty in pink products featured in Thursday Things: Vibrant Pink.

Featured products from left to right:


Flamingo pink flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.

Are you a fan of bright pink, yea or nay? Leave your vote in comments below!

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

February 15th, 2018|Thursday Things|0 Comments