Folks on the Goulet Team are getting married, having babies, it’s a great time to be hanging around here. I’m all jazzed up about my experience in NYC with Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuk at Business Gets Personal, and the 15-minutes of fame I had with them on stage in the “Hot Seat” segment. I talk about this and answer questions about Organics Studio ink, nib swapping, and give advice for starting a business.

1) Austin Malone- YouTube – 
Can you give us the deal on Organics Studio? …I thought Organics Studio could have blossomed into something great.

  • Tyler was a student a Uof Maryland
  • just graduated, going to grad school in NYC
  • couldn’t keep up ink production in his studio apt.
  • has expressed interest in picking it back up after graduating, whenever that will be

2) Roberto Alonso-YouTube – 
Hi Brian. How do you fill a fountain pen with an ink bladder (for example a Pilot Metropolitan) when the ink bottle is half empty, for “tall” bottles I’m finding difficult to do it in a clean way. Any tricks?

  • wear gloves, haha!
  • use ink syringe
  • decant into a sample vial

3) Bl00dLust2012-YouTube – (15:09)
I’m a student and I carry up to 4 pens sometimes with various colors for note taking. What is a good, yet not too expensive, 4-6 pen carrying case? I’ve looked in a few places such as Amazon and they’re either too expensive or are cheaply made.

  • Nock– can buy direct now, we will be carrying it when they make it available to retailers in a month or two
  • Aston Case-10, we used to have Case 6 but it actually costs more!
4) @MobyProf- Twitter – (18:50)
What’s the timetable on the TWSBI Vac Mini? By Christmas—please?

  •  sigh…ya got me there. I just don’t know. No firm date yet, but I’d say probs not

5) Sarah M.- Ink Nouveau – (19:35)
Does Clairefontaine make French-rule pads? I use a lot of pads at work, and I just fell in love with the seyes rule, so seyes rule pads would be awesome.
  • They do make them, but they’re not imported by the US distributor (Exaclair) so they’re hard to come by
  • has 6 French-rule notebooks, 2 side-staplebound, 2 side-clothbound, 2-side wire bound

6) Ravena J.- Facebook – (20:42)

Is it easy to swap the nibs from Pilot pens? For example, I’m planning to buy a Pilot Stargazer, but I love Pilot’s Soft Medium nib over the standard Pilot Medium nib and would like to see about getting one to swap it out. Is this even possible?

  • Generally the nibs are easy to remove, esp. with Goulet Grip
  • Stargazer comes right out, same with Custom 74, Metropolitan, etc
  • They use different nibs on many of their pens, some will share
  • Only VP nibs are available separately
  • Nib units (with grip) are available by special order for some pens like the Falcon, but they’re pricey (about 60% cost of the pen)
7) @Twoznek- Twitter – (24:24)

Does the Sheaffer 100 & 300 have the same nib?

  • sure as heck seems to be to me
  • see side-by-side in Pen Plaza
8) Scott Rodgers- InkNouveau – (25:24)
Can you recommend a bottled ink that comes closest to “dollar bill green”?

  • I honestly can’t name you one!
  • OS Gregor Mendel, but that’s gone

9) @SgtStretch- Twitter – (27:01)
Can I swap the nib on my 580 with any #6 nib without getting a TWSBI nib+section unit?
10) Adam K.- Facebook – (27:58)

What is your favorite ink that is no longer in production?

  • Parker Penman Sapphire
  • Omas Blue (old formula) close second
11) Tanmay B.- Facebook – (27:58)

What is the best but cheapest everyday writing pen? With a fine or extra-fine nib?

12) Ben C.- Facebook – (30:57)

Hey Brian, love the videos! It is always nice to see the amount of energy and passion you have for what you do. Any advice on getting into the ink making business, or just advice on starting your own business in general? What are the pro’s and con’s of being a small business owner these days?

  • Ink making? Oh boy, that’s tough
  • not my area of expertise, but my suggestion would be to test test test test test and then sell direct, build up a loyal following, and then wholesale
  • Starting your own business
    • start small, don’t go all in unless you have money saved
    • start part time if you can, prove the validity of the business with profits before hiring!
    • get ready to work your butt off, and make sure you realllllly love what you do, otherwise you won’t make it through the tough times
    • get ready to fail, a lot. “Fail early, fail often, fail forward!” John Maxwell
  • Pros are pride, freedom, potential to make good income, fulfillment in work, diversity of tasks, can focus on strengths (usually), ‘job security’ dependent on your own dedication
  • Cons are risk, long hours, sacrifice of hobbies/social life (usually), odds stacked against you, massive amount of failure to learn from (could be a pro!)
13) March R.- Facebook – (44:04)

Ok so I have a question on ink cartridges. How do you know which cartridge will fit in your pen?

  • Check on specific product pages for descriptions/pictures
  • Cartridge/converter guide (not all-inclusive though)
  • FPN resource? looked for one, couldn’t find it
14) Cheryl C.- Facebook –  (45:30)

I own a Namiki Falcon, fine nib. I’ve had it about 18 months. I didn’t use it often as I was a little disappointed in the flex of the nib. I recently started using it more often and I’ve noted more flexibility to the nib. Is this my imagination, or do the nibs develop more ” give” after repeated use?

  • yes, nibs do break in (esp. gold nibs)
  • with that much time that’s passed, it could be that you’re writing differently than you used to
  • I personally lowered my pen angle drastically my first year of using fountain pens
  • Ballpoints need to be held really upright, natural tendency is to do that with FP’s at first
  • FP’s work better at a lower (45 degree) angle, especially soft nibs
15) Steve K.- Facebook – (48:47)

How many pens do you keep inked up at any one time? What do you think is too many (i.e., you run the risk of some of them clogging up)?

  • Oh gosh, way too many
  • At least a dozen or more at once
  • I do get help cleaning my pens these days
  • I definitely let some of my pens clog/dry up before cleaning them, definitely
  • I don’t always practice the good pen hygiene I preach!
  • I just love inking up new colors
Thanks for watching, and for asking such awesome questions. Be sure to check out old Q&A vids here. Have a great week!
Question of the Week: How many of your pens do you keep inked up at one time?
Write On,
Brian Goulet