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THE BIG French Clairefontaine Order


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#1 GouletPens

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 07:27

I have been talking with SEVERAL different FPN members about the absence of Clairefontaine loose sheets from the US. Exaclair, the only US importer of CF products, has decided to stop carrying loose sheets, which are now completely cleared out. The only way to get these loose sheets now is to either buy them internationally, or to have an overzealous retailer (ME) work to compile a 'group order' to place directly to Clairefontaine in France. I'm willing to take this on as long as I can make a few things clear.

First, everyone is going to have to be extremely patient. The shipping is going to take 3-4 months to go by cargo ship from France to eventually get to me, so you're going to have to be paaaaaaaatient. Right now is the busiest time of year for me with my custom pens, as well as the CF paper and J. Herbin inks I normally sell. My entire operation consists of me doing this full-time, and my 8-month pregnant wife (with a boy!) who works a full-time job then comes home to help me with my accounting and processing. Weíre already pulling 16+ hour days, so if it takes a little time for us to compile everyoneís requests and place the order, youíll know why!

Second, I'm going to want to get payment up front for anything you want to order, and if it's a product that I'm not going to be carrying regularly, you're going to need to purchase the entire case pack (the minimum order quantity that needs to be placed for a particular item).

Third, you're going to get a little frustrated because the CF online catalog is mostly in French. Though I have French in my blood and I took 3 years of it in high school some years ago, I'm quite rusty and may not be able to respond to inquiries as quickly as I normally would since I will most likely have to ask my French-speaking mother-in-law what every other word means! Patience, patience, and more patience will be key here, along with great communication.

Fourth, you will need to understand a little bit how CF works. France goes on a different fiscal year than the US does, so the timing of when they release new products hits at a weird time for the US. They come up with new designs for their notebook covers, as well as new products they might be introducing, around January. These products don't generally become available until around April/May, partly because they distribute the 'old' inventory completely before sending out the new designs. What this means is that if you place a French order with me in the coming month (I don't really know at this point when the actual order date will be), new designs or products may come out during the time that you're waiting for your order to come in. There's nothing I can do about that. I have no idea what might happen between the order placement and the time it comes in, so anything you order from France, you must be completely satisfied.

Lastly, since this is about the most special of special orders there can be, there will be no refunds available. Exaclair is willing to work with me to 'broker' the order, but since they aren't products they will normally offer, there will be no exchanges or refunds of any kind available. Be sure you're ordering what you want! The good news is, since Exaclair will broker the deal, we will get all our French products with no additional shipping costs added. Basically, they're going to put the order on the cargo ship with Exaclair's normal products, and we'll get a free ride, at least into the US. I'll have to get it shipped to me, then ship it to you, but trust me, that's a whole lot cheaper than air mail from France!!

Alright, so now that I got some disclaimers out of the way, let me talk about how this thing is going down. Online, there is a Clairefontaine interactive French catalog that is 356 pages (and mostly in French) where you can see EVERYTHING they make. Here it is: http://clairefontain...atalogues.info/ This of course is where Exaclair, the US distributor, gets their products, so there are going to be some products you might be interested in that Exaclair already carries. Here is Exaclair's interactive online catalog so you can cross-reference: http://exaclair.com/catalog.shtml If there is anything youíre interested in that is in Exaclairís catalog, let me know and I can order that for you with only about a 1 week wait. French order products should anticipate a 3-4 month wait.

The French order will be broken down into stages. The stages will be the following, which I will update with dates as I have them:

Stage 1: Discovery- beginning now, the time for everyone to review the Clariefontaine online catalog and Exaclair catalog to see items of interest, and to post in the thread to see who else might be interested in the same products or have feedback about products. Brian will find the best method for handling price inquiries to prepare for stage 2.

Stage 2: Pricing- tentatively set to be Friday, Dec. 18th. This will be the time when prices will either be published or be available upon inquiry. The initial stages of the ordering may begin, with email inquiries solidifying interest for items and quantities with prices assigned.

Stage 3: Payment- Timeline to be determined. Prices and quantities have been determined, and individual invoices will be sent out. Payment will be collected in full, with exception to the shipping charges to be determined at the time of shipment delivery to The Goulet Pen Company

Stage 4: Order Placement- Timeline to be determined. With all orders compiled and payments to Goulet Pen Company received, the order will be place to Clairefontaine in France.

Stage 5: Delivery- Timeline to be determined, estimated to be 3-4 months after order placement. Shipment will be delivered to Goulet Pen Company, orders will be separated and invoices will be sent out to individuals for shipping costs. Upon receipt of payment for shipping, items will be shipped to their rightful owners. And there will be much rejoicing.

