In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about filling a TWSBI GO from a sample vial, overcoming pen intimidation, and boutique pen brands!

This week:


1) j_francis_imagery- Instagram (8:36)

What would you say is more popular nowadays, in the current fountain pen climate? A classic black, cigar-shaped, understated pen? Or one that makes a louder design statement?

  • we’re a little skewed because as a FP boutique we tend to attract the more enthusiastic individuals
  • for us, the classic shapes and colors are usually up there as top sellers, they’re consistent
  • we do really well with wilder colors though, especially in special editions as it allows manufacturers to experiment
  • so the answer is sort of both? But a lot depends on brand and price point too
  • I think in general the industry has leaned a little more towards contemporary, but people still like classic

2) logan_varney- Instagram (11:12)

More tips and tricks on how to fill from an ink sample, because it can be hard in aero metric fillers and mechanisms like on the twsbi go

  • tilting the vial makes a huge difference
  • ink syringe is your friend!
  • you can remove the nib and fill right into the pen, or use the “syringe filling method”, which is super easy with the GO!

3) studioapilatessa- Instagram (17:15)

I have a few beautiful fountain pens from Goulet Pen Co and a few that were given to me as gifts. I want to learn to fill them and clean them. However, I am hesitant to teach myself through YouTube videos because I don’t want to damage them. I would prefer to learn from someone in person. I’ve researched but haven’t yet found anyone in my area who can teach me. Do you have any recommendations?

  • I can understand that hesitation, but honestly, you’re just gonna have to get in there
  • I knew nothing, and learned it even without helpful videos, I had to just figure out what the heck I was doing
  • start with something inexpensive, and just go for it
  • if you REALLY can’t start on your own, reach out to the community though FB, IG, YT, or wherever else, go to a pen show and mingle at the bar with people, try to find or start a local pen meetup
  • go to a pen store if there’s one near you
  • ask around your family and friends and see if anyone knows fountain pens at all, they might!
  • honestly though, just don’t be afraid to try

4) __inkskein__- Instagram (21:39)

I’m one of those in love with almost anything rose gold. Will we ever see a pen with a rose gold nib?


5) Linda S.- Facebook (23:22)

Firstly, Brian, it was great to meet you and Drew at the DC pen show- my first! My question is for pen maintenance, especially piston-fillers. As new to FPs, I am cautious about dismantling, but it takes forever to clean a piston filler. I miss the bulb syringe speed I can use on converter pens. Any suggestions?

  • yeah, if you’re new don’t worry too much about taking pens apart, unless you really just love to do that (me)
  • my best suggestion? Use C/C pens and bulb syringes for ink testing, and stick with the same or similar ink colors for your vac and piston fillers
  • large capacity, built-in filling mechanisms really aren’t designed for changing out inks as much, so it’s a process to clean them
  • This is where C/C pens really shine!
  • Some piston pens you can at least remove the nib housing, but that might be too much for most beginners
  • use your judgement, but basically you have what you have and you’ve gotta deal with the laws of physics!


6) Eric P- Facebook (29:28)

Any plans on carrying any small operation boutique pens?

  • oh sure, we love boutique operations!
  • we have several in the works, but none that we can talk about at the moment
  • it’s tough, boutique operations often just aren’t geared up to handle retail distribution they have to really have their ducks in a row
  • we have no less than 30-40 outstanding smaller brands that are speculative and on our radar, but many of them just wouldn’t be successful if we launched them right now
  • it takes so much to get it all right, and distribution through any retailer, let alone one like us with a fairly large reach, could do more harm than good if a boutique company isn’t ready for it!
  • My heart is with craftsmen, upstarts, and boutiques, so it’s worth the hassle but it does take a while! Often 2-3 years of working together before they’re ready

7) @8IpNeKn8- Twitter (36:19)

How does Goulet decide what pens to have on hand or keep in stock? For example: Faber-Castell makes an Essentio in Black Aluminum. There is also version of the Essentio in Black Carbon (which I’m interested in). Goulet only has the aluminum listed as an option. Thx.

  • this is as much art as science!
  • Me, Rachel, and our product team debate and decide
  • manufacturers or distributors can guide us on what’s most popular, that can help
  • sometimes we just want to dip our toes in the water, so we carry what we think will be most popular
  • sometimes we try to carry more, but for whatever reason not all options are available at the time we’re trying to carry it
  • your feedback means a lot, so ask my team when there are colors/options for existing brands/models you want to see us carry!


8) Robin T.-Facebook (42:37)

What do you say to somebody who says “oh I could never write with a fountain pen.”?

  • “well, let’s find out” – and I hand them my pen and talk them through it
  • fountain pens feel intimidating, but honestly once people get it in their hands and you coach them through it a little bit, they get used to it really quickly
  • I don’t tell them the cost of the pen (bc that can weird people out at first)
  • I say the angle to hold it, that the shiny part of the nib points towards the sky, and that they don’t need any pressure at all to write, and then I just observe
  • half the time people try it, have moderate success and then just hand it back
  • the other half, people light up and are amazed and ask many more questions
  • it’s all about personal invitation, and making people understand it’s not magic, and it really is quite natural and organic to write with a fountain pen!

QOTW: What boutique fountain-pen related brands are out there right now that you’d love to see us carry? (46:39)

Writing Prompt: Write out a positive memory from your childhood. (47:27)

Write On,
Brian Goulet