Unless you’re lucky enough to live near a real brick and mortar store, you are buying your fountain pens online. There’s a good chance that as a newbie you are relying on the internet for your information and instructions, particularly from the sites you get your equipment from. Each online vendor I’ve used has positive and negatives, from the experience of shopping from their site, their customer service, shipping, and on and on. Here is a list of vnedors I have done business with and my experience, as a new vendor is used, I will add them to this article so keep an eye on it!
AMAZON.com. Sigh… I hate to admit this and I REALLLLLY hate to start with them, but I did the math and the king’s share of my fountain pen related spending has been with amazon. Why? Well, it’s that damn PRIME membership I have, and the fast shipping with it… not to mention free shipping.
And there that’s the positives.. you can save a few bucks and a few days if you have Prime. Prices are about the same as anywhere else before shipping is calculated. Also, there’s always SOME vendor on Amazon with what I want in stock while everybody else is sold out….. if I’m willing to pay their asking price. The vast majority of my orders end up being through an Amazon dealer called Junipers, I’ve had a few problems with items not showing up EVER or the wrong thing coming my way, so if you use Amazon KEEP TRACK OF WHAT YOU EXPECT AND WHEN
There is no support on Amazon. Half the time with Pens there’s no information about a converter; you have to guess if it’s included or which converter to buy. No bueno for buying pens you haven’t researched elsewhere.
Gouletpens.com LOVE. This is my favorite online vendor for a lot of reasons, let me gush here for you. Goulet is where I go for info, their item descriptions are flawless, their ink reviews include all the important info like Does It Shade and Is It Water Resistant, even drying time! Their blog on youtube is a FANTASTIC resources for all things pen a ink; I trust their product reviews too.
The best thing about Goulet, though, is the small shop FEEL you get dealing with them. Their website is organized pleasingly like a brick and mortar store. The Head Honcho fields questions from customers every week (I’ve had a question ans wed!). You’re items get to you as safely as if you bought them in a brick and mortar and carried them home yourself…. seriously, I doubt anyone else out there is putting the effort into SAFELY shipping items to their customers; I’m NEVER worried about my items getting to me in one piece with a Goulet order! They even give you a little candy with your order. The prices range from industrty stadard to a LITTLE high and shpping for anything of substance starts at 7.95, which is the ONLY reason I don’t always use their site. I often find myself willing to pay the few extra dollar, however, for great personal live customer service and the sense that I know the people I’m buying from and they will take care of me!
One final note, they sell 2ml samples of in! For just a dollar and change in most cases you can test many to most of the inks they sell before buying!
Goldspot.com. I’ve ordered ink from them twice now, with mixed results. The first order included something they were out of. Instead of a notification on the site BEFORE I placed my order, I got an email after I’d paid in full offering me to either change or cancel my order because of back stock. I said I’d keep it but changed my mind a few days later and contacted their service representative; he cancelled my order quickly and politely with no hassle.
I ordered again from them recently because their shipping is a TAD lower than Goulet’s and I was penny pinching. Nothing glass, just two 30ml bottles of Diamine ink, so I’m not uncomfortable with a company I don’t know packaging my order. I’ll update this post when I receive it with how well packaged it was and how long their cheap shipping took.
All in all satisfactory, but honestly, I’d BROWESED and selected my ink on Goulet’s site and the jumped to Goldspot to order. I actually feel a little bad!
JETPENS.com. I haven’t placed any orders with them to talk about but I just wanted to give the a thumbs up for providing good information about all their products and education about all their categories of wares. You can learn a lot about ALL KINDS of writing equipment here.