In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about different nib coatings, hooded nibs, and launching a new product from start to finish!

This week:


1) pedrojo30- Instagram (10:25)

Is always confusing for me the plated nibs. I mean for example, what is PVD coated nib of the of the Lamy Lx? Is palladium? Is gold?

  • PVD is a particular type of coating for black nibs, that’s what you’re seeing on the Lx nibs
  • it stands for Physical Vapor Deposition, advantages include durability, abrasion resistance, and environmental impact
  • other black coatings include black oxide (bluing, oxidizing the metal) and ruthenium plating (electroplating, which isn’t quite as dark)
  • the other common coating you see on nibs is either rhodium or gold plating (which I assume to usually mean electroplating)
  • gold is always aesthetic, rhodium is aesthetic but also a very durable metal
  • Lamy does have palladium platings on their pens sometimes, but it will look silver in color – palladium, rhodium they’re all members of the platinum metals

2) Thanks.lefthanded_musings16- Instagram (14:48)

When I order a numbered fountain pen from you, how do you guys choose which number I get? Are they chronological in the warehouse and you grab the next available, or is it completely random?

  • it’s random, most of the time, sometimes loosely chronological
  • the challenge is that we aren’t usually getting all the stock, so at best we might get chunks of numbers together
  • even then, sometimes they’re broken up because the numbers are spread out across nib sizes, and the number you’re requesting might not even be the right nib size
  • the only time we’re able to select numbers is when we have exclusives, as we get all the numbers, even then it’s hard
  • in order to track numbers, we have to catalog them all when we get them in, verify every single pen that’s purchased in a database, and ensure that any specific requests can be met
  • that takes a lot of time and coordination, and can only practically be done on pens over a certain dollar amount, when we have a significant number of them
  • that’s just not that often
  • when you get into collector-grade stuff, Namikis, high-end Visconti’s, Montegrappas, LE stuff, it becomes a little more known by manufacturers that people care about this and more attention is paid to it
  • it’s rare enough that if we do it, we’ll advertise it
  • you can always ask for a specific number or group of numbers when buying something from us and we’ll try to honor it, but we don’t like to promise it

3) Elizabeth H.- Facebook (20:27)

I’m planning on buying the Shark Pens for my daughters (my youngest in particular has been nagging me for them), but I’ve never used or seen a hooded nib before. (Only been in fountain pens for a year.) Is there anything I need to watch out for or any special ways I should clean them or fill them? They’ll be using them for pleasure and to correct their work for school.

  • This is the perfect pen to try out a hooded nib, because it’s so cheap!
  • There’s really not any special consideration to make, other than you may need to flush a few extra times to fully clean them
  • be conscious of the ink used, especially shimmering ones that are harder to clean
  • otherwise have a blast!


4) T. C. Bradford- Facebook (24:19)

When I change nibs in pens (not nib units, but just the nib), do I need to adjust where the top end of the feed lines up on the nib or should I just fully seat the feed and nib as far as they will go in?

  • the answer is, it depends ;)
  • It’s going to be different for some pens than others
  • you want the nib and feed to be in proper relation to each other, and the best thing is to look at a picture (or take on yourself) before removing the nib/feed, and try to get it to look just like that in there
  • most of the time, the issue is putting it in the correct orientation or not putting it in far enough (and the nib hits the top of the cap), so trying to seat it all the way down will usually be your goal
  • your mileage will definitely vary! Do your research, consult a pro if you have questions!


5) Sharon L.- Facebook (28:24)

One feature that I miss from Brian’s earlier videos is demonstrating products close up. That’s one of my favorite parts of Write Now until you got the new camera. Even though it’s better than it was at the beginning, it still seems like it takes the camera longer to focus. And is there anyway to make Write On longer. I enjoy them way more than Q&A and watch it , while I’m unwinding from work.

