In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Conklin Empires, teaching himself new handwriting styles, and what’s surprised him (good and bad) after we’ve started selling it. Enjoy!

This week:


1) mosephus_jenesin- Instagram (9:52)

I think those new Conklin Empire pens are beautiful! However, I can’t seem to find much information about that particular model. Are they eyedropper convertible? How different is the shape, really? Does the magnetic cap stay well? Educate us with your Fountain [pen] of Knowledge.

  • not eyedropper convertible, because of the metal section/threads
  • the shape is pretty unique! Reminds me of a Rocket/Bomb Pop popsicle from when I was a kid
  • magnetic cap is 90% where I want to see it, doesn’t “clack” as loud as I might prefer but others may feel differently
  • ours have #6 Bock nibs, others will have Conklin branded nibs not made by Bock
  • resin is PMMA, which is a higher end injection-molded resin
  • metal grip, which some like, some don’t
  • strong post, lines up when you post it due to the shape
  • strong, solid pen

2) James R.- Facebook (14:57)

Brian, any thoughts of learning other styles of handwriting or will you stick with just what you are comfortable with?

  • I’ve practiced a little bit of American Cursive, Copperplate, Spencerian, but never enough to really “learn it”
  • it all comes down to time, practice, patience
  • “Practice makes progress”, and this is definitely the case for handwriting
  • I just have other priorities right now, I would love to learn more just as I’d love to do woodworking, ride my bike more, etc
  • I’m okay with my handwriting as it is, but certainly have it on my bucket list to become more practiced in formal handwriting

3) kebl93- Instagram (20:48)

Which fountain pen brands/models are “holy grails” for fountain pen lovers/experts/collectors? That is, what pens do they know a lot about and consider “classics” and would spend big money collecting? I’m asking because I’m tempted to start investing on more expensive fountain pens but don’t know where to start looking.

  • it’ll be different for everyone
  • not everyone is oriented towards collecting, certainly
  • there are some who collect knock-off Chinese brands, some who collect pens of certain colors, weird nibs, vintage brands, Safaris, etc
  • Most of the time you think of “holy grails” as being expensive pens, of the higher-end limited edition variety
  • Pelikan, Visconti, Montblanc, Montegrappa, Namiki, Nakaya, Sailor, Danitrio, David Oscarson, Aurora
  • there are surely lots of others, especially vintage but I’ll stop it here before we fall down the rabbit hole!
  • Most of these “grail” pens fall in the $500+ category (or $1000+ let’s be real)

4) William H.- Facebook (25:45)

What is the biggest (and girthiest) pen you own and what is the broadest nib you own?

  • Delta Dolcevita Oversize– girth
  • broadest nib…Pilot Parallel 6.0mm? Not really what you meant, I’m sure
  • of a regular non-stub, it’s probably the Platinum “Course” nib, basically a BBB
  • I honestly don’t have many obscenely broad nibs, but this one’s a gusher


5) Shaun J.- Facebook (28:03)

Any plans for offering a military discount or bulk buying discount for ink samples/paper/whatever?

  • military- that’s been on my mind, we’re looking into ways to manage that, it can be done but it will take some work on our part to sync it up to the military database, gotta have a way to verify
  • bulk discounts is on our developer roadmap, but in the meantime you can always reach out to our team, we’re game for a buy 5 get 5% off, buy 10 get 10% off (usually paper is the only thing people buy in bulk from us)
  • you can always ask for custom requests on bulk orders

6) Ian B.- Facebook (33:35)

Have you ever had a someone suggest you sell a particular item. You did and it became an unexpected hit. Or the opposite did something you though was a “sure thing” end up being a dud. If so what was it?

  • Unexpected hits: Diplomat Magnum, Stipula Tocco Ferros
  • Duds: We’ve overshot our projections before, and analyzed and had a bit of buyer’s remorse, but not on anything that’s been a complete dud, it usually does okay and just not amazing like we’d hoped
  • LAMY AL-Star Matte Black sold amazingly as a special edition, and was much softer when if came back as a regular edition
  • Visconti Homo Sapiens Elegance
  • Stipula Passaporto was hyped for SO long, it was almost impossible to live up to what people were expecting
  • As a caveat, we’re pretty conservative in our approach to new things, so we don’t bet the farm on anything that’s a total gamble

QOTW: What’s your favorite “fall activity”? (45:24)

Writing Prompt: Write about the first scary movie you ever saw. (46:30)

Write On,
Brian Goulet