Easy Steps to Create Your Own Fountain Pen Advent Calendar

There has been a lot of discussion on our Social Media channels over the past few weeks about making advent calendars chock full of fountain pen goodies. While there isn’t one all-encompassing product on our store you can purchase for this purpose, it does provide a good opportunity for some DIY crafting! Below we offer some step-by-step tips to make yourself a DIY advent calendar to countdown the holiday season with your favorite fountain pen products. Be sure to check out our ideas for items to stuff your calendar with as well!

Step 1: Make your pouches for stuffing

Take some Original Crown Mill Classic Laid Small Envelopes (or a similarly sturdy 6″x4″ sized envelope) and seal it up at the flap. Once it’s dry and sealed, you can cut it in half straight through the center of the long end. Each envelope will yield two pouches for your calendar. TIP: Use a cotton swab and water for sealing to save yourself some time and effort.

2) Number Your Envelopes

Have fun and get creative decorating your pouches with a number and some fun designs. Feel free to use a bunch of different inks to make it fun and colorful. You will need 24 total numbered pouches.

3) Punch a hole in the top of the envelopes and string them together

We recommend 3 sets of 8 pouches each so you have a full display of goodies but feel free to arrange them as you like best. You can display your calendar on a wall or lay them out on a table or desk.

4) Stuff your pouches

You can use ink samples, candy, fountain pen accessories, cartridges, small pocket sized notebooks or pens, sealing wax and brass seals or even new replacement nibs for your pens! We cannot guarentee that ink samples won’t be duplicated if you order multiple Surprise Me! Random Ink Sample sets, but our Team Favorites or Packages by Theme are a great way to get an assortment of inks.  If you would like some suggestions on what to stuff your envelopes with or would like to plan out your month ahead of time, be sure to check out our templates below! Feel free to download them and use them as you wish.

Have you ever made your own Advent calendar? Share pictures with us in the comments below!

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

November 19th, 2018|DIY, Tips & Tricks|0 Comments

Goulet Q&A Episode 233: Brian Reflects on Goulet Pens 9 Year Anniversary

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks all about GPC to celebrate our 9th anniversary!

This week:

1) efromejia- Instagram (11:56)

How many different models of pens you offered when you started and how many now?

  • originally is was my handmade ones, but they were really just leftover from my penmaking days
  • really, it was 0, for the first whole year
  • now? 147 fountain pen models as of the recording of this video

2) cesaregao- Instagram (13:16)

How do you feel when you have to exchange pens?

  • it’s always a little disappointing, because I want everyone to have a great experience right off the bat
  • it’s retail, returns are a fact of life
  • you’re buying physical pens through a website, it’s tough to convey everything like you can in person
  • even in person, there would be returns
  • we try to make it easy, focus on education and troubleshooting, but ultimately we view it as an opportunity
  • it’s redemption, we’re helping someone learn more about their writing style, the brands they’re picking, or what might work better for them

3) arasbilgen- Instagram (15:26)

What was the toughest business lesson you learned along the way?

  • people can’t read my mind
  • My leadership style has been to lead by example, but often it requires my being more explicit than just doing it and hoping it rubs off on others
  • I’m more driven, more risk-taking, more stress-eating than most, which is why I am where I am
  • not everyone wants that, so just me doing what I do isn’t enough to help others along, I have to consciously share my thoughts, vision, and process, and pull others along with me rather than just forage a path through the jungle and hope others follow
  • I have to look around and make sure I have everyone with me

4) Bobby J- Facebook (17:40)

Why don’t you do pen shows?

  • I’ve gone to more pen shows, I did 3 this year, and loved it for the social aspect of it and being part of the community
  • I worked 1 show, DC in 2010, and it about killed me
  • it just wasn’t for me, took too much out of me and was a huge distraction from running Goulet Pens as you see it today
  • Young kids, travel is really hard
  • Rachel has travel anxiety, so her traveling is hard and it’s taxing for me to be away
  • I literally just made this connection though, working shows brings me back to the early days of the business when we were not successful, so I really just don’t have great memories from it!
  • I was never sure of myself or what I was doing when working craft shows, but I feel so much more sure of videos like these and what we do in this building is right, so that’s where I want to spend my time
  • it just all kind of sums up into not making a whole ton of sense for us to do it, as much as we’d love to
  • it’s not off the table forever, but it’s going to be challenging for us to to it regularly

5) Blakemore C.- Facebook (21:58)

How do you determine what reviewers to work with? What are determining factors for what pens, inks, etc. get sent out for review? What would cause you to end a relationship with a reviewer?

