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Home2018-06-30T13:07:44-05:00

Goulet Q&A Episode 256: Pilot Nibs, Women Pen Makers, and If Goulet Kids Will Take Over The Business

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about differences in Pilot nibs, women pen makers, and if his kids will takeover Goulet Pens. Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) esbe5687- Instagram (5:57)

Besides cosmetic, is there any difference between the nibs on the Pilot 74, 92, and 823 or is the difference in the pens just the filling mechanism?

  • the Custom 74 and Custom 92 are the exact same nib, from what I can tell
  • Custom 823 is slightly larger, but performance is very similar, so largely it’s aesthetic

2) forgetmenotstl- Instagram (11:35)

When do I do maintenance on my TWSBI 580s and how do I know when it needs it. (Referring to the tools that come with it)

  • when the piston doesn’t move very easily anymore, then it’s time to regrease it
  • this time might vary quite a bit depending on usage, but you really shouldn’t need to do it for at least 6 months to a year, maybe longer
  • exception would be if you disassemble the pen and clean it, then you should regrease

3) gnomes_journal- Instagram (14:01)

What is the minimal required nib size for an alteration such as a stub or architect grind?

  • that depends on who’s doing the work, what they feel comfortable with
  • the finer you go, the less you’ll be able to really see a difference in line variation, so you generally want to go broad
  • architect especially, fine is about as fine as you wanna go, but broad is the sweet spot
  • stub, broad or medium is good, but you can go F or EF if you have really small handwriting
  • talk to your nibmeister/see what they recommend, assess your own writing size/style

4) jaydddeee- Instagram (17:06)

Recommendations for pens for FP’s for doctors / med students / people who need a solid everyday pen to slip into a pocket / clip to a lanyard which is easy whip out and write with on the go, is reasonably durable but not too expensive in case someone nicks it!

  • Criteria, greatly usable clip, nice colors  (these all meet):
  • Lamy Safari is good, easy to clip, workhorse pen, not too expensive, snap cap, $30ish
  • Jinhao 51A, SUPER cheap, EF nib, C/C or eyedropper, snap cap, $8
  • Pilot Metropolitan, F nib is great, durable, snap cap, $23ish
  • Pilot Varsity, VERY cheap, disposable (but refillable with a hack), decent writer, $3ish
  • Platinum Preppy, eyedropperable, EF/F are very fine, clip is not the best, $4ish
  • Diplomat Magnum, nice nib options, fun colors

5) m_mca_3- Instagram (22:47)

My pen dried out is it OK to suck some ink from the bottle into the converter or am I damaging my pen.

  • eh….I don’t really recommend this, but you can do it in a bind, if it’s not TOO dried out
  • the problem is that dried ink can cause a blockage in your feed, that may or may not resaturate in a refilling
  • it’s best to clean it out if it’s dried up, then ink again
  • If you have no choice, then give it a shot

Personal

6) jennybyhand- Instagram (26:17)

What was the very first fountain pen you ever owned? Which pen was your wife’s first? And did you both love pens the same or did one of you “penable” the other 🙂

  • the VERY first one I ever owned was my own, in a kit conversion from my own handmade pens (cool, right?)
  • the first “commercially made” fountain pen I ever owned was actually six of them
  • Lamy Joy, Kaweco Classic Sport, Pilot Petit1, Pelikan Script, Pelikano, and another I can’t remember
  • Rachel’s first was…
  • I definitely loved them first and penabled her, no question
  • She’s always loved the business, loved me, and loved using pens, but I’m probably more into the actual writing and using of pens than she is (though she’s still pretty into it)

Business

7) GLenn M- Facebook (32:44)

It seems like all hobbies have ebbs and flows. For instance, vinyl records are really having a resurgence right now. Where do you think fountain pen, ink and paper are at these days? Is this a high tide moment or are we in an upswing or downturn?

