In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Pilot’s 100th anniversary pens, why fountain pens improve your handwriting, and what if he had to start all over!

This week:


1) @NanaLovesJesus2- Twitter (16:33)

If I’m using a dry ink with a medium nib, could I improve the flow by changing to a fine nib?

  • improve it? no, usually fine nibs are putting down less ink so it’d actually feel drier, you’d want to go broader to improve flow
  • dry ink will be dry in any nib size, so the wetter writing the pen, the more the ink flow will feel improved

2) @Realbestboy- Twitter (18:52)

Why is it that when i use fountain pens i have great handwriting but when i use ballpoints it is unpleasant to look at?

  • because ballpoints are sticks of nonsense, that’s why
  • seriously though, it’s most likely because you’re changing your grip and probably pressing harder, which tightens up your muscles and causes you to write with more finger muscles instead of hand and wrist muscles
  • your finger muscles are good for fine movement, but they get tired and thus sloppy
  • that’s also why your hand cramps more with ballpoints
  • fountain pens (should) write under their own weight, promote more compound muscle movement in the fingers, hand, wrist, even elbow
  • the larger the muscles, the less tired you get, and the nicer your handwriting looks, though usually with practice because it takes more work to develop those fine movements in your muscle memory of your large muscles


3) instaraxx- Instagram (24:41)

What’s the most common reason that a fountain pen will leak?

  • when there’s a pressure imbalance between air and ink, it leaks
  • As Richard Binder says, fountain pens are really just a controlled leak
  • there could be a number of causes, like changes in temperature (hot car to A/C building), pen being jostled around in transit, change in altitude, barometric pressure changes
  • it’s honestly hard for me to say the most common cause, because it really varies so much based on circumstances and the surrounding environment
  • I think the environment the pen is kept in probably has the biggest impact, if I had to sum it up


4) Aadarsh- YouTube (31:41)

Challenge for Brian: you have lost all of your fountain pen stuff, what do you buy with 500 dollars. You don’t get free samples for ink. You can keep all your knowledge.

5) @kpspera1- Twitter (38:26)

Has Brian ever named, or considered naming, one of his pens?

  • Not really, I’ve never been real big into naming inanimate objects, personally
  • I tend to call all my pens by their formal brand/model names, just because I am referring to pens all day long
  • I do have a couple of nicknames, though, just a couple
  • Diplomat Aero is my “Space Blimp” (affectionate name)
  • Pilot Plumix “Squid Pen”
  • Jinhao Gold Dragon I call “Ancient Chinese Secret” (Arrested Development reference)
  • Edison Premiere prototype “Banana Stand”
  • Premiere “Unicorn Barf” (I didn’t come up with that though!)
  • They’re all pretty obvious and related to characteristics of the pens
  • I don’t have any named like people or pets, sorry!


6) @dxhurst- Twitter (42:40)

If you had to start all over again, what would you do differently as a pure online retailer?

  • The simple answer is I couldn’t really have done much differently bc I did my best with what I knew!
  • But to make the question more interesting, let’s pretend that if I knew what I know now, but had to go back and start where I was
  • I would have gotten into fountain pens sooner, in college, and likely skipped pen making all together and just done nib work
  • Would have focused more on the paid site of marketing, I had no money really, but there were low-hanging fruit opportunities I passed up out of ignorance or pride
  • I’ve really changed my tune a bit on the paid ad stuff, I used to be somewhat prideful about not doing any paid ads
  • I swung the pendulum so far towards organic and engagement so that I wouldn’t be a sleazy marketer, but there’s a way to walk the line in an upstanding way
  • I would have defined mission and values from the very beginning, and focused on fit and hiring much more early on
  • I would have gotten more help on the media/production side of things sooner

QOTW: Do you have any names for your pens? (55:23)

Writing Prompt: What would be your dream vacation if you could go anywhere? (55:37)

Write On,
Brian Goulet