  • we honestly haven’t worked with all that many, and a lot of that just has to do with logistics, it’s a lot of time and coordination
  • it’s largely been a matter of serendipity so far, when  we’re able to swing it and it makes sense for us and the reviewer
  • Ending a relationship? We haven’t had anything blow up in our face, but usually if someone stops being active in the community, starts getting really controversial, is really tough to work with (doesn’t communicate well), takes stuff but either takes forever or doesn’t actually review it, that kinda thing
  • we may look to expand this very strategically in the future, yet to be seen

6) dmm0629- Instagram (26:00)

What would be the pros and cons of having a public store area to your location?

  • Pros: get to see pen people! Buy stuff in person, huge win for some customers, could carry Montblanc, maybe other brands who require a physical location
  • Cons: managing inventory on location and on the web, significant cost of setting up a physical storefront and ongoing expenses, staffing for physical interaction, possible shrinkage (theft)
  • Not something we have in the plans in the foreseeable future, unfortunately

7) roshclicks- Instagram (28:31)

Do you think your company has caused to increase the market size for fountain pens?

  • I don’t know for certain, there’s not good data out there specifically around the fountain pen market
  • I definitely don’t have the ego to say that we have
  • We’ve sought to bring new fountain pen users into the community, hence the huge focus on videos and education-based content
  • we could just be riding a wave of people moving to online, there have been a lot of B&M stores that have closed down in our 9 years here, could just be a larger trend and we’re sitting in the right place
  • I take nothing for granted, and we’ll do everything we can to do what we feel will help increase the market

8) clbdroid- Instagram  (31:03)

Was there a point where you and Rachel thought of packing it in and getting “typical” jobs?

  • Rachel has a successful career before this business, that’s what helped us get it off the ground
  • She could get a job working for someone else tomorrow, easily
  • I would be completely unmanageable, and have absolutely zero desire in my life to work for someone else
  • I gauge my own happiness and success based on the fact I don’t work for someone else, but that’s just me and I’ve ALWAYS felt that way
  • Honestly we just feel like we’re called to be doing what we’re doing, and can’t envision anything else that’d be better for us, so it’s not even something we think about!

9) arasbilgen- Instagram (33:25)

What is the advice you wish you had when you started?

  • spend the time up front to define and clarify your why, your mission, vision, purpose, values, and use that to guide who you hire and how you set up your business
  • self-awareness is everything, and living true to your values is the only way to last long-term
  • I did this, but didn’t have it defined so went through some pain early on when people couldn’t just read my mind
  • We didn’t define it here until we had 20 people, about 5 years in, and that would have been better to clarify before the first hire

10) mikemitchell357- Instagram (36:12)

I understand it’s probably a long way off but I frequently have this question about family owned companies. What is planned for Goulet Pens after Brian and Rachel? I know you have kids but you seem like the type of people that will support them if they choose to go another way too, is there an alternate plan?

  • running a family business was part of the reason we wanted to do all this in the first place
  • we thought it’d stay small, just the two of us in our house, really
  • that’s what my parents had, and I wanted that for our kids as a lifestyle
  • as for what my kids do, it’s yet to be seen
  • I want them to have options, to raise them to be good humans, be empathetic
  • I have zero ego tied up in what they grow up to do or accomplish, including work in this business
  • I’d be thrilled if it worked out where they wanted to join here long-term, but it won’t be forced
  • I’m working to raise up other leaders, and I will have a succession plan in place whether that involves my kids working in the business or not, so I won’t have that dependency on them

11) kzender- Instagram (41:27)

What is your proudest moment at the Goulet Pen Company?

  • So many! Our team rating us 3rd best place to work in our city was pretty amazing
  • Moving into this space
  • taking it all the way back though, it was when Rachel and I drew our first paycheck
  • I’d worked as a hobby and tried to find the right business model for over 3 years, without ever paying myself
  • Once we both dove in full time, took the risk, saw the vision and were able to pay ourselves for our own work, we knew it was real, and I was not just a dreamer
  • we’ve had some amazing experiences since then, but nothing that was as personally validating as that

12) @monoolho- Twitter (45:55)

Brian: describe the feelings you got in every big change you faced (Selling pens, moving to other locations, etc.). And I mean the collective you, the family, the team, AND you personally.

