Thursday, February 21, 2013

Inky Treats from the Goulet and ISellPens

I was opposed to buying sample because I didn't like the higher unit price (and I am that kind of person who loves the bottle aspect of bottled ink) but recent experiences tell me that it would be much more expensive to be stuck with 89 ml of ink that I don't like...So, I went on a mini ink binge, from two FPN-reputable sellers,  Goulet Pen and
 Sample from Goulet Pen Company - Store based in Ashland, VA
Price: Most inks are $1.25/2ml. More expensive ones like Iroshizuku are $2.5/2ml. Some are in between (like Platinum Nano Ink and Caran d'Arche).  

Processing Time: Ordered on Friday noon, shipped on the following Monday. Which is still within 1 business day (I suspect if I ordered the night before it would be shipped that Friday).

Shipping Rate and Time: Based on weight and location. It took 4.5 dollars for these sample via first class (Priority costs 8 bucks...) Surprisingly, it only took 2 days from Virginia to south Texas.

Packaging: Plastic vial (in two plastic bags) then in a bubble mailer. Some of the stickers are put on hastily (so they didn't really stick) and on various position of the vials. It's not really a problem but...Yours truly just so happens to be OCD.

What I like : (Beside all the things Brian and Rachel have done in the e-fountain pen/writing world) Their ink selection is huge and you can shop by color, by brand and buy a whole sample set in those category (for example, all inks from Sailor, Noodler's Best Sellers, Popular browns etc) .

Beside a tootsie pop (that I don't like but ate anyway), the Goulet Order also came with an ink drop sticker and a bookmark, which is practical and very clever. The Jetpens ninja is cute and all that but I don't need that many business cards, you know?
Ink Sample Vials from located at Scottsdale, AZ
Price: 1 dollar/3ml for most inks (list price is 1.25 but it seems like their products are constantly on sale) like Noodler's, J. Herbin and 2.5 bucks/3ml for Pilot Iroshizuku.

Processing: Ordered around 1am on Monday (Ok, I just couldn't decided which one to get) shipped on the same day.

Shipping: Flat rate of 6 dollars via USPS Priority, US order of 75-dollars or above ships free. 
Took 2 days to arrive (at the same time as the Goulet packaging). 

Packaging: Vials in plastic bags then wrapped in thick bubble wrap before putting in a flat-rate box

What I like: The prices, not just on ink sample, are really competitive (a J. Herbin Rollerball is 6 bucks, Lamy Safari cost $27.65 but comes with a converter that normally costs at least 4.5 elsewhere. Platinum Century is 150...The list goes on.) Starting this spring, there is a new reward program that will give you 1-dollar equivalent of points,  for every 20 dollars of purchases. By the way, Todd is also the frequently mentioned/praised dealer of Chinese pens in FPN.
The Goulet Samples are pipetted (how else did they get so precise?) exactly on the 2ml mark while the "3ml" Isellpens samples are actually filled anywhere from 3.5-3.8ml.

Of course I didn't expect Goulet to give out "freebie" when they delivery the exact amount stated (there is whole team to give wages to) . I do appreciate the bigger ISP sample size as it means I get to try the sample on different pens or for a longer testing period.

Overall: Both sellers offer the same great services and I am happy about both transactions. On my next ink sample haul, I would probably give my pennies to Todd @ Isellpens. Mainly because there are still quite a few colors from Diamine, Noodler's,  J.Herbin and Pilot Iroshizuku I would like to try and his site gives me the best bang for the buck...Then I will go back to Goulet for more Sailor,  Rohrer Klingner and maybe some gimmicky ones by Noodler's.
Both places included hand written notes on the receipts. A true man is not afraid to a heart (or is it a bum 
=_= ?) next to his name. (Edit: Ok, it's probably the second D in his name. I need to get my soul cleansed...)
Katy also ID-ed the ink she used (Black Swan in Australian Roses). I have heard that the Goulet crew would also draw upon request, I didn't want to bug them with my stupid request...Which will look something like "May I have a realistic sketch of J.S Bach (the composer, done with Diamine ink with the same name) playing Breaking Ball Sonata for Vuvuzela on a toilet seat, looking pensive, please?"  (I would most likely end up with a picture of a flying fist.) 

P.S. Ignore the name Citrine on my profile (I don't even like the stone). When I started my other/main blog, I just needed to make something up so people (especially professors, perspective employers, creepy people who happen to know my name etc) who search my name don't end up starring at the the 854763 tubes (don't know the actual count as I am still in denial) of lip makeup I have amassed for the past 5 years, along with some mild profanity.


  1. I enjoy posts like this, thanks for sharing :) I especially enjoy the set up of your pictures - very nicely done. ... Is the little bum next to Todd's name possibly the second 'd' in his name? :D

    1. Damn... I never realized where the second D in Todd was. My friend was right, my mind is corrupted (I was in her car and heard that song by Bruno Mars and I was like, who in the world start a song with "her @$$, her @$$", she looked at me like I was the biggest perv of the century...

      Thanks, that's just the fence on the yard (I had to quit as the photo session accidentally set of the neighbor's dogs). I used to try a lot harder, like trying to balance flat-tipped pens on trees by the lake/or just poked them inside the trunk if the pens are cheap. The back-lighting and natural reflector gives of really sharp contrast and pretty bokeh) but then I had to stop because of some racist/sexist neighborhood creep.

  2. isellpens is the way to go for ink samples. I find the Goulet's samples overpriced ($1.25 for only 2 mL is quite a lot when you work it out), and their packaging creates a ton of plastic waste. Todd over at isellpens also ships and responds to e-mails over the weekend! Really great service.

    1. Well, I suppose 2ml/1.25 is actually standard for ink sample, when you taken the human labor into account. The employees are actually manually pipetting, fetching and labeling the vials. It's also quite business savvy as it gives you just enough to test the ink, if you want more you have to buy. It's a business after all.

      Anyway, the isellpen prices are so good that sometime I actually feel like I am cheating Todd's money out, because when it comes some brands (J. Herbin to be specific) the unit price on isellpen sample are almost exactly the same as the unit price of the bottled ink...Well, of course I have no complaint as a customer!