Home 2017-10-06T17:30:35+00:00

Monteverde Fireopal with a Traveler’s Brass Pen: Monday Matchup #184

A fountain pen friendly quote by Graham Greene written with a Traveler's brass fountain pen and Monteverde Fireopal ink.

**WINNER: Congrats to Dave M. (Entered on the blog). Check back next week for another awesome Monday Matchup Giveaway**

Greetings! Susan here again, and today I have the new Traveler’s Brass Pen with Monteverde Fireopal cartridges.  Let the games begin!

My inspiration this week was fountain pens. If you are reading this, you clearly love them as much as I do, so you can’t deny that they are a pretty solid source of inspiration. If you have seen any of my previous Monday Matchups or Quote of the Week offerings, you know that I am not artistically inclined.  Indeed when I look at the stuff that Adam, Sarah, Whitney and everyone else does, I am just so happy they let me contribute.  So here are the simple details on how I created this piece… I traced it. I traced the image of the nib and then used the pen and ink to write the quote in. I used a Graham Greene quote that says “My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane.”

I didn’t expect to like this pen.  I had it in my head that it was going to be too small and without a stub or cursive italic option I put my nose up to it.  Boy was I wrong! As soon as I put in the cartridge and began writing I was in pen love. Firstly, it’s so elegant, I had a Sophia Loren writing to Cary Grant vibe going. It’s also very soft and smooth to hold, and well-balanced. As I have said, I don’t usually post pens, but you have to post this one or you’re holding something no longer than a baby carrot.  But once you do and you settle in to write, it’s pen magic! The nib is smooth, the flow is not too gushy, nor is it stingy. We moved right along, this little pen and I, and we were a team, finely tuned and moving together.

I wouldn’t suggest this pen for anyone with large hands, that’s for sure, but if your hands are not overly large, this is really cool.  I mean I’m getting one and don’t exactly have the hands of a brain surgeon. The Monteverde Fireopal was really lovely in it, I would keep it in there. I think most folks would probably like this for fast note jotting because it’s easy. You have to like cartridges, there is no converter, this is a cartridge only situation.  (You know I dig this pen if I’m going to use cartridges, I’m a bottled ink kind-a girl!)

A fountain pen friendly quote by Graham Greene written with a Traveler's brass fountain pen and Monteverde Fireopal ink.

A fountain pen friendly quote by Graham Greene written with a Traveler's brass fountain pen and Monteverde Fireopal ink.

A fountain pen friendly quote by Graham Greene written with a Traveler's brass fountain pen and Monteverde Fireopal ink.

A fountain pen friendly quote by Graham Greene written with a Traveler's brass fountain pen and Monteverde Fireopal ink.

A fountain pen friendly quote by Graham Greene written with a Traveler's brass fountain pen and Monteverde Fireopal ink.

If you’d like to try the Traveler’s Brass Pen for yourself, you can find it at GouletPens.com for $56. Monteverde Fireopal cartridges are $6 for a pack of 12. You can also find it in bottles and samples.

You could win this pen and ink! In an effort to make entering Monday Matchup a little easier, we’ve done away with the Rafflecopter widget and will be randomly selecting a winner from a randomly chosen platform each week. The entries methods will still be the same: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a blog comment, but you’ll no longer have to complete your entry through Rafflecopter.

How to enter Monday Matchup Giveaway:

  • Match a pen and ink together. They don’t have to match in color, any fountain pen, and ink works.
  • You can choose to enter only one way or submit up to 4 different entries if you’d like. Feel free to use the same picture for all 4 entries.
  • Here’s how to enter:

The contest is open Monday, June 4, 2018, at 12 pm EST until Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at 12 pm EST. One winner will be randomly selected and announced tomorrow once the contest closes. The winner must live in a country that Goulet Pens currently ships to. Click here to see the Official Contest Rules.

Write On,
Susan

June 4th, 2018|Monday Matchup|0 Comments

Goulet Q&A Episode 212: New Website, Good Quality Ink, and Brian’s Ethics for Reviewing Products

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about our new GouletPens.com launch, what makes ink “good quality”, and his ethics around why he only reviews products we sell. Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1. @KarlMue57- Twitter (15:35)

<haiku=on>
the LAMY Accent
many coming soon in May
give overview please?

