Goulet Q&A Episode 181: The Goulet Pens Move, Why Some Nibs Don’t Swap, and Print vs. Cursive!

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In this episode, I talk about what it was like to move Goulet Pens, why some pens don’t have swappable nibs, and whether print or cursive is better for fountain pens!

The move:
  • The move, obviously a huge huge deal
  • DC pen show happened the weekend before we moved
  • got to meet and interview Jake Weidmann, huge personal high for me
  • met tons of amazing people, it was a pretty big whirlwind
  • the week of the move was simply a blur
  • we’d been planning for 18 months, and it all came down to a couple of days
  • we didn’t get our final inspection on our new space until 6 days before we moved!
  • we had a designer, contractor, 3 subs for IT stuff, moving consultant, and moving company
  • we intentionally withheld even mentioning the move until it was all locked in stone
  • original move date was March, then July, then August
  • Weeks prior we were splitting our time between both places, spread very thin
  • our team was simply awesome though, morale was (and is) through the roof
  • the new space is just awesome, it feels so intentional 
  • I will show it in due time, we’re waiting on some key design elements to still be installed
  • talked about doing a full tour in Ep 200, which would be middle/end of Jan, kind of a ways away but that’d be latest
Now and the future:
  • Rachel and I took the last week off, pretty much just hit a wall
  • still sorting out how we’re doing, but basically the stress and pressure was so great leading up and through the move that we’re still coming down off it
  • my weight has hit a new post-weight loss high of 235, and I want to get back on track
  • 205-210 is where I really felt most myself, and I want to get back there
  • we have some new hires that we’re looking to bring in, including a videographer
  • we’re in-between videographers right now so videos will basically be at a standstill except for Q&A
  • I’m editing Q&A myself so it’s going to be very, very minimal
  • please forgive any technical snafus or shortcuts, it’s the best we can do for the moment!
  • our kids just started school, and we have both in elementary school now
  • we’re feeling a whole lot of feels now, adjusting to a new routine for the Goulet family

1) Stu E.- Facebook (42:30)

Did you get a bigger office in the move?
  • yes! the whole office and my own office
  • little Brian’s office tour
  • full tour coming down the road

2) lhlvieira- Instagram (46:45)
What are you all loving most about your new space? Is there anything you miss about the old one? Congratulations on what I hope was a smooth move.
  • loving: 
    • more room
    • more intentional design/layout that fits our culture
    • glass in doors
    • sound masking
    • spaces flow together more
    • conveyor
    • all air conditioned
    • clean!
    • all on one level!
    • more bathrooms!
    • nice kitchen!
    • deli on premesis
    • shade and walking areas
    • closer commute for most of our team
  • miss:
    • memories made, Goulet kids were there
    • was closer commute for Goulets
    • closer together, felt scrappier and more intimate
    • cheaper!
    • good landlord

3) dragonflies0210- Instagram (54:28)
Silly question as I am new to the fountain pen world…. do most people print or write in cursive with their fountain pens. Also, is there any potential damage to nibs when printing?
  • It’s probably fairly split, I have no real data on who does what
  • I personally felt more inclined to write cursive with FP’s
  • cursive definitely takes more advantage of the smooth flowing nature of FP’s
  • plenty of people write in block though
  • block print doesn’t cause any more damage than any other script, unless you’re writing with excessive pressure (but you can do that with any script)
4) mad_betes_312- Instagram (56:18)
Why do some companies design and manufacturer pens without removal, interchangeable nibs I.e. My Pilot Custom Heritage 92. I would use it more often and by numerous other nibs if I had the option but I’ll never fork over the money for an identical pen in another nib size. Thx!
  • it’s really a matter of the company’s preference and what they aim to do with a given pen model
  • Pilot in general doesn’t like to do “parts”, which makes sense given their size
  • they do VP nib units, though
  • TWSBI is a very small fraction of their size, so they can be more accommodating here
  • it’s not super common to have swappable nibs, and I think only fairly recently has nib swapping become more of a trend
  • price point matters a lot, too, swappable nibs are super uncommon with gold nibs like the Custom 92
  • it’s a logistical complication for large, especially international companies to pull off
  • I encourage all brands to try to do it if they can! It really helps newer folks getting into the hobby