  • I don’t know that there’s one definitive answer for this, it’s kind of yes and no
  • online pen retail is definitely on the upswing, B&M, across the board, not on the upswing most likely (no hard data here)
  • in some countries it’s booming, others it’s retracting
  • Established brands are having a tougher time in the US, like Cross, Sheaffer, Waterman, Parker, because there just isn’t the innovation there anymore, and gifting is changing
  • newer brands like Noodler’s, TWSBI, lots of independent pen makers are cropping up
  • I think all in all, the rise of communication and education has helped grow the fountain pen industry, though it’s still a very mature market with uncertainty in its future….this is what motivates me!!!

8) Lindsey C- Facebook (39:12)

I’ve noticed most pen designers and makers seem to be men. Do you carry any pens designed by women? Would love to support them!

  • Great question! I’m pumped to see so many women into pens, using them regularly, sharing them on social media, for sure
  • 10 years ago fountain pens definitely had much more of a ‘boys club’ feel, less so today
  • on the manufacturing side, some of it I honestly just don’t know because I don’t really know who specifically is designing pens at the larger companies (Pilot, LAMY, Pelikan, etc), they tend to keep most of their designers pretty behind the scenes
  • There are a lot of women involved in many of the pen companies we retail, though I’m not sure how deeply they’re involved in the design aspect, as I’m not always privy to that
  • I would love to see more women designing and making pens, I think that’d be amazing, so I’ll at least participate in the conversation here
  • We do see a lot of women involved with our smaller pen makers
  • Andrea Gray from Edison Pens for sure, she’s designing and manufacturing pens full time right along side Brian Gray, but she doesn’t want the lime light so you see her less
  • BENU– we’re not 100% clear on exactly what their design process is there, but our contact there in Russia is through a very helpful lady who I’ll keep anonymous, but we worked directly with her when collaborating with our Titan
  • Karol Scher from Kanilea Pens, collaborates with Hugh (no affiliation)
  • Renée Meeks with Scriptorium, sells direct (no affiliation), makes great pens and is worth supporting
  • Gotta recognize Rachel! She has a fair amount of influence in pen design with our various manufacturers, she’s known around here as the one who knows color!

9) emiliovillegas24- Instagram (49:38)

Would you pass your business operations down to your kids (assuming they would like to) or hire a new manager when it’s time?

  • I’d love to pass it on to my kids, if that was what ended up being best for them and our team
  • I have basically no ego tied up in whether or not my kids join the business, honestly, I want what’s best for them
  • My goal was to start this business so my kids had the opportunity to learn work ethic and see passion and entrepreneurialism exemplified at home, not so they would have their future decided for them
  • Sure, it’d be cool to work together, but they’re going to have to earn it, and it’s too early to tell how that’ll play out
  • I’d be perfectly okay hiring a more qualified manager to run things and have them be less involved or not at all, I really want them to find their own path and this is just one option
  • though they are certainly being raised knowing where their food comes from, that pens and writing and this community puts bread on our table! So they will respect that, at a minimum

QOTW: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? (57:20)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

June 7th, 2019|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

De Atramentis Elderberry: A Goulet Inksploration

Happy June, fountain pen friends! Sarah here, bringing you this month’s Inksploration feature, De Atramentis Elderberry (also known as Elderberries). It is a delightful berry colored ink with a refreshing fragrance. This is definitely a great ink for quick note taking, journaling, or creating artwork. Want to learn more? Read on!

Drawing Inspiration and Technique

My inspiration came from Micah, one of my fellow Goulet Pens team members. He always has random fun facts for each day, and recently he was enlightening me on the difference between manta rays and stingrays. I liked the visual of the manta rays and stingrays swimming through water because of the smooth movements that they make. These manta rays and stingrays were a lot of fun to draw because of the different textures and reflections on their skin. Playing with the different textures gave me a lot of opportunities to see what this ink was capable of.