  • haha, I think this is the first haiku Q&A question I’ve ever answered!
  • let’s check out the Accent
  • several colors, some with steel, some with gold nibs
  • Karelia Wood, Rubber, Brilliant Lacquer, Brilliant Briarwood
  • same nib/feed system as non-Lamy 2000 Lamy pens
  • takes z27 converter or Lamy cartridges
  • screw cap, push to post
  • interchangeable grips

2.@scheissgeist- Twitter (18:48)

Do fountain pens inevitably open up over time? Comparing sketches with an EF TWSBI Mini from when I first got it last year to today, the lines are noticeably thinner. I don’t draw with a lot of pressure at all, but my strokes are very fast and long. What gives?

  • they don’t inevitably open up, but they can open up with writing pressure
  • steel nibs are pretty stiff, so you’d have to be mashing it down pretty good to open it up with normal writing in a year
  • the paper or ink selection could be a factor, even things like writing speed or a change in writing angle could influence it, as could humidity in the air
  • you can actually adjust the flow on nibs, but it’s tough to do without some practice

3.will4mills- Instagram (26:38)

Does the term “dry writing pen” refer to the ink used, or the nib it’s self or is it something to do with the feed? I’ve been having this “dry writing” problem with my jinhao X450 since I got it last Friday.

  • “dry” can be used to describe the pen or the ink, it depends on the context
  • usually people will call a pen dry if it writes dry with multiple inks, and vice versa with calling an ink dry
  • if you try multiple inks, especially ones you know flow wetter in other pens, you may have a drier writing X450
  • try flushing it clean first, that’s always a good first step
  • you can open up the flow, and I’d only recommend this on less expensive pens like the Jinhao

4.Hassan K.- Facebook (33:48)

What pen should I get just to give to a nibmeister to get a ridiculously fine nib? What kind of nib?

  • you’ll want to check the nibmesiter’s site to verify, or email them to be sure before you make a purchase
  • I can pretty much say they’re going to want to start with the finest nib possible, because the broader you go that’s just more they’re going to have to grind away

Ink

5.taintedcrimson- Instagram (38:36)

In a recent Q&A, Brian mentioned there are certain inks that aren’t included in the random ink sample selection. Which inks are those and what makes them too high maintenance / problematic to be a random sample? (I’m sure one of them is the infamous Baystate Blue…)

6.The Gratitude Log- Facebook (44:38)

I want to love Noodler’s ink so badly — I love it’s permanent properties and wide range of colors. But I find them to have such long dry times they become impractical to use. When I started using fountain pens Noodler’s Black was all I used because it was so widely recommended, but I found that across almost all paper types it is easily smearable after more than a minute. I recently switched to using De Atrementis Document Black instead, and the difference is astonishing… no more smearing. I decided to check out the smear and drip test for Noodler’s Black on your site and it indicates a much faster dry time than what I’ve experienced. Is this a matter of a change in formula? I’ve experienced the same with Black Swan in Australian Roses and Apache Sunset, and the incredibly long dry-times are the only thing keeping me from buying a bottle. Any advice for someone wanting to love Noodler’s ink, but struggling? Thanks as always!

  • This isn’t uncommon with a lot of Noodler’s inks, honestly, they are very dye concentrated
  • DA Document Black definitely has a faster dry time, no question
  • DA will have a bit of compromise of spreading and feathering on certain papers, so there’s a tradeoff to consider
  • Noodler’s hasn’t changed their formula anytime recently, but it is handmade so it’s possible there’s some slight variation batch-to-batch
  • you can dilute the ink, but I don’t know if this will cut the dry time enough to meet your needs

7.@h1sham9- Twitter (50:56)

What is the definition of a ‘good quality ink’?

