Goulet Q&A Episode 199: Dismantling Pens, Chinese Cheap Pens, and Reselling Your Pens

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about dismantling your pens, if Goulet will carry more cheap Chinese pens, and where you should go to resell your pens.

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) jammybujo- Instagram (9:59)
I’d like to start tinkering with my pens but I’m scared I’ll do something silly that will mean I can’t use it again! When it comes to disassembling a pen, are there any parts that are out of bounds? E.g. the feed. Are some brands easier to take apart and rebuild than others?

  • Watch videos others have done, learn from them
  • YouTube, FPN, SBREBrown has done a bunch
  • you will break some stuff
  • nothing is off limits if you know what you’re doing
  • it REALLY depends which pens you’re talking about, new/vintage, etc
  • Easier brands: TWSBI, Noodler’s, Edison, some Pilot, some Platinum, removing feeds/nibs from most brands isn’t super complicated
  • Harder brands: Visconti, Stipula, Aurora, Montblanc, Pelikan, Omas, Delta, lots of the higher-end pens
  • You’re in the Wild West here, and totally in “do at your own risk” territory

Business

2) Sara R- Facebook (17:26)
What’s your take on the shift from having one nice fountain pen to the current tendency of buying lots of fountain pens? Is it due to higher disposable incomes, cheaper pens, change in consumer behaviour or a lack of opportunities to test different pens before you buy?

  • I don’t have any hard data on what people “used” to buy vs what they buy now, only my customers and since 2009 when I started
  • there were plenty of collectors/enthusiasts buying a lot of pens in past decades, it was just less talked about, I suspect
  • I do think cheaper pens have come about, in some ways
  • certainly more cheap Chinese pens, that encourages that
  • Increased awareness and education probably has more to do with it than anything

3) John S- Facebook (22:22)
With the amazing Chinese pens popping up on eBay (the new Wingsung pens or Penbbs) will you soon be offering these pens along side the Jinhao pens you also offer?

  • this is a complicated question for us
  • Wingsung specifically walks the line of counterfeit too closely for us to be comfortable, especially with brands like Lamy, TWSBI, Pilot, etc
  • Jinhao we offer only select models that were commonly talked about in the pen community as standing on their own
  • We know there’s demand for these pens, but we’re conflicted here, especially because there are overseas sellers practically giving these pens away
  • sort of true for Jinhao too, so we have to be selective about the models we offer
  • PenBBS has ink, I haven’t seen any of the pens they’ve done. They’re an online forum like FPN in China, and unless they gear up for larger distribution, I don’t see it making a lot of sense for us to carry it but we haven’t investigated deeply yet.

4) @PileckiJane- Twitter (31:44)
I have nearly 200 fountain pens. I’ve lost most of my vision making it less often that I use my pens. And some are fine nibs that I cannot read what I write. So I need to divest myself of some of these wonderful pens. Where is the best place to sell some used pens? Thanks.

  • I’m sorry to hear that!
  • I do get asked about reselling pens, from time to time
  • the challenge we have here is that we’re not set up for it, and used pens open up a HUGE can of worms for us, especially if it’s a pen we never carried
  • FPN, eBay, VirtualPenShow on Instagram are the best places I know online
  • of course pen shows in person, you could always get a table at the “trader” portion if you have a lot of pens
  • if you sell to another dealer, expect to get maybe 25-40% of your purchase price for them, hardly worth it unless you are dumping them
  • I’d love to know if there are other marketplaces for used pens!

Personal

5) Brian C- Facebook (38:13)
Are all of your employees huge fountain pen nerds, or does being around them all the time make it less interesting? What percentage would you say has “fallen down the rabbit hole”?

  • Everyone here is exposed to plenty of them
  • Everyone gets a pen when they’re hired, will likely get several more as they work here
  • there are different levels of interest, some hardly use them and that’s okay (50%)
  • others use a few pens casually, as most fountain pen people do (20%)
  • others get super deep and excited about them (30%)
  • these are numbers I just completely made up
  • what’s more important is that everyone loves what they DO, and who they do it for
  • loving the process of writing with a pen isn’t something we hire for, it’s bound to happen to a degree just by being here
  • We currently only have 1 team member who knew anything about fountain pens before starting here, and his interest has stayed pretty constant!
  • everyone else’s has increased, because they knew nothing when they arrived!

QOTW: What’s one pen you’re curious to try? (44:30)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2018-04-11T07:56:36+00:00February 2nd, 2018|Goulet Q&A|40 Comments