Questions/Product Inquiries:
As far as what products you are interested in buying, the best way to contact me for any questions or orders is going to be through my work email, brian@gouletpens.com. If you PM me or post in this thread Iím happy to answer, but ultimately I want orders to be handled through my email since I may not have the time to check multiple sources online for questions. Be patient with me, as Iím not an expert on the 356 page catalog, and it may take me some time to get answers about specific questions you might have on certain Ďrandomí products. Thereís a chance I may come back with a response ďI just plain donít knowĒ, but I will do my best to answer all your inquiries.

Prices:
I recognize that the CF online catalog does not have prices for anything. Iím going to try to work with Exaclair to get a master list of the prices, but I donít know if anything like that exists or is accessible to me. What I want to avoid is getting 400 emails each day asking what the price is for 50 different products. My time is limited enough, and if Iím chasing around hundreds of price inquiries, then I will never logistically be able to compile this order. You will have to bear with me until I get this issue resolved. Consider the next several weeks a time to look at the catalog and get familiarized with the different products. Donít worry about prices until I post further information. If you email me about prices before I get a system together for handling price inquiries, Iím simply going to tell you to wait until I get a system together. I will not be doing any bulk discounts, no coupons, and no shipping breaks. The value Iím going to be providing you is the chance to buy products that you normally wouldnít have access to, and lack of additional shipping from France. I will not be extending my normal 10% discount to FPN members for this French order, because the extra time and logistics involved in placing this order are something that I feel I should not discount. Depending on how smoothly this order goes, I may or may not decide to do additional French orders in the future. I would advise that you consider this to be the only one that will be done, so think of it as your one shot to get what you want.

Order Placement:
Once you know what products youíre interested in, you can email me at brian@gouletpens.com with the product number and the quantity. The minimum quantities (I believe) are the numbers you see underneath the picture of the boxes for each product. For most products there are 3 different sized boxes. For example, on page 30, CF1751 is French Rule 100-sheet loose sheets, and the minimum order is 5 packs. There are 25 packs to a case, and 1000 to a crate. The only number you need to worry about is the lower one, 5. That would mean if youíre interested in CF 1751, you need to buy in quantities of 5 packs. You can whatever you want above that, but 5 is minimum. If you would like to coordinate with other FPN members and distribute your minimum purchase amongst yourselves, feel free. But I will not get into taking less than minimum orders, and having to keep track who and how the minimums are being met, or even worse having only one person wanting less than the minimum and having me get stuck with the rest. For my own sanity, I will only take an order if I know that the order in and of itself will qualify for the minimum.

Payment:
Iím going to run everything through Paypal. If you donít have a paypal account, you can always call me (my numberís in the contact section of my website) and give me a credit card number. This is the easiest way I can think to handle it, and itís worked well for all of the special orders Iíve been doing so far.

Shipping:
Since I donít know what weights and dimensions all of these different products are going to come to, the best way I can think to handle the shipping is to go without charging shipping until I get all of the products in. I will charge for the products themselves up front, but not charge any shipping. Say, for example, I place the order on Jan. 15. I would charge you for your products. When the order comes in, hypothetically on May 15, I will then contact you with the shipping amount and charge that as a separate transaction, and ship out your goods. There will be no free shipping deals on these French orders, period. I am willing to ship anywhere in the world, as long as you pay for it. This is another reason I wonít charge shipping until the order comes in to me, because after several months the shipping rates could change (they never go down), and I donít want to be left high and dry.

I think that about covers it for now. Clearly you can see that I am taking this very seriously. This is a huge undertaking for anyone, but for me in particular with all of the other life things I have going on. I am, however, sensitive to the demands of my customers, and since there has been a great interest in a French order Iím willing to do the dog work, but only in a way that will be logical and reasonable for me to handle. After all, if things get too complicated and too time consuming, itíll either stretch out how long it takes me to place the order or even worse, I may have to cancel the idea altogether. I think with the approach Iím taking, itís fair and equitable for everyone, and we can all end up with some very unique and interesting products that will be available to no one else. So save up your pennies, go light on the Christmas spending, and think about what youíre going to want from Clairefontaine in France!!

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#2 Gran

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 08:30

Brian, thank you very much for offering this. There are many lovely things in the French catalogue.

There is enough in English, that specific information about the products is easy to decipher.

http://clairefontain...gues.info/0-312
May you have pens you enjoy, with plenty of paper and ink. :)

Please use only my FPN name "Gran" in your posts. Thanks very much!