  • there is no firm definition, it’s VERY subjective
  • generally, I think people look for ink that does what they expect it to do, and that’s good quality!
  • easier to clean, doesn’t dry out, doesn’t stain, flows well but doesn’t burp, dries quickly but doesn’t spread
  • obvious things like doesn’t grow stuff in it, packaging and ink filling level is consistent, doesn’t smell, easy stuff like that
  • it’s probably easier to universally agree which inks are “bad” than which are good!
  • you’ll see opinions vary all over the place on this, some people swear by certain brands or ink properties as being the best, others disparage them and believe the complete opposite
  • The beauty of this hobby is we all get to experiment and form our own views!

Troubleshooting

8.Quan T- Goulet Pens Blog (53:16)

I just purchased a Vanishing Point with EF nib. Great pen. But I realised the pen actually uses the nib itself to push open the gate everytime each time. The tipping material literally scratching a piece of stainless steel each time I use the pen. And I probably need to do that more than 40 times per day. I know the tipping material is tough, but since EF has only so much of it, I have a concern about the longevity of the pen. Do you think I worried too much? Did you see any VP got depleted tipping material?

  • I know exactly what you’re talking about, I’ve seen it and asked Pilot USA about it
  • the design of the VP hasn’t changed in decades, and I haven’t ever seen a report of a customer wearing away a tip with prolonged use of that trap door
  • Pilot said they haven’t had any issues either
  • it’s really not very much pressure that’s being put on it, there are other things going on inside there that are pushing the trap door besides just that tip
  • you can rest pretty easy, but Pilot’s also pretty fair in their warranty assessments, so let us or Pilot USA know if you ever have an issue

Business

9.@Ladylilliandil- Twitter (57:13)

This is more of an “ethics” question than pen-related (hope this doesn’t cause too much controversy) but I was curious if you ever feel conflicted during Q&A to only talk or answer questions about products & brands that your business sells vs. products & brands you don’t carry?

  • sure, it makes sense and I get asked about it ALL the time so I’m very comfortable talking about it
  • I’ve never tried to put on airs about being a pen expert, this has been a journey all along the way for me
  • my journey has been that of a pen retail, and much of the experience I’ve gained has been in the products our team has curated and decided to carry in our store
  • I’ve gained some experience with pen models we don’t carry, but it simply doesn’t make as much sense for me to learn these inside and out, as I only have so many hours in a day
  • in my earliest days of blogging/vlogging I intended to have more separation of myself as a reviewer and our store
  • originally our YouTube channel was called The Ink Nouveau, and our blog was InkNouveau.com, you can see me reference these in a lot of the early content
  • I did experiment with reviewing products we didn’t carry, and a lot of the feedback was actually pushback on that, because people wanted me to be talking about things they could buy from my store, for their own convenience
  • it just doesn’t make a ton of sense for me to review something I don’t know as well, say “go find it somewhere else” and then not be able to go any further
  • it allows me to be more intelligent when I speak, because I clearly know more about the brands I carry, as I have access to them easily
  • I also get more accurate information having access to distributors and manufacturers, and for brands I don’t carry, I lose all that
  • ethically, I think it’s actually cleanest to stick to products I represent, because I’m equally “biased”, whereas if I was carrying a pen and comparing to one I didn’t sell, there would be an inherent conflict of interest
  • bottom line, as long as I’m genuine, honest, and not a douchebag I don’t think there’s any issue here
  • you can tell if I’m just trying to hock stuff, and that’s never been my game. I want to be completely authentic, and I’m authentically a retailer sharing with you what I know about the products I know most about, that’s pretty much the bottom line

QOTW: What’s the craziest diet/exercise regimen you’ve ever tried? Did it work? (01:06:42)

Writing Prompt: Write about the best dessert you ever tasted in your life.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

June 1st, 2018|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

Thursday Things: Fountain Pen First Timer

This week’s Thursday Things is dedicated to all those who are getting ready to take the first leap into the fountain pen world. Thursday Things: Fountain Pen First Timer is comprised of some of the top picks for fountain pen newbies to get you writing with ease. All it takes is ink, paper, a pen, and the curiosity to learn a fun new hobby! Let this assortment be your guide to a new beginning for your writing joys.