5) chudfumpy- Instagram (1:00:08)
Hi Brian, with the expansion to larger premises, do you have any aspirations to venture into other fountain pen related products? I recently stumbled across a double ended fountain pen for instance.
  • I’m always looking for fountain pen related products, and a larger space will certainly accommodate more expansion in the future
  • the only double-ended FP’s I’ve seen have been custom (so not available to a retailer like us), but that sounds cool
  • yes, I will definitely look to carry more and cooler stuff!

6) Mike W.- Facebook (1:01:47)

How much business experience did you have before taking the plunge? Did your parents mentor you with their business? Did you learn from all those books, and flying by the seat of your pants? You, Rachel, and the rest of the crew have done a great job of growing your company.
  • I wasn’t one of those kids picking flowers out of their neighbors gardens and knocking on their doors to sell them back to them, or anything like that
  • My parents had a business in the house when I was a kid
  • they did it more for lifestyle than from a real, solid economic opportunity
  • they did teach me a lot of principles of working hard, saving money, and seizing opportunities in their business
  • they taught me a lot of really solid principles in life, which I certainly apply to the way I do business
  • “Work Hard, Be Honest, Be Flexible”- came from my parents
  • I did my own sole proprietorship in college to help pay my way through school
  • I 100% learn a lot from the books I read, otherwise I don’t waste my time
  • some certainly resonate more than others, some the timing just isn’t right or I don’t completely see eye-to-eye with the author
  • I read them all for practicality though, and they ALL have to be heavily interpreted into this business and what makes sense
  • there’s a pretty hefty amount of flying by the seat of our pants around here, though we spend more time planning than we used to
  • we have more of a history, so that helps, early days was all seat-pants
  • now it’s more about spending time creating a vision for the future and building towards it, but there are always audibles to be called along the way
QOTW: Which do you prefer, print or cursive? (1:15:04)
Write On,
Brian Goulet
2017-10-11T14:03:24+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Goulet Q&A|24 Comments
  • Scott Rogers

    Aesthetically, I would rather look at well-crafted cursive. Functionally, almost everyone’s handwriting is more legible when they print or write in something approaching more recent “italic” styles of handwriting. As for myself, my Palmer-method cursive has always been terrible. (As is the handwriting of nearly everyone I’ve ever met who was taught the Palmer method, which suggests to me that it’s not the students, it’s the method that’s the problem.) In sixth grade, two things happened: Cursive was no longer mandatory for school assignments, and I got into comic books thanks to Frank Miller’s original “Dark Knight Returns” series, and I became sort of obsessed with developing a readable, but easy-and-quick-to-write, comic-book style print handwriting. All caps, but in college I spent a semester developing lower-case letters as well. Including a typewriter-style double-loop g, because that’s my favorite letter form in the alphabet. Many of my letter shapes have shifted a bit over the years, and lately I’ve incorporated a few italic-style modifications to a few lower-case letters, but basically I can write in either of two styles: Unreadable cursive, or highly legible and individually distinctive print. Since for me, print is both faster for me to write and more readable, cursive is never the right choice.

  • arieswriting

    I’m a printer. My printing is a lot faster than my cursive, which is a big reason I print. I also think my cursive looks really ugly. Not that my printing is nice by any means, but there’s something … weird … about my cursive that I don’t like.

  • peter hofmann

    I go “both ways”:-) For some things I print for others I use cursive (which needs work).

    On a side note, I missed the Q&A’s as there is so much good information in them. Would also like to give a huge shout out to the Goulet team who was really super in handling a fix for one of my pens in the middle of the move, that is customer service!

  • CJ

    I print.