  • We’ve faced some real doozies over the years
  • Me working in the business full time, Rachel quitting her job, first hire, moving our business out of the house, moving websites, moving buildings, putting our kids in daycare, etc
  • My favorite saying: “Change is scary at the beginning, messy in the middle, and beautiful in the end”
  • that pretty much sums it all up! No matter where you are, when you’re faced with a choice that has any degree of uncertainty you will always feel this fear
  • it’s not that these feelings ever go away, but you just decide to lean into them, and overcome that fear rather than let it dictate your decisions

13) gillian.barr- Instagram (50:49)

Do employees get a discount? And are employee purchases embargoed or rationed on some way on super-high-demand items?

  • in short, yes, I want our team to be as in love with our products as possible
  • they get free ink samples, and a significant discount and periodic free stuff
  • if there is super hot limited stuff, we’ll give it second thoughts
  • a lot of our team understand that if stuff is limited, so they won’t want to take away from customers!
  • but it’s actually pretty rare that we’re in that boat, so we just play it by ear

14) gillian.barr- Instagram (52:53)

How do you determine which items w/in a line to stock and how do you determine how much inventory? Sometimes I’m slow to decide to pull the trigger on something expensive, and while I’d like to get it from you, you’re sold out, but other online vendors aren’t, so I go w them. 🙁

  • this is an ever-moving target!
  • we look at historical data, especially within a brand
  • we have to use our instincts too, so really it’s an educated guess
  • when it comes to stock issues, we spend a lot of time trying to address those, but it’s very challenging
  • we completely understand when you buy elsewhere, and we totally get it
  • you can always reach out to us and ask us about specific products, when we’ll get them in, we’ll give our best estimate
  • sometimes, especially with high-end stuff, it’s out of our hands but we’ll try!

15) Stuart J- Facebook (56:52)

As your company has grown and flourished, have your values had to change to fit with that growth compared to when you started? Has anything stayed the same?

  • as we’ve grown we’ve had to change a lot, in terms of our org structure, meeting rhythms, communication, etc
  • values though are something that should remand constant, and ours have since we established them in 2014
  • we basically have lived them out from the beginning but we defined them in 2014
  • we hire by them, make culture and product decisions by them, they’re the filter by which we make all decisions so they are the steadfast pillars that remain constant throughout our company
  • it’s not to say they couldn’t ever change, but it would be equivalent to rebuilding a building’s foundation, it would be very disruptive and take a lot of time and consideration to do
  • that would be the case for us because they are that deeply rooted into what we do, they are not platitudes

16) thegizmohound- Instagram (1:01:57)

You have done an awesome job growing a company for ten years. What does the next ten years look like?

  • it’s funny whenever I get asked this question because it’s basically impossible to know what 10 years from now will look like
  • 10 years ago I would have said I would be a pen craftsman selling to retailers managing other craftsmen making wooden pens
  • 10 years ago Instagram and Pinterest didn’t exist, Facebook didn’t have business pages or private groups, YouTube had a 10-minute time limit on its videos, and I’d never used a fountain pen in my life
  • so I can’t really answer this question with certainty, but what I can say is that it’s more about the journey than the destination
  • 10 years from now my son will be graduating high school, and my daughter will be driving
  • I love what I do and have no plans to stop
  • I am motivated by the challenges of growth, and feel that I have a unique gift and passion for building this business and raising up others in leadership (as hard as that is)
  • I want to continue to grow, make my own  little dent in the pen universe, and get deeper into the product development, branding, and community aspect of the pen world
  • I can see us having more exclusive and branded products, and leading the industry in customer service, marketing, and fulfillment operations
  • I am concerned about the state of handwriting over the next 10 years, and it fades away from the memory even of teachers in the schooling system
  • I don’t know if we’ll be the ones to try to lead that charge, or if there will be a resurgence in that but it’s on my mind
  • the fact I don’t know what 10 years from now looks like is actually a good thing, because whatever I could dream up now is probably more limited and less exciting than what will actually develop, so I will take things a year at a time and look back 10 years from now in amazement!

QOTW: What advice would you give yourself if you were just starting out your career or schooling, knowing what you know now? (1:09:08)

Writing Prompt: Write where you imagine yourself to be in 10 years. (1:09:29)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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

Thursday Things: Clandestine Green

If you’re looking for a magical new pen or ink to add to your collection of clever writing instruments, you’re in luck. Thursday Things: Clandestine Green is teeming with terrific products for the most resourceful and determined of writers. These pens, inks, and accessories will carry your writing through your day-to-day activities and onward to wherever your adventurous mind may venture. If you’re looking for a new writing tool for your winter endeavors, be sure to peruse this amazing assortment.

Featured products from left to right:

Thursday Things is taking a break for a few weeks, we’ll be back in 2019 to bring your more splendid pen spreads!