Featured products from left to right:

What was your first pen and ink pairing? What paper did you use?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

May 31st, 2018|Thursday Things|0 Comments

A brand new GouletPens.com is coming soon!

Goulet Pens new website announcement

Hey pen friends,

Rachel here, and I am super excited to announce that we’ll be launching an all-new GouletPens.com store next week on June 6th! This has been a major project we’ve been working on for months, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Here’s everything you need to know…

The Features:

  • Easier to navigate (all nib sizes for each pen will be in a dropdown on a single page, instead of separate pages for each nib size)
  • More mobile & tablet friendly
  • Smoother checkout experience
  • Improved predictive search
  • More responsive filtering with faster load speeds
  • Easy returns initiation process
  • Shipping rates calculated in cart before entering checkout
  • Enhanced shipment tracking experience
  • Wishlist you can share via social or direct link
  • New options to pay with ApplePay or GooglePay

We’re retaining a lot of the same clean look and feel that you’re used to seeing, with a bit of accent color updating to keep it fresh. We can’t wait to show you our new logo, designed in partnership with Master Penman Jake Weidmann!

The navigation will be very similar in structure to the current site, and the homepage will have a lot more content to explore.

Your Account Information:

Here’s what WILL be migrated from our current site to the new site:

  • Your name and email address.
  • Your saved addresses. We do recommend that when you log in for the first time, that you please verify that these are correct and make sure the default is set properly.
  • Your full order history, which was actually quite difficult to accomplish!
  • Any back-in-stock email notifications that you’ve signed up for.
  • Your newsletter subscription preferences. We are also changing email newsletter providers but all should transfer smoothly.
  • Any gift cards or store credits with a balance. These we have to manually set up after the new site launches, so you may need to give us a few days. If you need to check out and the code isn’t working, just email us and we’ll help you out. All gift codes will be the same.

Here’s what unfortunately will NOT be migrated:

  • Your password, for security reasons. You’ll be getting an automated email from us within 24 hours of the new site launching, with an invitation to create your password and finish setting up your new account. We’ll be giving you an extra incentive to do so, so watch your inbox for that! 😉
  • Your wishlist. This is a bummer, we know. We recommend that you either take screenshots, or use the “share” link in your account to email a copy to yourself so that you can set it up again on the new site.
  • Any open shopping carts. If you have a bunch of items saved and haven’t completed checkout, your cart will be cleared out.

The Timeline:

  • Our current site will be taken offline on Tuesday, June 5th, sometime in the morning (we’re on the East Coast, USA). We’ll be doing our physical inventory to make sure stock levels are correct, shipping all of the open orders, and finishing the final migration pieces.
  • In between June 5-6th, you won’t be able to view our store, but the blog and YouTube videos will still be up. We’re also available to talk with you on any of our social media channels. We’ll still be accessible during normal office hours on phone and email, though Live Chat will be down until our new site is active.
  • The new site will be live on Wednesday, June 6th, again sometime in the morning when we’ve confirmed the new site is up and running smoothly.
  • If you’ve ever shopped with us, you’ll get your account activation invite email sometime within 24 hours of go-live.

A few more notes:

This has been a massive project, and sometimes there are tradeoffs in order to keep costs down or to stay on our timelines. We had to make a few small temporary sacrifices, but we are already working with our developers on plans to bring back these features later in the summer. Two big areas…

1) Our custom comparison tools — the Swab Shop, Nib Nook, and Pen Plaza — will appear visually simpler than what you currently see. We do have plans this summer to completely overhaul those (again!) to make them easier to navigate and more mobile friendly. In the meantime, all the content will still be there, and they’re fully functional, just not what we intend them to ultimately be.

2) We will not have most of our package sets available right away. This is really just due to behind-the-scenes technical setup, and we’re actively working on a solution. We are going to keep some of our most popular package sets available from day one, including our GPC cleaning & tuning sets, our notebook sampler, the random ink sample set, and a simplified Fountain Pen First-Timer set for beginners. The rest of our sets, including all of the ink sample package sets and everything else, will hopefully be back later this summer.

Thanks for your patience with both of these items!

