In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about when to use limited edition ink, the Goulet pen cleaning station, and how pen retailers feel about each other. Enjoy!

This week:


1) brutusbiker- Instagram (06:16)

I have some pens whose ink lasts several months before drying out, but in some pens the ink dries out in a couple of weeks. If this is due to bad seals, why don’t manufacturers solve this by making better seals? This has little to do with the cost of the pen.

  • it’s true that some pens seal differently than others
  • yes, there’s a certain degree of engineering involved that will help some pens seal better than they do now
  • sometimes it’s just an oversight, or maybe not the most important thing to a manufacturer
  • If you’re writing with a pen regularly, it doesn’t need to go months without drying out, because it would get filled/cleaning in that time
  • many manufacturers aren’t necessarily thinking of how some people are using their pens (inked for months)
  • certain materials or aesthetics would be compromised by a nib insert, so it’s not always such a no-brainer
  • I’m a big fan of better sealing pens though! yes please manufacturers!

2) Eric H.- Email (10:11)

Is there such a thing as a high-quality international converter maker? Even the converters that come with my expensive pens look like they could be better engineered and made.

  • eh…not so much
  • some are better than others, for sure
  • the Schmidt K5 is pretty much the best
  • the Visconti metal converter is up there, but it’s just a fancier version of the K5
  • manufacturers only make them but so good, because they’re more or less meant to be replaceable


3) John O- Facebook (15:39)

I have limited edition inks, only 40 bottles will ever be made. should i save them with the thought they’ll appreciate in value? is the value in using the ink? should i figure out a way to share the ink with others?

  • this is totally a personal choice
  • there are some bottles that will increase in price, but they’re not really a sure long-term investment
  • any hobby item is a crapshoot for a financial investment
  • I’d say if you love the color and want to us it, just enjoy it!


4) austlosada- Instagram (19:26)

Let’s admit that there has been a revival in fountain pens. Realistically, where do you see fountain pens and the fountain pen community in 10 years?

  • haha, okay I’ll admit it!
  • this is a great question, since it’s been about 10 years since I started it!
  • 10 years ago, I journaled about where I hoped to be in 20 years (10 years from now)
  • I truly see fountain pens as continuing to be a niche interest, I don’t think it’ll go mainstream
  • I can see them gaining more popularity with handwriting and journaling, not just as standalone tools
  • online will be dominant, as most niche commerce will be
  • it’s hard to say where communities will be, IG wasn’t even invented 10 years ago!
  • there may be a new platform that will dominate social media
  • we will see some smaller manufacturers crop up, others may even grow and expand
  • we plan to stay around, continue putting out great content and service!
  • I could see the community maturing, connecting more and having even stronger gatherings and connectedness
  • I’m very optimistic!

5) Joe B- Facebook (36:31)

You have, in past videos, shown us WHERE in your office you have the dedicated Pen Cleaning Station, but can you expand on that? Is Pen Cleaning an”office event” or is it one of those things where if you need too clean, you just go do it? Also, what supplies are at the cleaning station that makes it easier for yourself and your team to clean what I assume are a moderate number of pens on a regular basis?

  • Sure!
  • we clean as needed, no real “cleaning parties” or anything
  • Small stainless steel sinks, formica counters
  • paper towels, cups, syringes, q tips, pen flush galore! even ultrasonic cleaner
  • this station sees daily use, we’re really glad we built it!

6) Christine K- Facebook (40:36)

You’ve mentioned a few business/leadership/self-growth books that you’ve read and refer back to as references. Do you make those books’ titles (or copies of the books themselves) available to team members to read? If so, are there opportunities for them to ask questions or discuss observations with you and/or other leaders in the company?

  • I have a lot of the ones I’ve personally read, sure, and I’ll loan them out from time to time
  • it’s not really a library that anyone can just come grab
  • our HR Director has a lot of the most popular books for people to just have
  • I’m always in favor of buying books for people
  • our team also has a budget for books and educational/training stuff
  • sometimes we’ll talk about certain books like QBQ! or Ideal Team Player in company meetings (and I’ll supply copies)
  • we have regular 1-on-1’s with leaders, there’s plenty of opportunity there
  • I’ll cover leadership topics with my managers
  • We’re reading Dr. Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead as leadership right now
  • I’m always up for chatting with my team, sometimes we’ll talk over lunch if it comes up, or I’ll make time to talk with people as they request (it’s not often)
  • I feel that leaders are readers and I try to encourage as much of it as I can!

7) Solly S.- YouTube (45:10)

What’s your relationship like with other pen retailers (like Anderson Pens, JetPens, etc). Do you see them as partners in servicing and educating the community? Or as more traditional business rivals? How do you react when you see them doing similar things to you (like YouTube videos)?

  • It varies a little bit with one to another
  • there’s of course the natural potential for conflict, as we are “competitors” if you choose to look at it that way
  • Honestly I don’t know a lot of our competitors all that well
  • there are a number of folks who work a lot of pen shows together that probably know each other better
  • I know a few and have been pretty friendly, I genuinely want everyone in this industry to succeed
  • the rising tide raises all ships, I really believe that!
  • I’m not a huge fan of outright copying, which I haven’t really seen a lot (in our industry) but it happens here and there
  • I love to see other retailers coming up with creative and innovative ways to service the community
  • if by “similar to us” on YouTube you mean being personal, sharing their knowledge, and engaging with the community, I 100% support as many retailers doing that as possible

QOTW: What’s your pen cleaning routine? Do you have a special place you clean your pens and what tools do you use? (56:14)

Write On,
Brian Goulet