Goulet Pen Company Values

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” -Simon Sinek, Start with Why.

I love this quote from Simon because it’s so, so true. In the world of e-commerce it’s so easy to put up a website and mask all aspects of humanity, if that’s the goal. But ever since Rachel and I started GouletPens.com in 2009 we sought to do the complete opposite, to leverage every online tool we could to show how personal an online store could be, to prove that business can be personal. Those of you who’ve read this blog, visited our site, and certainly been a customer of ours have experienced this firsthand. But we’ve never clearly articulated our “Why”, until now.

It’s been over a year in the making for us to define our company mission, purpose, vision, and values. What seem like just a few words or sentences were actually unbelievably difficult to define, though the process itself has been far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

We’ve tried just about everything you can think to define our Goulet culture. Rachel and I went on a long weekend retreat on Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Mountains last spring to start the process, and we came back with a notebook full of rambling, almost incoherent notes. We hired outside professional consultants to try to download our brains and say what we couldn’t. They said it, but it was in their words, not ours, and it didn’t resonate with our team despite the best of intentions.

What we came to realize is that we needed to involve the whole company, and look to define what it is that motivates us each as individuals and as a company to create that special, hard-to-pinpoint experience that you get when interacting with GouletPens.com in any way.

All in all, we went through countless notes and 15 different official drafts, had close to 40 different meetings in every setting from one-on-ones to small groups to company-wide, and actively involved every single person in our company to define the things that make up our “Goulet magic”. I personally have read around 40 different business leadership books since starting this process, and while these books have covered a wide variety of business topics, many of them inspired ideas for this very process we went through.

We’re so honored to present these to you, and we know that you will better be able to understand what we’re all about through what we’ve articulated here on our site. We give more context around our values and how we live them out in our company here – it’s worth a few minutes of your time to check it out. It is our hope that by sharing with you what our deeper purpose is behind everything that we do, our “Why”, that you will have a deeper understanding about who we are and help us to spread our message by telling others what it is that makes us unique.

I would personally love to hear what you have to say about our values. If you’re inspired, email me at culture@gouletpens.com to let me know what you think, or leave a comment below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-06T19:02:51+00:00 July 9th, 2014|A Goulet Life|35 Comments
  • anomalogue

    Value #8. Copious rolls of blue plastic wrap.

  • G. Robinson

    I have just discovered your company and I think you guys do a great job! One of the things I really like about shopping here is being able to narrow down what I'm looking for through the filters. Everything I have bought has arrived nicely packaged and right away. I love all the tutorial videos also. Your pricing is always competitive. Congrats.

  • Wim

    In your charter, mission is almost vision. Vision to me is what you see. For instance: the world is a better place when people enjoy writing. Just my 2 cts as a strategy consultant. Wim, Amsterdam

  • Dave Marler

    Broad based inclusion, when determining your WHY, creates a
    much greater sense of belonging for everyone in the organization. I suspect
    that not only will your team become stronger and more committed but, more
    importantly, your customers will be the beneficiaries of this exercise through
    an unrivaled service experience.

  • B.Starkey

    I think it's great folks! And it speaks volumes. I am both jealous and inspired! Here's to many more years of success.

  • Miss Thundercat

    And this is exactly why I order from you guys even though it costs me a pretty penny in customs taxes. The customer service and the way you guys go about it, the experience of buying from you is like none I have experienced before. Keep on, keepin' on!

  • Tom Johnson

    For those of us who have been your customers for the last few years, this is a perfect description of what we always experience from Goulet Pens. To people who have just discovered Goulet Pens or Ink Nouveau, what is said above and presented in the video is real. Thanks Team Goulet! I will never purchase from another source if it is available from you.

  • KGM

    This was awesome! You guys are such a great company.

  • Beautifully said! You guys are the epitome of the American Dream and I wish you much success and all the best in the future!

  • Freddy

    I absolutely hate mission statements. Most of the time they are nothing more than rubbish that gives a company a place to hide behind when things go wrong. However, the Goulets have, once again, raised the bar as this was beautifully done and tells your story well. Frankly, I have been a customer long enough and you have spoiled me enough to expect, and know, all of you will give the best so this video was not necessary for me. However, as an introduction for new customers it is perfect.

    Congratulations, Team Goulet, on going from strength to strength. 😉

  • virgil m.v., philippines

    i discovered your site (and your helpful videos and blog) only this year. after my first purchase from your store, i was hooked. all i want to say is: even before you put in words what your mission, vision, and values are, you made me FEEL them, even as a first time customer. thank you for everything you do and more power.

  • David

    A quality, caring, independent American Small Business – surviving despite a bloated, corrupt Government that does everything it can to redistribute it amongst the Collective. Hang in there Goulet Pens. We the People are with you.