  • This is feedback we’ve been hearing, and we’re still working on our equipment to find the best way to work it
  • it’s surprisingly difficult to focus super close in, especially zooming in and out
  • Andi and I have talked about doing a dual-cam Q&A to allow for close ups, it increases the complexity a LOT
  • Maybe it’s something we will experiment with, we’ll have to see
  • we did just figure out a great way to do dual-cam shooting, which we’re going to look to bring back in July for full reviews again
  • Write Now is short, we’re going to keep it to 10-15 minutes, that’s our sweet spot
  • Shooting time for the morning, needs to be that short, it’s fast and easy for Andi to edit so we can publish that day
  • Q&A takes much longer, so we need a full day for editing, exporting, and uploading

6) Leah S.- Facebook (34:03)
What does the process look like from start to finish of bringing a new product to the website?

  • It’s WAY more involved than you might think, especially for us at the size we are now (40+)
  • This is honestly good even for my team to hear, as there are so many moving pieces it’s hard to keep on top of it all!
  • first, identifying demand, which comes from you! Our customers!
  • we have an internal Slack channel for new product suggestions, and everyone that talks to customers puts stuff on there
  • sometimes we’re given advanced notice on new releases confidentially from our manufacturers
  • we can either find or be found by new brands
  • our Product Leadership team (Me, Rachel, our Director of Ops, Inventory Manager, Media Manager, and Customer Care Manager)
  • meets weekly to discuss things we’re considering carrying, and it’s one of our most dynamic meetings we have
  • once we make the decision, there’s always information that’s needed from our distributor or manufacturer, so we have to track down and call or email for info (release dates, nib size availability, material options, pricing, product codes, etc)
  • we gather as much information as we can and estimate initial demand so we can place an order for the products from our supplier
  • we have to list the products on our site, with all proper technical information, which can be tough to get
  • often we have to take a lot of our own measurements, which we can’t do until we get the products in (especially overall package weight, grip measurements, ink capacity, etc)
  • pens we have to Nib Nook and Pen Plaza, inks have to be swapped for the Swab Shop
  • nearly everything has to be photographed, so we do that (sometimes with samples in advance, often not)
  • communication throughout the whole team has to happen, of all the details of every aspect of the products
  • We have to create the products on our site with all technical information and pictures
  • media promotion is planned, which might require copy, pictures, and video in a number of different channels
  • room has to be made on the shelves and communication to Fulfillment about how to pull/pack it
  • products have to be created in our accounting system
  • once we get everything in, we have to inspect it for damage and quantities, and ensure it came as we expected it (bc it changes sometimes!)
  • we communicate as a team to plan to launch it based on when we are staffed and can best serve our customers based on demand and complexity of the product
  • once it’s live, we’re then selling it and it’s on it’s way to you!
  • We have 3,700+ products on our site, and we’re launching somewhere around 120 SKU’s a month, so this process is happening constantly, simultaneously, and with ever-changing timelines and variables!!
  • And it’s all happening on top of our “normal” workload, which is serving you, promoting, answering questions, receiving and shipping all the currently offered products we carry


7) stuartjackson612- Instagram (49:37)

As a sort of follow on from Brian’s post on weird places to fill a pen, what is the weirdest place you or your team has had to clean their pens or most embarrassing ink stain they’ve ever suffered?

  • I’ve cleaned my pens in numerous hotel bathrooms, public restroom sinks at work conferences and whatnot
  • mine is probably not so much that it’s been in a weird place, but more than I’ve live streamed a great number of my pen cleanings on Instagram Live or Periscope (back in the day)
  • I’ve had very few ink stains with all my years handling pens
  • first day I used a pen I spilled ink all over my kitchen island
  • One time ink sampling I dumped the majority of a bottle of ink in my lap (but it all washed out!)
  • I once left a pen in my pocket and washed my pants, mine were fine but I stained Rachel’s pajamas!

QOTW: What’s your worst ink stain story? (53:21)

Writing Prompt: Write a list of your top 5 movies of all time! (53:48)

Write On,
Brian Goulet