In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about shimmering inks drying out pens, speculative products that turned out great, and his guess on the best selling pen of 2019. Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) ithinkimcomingalive- Instagram (7:02)

Are fountain pen cleaning products really necessary?

  • They’re helpful, but not always required
  • They’re there to make your pen maintenance life better
  • With conventional ink and regular pen maintenance using only water, you don’t really “need” much beyond that
  • but if you’re using more saturated inks, shimmering inks, letting them dry out, changing colors often, etc, then cleaning supplies like pen flush, bulb syringes, even a toothbrush are super handy
  • it’s totally up to you, they’re just tools which allow you to do a job better or faster, and if that makes your pen life better, go for it!

Troubleshooting

2) v_jokfr- Instagram (13:54)

How do you clean a hooded nib pen?

  • There aren’t a ton of hooded nibs these days but there are some, thinking Lamy 2000, Jinhao Shark, Jinhao 51A
  • It’s really not much different than a conventional nibs, you just flush and fill like normal
  • Shark and 51A are great because they’re cartridge/converter, easy to flush with a bulb syringe which is my favorite cleaning tool
  • Lamy 2000 is a little more complicated because it’s a piston fill, which actually helps, but you can disassemble it with care
  • other pens will vary

3) Stefan S- Facebook (22:20)

I often see people talk about ink drying out in their pens, i never had this issue even after months of shimmer ink in a TWSBI eco, what makes some people experience that often and someone like me never experience it at all even with bad habits?

  • I had the same thing, my first Eco I inked up I had Emerald of Chivor in it for 8 months without cleaning it, with no problems
  • other pens, can dry out in weeks or days
  • the pen, the ink, the humidity all matters a lot
  • the way the cap seals is HUGE in how much a pen dries out, and a few pens really stand out
  • Platinum Slip N Seal is awesome, TWSBI is really good, Pilot has inserts on many of their caps that are great
  • this is a “your mileage may vary”

Business

4) willmonty2000- Instagram (28:20)

What do you think will be the best selling pen of 2019?

  • oooo, that’s a toughie! It really depends on context, how you want to define the question
  • is this all pens period? Just fountain pens? Just Goulet Pens?
  • I assume you’re asking me about Goulet Pens, since that’s what I’d have the most perspective on
  • Do we go by volume? Or dollars? Naturally there are going to be more lower priced pens sold
  • Some of the top contenders with several factors all swirled in together
  • TWSBI Eco, Lamy Safari, Lamy Al-Star, Diplomat Magnum, in all the newer, exciting colors
  • Lamy 2000 is always solid, Pilot VP, Visconti Homo Sapiens, Pilot Custom 823, all solid

5) Seth C- Facebook (36:56)

What are some products that you had mixed feeling about, took a flier on, and it ended up selling like crazy?

  • We don’t carry anything we don’t think is good, but sometimes it’s a debate on our team and it’s just barely a “okay, we’ll try it”
  • Stipula Ventidue (Tocco Ferro) comes to mind, we had our doubts about it at first- orange one
  • Monteverde Monza– similar to Jinhao at first, but Monteverde made it more unique
  • Diplomat Magnum– we knew the Aero would do well, and the Magnum seemed like a great pen, but the response to them was surprising, especially because it’s been around for 40 years!

6) h4nkw- Instagram (51:21)

What’s agility, and how do you measure/manage it? If it’s really not just a buzzword, is GP agile?

  • Agile is somewhat of a buzzword, sure
  • it’s a methodology largely in the software development world
    • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    • Working software over comprehensive documentation
    • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    • Responding to change over following a plan
  • It’s not something we’ve studied really, I just have a general awareness of it, my sister and her husband run a web development company
  • But the general idea of collaborating, teamwork, focus on people over tools and flexibility and proactivity are definitely part of how we operate
  • I don’t know if we’d be considered “agile”, honestly, but we seem to align with the general idea

Personal

7) bradthebear1- Instagram (56:24)

What’s your favorite reaction you got from a non-fountain pen user?

  • I haven’t ever gotten anything dramatic
  • the best was probably when I was at a networking event, and was sharing about pens, I had a TWSBI 580 ALR on me, TWSBI’s are great to show people at networking events!
  • I ended up getting several interested people there, and I was able to talk about pens, how they work, the history of writing, the business side of it, with an engaged audience for no less than 45 minutes straight, it was great having such an engaged audience
  • my favorite reaction is when I casually mention pens, like “yeah I sell fountain pens, like the kind you’ve seen in old movies that fills from a bottle of ink”
  • they’ll sometimes light up, and ask more, and you just get to see them get excited, make connections about pens they’ve used/seen, it leads into a story about their family, upbringing, or life stage where they used a pen before, it’s a tremendous conversation starter even if someone’s not an active FP user

QOTW: What pen, ink, or paper completely surprised you (for the better)? (1:07:36)

Write On,
Brian Goulet