#3 DanF

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 09:55

Perhaps those more fluid in French, and/or more patient than I, could report back on any things that they run across in the catalog that might be of interest to the rest of us. Maybe a new thread could be started for that to avoid confusion.

Hats off to you Brian, for undertaking this project!

Dan
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#4 Ghost Plane

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 12:33

It's not often people are in on the birth of a new business model. Seeing Brian's responsiveness to thinking outside the box reminds me of the early days of Amazon and other famous internet sites.

I recommend patience for everyone, flexibility in our thinking, and an eye to the future. If we hug, and feed, and pet this company and take it for long walks, we'll have a phenomenol source of new products for years to come.

Brian's doing something that's rarely if ever been done before in response to our interest. I, for one, would love to see it continue.

For those who international purchases who want to be able to guesstimate shipping from the US to their countries, the US Postal Service websitewill help you. If in doubt, round UP as our postal rates seem to change upwards with alarming regularity.

And let's keep in mind that wife and soon to be son. We're going to have a sleep deprived family on our hands soon, so let's give them some time to get their website and this deal off the ground. :thumbup:

Bottom line, we're in this for the long term. :cloud9:

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#5 GouletPens

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 14:11

See this is why I love FPN. Everyone here is so understanding and supportive. This really is going to be a group effort, and already you have posted some great information to benefit others. In addition to it being Christmas season, I also just found out from Karen (at Exaclair) that the woman I'll be working with for pricing on the French order is deep into designing and pricing the new 2010 Exaclair catalog. It's going to take great coordination and communication between me and Exaclair, between me and everyone here at FPN, and between all the FPN members as well. I feel almost like I'm conducting an orchestra, and I need to get all of the right instruments to play the right notes! I'm going to work to make sure that in the end, everyone is completely satisfied, and everyone's help as support is much appreciated! :happyberet:

#6 xiewadu

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 15:21

Looks like loose-leaf paper is on p 30 - 32. I just can't interpret the differences - single sheets, single sheets and refill pads, double sheets...
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#7 Chemyst

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 15:37

Looks like loose-leaf paper is on p 30 - 32. I just can't interpret the differences - single sheets, single sheets and refill pads, double sheets...


The refill pads are bound on an edge and are smaller.

The looseleaf stuff that comes closest to U.S. Letter size is ISO A4 (210 X 297 mm).

Single sheets are just what they say, single sheets of paper ruled on both sides. This is what you probably think of as "refill paper" and buy for use in three ring binders.

Double sheets are like single sheets except they are made from a sheet of paper twice as large and are folded along the left edge. The result being something like a pamphlet, looking at the front, you have page 1 (sheet 1). You can turn the page to open and see page 2 (sheet 1) and page 3 (sheet 2). Then you still have the back, being page 4 (sheet 2). These sheets can also be nestled to create small "books" if you like. They are useful for turning in compositions in school, keeping notes from presentations together w/o stapling and other such things.

Edited by Chemyst, 04 December 2009 - 16:00.

Chemyst is not and never was a representative of Noodler's Ink. As misrepresentations like this are not allowed on FPN, Chemyst's right to participate on our board was therefore withdrawn, as from March 2016.
 
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#8 vilasman

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 15:58

Ooooo I like things from far away places that nobody else has. I understand that I will have to buy the minimum case size, but is there a minimum dollar amount for an order?

#9 xiewadu

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 15:59

Thank you very much, Chemyst!
- Jen
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#10 xiewadu

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 16:22

Okay, Brian.

Here is what I'm interested in discovering pricing for when you get to Stage 2:

Page 28 Feuillets Mobiles - Blanc, A4 size, L8+M, Vendor Number 1756

I'd like to clarify that this appears to be...

pads of A4 looseleaf,
universally punched,
with Americanized lines/margins,
in packages of 100 sheets,
and that a case contains 25 packs of paper,
divided into 5 boxes.

If this appears to be so, and anyone else is interested in going in on a case depending on price, let me know.
- Jen

PS - Sent an email to Brian about what I wanted to clarify.

Edited by xiewadu, 04 December 2009 - 16:30.

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#11 Chemyst

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 17:08

Page 28 Feuillets Mobiles - Blanc, A4 size, L8+M, Vendor Number 1756

I'd like to clarify that this appears to be...

pads of A4 looseleaf,
universally punched,
with Americanized lines/margins,
in packages of 100 sheets,
and that a case contains 25 packs of paper,
divided into 5 boxes.


