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In this episode, I talk about what’s up with green pens, picking the right pen for wearing with a suit, and how to overcome the hardships of creating a niche business.
New/Upcoming Products: – (1:40)
Pens/Writing – (6:43)

1) Clairity_DX- YouTube – (6:46)

I really like the idea of Visconti‘s hook safe lock mechanism as a way of securing the cap to the pen, but I just can’t see myself ever purchasing a pen that expensive (or heavy, for that matter!). Are there any other pens that are more affordable/lighter, but have a similar mechanism where you barely need to twist in order to cap the pen?
  • this is one of my favorite things about Visconti pens
  • it’s a proprietary system, only on their pens
  • the other systems I’ve seen are either screw cap, snap cap, magnetic, or retractable
  • Snap:
  • Screw

2) molindela- Instagram – (11:50)

Are there any not-too-expensive fine or extra fine nibs that are really wet? Or a way to increase the flow in a pen without making the line wider (assuming good paper, so it doesn’t just spread). I have small handwriting but love shading and sheen!

  • Noodler’s pens are very wet (and flexy)
  • Visconti fines are very wet, but are probably too expensive for what you’re looking for
  • Jowo nibs often lean a little on the wetter side (Goulet, Edison, TWSBI)
  • Pilot nibs in EF and F are often very fine, but the mediums are much wetter and often borderline on fine of other brands
  • most of the fine nibs that are wetter are gold nibs, which aren’t usually inexpensive
  • there are a couple of ways to increase wetness:
    • pull out the feed, use an exacto knife to cut a wider channel (risky)
    • use an exacto knife to widen the nib tines (risky)
    • open up the tines by flexing them (slightly less risky, but still risky)
    • all could void your warranty
  • you’re best off using ink and paper choices to try to control your sheen (Tomoé River for paper, high sheening inks for sheen)

3) lhlvierra- Instagram – (20:55)

So what is the deal with green pens, anyhow? Have you had no luck with them, or does it seem no one has much luck moving them anywhere? Are there any other things that oddly seem unwanted, like an ink color that just never finds any love. Trying to remember, but I think I have only had one green fountain pen – a Sheaffer school pen in the 1970s

Personal – (27:52)

4) Benny L.- Facebook – (27:55)

How do you decide on a “suit pen”? Basically a pen and ink to accompany an outfit whether it is for a formal setting or a dinner function. Most likely it would be used for short bouts of writing or signing/autographs(for the famous). To make it more interesting, permanent ink since signing can be on contracts. Some reccomendations would be good.

  • I personally rarely wear a suit, but I do select my pens intentionally for them
  • Lamy 2000 is my go-to suit pen when I want to go understated
  • MontBlanc pens are very recognizable, if you’re going to flash and status
  • Pelikan and Visconti are adequate MB substitutes
  • From a pocket-presentation standpoint, something with a distinct finial or clip, with a slightly wider opening clip to fit in the jacket pocket
  • question: put the pen in your shirt pocket or jacket pocket? 
  • I do jacket, my suit jacket actually has a sewn pocket with only enough of an opening to hold a pen in it
  • of course you can use whatever pen you like in a suit!
  • You could also go with a pen that has a pop of color, and matches your shirt or tie
  • I may go Pilot Custom 74 with a blue tie
  • ink: Noodler’s Black is a standby, Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium, don’t overthink it too much

Business – (39:27)

5) whysee2017- Instagram – (39:29)

I have a question about the Q&A itself. Among all these questions, how do you pick which one to be answered in the video? Do you read all the questions or you colleagues pick for you?

  • it’s been an evolution over the years
  • our current process:
    • my community coordinators ask for questions on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter on Fridays
    • they compile questions asked on Mondays into a collaborative spreadsheet
    • Colin will comb through all the questions and pick ones that seem most relevant for what’s going on and that are somewhat unique
    • Katy on our Customer Care team combs through to identify ones that our Customer Care team feels would be relevant based on questions they get asked a lot
    • They give me a curated list of 10-15 questions, by noon on Tuesday, I narrow down from there
    • I select the final ones, prep my answers Tuesday afternoon/evening
    • Shoot it on Wed!
    • this exact process is fairly recent, it’s only the last month or two we’ve done the curation
    • I used to look at every one, but I needed more help
    • I still choose the exact questions and order them, prep my notes, and shoot

6) adam_elbahouty- Instagram – (46:05)

What were some hardships that came/come with creating a business (especially one with a relatively small market), and what is your philosophy for overcoming them?

  • I almost didn’t take this question because there are just so many hardships starting a business from nothing that I didn’t even know how to approach it!
  • the hardest thing at first was just finding the right niche, I tried a lot of different stuff!
  • it’s tough to match up your talent with customer/community interest and wrap that into a viable business model
  • the first 3-4 years was just that, discovering what to even do that’d be sustainable
  • after that, things got way easier, because we had clarity of vision and direction
  • logistics then became the bottleneck, just fulfilling orders, filing taxes, managing proper accounting, email management, systems systems systems
  • gaining product knowledge wasn’t hard, but took a ton of time
  • after figuring out logistics, then it was hiring and leading people!
  • that required a complete shift in a new direction, and has taken considerable effort ever since
  • At the core, my philosophy has been “Work Hard, Be Honest, Be Flexible”, and that continues to this day as our #1 company core value
  • hard work is an absolute given, don’t even bother if you aren’t planning to work until you drop every day
  • honesty goes such a long way, especially when dealing on social media and with customers, authenticity is something people can smell a mile away and if you focus on treating other people like you’d want to be treated that’ll make a huge difference
  • flexibility (or agility, really) is so critical, especially in the early stages because you just don’t know what’s going to work and nimbleness is possibly your only competitive advantage!
  • passion is key, and you have to CARE, everything else will likely fall into place
QOTW: what’s been the most meaningful thing you’ve ever written with a fountain pen? – (57:55)

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