  • soulcomfort

    An excellent representation of you as people and your company. Kudos!! 🙂

  • dothgrin

    The bonus: You proved yourself BEFORE posting these values. Actions speak louder than words, and your company's actions definitely speak well. Keep it up and you will always have me as a customer.

  • S. Tom

    Like someone else already posted, I don't usually go for "mission statements." They are usually meaningless. But in your case, it just codified what you were already about. My experience with your company let's me know everything you said it absolutely true. Which is why I will continue to support your business whenever I can. Right/write on, GPC! 🙂

  • Tim Herrin

    In contrast to many mission statements, instead of creating goals that you should strive to attain, you have quite thoroughly described what you have already achieved. Let me be one more voice in the chorus of Thank You's. Write On, indeed!

  • JaredY

    You guys are awesome. I tell everyone I know about you, even if they have no interest in writing or writing products. Why? Because I want people to know that upright, customer serving companies CAN exist. Employees that truly enjoy and/or take pride in their work CAN exist. I don't tell people about you because of what you sell…I tell them about you because of your company culture.
    Also, I want to thank you for providing hope that someday somewhere I might find (or start) a business that I can actually believe in.

  • Haha, indeed! 😉

  • Thanks, G! Yeah, we have really worked hard to try to make it a great experience all around, and now we just have to live up to our own expectations 😉

  • I appreciate that. Yeah, I didn't exactly go by the textbook on this one, but it resonates with my team. The vision probably could be a little more clearly articulated, this was definitely a struggle. We've had our whole company take the StrengthsFinder assessment, and my personal #1 is "Futuristic". I live for the future and see visions of it clearly, but I definitely struggle to articulate it to others. I think you're probably seeing that weakness showing through here. But I think this vision statement here has enough to get it done, it's more important what it excludes than includes. As we've grown we've seen a lot of opportunity come our way, but sticking to 'enhancing the writing experience' really keeps us focused.

  • Exactly. The Purpose (why) is actually the single most important part of all this, especially with a company full of millennials like us! We all want to be a part of a cause, a purpose greater than ourselves. Proving business can be personal ties back all the way to the days when Rachel and I were working in our garage as well as why we make decisions that will affect us for years to come, it's all about being personal. Even the very fact we're in the fountain pen business at all is because of this "why", for it wasn't an undying passion for pens that was our start (our company began before we even knew what fountain pens were). But the personal nature of writing with a fountain pen, as well as the personal service we offer was a match made in heaven for this fountain pen passion 🙂

  • Haha, jealous and inspired! 🙂

  • Thank you! I do wish we could do something about customs, but it is definitely not something we can control. Talk about the opposite of business being personal, government taxes/duties would be just that 😛

  • That's awesome to hear, Tom! Having it resonate with my team is incredibly validating to me as the leader, and the true test of validation from you and our other customers and fans really locks it down. Thanks so much for your undying loyalty over the years, we will honor that and live up to the expectation we've set 🙂

  • thank you! We're really trying 🙂

  • Aw, thank you! It definitely feels like the American Dream. We work so dang hard, but it's the most rewarding kind of work, where we feel like we're really making a difference and impacting peoples' lives for the better, in our own small way.

  • Thank you Mary! I hope we're around for a long time, too. We're planning on it!

  • Wow, thanks Freddy! You pretty much said it all right here. None of what we said should be a surprised to those who know us well, but just get a "yup" response. We really made this for those who haven't yet gotten to know us, and for ourselves to keep us on track and validate that the decisions we're making are as they should be, as it's getting harder to stay true to course as we get bigger and have more and more opportunity coming our way. Like Steve Jobs said about Apple, "We're as proud of what we don't make as we are of what we do make".

  • Exactly! We were already living it out, but just needed to say it. That's great validation, our biggest fear was writing something that "sounded" good, but wasn't really us. We went through a LOT of drafts to make sure we didn't fall into this trap.

  • Thanks, David! During tough times, it's always the small businesses and entrepreneurs that get us through. We're just one small company and there are tens out thousands of others out there like us, though not exactly like us 😉

  • Thank you! It really came together well.

  • Exactly! That's part of the reason it took us this long to spell it all out, we were busy figuring out who we are and how to conduct ourselves, and only then could we say it.

  • Awesome! Yeah, there are a lot of bad ones out there, for sure. I think most people understand that they are important, but actually creating them is really hard, to do it right, anyway. I couldn't be more proud of my team and what we came up with, I know we stated something we're not just going to say, but that we'll actually do for years to come.

  • Oh yeah, that was one thing we definitely wanted to do. We're always striving for goals, but this wasn't the place. We wanted guiding principles that would always hold true, no matter the situation.

  • Wow, thanks so much Jared 🙂 I'm flattered! Yes, there are good companies out there, though not as many as we'd all hope. It's hard, honestly, to live it out like we do every day. You have to really CARE (our value #7). That's the biggest thing missing today in business in general, most people just don't care about what they do.