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In this episode, I talk about great first demonstrator pens, work friendly permanent inks, and my advice for building a great customer service team.
This week:

New/Upcoming Products – (4:26)

Pens/Writing – (11:35)

1) Heidi R.- Facebook – (11:36)

I’m looking for my first demonstrator FP. Any recommendations? Pilot Prera? Twsbi?
  • TWSBI is definitely a great place to start, especially the Eco– piston fill!
  • 580, Mini, Vac Mini, Vac, they’re really all worth consideration
  • Lamy Vista, definitely- nice workhorse pen
  • Nemosine Singularity– newer to our site, good value
  • Pilot Prera is a solid pen, I prefer the Metropolitan for what you get though
  • Noodler’s Ahab, Konrad, Creaper if you want flexibility
2) hugh_c- Instagram – (14:37)
My new Pilot VP sometimes squeaks when I am writing, especially on low quality paper. It does not feel scratchy, though. Should I be concerned?
  • squeaking nibs are not incredibly uncommon, though it can be annoying
  • it has to so with the tonal resonance of the nib as it’s being dragged across the paper
  • the rougher the paper the more it squeaks, I’d bet
  • there’s just something about the way it’s ground that’s causing the nib to vibrate at the perfect frequency where it makes an audible squeak
  • it’ll likely go away over time through normal use, but a touch onto mylar or micro mesh would probably take care of that

3) Andrew K.- Facebook – (19:21)

Is there a way to find people to write to by hand or is that being too weird for 2016?
  • personally, I don’t find that weird at all!
  • right now is NaNoWriMo, which a lot of fountain pen folks like to do, just search the #NaNoWriMo hashtag on the various social media channels
  • if you specifically want correspondence, check out the Fountain Pen Network
  • check out #InCoWriMo (International Correspondence Writers Month), you can connect with other people who seem to have your interest that participated in that hashtag
  • you could always just start writing letters to people, especially elder family members of yours!

4) John E.- Facebook – (23:35)

I know you mainly give points about pens you sell, but are there pens without threads and step- ups? The Lamy 2000 and Pilot E95s come to mind.

Ink – (28:41)

5) @con1259- Instagram – (28:43)

What is the best work friendly permanent ink? I use noodler’s x-feather at the moment but it clogs my feed and takes ages to dry.

6) @alexanderyshu- Instagram – (32:30)

What are some good dark purple inks? I love the color of Private Reserve Tanzanite, but I’ve found it doesn’t work nicely with some of my pens, so I’m looking for similar alternatives. Thanks!

7) Murdock Grewar- YouTube – (33:53)

I can’t spend too much on inks, but I love switching up the colours in a pen quite often. Because of this, I mix my inks. If you were to recommend a selection of just 4 or 5 inks for the maximum range of colours, what would they be? Does diluting an ink with water work to brighten it, or does the colour look washed out?

Paper – (39:32)

8) Guster J.- Facebook – (39:34)

How do I know (aside from obvious feathering and bleed through) that my paper is high enough quality? I have a Hilroy Studio Pro Sketch Book– it’s 50lb paper, acid free and it says “versatile paper for use with charcoals, pastels, pencils and pens” it doesn’t bleed through and doesn’t feather, is that indication enough that it’s a high enough quality to use?
  • I’ve never heard of this brand, but that doesn’t mean much
  • acid-free is really good for archivability, definitely look for that
  • pH-neutral is good too
  • other language about it being bleed proof, feather proof, etc is really subjective, and can’t always be taken at its word when it comes to fountain pen ink (though it’s not a bad start)
  • there really isn’t any reliable indicator that something is “fountain pen friendly”, even within the fountain pen friendly brands
  • product reviews, blogs, sites that carry a lot of FP stuff (like ours) will be the best indicator of FP friendly paper, aside from just trying

Business – (44:55)

9) Mariner Hoff- YouTube – (44:57)
I’m blown away by the quality and genuine attitude of your customer service. I’m a manager of a customer support team at a startup. What advice would you give to a team that aspires to your caliber of customer service?
  • thank you! I’m super proud of my team
  • it takes a lot of work to make it happen, it’s not an accident
  • look at our core values as an indicator to doing things the way we do them
  • Work Hard, Be Honest, Be Flexible
  • Trust is our Currency
  • Work as a Team
  • Empower through Education
  • Express Gratitude
  • Serve with Passion
  • Care.
  • I will give you my perspective as a manager and owner:
    • Care: the owners of the company have to care about having a customer-centric business from the start, and hire people that care in their role. Train them well, too.
    • Passion: we hire the right type of people for the role, who really care about people and derive a lot of personal satisfaction from serving others.
    • Trust: You have to have your team’s back! The customer isn’t always right, but the customer is always the customer and should be treated with respect. But they have no right to treat your team with disrespect, and you have to back up your folks so they have confidence in being able to take care of the customer without a lot of bureaucracy to hold things up.
QOTW: What are your favorite “work friendly” inks? why? – (55:38)

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