We’ve tried our best to minimize disruption to the way you interact with our site, and a lot of the reason for us making this change was to improve the architecture of our site to make it easier for us to serve you well. Like a duck gliding across the water, we want you to see a graceful motion above the surface while we’re paddling our feet actively underneath! This change allows us to build a more stable foundation for even better things for the future. For those curious technical minds, we’re moving to Shopify, the largest e-commerce platform in North America.

Again, we are just so excited to share our new site with you. The whole point of all of this is to continue to improve your experience shopping with us. We know there may be a few technical hiccups right at launch, so we thank you in advance for your patience with us as we work it all out. Our team is ready to help! In the long term, we really believe this move will allow us to do even more cool stuff to better serve you.

Thanks, and write on!
Rachel Goulet

May 30th, 2018|A Goulet Life|0 Comments

Goulet Q&A Episode 211: A Dozen Rapid-Fire Pen Questions!

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian takes on a dozen pen questions! Rapid fire!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) cjcxx- Instagram  (09:47)

Is there still any innovation in fountain pen engineering or is it pretty much down to decorative /budget considerations? (ps. why is octagonal a thing?!)

  • Fountain pens have been around for 150ish years, so a lot of technology has already been developed for them
  • given that it’s not a booming, growing industry the technological innovation has slowed a lot
  • there are some innovations in materials, nib design, filling mechanisms
  • a lot of the changes that come are decorative though, that’s very true
  • Octagonal is cool for some 😉

2) justjudyart24- Instagram (13:46)

What are the signs I need to flush/clean my pen’s nib?

  • it’ll usually be a flow thing, ink drying up
  • check to make sure the pen is full of ink
  • if it’s been a couple of weeks, fill (with the same ink) or clean it and refill it
  • if you see anything stuck in the nib
  • if you’re changing ink
  • check out FP101 Pen Cleaning and maintenance

3) clreville- Instagram (17:14)

If you made it your mission to get as many people as possible to use a fountain pen which combinations of pen and ink do you think would help you accomplish this task??????

4) nataliebland- Instagram (21:52)

Any speculation on the Pilot 100 year anniversary pen?

  • sadly, I know nothing! We should learn things this fall, maybe late summer

5) cubanfire2- Instagram (23:53)

Dear Brian, I’m an efficiency addict and also a fledgling pen enthusiast. What upgrade to the general writing experience would you say provides the biggest bang for the buck: high quality paper, high quality ink, or a high quality pen? In my limited experience, when I began using fountain pen friendly paper I was astounded by how well my cheaper pens equipped with cheaper inks performed.

  • ooo, this is a toughie!
  • well, the fountain pen is the biggest leap, you have to at least start with SOMETHING
  • assuming you have a halfway decent writing pen tho…
  • in my earliest experience, I found that paper actually gave the biggest leapfrog in writing performance, it’s soooo overlooked
  • Try a Rhodia pad, or Clairefontaine, it’ll change your world
  • the fountain pen offers the richest, most tactile change in the writing experience which is why I think it means so much
  • ink gives the greatest visual change in the writing experience

6) @kouteichi- Twitter (28:02)

Since writing is a huge part of any fountain pen enthusiast’s life, how do you (and anyone else at GPC for that matter) choose what to write digitally vs analog? I’m about to graduate with a tech-ish degree and I’ve always struggled with finding the right balance between using digital tools like calendar or just writing out my week in my bullet journal, for example. I figured that since you’re an online retailer of analog things, you guys might have some insight on how to choose which tool for what task.

  • write what you love!
  • try lots of things, my method is completely trial and error
  • I personally like to write for pleasure, and for personal connection
  • 1-on-1 meetings, networking, I use notebooks
  • journaling
  • mind mapping, brain storming
  • thank you notes and letters

Ink

7) hotteaplanning- Instagram (34:05)

For Visconti Homo Sapiens, what are recommended inks? Any inks to avoid?

  • they discontinued the midi size which was piston, so I’ll mainly address the power filler
  • it’s kind of a pain to clean, so I like to use lower maintenance inks
  • I’d avoid shimmering inks, anything with a super high sheen
  • You can use most inks, especially conventional ones that you’re okay keeping in there a while

8) residentevil789- Instagram (36:36)

Have you ever tried to make your own ink for fountain pen and dip pen and did it turn out.

