Nov 14, 2009, 10:18 AM
Post #1 of 1
Well, just found out that the Bead Mine on the South Side is closing.
Update == another bead store closing
Whatever your feelings, the loss of OPTIONS in an area is never a good thing.
In hard times people think they can save money by ordering on-line. That isn't always true. In many cases it's more money when you factor in the shipping, and the pre-planning, and the loss of being able to look at the beads. Especially for gemstones, you never get "that" strand, and as you know, what often comes is not the best of the bunch. That ends up costing MORE either in returns, or in beads you have sitting in your boxes you will never use.
We had that problem with the seed beads. When we opened up we had wanted to stock all the colors of the seed beads, heavier in the popular colors, but to have every color, and have them in a display that would show them off nicely. But, we found out that most beadersr bought their beads on-line. They felt it was cheaper. It really wasn't.. Yes, they could save on _SOME_ beads, maybe, but when they needed filler colors, they had to place a whole order, and had no local sources. Those beads cost more, and the extra shipping cost. Our raw cost for the seed beads was lower than most on-line places, and with regular and/or bulk purchases we could actually give better prices. But, the sales never picked up, so we phased out the seed beads except for the msot popular colors/styles (black, white, gold, silver, etc). We had a selection of other colors, but nowhere near "all".
The same is with other beads. If you patronize your local bead shop, they are able to stock more items, and offer more variety. If you only use them in an "emergency" their prices will of course be higher, because they are providing only "emergency services."
Yes, some pricing at some of the shops is "predatory". $18 for a 30 foot roll of Accuflex for example. But, many don't get any bigger discounts than you do when ordering. We do (iin many cases!)
But if the local bead shop could count on your business, and if something is a bit more at times, you are OK with that because it's the cost of keeping the shop in business, and local, and having all the OTHER advantages that go with it. The biggest advantage is being able to see, touch, compare the beads with your project, and pick the just the right bead, or strand.
You can't do that on-line.
When we carried the bulk Bali silver, we had _BETTER_ prices than most on-line places, because we could give you higher quality, without the labor/packing costs. We just had it out in trays, you picked what you wanted (the labor) we weighed it, and that was the only real labor/packing we had. That LOWERS the costs, and lets you pick ONLY the beads you needed. No minimum quantities.
I never looked at any of the other shops as my competition. In fact, the Bead Mine was my best advertising! I'm going to miss it. I've always been willing to work with the local shops to get them deals on gemstone beads and findings, and anything we carry (we are really a _WHOLESALE_ shop at heart!). But, they seem to look at us as "competition". I think I mentioned once that we had an out of town customer come in fuming because the shop a couple of blocks up wouldn't tell them where we were! Needless to say that shop is long gone, but why would you do that? We even had the business cards of other shops and handed them out. If you can't survive on your products, services and pricing, trying to hide other shops, or steal their business, isn't going to keep you going for long.
My grandfather taught me the right way to do business, and I'll never change. You are better, smarter, friendlier, more persistant, nicer, and all that than the other guys. You let the people CHOOSE you, and you've gotten a long-term customer. If you have to constantly "sell" the customer on your business, you are doing something wrong.
We've been picked by a great selection of local talent, local beaders, and local rock hounds who simply like our "style."
I hate to have to close, but unless something happens, I don't really have a choice.
But, I'm keeping the option open to the end.
That brings up another topic, "net" pricing, which is another message.
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217