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

November 15th, 2018|Thursday Things|0 Comments

The 2019 Goulet Fountain Pen Calendar is Here!

Back by popular request, we are pleased to offer you the 2019 edition of the Goulet Pens calendar! Each week, we hear from our adoring community how much they would love to see our photographs hanging on their walls. We are happy to oblige in the form of this calendar. Featuring 12 seasonally appropriate photos from our Thursday Things and Art History Desk features and complementary ink splatter backdrops, the 2019 calendar will be the showcase feature of your wall. While it is printed on glossy paper, which makes it not very fountain pen friendly, you can still appreciate the beautiful fountain pen pictures. Don’t hesitate to snag one for your wall today! Here are the featured photos for each month:

January- Edward Hopper // J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor
February- Michelangelo’s David // Noodler’s Black
March- Ophelia // J. Herbin 1798 Amèthyste de l’Oural
April- Faberge Egg // Pilot Namiki Blue
May- Greenhouse // Monteverde Erinite
June- Pink Lemonade // Diamine Autumn Oak
July- Demonstrators // Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine
August- Fountain Pens on a Budget // Monteverde Caribbean Blue
September- It’s Fall Ya’ll // J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre
October- Edgar Allan Poe // Diamine Burgundy Royale
November- Salvador Dali // Stipula Fading Grey (no longer available)
December- Nordic Blue // Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue

These calendars are available for $12 at GouletPens.com. Don’t wait, snag yours today before they’re gone!

Which month is your favorite?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

November 14th, 2018|A Goulet Life|0 Comments

Pick This, Not That: Fountain Pen Gift Ideas

Pick This, Not That: Fountain Pen Gift Ideas

Shopping for new and exciting gifts every holiday season can be exhausting. If you are looking for a little help in jazzing up your gift giving this year, you’ve come to the right place. In this gift guide, we will offer you 8 unconventional ideas to replace some of the most commonly given gifts to give your loved ones a small taste of the excitement that is the fountain pen hobby.

Instead of a pair of socks or a tie, try a Pilot Metropolitan!

Pick This, Not That: Fountain Pen Gift Ideas

The fun patterns and colors of the Pilot Metropolitan capture your loved one’s personality in the same spunky light as a new tie or a pair of socks. However, we bet they’ll be doubly intrigued by this writing utensil that they can pair with any outfit and take everywhere they go. While ties and socks sometimes need careful planning to coordinate a matching outfit, the Metropolitan is great for any and all occasions, no planning required. Plus, you can do a little penabling on the side as you teach them about the nearly infinite ink options! You can find the Pilot Metropolitan in a rainbow of colors for $18.50.

Ditch the perfume and get a Stick of Scented Sealing Wax and a Brass Seal!

Pick This, Not That: Fountain Pen Gift Ideas

If you want to find a signature scent for a special someone, try swapping that bottle of perfume or cologne for a naturally scented sealing wax and brass seal. You will give them a gift that is not only all their own style but also allows them to make their individual mark anytime they pen correspondences. Atelier Gargoyle sealing wax features a blend of essential oils for a pleasant scent. The Herbin Brass seals come in a variety of shapes and letters so you can find the perfect representation of your recipient’s tastes. You can find  Atelier Gargoyle Flexible Sealing Waxes for $7 a stick and the Herbin Brass Seals for between $14- $25.

If something sparkly is what you desire, try a shimmer ink and a glass dip pen!

Pick This, Not That: Fountain Pen Gift Ideas

Although jewelry is a generous and wonderful gift, it can be hard to pin down the perfect style for your gift. Try a shimmer ink and glass dip pen instead. The generous flow of a dip pen lays down a maximum sparkle factor when used with a shimmering ink. Goulet Pens offer some fantastic shimmer ink options in a rainbow of colors and variety of price ranges so you will always have the ideal ink for your gift giving. Our selection of glass dip pens range in price from $27- $30.

Instead of a photo, record your memories in your own words with a Some Lines a Day 5 Year Memory Notebook.

Pick This, Not That: Fountain Pen Gift Ideas

They say a picture speaks a 1,000 words but why not record your memories in your own words? The Leuchtturm1917 Some Lines A Day 5-Year Memory Journal provides dated pages with 5 sections to record 5 years worth of memories. This book is perfect for documenting the joys of a new baby or puppy, recording treasured memories of a budding romance or marriage, or penning years worth of inspiring moments. You can find this treasured memory bank in three colors for $26.95.

Capture the fun of a stuffed animal in a writing tool they’ll be excited to use, The Jinhao Shark Pen.