I began my drawing with a pencil sketch. I like to sketch out all of my drawings in pencil first because it gives me flexibility to make changes before I put anything down in ink. Once I have my pencil sketch, I dip my water brush pen in a little bit of ink and start blocking in all of my shading. I prefer to start with the shadows first and then work my way to the highlights as the ink runs out of the brush tip. Usually, I like to do the first run through of the shading and then go back once more for the finer details, like the spots on the wings of the stingrays. After I was happy with the shading, I used the TWSBI ECO 1.1mm Stub to draw in the outlines of the rays. Then, with the TWSBI ECO Extra-Fine, I added the smaller, finer details, like the creases and lines. The bubbles were a fun, last-minute addition to add some visual interest to the background.

This ink really surprised me! It flows out of a pen as a deep purple and doesn’t have much shading when used in regular writing. But once water is added, the tones open up to a range of shades from light pink to magenta and purple.

Ink Review

 

  • Flow- Dry
    • This ink is smooth and steady!
    • Flowed well while I wrote, but I found it to be slightly on the dry side.
    • The dry time is surprisingly fast!
  • Dry Time- 10-15 Seconds
    • It took about 12 seconds to dry without smearing.
    • By the time I was done writing a sentence, most of it was already dry!
  • Water Resistance- Medium
    • Putting water over it makes the color pigments wash away to a pink hue, but it does leave behind a dark line so the writing doesn’t wash away completely.
  • Shading- Low
    • This is a low shading, highly saturated ink.
    • Beautiful, deep, berry purple color with slight pink tones.
  • How did the ink behave on other papers?
    • The ink behaves beautifully on both Tomoe and Leuchtturm paper. During normal notetaking, there’s no feathering or ghosting.
  • Special Features Worth Noting?
    • This is a scented ink and it’s very nice!
    • Subtle and lightly floral
    • The scent wafts up very faintly occasionally while writing
    • mostly noticeable when opening the bottle
    • not noticeable on the page after the ink dries

Overall, I think this ink stood out to me the most for its scented properties, fast dry time, and color richness.

Comparable Inks

If you love the color of De Atramentis Elderberry but would like to try some inks with different properties, Check out:

Thanks for joining me for another round of Inksploration. Don’t miss your chance to win a bottle of this delightful and a pen! Check back at the end of the month.

 

Write on,

Sarah

June 3rd, 2019|Ink Reviews, Inksploration|0 Comments

Goulet Q&A Episode 255: Why Luxury Pens Are Large and If Brian Really Believes In The Products We Carry

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about why nice pens are so large, if pens appreciate like art, and if he really believes in the products we carry. Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) Pooja C- Facebook (3:57)

Why are luxury pens so large ? I have very small hands (pilot stargazer is my ideal size). I want to try high end pens with luxury materials 18K and 21K nibs but cannot as they are not available in smaller sizes. Why doesn’t the industry cater towards people with smaller hands?

  • they don’t necessarily have to be
  • a lot of times, they’re using nicer materials or artistic/intricate theming that looks more impressive on a larger “canvas”
  • there is a perception in parts of the world of size/weight and worth (certainly in the US)
  • other parts of the world, Japan especially, cater more to these, but they don’t bring a lot of these over to the US (Sailor and Pilot come to mind)
  • in order for nibs to feel “bouncy”, it helps to have leverage, which means a bigger nib, which means a bigger pen to accommodate the nib
  • some of it could be tradition/manufacturer bias, but there’s probably an element of supply and demand, too
  • Platinum Century “The Prime” is pretty good for smaller hands
  • Namiki Nippon Art
  • Pelikan m400, even m600
  • Lamy CP1 Platinum

2) Mackenzie H- Facebook (18:06)

Heading into summer always makes me think about vacations and traveling. The Goulet name has gotten you the VIP tour at some brands’ facilities but are there any pen locations/experiences you know of that are available to the average joe? I’d love to add some pen destinations to my travel bucket list