  • I’ve done the smallest amount of ink mixing before, but not in a long time
  • it turned out okay…but honestly there are so many other inks I just haven’t messed much with it!

Troubleshooting

9) adriaanerik- Instagram (37:29)

Is it a problem that I broke off a fin from my feed?

  • it’s not great! but probably not the end of the world
  • the fins are there to regulate the ink, and losing one or two probably won’t make a noticeable difference
  • if you lose a bunch, it might have a tougher time keeping up with ink flow when you write quickly
  • it’ll likely bother you more aesthetically than anything
  • you just have to be careful when swapping nibs, that’s when it’s most likely to happen

Business

10) ssliu4- Instagram (40:11)

Do you guys announce the discontinuation of pens? What about when you stop carrying brands. When products hit your “bottom shelf” when does it mean the brand stops carrying the product, and when does it mean the Goulet team choose to stop carrying the product? Thanks!

  • It depends, sometimes we do, sometimes not
  • Oftentimes, we stop carrying things that don’t sell well, and everyone has lost interest in so a big announcement will not be of much interest
  • Other products that are more in demand and sell out (especially limited items that have run out) are trickier, as we don’t want to overhype or make anyone upset, so we play it by ear, often hiding the page on our site and leaving it up for those with a direct link to see that it’s been sold out
  • our Bottom Shelf isn’t for discontinued items, but rather scratch n dent, always discounted
  • We have a closeouts page that’s for things we’ve stopped carrying, the two are in similar places on the site but mean different things
  • We don’t always discount closeouts, mainly just if we have a lot and are trying to clear them out

11) gopivajravelu- Instagram (46:33)

What type of office supplies do you provide for employees of the Goulet Pen Company? The company I work for provides the usual Tops legal pads, post it notes, and disposable ballpoint pens. Do you all have a stock room of Lamy blue ink cartridges and Rhodia dot pads? That would be a nice perk for working at a pen company!

  • We have a lot of the normal office supplies, but obviously plenty of pens, ink, and nice paper
  • we’ll provide notebooks, usually somewhat more specific to peoples’ needs
  • We have Rhodia pads around, and plenty of other brands, too
  • lots of our team like to use dedicated notebooks for their work and personal life together, so then it’s more of a personal choice and they choose what they want
  • we get samples and give away stuff pretty regularly, so there’s a lot of that our team uses
  • everyone gets a pretty decent discount here
  • free ink samples, we want our team to go nuts and try as many inks as they want!
  • no ballpoints, nope
  • we do have a lot of G2 rollerballs, though
  • our team definitely gets to use a lot of what we sell

12) rele.chinmayxoxo- Instagram (49:37)

I just started a new YouTube channel in the wake of Matt’s absence. I was wondering if you have any tips on growing a channel. Love your work.

  • Yes, it’s sad to hear Matt Armstrong has taken a permanent hiatus from The Pen Habit
  • tips on growing the channel, eh?
  • focus on making engaging content that fills a void
  • don’t copy others, do your own style, authenticity is critical
  • speak what you know, and if you don’t know it, learn it
  • don’t focus on how many subscribers or followers you have, that’s a vanity metric
  • focus on engagement, are people watching your content? Are they responding in comments? do they care?

QOTW: What writing/productivity methods do you find most beneficial with a pen and paper? (1:00:17)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

May 25th, 2018|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

Thursday Things: Hockey Playoffs

The Goulet office is all a-buzz with talk of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this week. We’ve rounded up some icy products to commemorate the occasion for this week’s Thursday Things assortment. Scoring any one of these cool products would be a goal for your pen collection. Grab your skates & light the lamp while checking out Thursday Things: Hockey Playoffs.

Featured products from left to right:

 

If each ink represents one of the teams playing, which ink are you choosing (Diamine Oxblood for the Washington Capitals or Diamine Golden Sands for the Vegas Golden Knights)?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

May 24th, 2018|Thursday Things|0 Comments