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In this episode, I talk about next NEXT level pens, and what pens aren’t available, but should be!

This week:
  • Physical inventory coming
  • Attending Butterfly Ball with my daughter

New/Upcoming Products: – (3:19)

Pens/Writing – (6:17)

1) Ulises R.- Facebook – (6:19)
What’s the next level? After stepping up from the Metropolitan/Al-Star to the Vanishing Point/Lamy 2000, which pens are the next step from these?
  • there’s a law of diminishing returns here, for sure
  • once you hit gold nibs, you really get into a lot of fancy options
  • pens with gold nibs pretty much plateau in terms of how they write, so it’s other aspects of the pen that impact its price
  • fancier/precious materials, unique filling mechanisms, enhanced build quality, nicer plating on trim (platinum instead of rhodium, higher grade of gold, etc), more design/artistry, LE, nicer presentation
  • you quick jump up into the $500-800 range
  • Visconti Homo Sapiens/Opera/Divina, Aurora Optima/88, Montegrappa Copper Mule/Passione, Pelikan Souvrän m400/600/800/1000, Montblanc 146/149, Namiki Nippon Art/Yukari, Graf von Faber-Castell Classic/Tamitio/Anello, Caran d’Ache, Delta DolceVita, Stipula Etruria, Parker DuoFold, Waterman Carene
  • there are many more besides these, of course!

2) bercolini- Instagram – (20:01)

You often mention fountain pens working by capillary action. What does that actually mean? 
  • not to sidestep this question, but WikiPedia has a really good answer to this (that even mentions fountain pens specifically)
  • capillary action is when a liquid is able to flow through a restricted space without the assistance of gravity
  • with fountain pens, the very thin ink channel in the feed utilizes the natural capillary action that allows the ink (mainly water) to flow through it naturally, which gives it that smooth flowing feeling while you write
  • it’s very much like water going through the root system in a tree
  • because of this, fountain pens will even write upside down or in space

3) whysee2017- Instagram – (24:00)

In last week’s episode you talked about how to polish the pen. I want to know more about how to keep the nib shiny too. My Platinum 3776 gold nib seems less “golden” than before. Ink is always sticking in the nib pattern of Sailor Pro Gear. How do I keep the nib shiny as new?
  • you can buy metal polishing cloths at a jewelry store, or I may source them out at Goulet
  • you just rub the nib with the cloth (not inked!)
  • make sure you’re not getting fibers in the slit
  • that’s about all!

4) awmawy- Instagram – (30:01)

What is the future for the fountain pen market? Where do you see openings for the market to expand? For example, what type of pens aren’t sold now, but could be? Stuff like that. (You said leave a tough question. Haha.)
  • the future is somewhat uncertain, because of the impact of technology
  • many could assume fountain pens are very much threatened, but it may actually be making somewhat of a revival with the internet and peoples’ desires for the analog as digital is omnipresent in our lives
  • openings in the market will be around niches, passion
  • small batches, exciting new things, changing up things on a regular basis to fight the “noise” in the marketplace
  • exotic materials, like what Jonathan Brooks of Carolina Pen Co mixes up
  • smaller, independently crafted brands with a “support local” feel, a story behind them
  • leading with experimentation and innovation
  • bespoke pens, ability to personalize (Edison Signature)
  • new nib materials (like Nitinol) that could offer flexibility 
  • enhanced filling mechanism designs (like Conid Bulkfiller)

5) ramirols9010- Instagram – (47:26)

I’m very interested in Aurora pens, but they are way too expensive. The less expensive 14K nib is the Aurora Alpha; are you familiar with it? Does it have a similar nib to the Optima? What is the difference between the 88/Optima/Talentum/Alpha 14k nibs?
  • I have little personal experience with the Alpha and Talentum to be honest
  • I know all these pens use the same nibs, except the new 88 LE flex nib
  • there are some 14k and 18k options for some of these (88 comes to mind), they write similarly though
  • the pen body and filling mechanism itself makes the difference
  • less expensive Tallentum and Alpha use the same 14k gold nib as the 88 and Optima
  • with most gold nib pens, once you hit a gold nib, it doesn’t really improve from there, it’s other aspects of the pen that drive the price up
  • size, design, filling mechanism, material, theming, licensing (for LE pens), etc all impact pricing
  • the 88 and Optima are (often) Auroraloid (celluloid/resin blend), and piston filler
  • there is a medium size 88 that’s C/C and cheaper

Business – (53:27)

6) arachnesthreads- Instagram – (53:30)

What’s the difference between the closeouts and sale items sections in the shop?
  • Closeouts: products that we’re discontinuing, is going to be no longer available to us (dropped by our distributor) or ceased to be manufactured altogether
    • these we try to discount deeper to move them along (if we can, sometimes we’re not able) and often have separate return/exchange policies as a result
  • Sale items: regularly offered items that are discounted temporarily but we will continue to carry ongoing
    • caused by overstock, usually
    • special promotions, often offered by the manufacturer
  • We used to have them separated entirely on the site, but we do include closeouts in the sale items section these days, which could be confusing and we would be open to changing that back if it’s confusing! Please let us know

QOTW: If a pen genie granted you one pen of any kind to have, with the caveat that you could only look at it and never touch it or write with it, what would it be? – (01:03:27)

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