In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Fountain Pen Day, nib repair, and the best selling pen and ink at GPC. Enjoy!

This week:


1) __inkskein__- Instagram (13:13)

One’s first impulse when receiving a new fountain pen is to ink it up immediately to test it out. Lamy is well-known for recommending a flush first which makes me wonder if there are general steps you should always follow of what to do first when you receive any new pen?

  • oh certainly, I always want to just ink it up right away!
  • Whenever you get a new pen, it’s always best to look it over in detail first
  • Is it in good shape? Does it have all the stuff that it’s supposed to come with? Does everything function as it should?
  • Make sure it’s in proper condition, in case there was any reason you needed to return it, you won’t have inked it
  • LAMY for sure you want to flush first, bc they leave a little bit of blue ink in there when they test it
  • they want you to know that your pen was individually tested
  • I know other companies test them too (TWSBI as one example) but LAMY‘s the only one I know that leaves ink in it
  • other pens, it’s always a good general practice to flush the pen before your first inking, just with water is fine
  • you don’t really need to do anything beyond that, they pretty much come ready to go!

2) booksforyears- Instagram (16:52)

Will @gouletpens be doing anything to celebrate Fountain Pen Day?

  • for those who don’t know, Fountain Pen Day is a community-dubbed day for celebrating fountain pens and those who use them
  • it was started on the Fountain Pen Network and championed by Cary Yeager, who runs all the FPD media and swag
  • most retailers are busy creating sales and servicing the community through service support that day, we’ll be in that boat
  • there’s the #fountainpenday or #fountainpenday2018 that you can post to with pictures of your collection, what you’re writing with that day, or just anything in general you want to share the love on that day
  • We do have some sales and deals we’re looking to do, so that should be pretty exciting
  • I can’t leak anything at this point but let’s just say you’ll want to pay attention to us that day
  • we aren’t planning any big blowout content or anything, but we’ll surely be active and engaged for the day

3) Jen K- Facebook (19:46)

How are flame pens like the Diplomat Traveller made?

  • the exact process is proprietary, but I can guess
  • the process is similar with any flame pen, like the Traveller, Montegrappa Blazer, Kaweco Liliput Fireblue
  • you start with a steel pen, and you heat it under a hot torch (like a crème bruleé torch on steroids), moving it around in a variegated pattern
  • that variation of time of the flame on the steel makes it turn different colors


4) @DillonHolloway- Twitter (22:03)

Is there a way to repair a nib without having to replace it outright? I have a Noodler’s Ahab that the nib has broken at the very tip and I want to try and fix it myself before replacing it.

  • is there a way? yes, most likely
  • it is worth it? Nope, not for this nib ($6 to replace)
  • if a piece has actually broken off, it really requires a lot of work, you have to weld it back on, grind and polish it, very few people even do that anymore
  • it’s really only worth it to do it with particularly valuable or sentimental pens
  • if you bent it, or it’s misaligned, that’s a little more realistic to fix
  • after spending time with Richard Binder, Mark Bacas, and Brian Gray, I can say nib repair isn’t magic, but it does often take a lot of experience to do it right


5) arty2610- Instagram (24:59)

Sometime ago you mentioned you were looking for a Marketing Director. Did you find the right person for the role? What’s your general process of hiring new people and what do you look for in potential Goulet team members ?

  • We’re nearly there, and that’s all I can say publicly at this point about the specific role
  • We have a very involved process in hiring new folks, that varies a little bit based on the role
  • it’s a multi-step process, intentionally
  • fundamentally, we go slow. Small companies almost always hire too fast, overlook flaws, are too optimistic, and then take too long to correct it (we’ve done all these)
  • We go slow partly to slow ourselves down, and partly so the candidates have time to really get to know us, bc fit is SO important here
  • Here are our steps (roughly):
    • Gather resumes, select relevant ones
    • Short phone interview, to get a first impression
    • Quick in-person interview with HR and hiring manager, just to get a gut feel and ask some basic stuff
    • Longer in-person interview, involving more of those who will be working more closely with them
    • Possible 3rd and even longer in-person interview, with our leadership team, possibly other related co-workers
    • We do use DISC profile, more for a conversation piece than an actual selection tool
  • We obviously look for basic qualifications, can the person actually do the role?
  • Beyond that, everything is FIT
  • Alignment with our values, gel with those who they’ll be working with, excited about our culture
  • It’s not crazy for us to go through 100 people to hire for 1 position, we’re VERY picky
  • Hiring is one of the most important things you can do when running a company, and it’s worth the time

6) @clbdroid- Twitter (33:14)

Do you know what your number one top selling pen & ink of all time are?

  • Couldn’t quite calculate of all time, so I went as far back as I could (it’s complicated with old variants and things like package sets complicating things), and I went purely off total sales (not quantity)
  • Pen: Pilot Vanishing Point
  • Ink: Herbin Emerald of Chivor, Noodler’s Black being a very close second!


7) @SomiUnni- Twitter (37:41)

You’re stuck on an island and have to choose between having an ugly pen with beautiful ink OR a beautiful pen with ugly colored ink (insert whatever color you dislike the most here). Which do you choose and why?

  • I’m going to assume there’s a supply of paper on this island, that I’d actually be able to write with the pen
  • I’d probably have to go ugly pen, beautiful ink
  • being stuck on an island, I’d want to write a lot, probably, and going back and re-reading my own writing would be so much more enjoyable with an ink I love
  • I love beautiful pens, no question, but I would probably go with the ink!

QOTW: Would you rather have an ugly pen with beautiful ink or a beautiful pen with ugly ink? (39:58)

Writing Prompt: Write about something you hope to complete before 2018 is over. (40:30)

Write On,
Brian Goulet