    I have pretty decent cursive, but it has never looked pretty to me. My printing, which used to range from all caps that looked like it was a typewriter font to what I do now (mostly print but with some connectors a la cursive italic), is distinctive and neat. At this stage in my life, that’s enough although I do a fair amount of writing by hand just to keep it neat.

  • Mike Ester

    I print in my bullet journal, and use cursive in my personal journal.

  • Lisa Vierra

    Cursive almost always, but my cursive changes from a pure cursive to a cursive with a bit of print mixed in. I almost never make a cursive capital A. They aren’t attractive to me. Then there is what I call my demotic cursive which is tighter and less slanted. Works well in when I have less room to write in. I am so inclined towards cursive, I do crossword puzzles in cursive – and fountain pen.

    On another front, sort of, North Carolina has just rolled out their new educational standards. Very overtly stated is a continuum throughout out the elementary school years of cursive instruction. It is also implied that it be used through secondary school. Yay!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Way to go, North Carolina!!!

  • Rebecca Logan

    Another printer here. Sometimes my printing starts to run together a bit, especially when printing fast or when tired. Overall my printing is far more tidy and legible than my cursive writing ever could be, and my years as an engineer left me a solid printer. Printing looks great when done with a stub nib, too.

    I must add, though, that I find all caps printing virtually unreadable. My brain just shuts down when it encounters anything in all caps. That makes reading some signs a problem for me, and explains, in part, why I’m no longer in engineering.

  • Bobio

    Before I got into fountain pens, I had a writing style that was a blend between printing and cursive. I’ve found I’ve kept that writing style, regardless of the writing instrument I’m using. But it’s interesting that this question has come up because just this last week, while struggling with a flow issue with one of my pens, I wondered whether writing in cursive, and not lifting the pen from the paper as often, would help with that flow problem. But, as I tried to write in straight cursive, I found it to be awkward, so I went back to my default writing style. Having said that, I find some people’s cursive writing to be very stylistic and visually pleasing, and I’m envious of that.

  • Uniotter

    Your new digs look fantastic, congrats on a successful move and hope the whole team is enjoying the heck out of it — you all deserve it. And yeah, it was a long vid, but you’re right — we missed you! 🙂

    QOTW: I used to print in block and small caps, but do mostly cursive when I need to speed up. Unfortunately both print and cursive have gotten less “nice looking” over the years. But definitely it’s much more pleasurable to use a fountain pen than the old ballpoints!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Thanks! We’re definitely loving it!

  • Mark Bruskin

    Congratulations on the new, bigger digs. You guys have earned that and I wish you much more continued success. Re the QOTW…. you’re asking that just to mess with me, right? Do I prefer cursive when I write?? Of course I do, but my penmanship is for crap.. I’m 63 now and it was never any good… it was the only C I got in grade school (way back when they taught such things). I would love my words to look as eloquent as I think they sound and yup, that would be my preference. As it turns out my writing is more like “printsive” 😉 I have been giving a lot of effort and thought into my handwriting but suspect it will be a long path… and will require practice time that I have yet to dedicate to the task. So yes, I prefer handwriting but as of this moment have been unable to pull it off.

  • Brian the reason I come back to Lamy again and again is because of swapable nibs. It is a good pen, but the big selling point is I can take a couple of pens filled with a couple of inks, and my nibs… into my purse for sketching / writing! This is HUGE for artists. I was drawing in the middle of the night about the fires, didn’t want to wake my husband fishing for pens, but had my Lamy and three nibs in my pocket! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d3fcd9129b1c415703bde73b2212c6aeae5299fdffae719d19cd43fb39643bc0.jpg

  • I never use cursive… architect trained, print is what I do…

  • David L.

    Great Q&A and congratulations on the successful move! QOTW: Cursive. I don’t see the point of lifting your pen off the paper only to smack it back down. Plus, cursive is more pleasing to look at and read rather than print.

    That’s a nice, big office! I don’t blame you for having a messy space. Mine is just as bad. I plan to take care of it as soon as possible.

    I love companies that have swappable nibs. You just have more liberty then. I wish more companies did it.

    Thank you for the great Q&A!