  • I know Pelikan gives tours in Germany, you can even watch them grind a specialty nib
  • I’ve known a few people to finagle a Visconti tour
  • Aurora has a museum, I’m not 100% certain if it’s open to the public, you’d want to reach out
  • Graf von Faber-Castell I think gives tours
  • These are the only ones I know without some kind of special connection
  • Some of it’s practicality, some of it’s trade secrets/safety/security
  • I’m not one to judge, we don’t have a public part of our building!
  • It takes a lot of planning, commitment, and staffing to accommodate public visits, and most manufacturers just frankly aren’t set up for it
  • Wherever you go, there are probably retailers you can visit, though, that’s still a pretty neat cultural experience

3) daveminer- Instagram (22:11)

Do you prefer a canvas style (Rickshaw) pen sleeve or a leather sleeve for your EDC pen?

  • I’ve been carrying the same Aston leather sleeve for 8 years or so now, and it’s just a part of my setup
  • I’m a fan of Rickshaw, for sure! But just being real it hasn’t unseated my leather one
  • I’m just one person with a slight preference, but pen carrying preference vary as much as pen preferences do!
  • All that said we’ve really expanded our pen case selection over the last 1-2 years, and you all have responded and like it, so we’re going to keep on the lookout for cool stuff you like

4) mike_puckett- Instagram (23:57)

I’m currently in the stage of the hobby where I’m shifting from acquiring a mass of pens and inks into finding pens/inks I really love, and stepping into my next level of pens (2k, VP, 3776). I‘d really love to try an architect nib. What are your thoughts on having a Goulet (or other #6 nib) Broad nib ground into an architect vs having the grind done on a pricier nib (like a 2k BB)? My thought is that with a general #6, I could swap it into a variety of my pens rather than just having one pen with the architect. Is that nuts? #gouletqa

  • not nuts at all, actually, it’s pretty smart
  • it really all depends how you want to do it
  • architect nibs aren’t ones that particularly benefit from the aspects that a gold nib provides, so you can 100% get it done on a steel nib and love it
  • because custom grinds cost real money you might be inclined to get it done on a pricier pen, but that’s sunk cost bias
  • I like your strategy and think it’s a good one
  • Check out Mark Bacas at NibGrinder.com, he does nice architects on all kinds of nib types and sizes (no affiliation)

5) pnwnaturenerd- Instagram (28:57)

In your opinion is collecting rare and valuable pens a sound addition to an investment strategy? Do pens tend to appreciate over time like art?

  • sound? No.
  • Some pens will appreciate, sure, just like some art will
  • some art won’t though, and a lot of pens probably won’t appreciate
  • I’ve never been a huge fan of buying pens purely for their investment value, it’s just so niche for that, you’d have to really have the right pen and find the right buyer to make a return
  • you’d 100% be better off, strictly financially, investing in diversified, safe (relatively) financial vehicles than pretty much any collectible, at least for the average individual
  • however, pens are a lot of fun to use and you’ll be able to recoup a lot of your investment even on used pens if you keep them in good shape, so there’s certainly “value” there that’s hard to put a dollar value on

6) Supakorn R- Facebook (34:28)

Is it safe to transfer ink between pens?

  • generally speaking, sure
  • there’s always a slight risk of something contaminating the ink in use, but if you have two clean/untainted pens, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to transfer ink from one to another (I’m thinking specifically like a cartridge or converter)

Personal

7) Glenn M- Facebook (36:15)

Do you feel like you’re giving your stamp of approval, either as a company or personally, to every product you sell? Would you ever sell anything you weren’t 100% behind? I feel like I’ve seen you “dance” a little at times.

