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 what pens to take on spring break, most popular pens in different price ranges, and what a Goulet rewards program might look like. Enjoy!

New/Upcoming Products – (3:22)

Pens/Writing – (9:11)

1) Jim C.- Facebook – (9:13)
I am going to Florida on spring break, What pens should I bring?
  • I never did a spring break thing, I always worked on mine!
  • I heard some pretty crazy stories of people that went though
  • I’d stick with less expensive stuff
  • Pilot Varsity
  • Platinum Preppy
  • Pilot Metropolitan
  • Lamy Safari, maybe
  • Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you don’t mind losing or having stolen
2) Jennifer K.- YouTube – (11:48)
Is there ways to bring your writing style into the fountain pen or is it basically that you start over and learn a new type of penmanship?
  • you definitely bring your style
  • a lot of the resurgence I’m seeing right now in hand lettering is with people making it their own style
  • some focus on learning “proper” script, like Spencerian, Copperplate, Gothic
  • folks like Matthew Morse @heymatthew on Instagram, Leigh Reyes (@leighpod) on YouTube and Instagram push the envelope a bit
  • Jake Weidman is a Master Penman that really shows what penmanship is!
  • for me, I have just not spent the time to focus on “learning” handwriting and that’s okay
  • you can enjoy the crap out of your pens without learning a darn thing…you’ll practice just by using it regularly
3) Hugh C.- Blog – (20:25)
I am a student and need a cheap, durable pen that won’t look like trash after a few scratches. Yesterday, my Lamy Safari uncapped in my pocket and ruined my favorite sweatshirt, so I would like the pen to have a cap that will stay firmly in place when pocketed. However, I cannot exceed $50 when buying the pen. Any recommendations?
4) Jack P.- Email – (23:35)
Hi Brian, what are your most popular low, intermediate and high end price range pens?
Ink – (32:21)

5) Cathleen C.- YouTube – (32:23)
I hate neon highlighters because I find the colors pretty harsh on my eyes. I am currently using Zebra midliners but the colors are rather dark. I’m interested in trying out fountain pen highlighters. Are the inks that are labeled as “highlighter inks” the only ones you can use or can you use any light colored ink?
  • there are some specific highlighter inks which can be filtered down on our site under “Ink Color”, select “Highlighter/Invisible” (go here)
  • most are Noodler’s
  • light ink can be used, for sure, it doesn’t have to be highlighter ink
  • you can water down normal ink, too, but it’ll be much more subtle than the highlighter inks made for the purpose
  • I honestly haven’t messed around with this much but I know some who do this
Business – (35:50)

6) Parth P. -Facebook – (35:51)
Will you be at the Atlanta pen show as a visitor or vendor with a booth?
  • visitor/blogger/Periscoper/SnapChatter/Interviewer
  • no booth, I have a crammed itinerary with interviews, meet ups and after-parties
  • still fleshing out the details, but I will be TIRED at the end of this trip!
  • I will not be bringing product to sell
7) Caroline N.- Facebook – (40:36)
I really enjoy shopping with you guys but of course, you don’t carry EVERYTHING. Do you have any plans to expand it the future into more stationary/art related products, like washi tape, stickers, watercolor supplies, Filofaxes, etc?
  • as we’ve grown we’ve seen more and more opportunity to expand in all kinds of areas
  • the art stuff is definitely one route we could pursue
  • as it is right now, we’re not going after it hard
  • one exception: Filofax planners
  • this could very well be opening up Pandora’s box, but we’re pacing ourselves
  • our mission statement: “To provide fountain pen enthusiasts with the most personal online shopping experience through comprehensive education, exemplary service, and products we believe in.”
  • some of these art products really start to blur the line, especially with our fountain pen enthusiasts
  • metaphor of an archery target, art supplies are not our bullseye
8) Connor A.- YouTube – (53:59)
At a recent trip to my local Montblanc boutique, the sales rep showed me a book of products to come out in the next year. I was surprised that many of them were relatively cheap compared to what Montblanc currently stocks. Is this something you’ve noticed among the brands you carry?
  • I’m not affiliated with MB so I can’t speak specifically on that
  • I have always been encouraging manufacturers to come out with more affordable pens
  • we have a huge focus on new fountain pen users, and if a brand doesn’t have a pen under $100 that pretty much means no new people will buy them (and use them)
  • I have noticed a downward shift in pen prices, even with whole brands
  • TWSBI, Noodler’s especially
  • Other luxury brands are looking to downshift a bit, too, we’re seeing that with some offerings from Pilot/Namiki, Platinum, Visconti, Montegrappa
  • I will keep pushing for this, it’s good for all of us
9) Adam H.- YouTube – (01:02:56)
Brian, Have you and Rachel ever considered having some sort of rewards/points program for your customer base?
  • We have definitely considered this
  • we’ve talked vaguely about a “Prime” style membership, VIP-type programs, rewards programs, none in full detail yet
    • Pay for membership, get free shipping, maybe other benefits
    • points programs where the more you spend the more rewards/discounts/prizes/freebies you earn
    • exclusive deals on pre-orders, new products, etc
  • we have some technical hurdles to get over
  • this is really something on our minds though
QOTW: What online retailers do you shop at that have a rewards program? What do you like/not like about it? – (01:09:18)

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

Brian Goulet