  • Lesley Schultz

    Cant wait to see more of the new digs.

    QOTW: I’m definitely a hybrid writer. I am working on my cursive, but it is not natural anymore. If I had oodles of time, I would work on it more, as it is more refined, but mine is clearly still stuck at the 4th grade level.

  • Tom Johnson

    Great to see you back, Brian!! Friday Q&A’s are a highlight of my weeks. Wonderful information in this episode, looking forward to a tour of the new facility.

    When I want to be totally legible I will print: filling in forms, envelope addresses, labels, etc. But, I had much rather write in cursive and do most of the time – letters, my journal and notebooks, greeting cards, everything personal. I was taught the Palmer method 60 years ago, and while my handwriting through college and my 40+ year engineering career was not impressive, it was totally legible and I never had anyone come to me and ask what I’d written. Legibility was always the #1 priority for all my writing. I’ve seen printing that was very hard to read because the person wrote too fast or just did not take care to make it legible. I used fountain pens for the last 16 years of my career, falling in love with the smooth, silky, way they write at an ergonomic angle and with only contact pressure.

    Since I discovered Goulet Pens and have gotten much more passionate over fountain pens, I have been practicing my cursive on French ruled Clairefontaine notebooks and it has risen to an all time high in quality. Just a few minutes a week, nothing intensive. I worked on my letters that I did not like until my muscle memory could make them look good without concentration. Other letters I totally changed (my capital G is now like the one in Goulet’s logo) to get shapes I like. I can write probably 3 to 5 times faster using cursive, though I print very well and used it through out my engineering career a lot. But, my cursive is much faster and very legible too. If I go slow it looks quite good, especially with a smooth stub nib.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      My cursive ends up being more legible than my printing. Must be a lefty thing. I can definitely understand the love for cursive. It feels more rewarding to me and therapeutic to writing in cursive and have my thoughts flow out in a cohesive string on the page.

  • Leo L

    Hello, everyone at Goulet Pens. I have visited your site for about a year, which is about how long I have been using fountain pens daily. You have a wealth of information about pens and inks, a very active relationship with your customers, and a weekly giveaway (what a wonderful thing to do!). Thank you for all the effort and passion you put into making the fountain pen user world such a delightful community.
    I am enchanted by cursive writing. The variation of line, the curves and curls, the embellishments that are one step away from calligraphy… it’s all so beautiful. From historical documents to letters from my Aunt Diane; its magical.
    That said, if I need to be sure that what I am writing will be legible, like instructions, I will print. However, for the other 98% of writing I do such as notes, journaling, and personal letter writing, I use a mix of cursive and printing. Capital letters tend to be stylized print followed by “the-best-I-could-remember-from-my-childhood” cursive. It’s not 100% accurate but it has personality…just like writing with a fountain pen.

  • Melinda Smith

    Love the new office and blue walls! Good advice on taking some downtime/decompression after big projects. I did the same thing last week.

    QotW: I generally write cursive with fountain pens, but I might not fully connect a letter or two within a word. I’ll resort to print with an FP if it’s having an issue such as start/stopping or using suboptimal paper. I do want to improve the aesthetic quality of my writing, which is a good reminder to order the cursive logic book!.

  • QOTW-Ans: My handwriting is a combination of print & cursive. So, unless I’m making a deliberate effort, to write in cursive or print that’s what happens.

  • ec

    QOTW: Definitely cursive. Easier, smoother, faster, and looks better.

  • Judy

    Congrats on the successful move and new office and welcome back to Q&A!

    QOTW: I mostly write in cursive when using a fountain pen. For some reason I tend to print when using my Kaweco Sport F nib though, which is weird and something I only recently noticed because I started using that pen with my Leuchtturm Some Lines A Day. I think it might be because the nib isn’t quite as smooth as I’d like it to be. Like Brian, though, I usually print when using anything else: ballpoint, rollerball, gel pen, etc.

  • Kate1234

    Printing shows the shading more! That said, I’ll write in cursive most of the time.