Pick This, Not That: Fountain Pen Gift Ideas

Getting kids excited about writing doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Skip the stuffed animals that tend to accumulate over time and offer the young person in your life a shark pen. You’ll be delighted to see them tearing through the pages, writing, and devouring the chance to put their pen to use. The Jinhao Shark pens come in a rainbow of colors and are only $3.95.

Your favorite tool- savvy tinkerer would LOVE a Cleaning and Tuning Set!

Pick This, Not That: Fountain Pen Gift Ideas

For anyone with a craftsman mind and skilled hands, give them the gift of fountain pens and the tools to dive in nib first. If your loved one is a Do-It-Yourselfer, the cleaning and tuning set gives them all they need for fountain pens from start to finish. They can keep their pens working and fix any issues that arise with the help of these tools and the wealth of Brian’s video knowledge on our YouTube! You can snag a Cleaning and Tuning set for $52.65.

Wallets are a dime a dozen, get Dad an All-In-One Life Organizer in the Traveler’s Notebook!

Pick This, Not That: Fountain Pen Gift Ideas

Wallets have been a go-to gift for our father figures and male counterparts for years, try something even better this year. The Traveler’s Notebook- Passport provides a space to store your money, as well as a collection of notebooks to stash away thoughts, lists, and reminders. Dad will never be without his measurements for home improvement projects, nor his cards and cash to fund them. You can find the Traveler’s Notebook in Black, Brown, Blue, or Camel for $40.16.

For a gift that takes up less space on the coffee table, swap a book for the Retro 51 Rollerball!

Pick This, Not That: Fountain Pen Gift Ideas

There’s a Retro 51 for everyone! These pens feature fun and interesting wraps or textured bodies that will appeal to a variety of hobbies. Rather than gifting a book that will take up space on a shelf or table, try giving a portable pen they can take with them on their daily adventures. Check out the selection of Retro 51 rollerballs at Goulet Pens!

We hope you enjoyed the selection of gifts we offered here. What is your favorite fountain pen or accessory to gift for the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

November 13th, 2018|Holiday Gift Guides|0 Comments

Quick Look: Retro 51 Montana Fountain Pen

Retro 51 has long been popular for its rollerball pens, and a surprising number of fountain pen people are really into them. So why haven’t we carried their fountain pens too since that’s what we’re known for? Well, Retro 51 has been working all of 2018 to make changes to their fountain pen design and really improve upon it. They plan to do a full release of their fountain pens in 2019, but we had the fortune to do a small batch, limited-edition, Goulet-exclusive this holiday season.

Say hello to the Montana! This design has been done in a rollerball (in 2014) but never as a fountain pen, so we’re really excited to have that available now for a limited time. The Montana brings some of the best holiday sweater components together, like the moose, snow, and of course the color blue. It even has a Sasquatch on the topper, which is sort of an Easter egg Retro has worked into a number of their pen designs before.

While rollerballs are their bread and butter, this Retro 51 fountain pen is going to be a pen for the enthusiast, who wants to use their pens regularly but also wants to carry a lot of their own personality in their hands.

As far as design changes, the grip is the most notable. Originally, it was too tapered and slick. Retro listened to that feedback and changed the grip to have a more concave shape. Because of this, your fingers rest on it better and it feels very comfortable in hand. There’s a slight step at the threads, but it’s minimal and would only be bothersome if you held it far back.

The weight on is 20g unposted, but 34g posted which is really similar to a Visconti Van Gogh (20g unposted/32g posted). Like the measurements allude to, it does become pretty back-weighted when posted. Overall, it feels very strong in hand with a good heft to it.

The pen features a stainless steel German-made JoWo nib which are smooth-writing! The Montana nibs will not be engraved with the Retro 51 logo, but we expect to see that on future models in 2019. It is available in Extra-Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, and a 1.1mm Stub nib.

The cap is threaded and takes about 1.5 rotations to uncap. It posts securely but add some length to it, making it long for some. The tension clip is functional, distinctive to Retro 51 along with the knurled top and topper. This topper is usually unique to each pen model.

The Montana fountain pen is available at GouletPens.com for $75. Each future model will differ in pricing depending on the theming and complexity of the design. We think this could be a great pen if you’re looking for a reliable writer with a lot of personality. Retro 51 has worked hard to make changes to the design to attract all fountain pen enthusiasts to the brand. For more details, and up-to-date specs on Retro 51 fountain pens, be sure to check it out on GouletPens.com

How do you feel about the Montana? Do you like the design? Let us know in the comments below!

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

November 12th, 2018|Pen Reviews|0 Comments