  • This is an honest question and I’m going to give an honest answer
  • Our mission statement is: “To provide fountain pen enthusiasts with the most personal online shopping experience through comprehensive education, exemplary service, and products we believe in.”
  • The “products we believe in” part is hitting right on this topic
  • Now, there’s a HUGE difference between products that meet my own personal preference and ones that I believe in as a product that we should sell in our store
  • This is where I’ll sometimes dance a bit, because I’m having to speak to the value that I see that others might find in a product, versus my own enthusiasm for it, and others might just have a different preference than me and that’s okay
  • Other times I’ll dance is when I have notions about how a product will perform or be enjoyed in peoples’ hands without entirely knowing (this is especially the case when carrying a new brand or model), but the feedback that comes back about it is mixed and hard to sort out (flex nibs of pretty much all brands come to mind here)
  • in these instances, it’s difficult to get clear answers about what’s actually going on, especially with a lot of impassioned, contradictory feedback from the community (what, on the internet? NO)
  • The truth is there’s often a lot of gray, as not everyone has the same preferences, same funds, same notions of what makes something “worth” whatever it costs, so I can’t use a 100% baseline for a product as nothing is perfect
  • I and my team do use our gut very strongly, combined with feedback through all channels and data like rate of returns and defects, and we have a lot of debate and conversation about if we believe in a certain product or not
  • If I (we, really) can’t stand behind a product, then it’s either something we’re not going to carry at all or something we’ll discontinue as soon as it crosses that threshold for us

QOTW: If you could tour any pen factory, what would you like to see? If not in person, then virtually? (49:16)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

May 31st, 2019|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

8 Underrated Pens For $50 or Less

Getting a great writing experience doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you’re ready to take a leap into the fine writing world with a new fountain pen, you’re going to want to see these options. Below we’ve gathered a list of performance-packed pens that we think don’t get enough love, but also won’t break the bank. Is your new favorite in this collection? Keep reading to find out!

Jinhao 993 Shark Pen

This terrifically fun pen will make writing an adventure without taking a big bite out of your budget. For less than $5, you can have a pen that Brian Goulet considers “one of the best value writing experiences” he’s ever tried. The hooded EF nib and triangular grip are a dream to write with. This pen comes in an impressive variety of colors and with a converter included. If eyedropper pens with impressive capacities are more your style, the Shark pen can do that too! Our Eyedropper conversion video will show you how! Want to learn more about these fun pens? Check out Brian’s Overview video here.

Diplomat Magnum

It’s almost unbelievable that the high-quality Diplomat Magnum comes in under $25. These German-made fountain pens come in a variety of nib sizes and provide a great writing experience, no matter your nib preference. They are quite lightweight, only 14g overall! The rainbow of available colors is sure to offer a choice for everyone.

Kaweco Sport

With a few different models to choose from, there’s sure to be a Kaweco Sport model for everyone. You can choose from the Classic Sport with its timeless colors and gold trim, the Skyline Sport in silver trim and stylish color choices, or the Frosted Sport, which features a translucent body, silver trim, and tropical color themes. These are perfect pocket pens for on-the-go writing and feature a smooth writing JoWo nib.

Noodler’s Ahab

This is one of the most affordable flex nibs we offer and is a great place to start for aspiring calligraphers. It can be a bit finicky and isn’t for those who want a pen that works right off the bat, as the Noodler’s pens might require a little tinkering to get it right. The Ahabs can be eyedropper converted, however, which gives a HUGE 6ml ink capacity. The Ahab also takes a #6 nib so you can swap a non-flex nib on for an everyday writing experience.

Pilot Kaküno

Although marketed to children in Japan, this pen is great for fun-loving writers of all ages. The smiley face nibs and bright color options give the Kaküno a whimsical feel. You can even swap the barrels and caps around between pens to make your own custom color combination. The reliable steel nib will also be a favorite for all types of writing tasks.

LAMY Logo

If you’re used to using a mechanical pencil prior to making the leap to fountain pens, the LAMY Logo might be the best pen for you. The slim, metal body and textured grip will feel quite similar to your previous writing instrument, but with a noticeably smoother flow on ink. This sleek pen is compatible with LAMY replacement nibs, so you can switch up your writing style as much as you want. Here’s a video showcasing the easy nib swapping technique.