Jen, that is what I see. It'll come as a folio with 100 loose pages, punched as illustrated in the picture. The paper will be slightly narrower and taller than U.S. Letter, but will be comparable. It'll have lines at an interval of 8 mm (likely in light purple/grey) and will also have a left hand margin (likely in pale red). Your minimum order will be a 5-pack (500 sheets).

Edited by Chemyst, 04 December 2009 - 17:09.

Chemyst is not and never was a representative of Noodler's Ink. As misrepresentations like this are not allowed on FPN, Chemyst's right to participate on our board was therefore withdrawn, as from March 2016.
 
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#12 GouletPens

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 17:30

Ooooo I like things from far away places that nobody else has. I understand that I will have to buy the minimum case size, but is there a minimum dollar amount for an order?

No minimum dollar amount. As long as I meet my minimum for the entire order (which I'm sure won't be a problem), I'm not going to institute a minimum $ purchase. Whatever the price of the minumum quantity comes out to, that'll be the minimum $ amount. If you only want to spend a certain amount and want to go in with other FPN members on purchasing a certain product, by all means go ahead. Perhaps I can start a separate thread just for this purpose?

#13 dizzypen

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 17:32

Can someone provide a key for the paper style codes (5/5, L8, O, etc.)?

I've figured out that 0= Blank page and Seyes=french rule. I'm not sure about the others. Thanks

ETA: also, does anyone know if there are refills for the Clairing disc-bound notebooks? I have two and need refills.

Just figured out that 5/5=quad rule and L8= lined with 8mm line spacing.

Edited by dizzypen, 04 December 2009 - 17:35.

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#14 Chemyst

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 17:36

Can someone provide a key for the paper style codes (5/5, L8, O, etc.)?

I've figured out that 0= Blank page and Seyes=french rule. I'm not sure about the others. Thanks

Just figured out that 5/5=quad rule and L8= lined with 8mm line spacing.


The back of the catalogue shows the various ruling options (page 333).


ETA: also, does anyone know if there are refills for the Clairing disc-bound notebooks? I have two and need refills.


There are lots of options for the Clairing product line. Type "Clairing" into the search "rechercher" box in the top right of the catalogue.

Edited by Chemyst, 04 December 2009 - 17:41.

Chemyst is not and never was a representative of Noodler's Ink. As misrepresentations like this are not allowed on FPN, Chemyst's right to participate on our board was therefore withdrawn, as from March 2016.
 
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#15 dizzypen

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 17:39

Can someone provide a key for the paper style codes (5/5, L8, O, etc.)?

I've figured out that 0= Blank page and Seyes=french rule. I'm not sure about the others. Thanks

ETA: also, does anyone know if there are refills for the Clairing disc-bound notebooks? I have two and need refills.

Just figured out that 5/5=quad rule and L8= lined with 8mm line spacing.


The back of the catalogue shows the various ruling options (page 333).


Thanks!
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#16 GouletPens

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 15:53

I just found out that anything ordered from France has a minimum quantity of the CARTON pack, not the CASE pack. This could significantly change the way this order operates. Instead of ordering a case of 5 pack of loose sheets, we may have to order the carton of 50 packs. It's going to require a little more organization and a lot more demand for the individual products.

#17 dizzypen

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 15:57

I just found out that anything ordered from France has a minimum quantity of the CARTON pack, not the CASE pack. This could significantly change the way this order operates. Instead of ordering a case of 5 pack of loose sheets, we may have to order the carton of 50 packs. It's going to require a little more organization and a lot more demand for the individual products.


:gaah: There's always something isn't there...
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#18 Ghost Plane

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 15:58

Back to the drawing board. :headsmack:

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#19 Chemyst

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 16:00

I just found out that anything ordered from France has a minimum quantity of the CARTON pack, not the CASE pack. This could significantly change the way this order operates. Instead of ordering a case of 5 pack of loose sheets, we may have to order the carton of 50 packs. It's going to require a little more organization and a lot more demand for the individual products.


Could be worse, could require the CRATE pack.
Chemyst is not and never was a representative of Noodler's Ink. As misrepresentations like this are not allowed on FPN, Chemyst's right to participate on our board was therefore withdrawn, as from March 2016.
 
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#20 xiewadu

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 17:07

I just found out that anything ordered from France has a minimum quantity of the CARTON pack, not the CASE pack. This could significantly change the way this order operates. Instead of ordering a case of 5 pack of loose sheets, we may have to order the carton of 50 packs. It's going to require a little more organization and a lot more demand for the individual products.


Just to clarify...
In the catalog, there are three columns for everything, indicating amount. Which column is carton - two or three?
My assumption was that we would have to order in column two quantities.

- Jen
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