In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about ‘sparking joy’, double broad nibs, and total pen and ink deal breakers. Enjoy!

This week:

 

Pens/Writing

1) mosephus_jenesin- Instagram (11:27)

Everyone seems to have that one Fountain Pen quality that can instantly make a pen or ink a “no go”. For me, it’s bleed-through, so I tend to use dry inks, relatively dry nibs and feeds, and fountain pen friendly paper. What is your pen feature/ quality that can instantly make a pen or ink not for you? Rachel’s?

  • funny, I’m kind of the opposite of you, I love wet, gushing pens and bleedthrough doesn’t bother me so much!
  • I don’t love scratchy/toothy nibs, that’s not uncommon
  • pens with really thin grips bug me, I have big hands
  • pens with threaded posting, don’t love those
  • I really don’t like flat, chalky ink, weak reds (blech)
  • Rachel, prominent triangular grips (4-finger hold), nothing yellow, nothing with snakes (pattern, theme, name, nothing), picky about texture

2) carrkicksdoor- Instagram (18:12)

What’s the best way to protect the end of a glass dip pen when not in use?

  • I don’t know about the “best” way, but I’ll share my way
  • mine normally just sit in my pen cabinet, in a tray in its own slot
  • but when I’m actively using, I just stick it in an ink sample vial with a tissue or paper towel wadded up in it!

3) smurl46- Instagram (21:34)

You don’t seem to carry double broad nibs where they are available (eg Kaweco). Why not? Not enough demand?

  • yeah, pretty much
  • globally there just isn’t demand, so manufacturers seldom even offer them
  • the ones that do, it’s often only by special order (like Kaweco, Lamy)
  • we dipped our toes in the water with Lamy 2000 BB, and it’s done so-so but below what I’d hoped for one of our most popular models
  • there seems to be more of a resurgence in broads, and maybe that’ll translate to BBs?
  • Too hard to tell, you get a chicken/egg situation if manufacturers don’t offer them readily

Ink

4) taywebb91- Instagram (24:46)

I would love to know how ya’ll take the pictures on your website to showcase inks. How do ya’ll do the big splatters and how do you get so many colors and sheens to pull out in one photo? I would love to be able to play around with some of that myself.

  • Tomoé River paper, to start
  • lots of ink, pool it up
  • shoot with ink syringe, blow with a straw
  • different colors just kind of show up, can change a little based on how much ink is put down, letting it dry fully shows the most sheen, lighting conditions can affect it
  • we try to show some of the best of what an ink is capable of, of course it’ll look a little different in a pen bc it’s not putting down the same volume of ink

 

Business

5) @whamji182- Twitter (29:52)

If a pen says “closeout” on your store, does that mean only Goulet will not be offering it anymore, or it’s being discontinued altogether?

  • it for sure means we won’t be offering it anymore
  • sometimes it’s just because it hasn’t sold well for us, a new color/feature is coming out and we think the existing model is too similar, could be a number of reasons
  • sometimes it’s prompted from the manufacturer (the end of a special edition, manufacturer discontinues something, change in design)
  • we try to put notations about when it’s discontinued from the manufacturer, but we haven’t been 100% diligent about that (4500 SKU’s is a lot to keep up with)
  • sometimes the US will discontinue something but the manufacturer will still make it, and that gets tough to keep up with, too
  • lots of times we only have a couple items left, it’ll sell out very quickly, and we don’t think of it
  • this is something we can think more about, as we realize our site is likely a source for fountain pen “news” related to product updates

Personal

6) imfeelingcraftytoday- Instagram (37:27)

How many pens do we really need? i got hooked on fps and my collection has grown since then. the #sparkjoy movement is making me rethink the number of pens i should have since i only use one at a time and having so much has made me feel queasy

  • well, hopefully your pens don’t make you queasy, I don’t think that’s helpful for anyone!
  • I haven’t watched a full episode, so I am not fully educated about Marie Kondo’s methodology in Tidying Up
  • From what I understand, the idea is that you hold an object, “feel” if it brings you joy or takes it away, and keep only the stuff that brings you joy
  • I can get on board with the concept, I am a very tactile person and I definitely have emotional attachments to particular objects
  • for me, with pens, I acquire them as part of my business, which is what I devote a LOT of my life to
  • the feelings I get when I hold them is often positive or nostalgic ones from memories I have with my wife, my team, certain suppliers or manufacturers I’ve worked closely with, or videos I’ve shot
  • so for me it’s different than most people, but I’m just trying to show that it’s not about a certain number being right or wrong, but it’s about your own satisfaction with your choices
  • I personally like Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism, which has a similar vibe to the Spark Joy, with more pragmatism and less emotion
  • “If I didn’t already own this, how much would I pay to acquire it?”, and “Do I love this?”
  • I wouldn’t necessarily attribute your feelings to the sparkjoy movement, I’ve heard fountain pen users across the last decade question the same thing, about how many pens is too many
  • Fountain pens are very personal, and sometimes you are going on a bit of a journey to discover what you really like
  • if you do that long enough, you may find yourself settling in to a nice routine, and maybe only gravitating to a certain number of pens
  • I’ve talked before about people who cap themselves at a certain number of pens and will institute a 1-in-1-out policy
  • others acquire pens to collect, much like you would books, stamps, coins, shoes, whatever
  • there isn’t going to be a right answer for anyone for how many pens you “should” have, but I do feel it’s important to be practical, buy within your means, and enjoy your pens, however many you have

QOTW: What’s one attribute of a pen or ink that’s just a total dealbreaker for you? (47:57)

Write On,
Brian Goulet