TWSBI Mini

TWSBI is definitely a brand chock full of value pens! The Mini is often overlooked in favor of the popular 580 model but is a great pen in its own right. This smaller demonstrator is a piston filler with an impressive ink capacity and affordable price. There is a huge variety of nib sizes to choose from as well.

Monteverde Tool Pen

Probably the most unique pen on our list, the Monteverde Tool Pen comes equipped with a host of helpful accessories for your next home improvement project. In addition to a functional writing nib, this pen has two screwdriver bits, a few different styles of rulers, a touchscreen stylus, and a bubble level. It makes a great gift for a loved one or yourself.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about these great pens. Maybe there are even some new options for you to try in this list! What pens look interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.

Write On,

The Goulet Pen Company Team

May 30th, 2019|Top 10 Lists|0 Comments

Goulet Q&A Episode 254: Gifting Pens, Breaking Into the Pen Business, and Writing Inspiration

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about gifting to experienced pen friends, best way to get into the pen business, and finding writing inspiration. Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) akbajaj- Instagram (12:38)

While traveling to a different country – Can we prefill our pens with ink or carry our ink and fill it there ? Which is the best solution and if any advantages or disadvantages of doing any of these thing ?

  • as far as I’m aware, there are no international restrictions on flying with pens, inked or not
  • I’ve personally flown internationally twice with all kinds of pens, and it’s not been an issue
  • of course, check with whatever airline and governing body in your traveling path, as this could vary
  • flying with filled pens is more convenient, unless they leak! But minimize air in the pens and you’ll probably be okay
  • disadvantages? just the leaking really

2) devnnluu- Instagram (15:58)

In last week’s Q&A, you gave suggestions on what to gift beginner fountain pen users. Do you have any thoughts on what to gift a fountain pen veteran? I realize that personal tastes will come into play, but I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks in advance for considering my question!

  • yeah, this gets a little tougher, for a couple of reasons
  • 1) their tastes get more specific (colors, materials, nib size, brand, etc)
  • 2) their tastes (may) get more costly
  • 3) they already have more pen stuff, so risk of duplication is greater
  • If you can do any reconnaissance, that’s always helpful
  • they probably love to talk about their pens, and you can slip into the conversation “what do you have your eye on right now?” or specifics about what pens they already have that they love and try to get them something similar
  • getting something that’s LE/SE might be appealing, just because it’s cool to have something harder to get, even if it’s not their exact preference
  • see if they have a wishlist! Maybe they’d be cool sharing it with you and you can have an idea what to pick
  • a nice notebook or ink that’s a color you know they love can be cool
  • gift credit is always an option, if you just don’t really have a clue

3) floridafour- Instagram (20:38)

Is it best to express air out of twsbi eco/580 as ink is used, or just leave the air pocket? Seems like a dumb question, but I recently heard that the twist knob has a pressure lock at the full position…

  • leave it. That’s really not necessary to do express air out with any pen, the ink should flow through without encouragement, and the air inside doesn’t really impact the writing of the pen
  • yes, when you have the piston in the full “fill” position, the knob grabs onto the back of the pen body with friction, which makes it more stable (especially if you’re posting the 580)

4) golytely123- Instagram (25:25)

Hey Brian, I’m looking for a great work pen that is gold nib, large ink capacity, ideally piston fill. Pilot custom 823 vs Pelikan m800 is what I was thinking. Any other suggestions? If not, between those two what would you suggest?

  • Lamy 2000 is in the mix, doesn’t have a “huge” ink capacity, but it’s decent
  • Pelikan has m400/m600/m1000 size options apart from the m800, depends on your hand size and budget, m600 is most popular, m800 next I’d say
  • Visconti Homo Sapiens (power filler), Opera Master
  • Aurora 88/Optima
  • 823 and m800 are both great choices! Oh this is tough between the two
  • Custom 823 is a vacuum filler, so just have to call that out and distinguish the differences
  • Pelikan has more color options, but is more expensive
  • Pilot’s finer nibs are finer, so that’s something
  • It’ll largely come down to personal preference, but 823’s are more popular with us (likely due to the more accessible price)

5) crueltyfreemusings- Instagram (32:24)

Do you recommend that fountain pen newbies try a variety of nib sizes? How would you recommend balancing the various considerations of price, quality, and not knowing yet what you like? For example, I’m considering a Faber Castell Loom in broad because I’ve heard they’re particularly nice broad nibs, but in general my wishlist is a giant list of fine and extra- fine nibs because I never know what pens would be good to try with broader nibs.

  • heck yeah I recommend trying different nibs! You never know what you’re going to like
  • knowing exactly which nibs to try can be a little tricky, because honestly, there are subtle differences with a lot of different pen companies’ nibs
  • there really isn’t a good, super cheap way to try all the different nib sizes, at least not in one pen model/brand
  • Jinhao Shark $4 (extra-fine), TWSBI GO $19 (fine), Pilot Varsity $4 (medium), Diplomat Magnum $22 (broad), Pilot Plumix $10 (1.0mm stub), Noodler’s Nib Creaper $14 (flex)…..option to replace Shark, GO, and Creaper with Monteverde Monza 3 set for $24
  • That’s about the least expensive way I can get you there, or you can go Jinhao x450/750 $10 with variety of Goulet replacement nibs $15 each (skip medium, because that comes in the Jinhao), but that only gets you one writing pen at a time
  • Lamy also has a variety of replaceable nibs, that’s an option
  • the Loom DOES have a nice broad nib, as does Lamy, TWSBI, and Diplomat

6) jhns.kiotms- Instagram (42:49)

As someone who has converted from pen making to pen selling (i’m talking about you Brian), which one in your opinion the best way to get into the business of pens. I heard that the owner of the Carolina pen company and Pennsler got into making pens out of learning with the lathe themselves or you who converted to retailing (also second question, why did you decide retailing over pen making?) Thanks a lot if you answer this🙏🙏

  • that’s going to depend on what “business” you want to be in!
  • Starting any business is going to a mixture of identifying your passion, talents, and your “why”, and matching that up with realistic opportunities available to you
  • if you want to retail like I have, don’t start making pens first as a path to that because it’s very different and not enough knowledge will transfer
  • you’re honestly better off selling stuff on eBay or Etsy first, as there’s a lot related to ecommerce that you’ll have to learn to be a retailer
  • the pen retailing space is a little crowded, there’s not as much “air” there for up and comers, it’s a rather mature market
  • you’re going to have to create your own market, and if you’re doing that, it’s easier to make your own product than to try to sell what everyone else is already selling
  • if you want to build a pen brand, then you should definitely start pen making, as you’ll connect more with suppliers, other retailers/distributors, etc
  • being a pen maker selling direct, you’re getting the entire vertical distribution chain, so there’s more opportunity for margin there
  • it’s a little easier to start here right now, in my opinion, IF you have the skillset to make pens, and that’s a big if
  • There honestly weren’t that many pen makers like Carolina or Pennsler when I started, I was doing it in 2007
  • All I was aware of for independent pen makers then was Bexley and Edison, and they all seemed so “big time” to me
  • I honestly just came to the realization that my passion wasn’t in manufacturing pens, I loved wood working and being a craftsman, but the changes I’d need to make to productionize pen making was outside of my skillset and had too steep of a learning curve (and capital investment) for me
  • really, it was a strictly personal, gut decision and not one thought out well in advance, it was really a process of discovery for me
  • I can’t say I’d recommend doing things exactly the way I did it because really, I shouldn’t have been all that successful, I really had odds against me
  • I also have the x-factor of Rachel, and there’s NO WAY I’d have been able to make Goulet Pens even get off the ground without her
  • bottom line, there’s no true blue ocean in the pen industry as it’s a mature, niche, passion-driven industry, and you’re doing to have to be top of your game to break through, but if you can cross that chasm, it’s a heck of a lot of fun! It’s all about using your gifts and meeting customers’ needs.
  • “There’s plenty of room at the top, but not enough to sit down.” -Zig Ziglar

Personal

7) arakune_b- Instagram (57:42)

Do you ever lose inspiration to write? If so, how do you get back on the said horse.

  • who ME??
  • Sure. I mean, pens are my life and I’ve been going the fountain pen thing for 10 years, making pens before that, even
  • I don’t have times where I am truly SICK of pens, that’s never happened for me
  • I do have times where there are certain aspects of the work related to pens feels more like work, that’s natural I think
  • I personally probably don’t write by inspiration as much as you might think, I’m actually a much more utilitarian writer
  • I’m using pens in my daily life, making lists, brainstorming, doodling, etc
  • I’m not doing any daily handwriting practice, even daily journaling I don’t stick with, but that’s less about writing itself and more of discipline issue
  • I think it depends what your goals are. If you’re writing to produce actual writing like an author would, then it’s a craft, a discipline, you just get your butt in the chair and write no matter what, inspiration be darned. You just write every day and that’s it, even if you hate it, you push through.
  • If it’s more casual for you, then you clearly have more options
  • I personally will take a break sometimes from messing with my own pens sometimes and I’ll see what others are doing (like on Instagram)
  • I’m inspired seeing what others do, and it might prompt me to pick them up and try something new
  • also sometimes a break helps me miss them, and I’ll be excited to get back into it
  • I’ll also spend time cleaning, cataloging, organizing, or sometimes just taking apart or inspecting my pens, not actually writing with them
  • sometimes just being around them and spending other “quality” time with my pens makes me want to write with them again
  • it may ebb and flow for you, but the bottom line is this is meant to be something enjoyable and life-giving, so don’t beat yourself up if some of the spark dies out at times, but I’m proof that you can have 10 years of full-time plus immersion into the pen world and still really love it, so hang in there 😉

QOTW: What’s the longest you’ve ever gone in between writing with a fountain pen? What brought you back to it? (01:04:37)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

May 24th, 2019|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

Edison Nouveau Premieres: New Colors!

 

Hey pen friends,

Today we’re introducing two new colors to our exclusive regular edition Edison Nouveau Premiere collection, and retiring two older colors.

Out with the Old….

Caribbean Sea had a good run first as a summer seasonal edition in 2014 and then reintroduced in 2017 as a regular edition, but it’s time for retirement. We still have a number available, but it will run out soon.

Similar to Caribbean Sea, the hot pink Cherry Blossom also started out as a spring seasonal edition in 2014 and then reintroduced in 2017 as a regular edition. We’ve now discontinued this color, and will likely sell out in the upcoming weeks.

In with the New….

Delphinium

You may recognize this from our 2017 summer seasonal Premiere… due to popular demand, Delphinium is now available as a regular edition. It features vibrant swirls of cobalt blue and purple, and silver trim.

Smoke and Mirrors

A new color, Smoke and Mirrors is a smoky grey swirly resin is very similar to our Cappuccino color (which will continue to be available ongoing!), but just in all silver.

The Delphinium and the Smoke and Mirrors will join the Cappuccino to become the three ongoing regular editions at Goulet Pens. Cappuccino was one of the original colors chosen back in early 2010, and continues to be popular to this day. (Fun fact: that was the first material I ever chose for a pen! I still enjoy bragging rights over both Brians that my pick was the most popular of the three original colors.)

We’ll still be producing our seasonal special editions, like the Spring 2019 Trunk Bay, and look for a new summer seasonal edition in about a month.

All of our Edison Nouveau Premieres are still priced at $169 and come with a smooth-writing #6 JoWo nib in extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, or 1.1mm stub. A converter is included, and they also accept short standard international cartridges, or can be converted to eyedropper fill with just a bit of silicone grease on the threads.

What do you think of these two new colors?

Write On,
Rachel Goulet

May 20th, 2019|Pen News|0 Comments