May 13, 2005, 9:28 AM
Post #4 of 5
What is wrong with your bead shops locally? (Where is locally?)
Re: [Mollie] Mother's bracelet help please
[In reply to]
While it's hard to compete against the www (I mean, really, it's the whole world) it's not always best to try to order on-line, especially at first.
Since you talked about selection, *not* price (which is what most people use as their excuse to not support a local shop), I'm really curious.
Where do I order from? Depends.
Yesterday a truck took a detour from a Columbus, OH show, to stop by and show me their stuff. I over bought (unfortunately) --- (so there is some really good stuff at really good prices this weekend!), but that's how I usually buy. IN PERSON! Especially for gemstones. I do buy glass and crystals by mail, since they are by the numbers, and don't change, and I have several distributors that I deal with. A few only deal with shops (not garage or flea market operators), others have $2000 or more minimums.
I usually buy in quantity, so my customers can pick and choose at a fair cost.
Other things I buy on-line are findings (standard clasps and such), precious metal wire (how different can it be from what I'm expecting?) and consumables for rock tumbling (like grits and polish). Rough rock I ask for samples, and if good I'll buy more. If what comes is not what I expected, I don't deal again.
I had a bait/switch on some rock items from a vendor on ebay recently, a wholesaler in california must have thought I was a moron. I even contacted them personally a few times BEFORE buying and having them ship, and still got switched. So, they weren't even concerned about future business.
Unless you can afford the wait,and shpping costs ("free" shipping is built in to the product cost, and usually costs _more_ in the long run), ordering on-line is not the way to go as a designer/jewelry maker. You do not cultivate any relationships locally. If you run out of something, on a weekend, or friday, you have no way to get it (your local shop probably won't have it, since you don't deal with them, they don't preferentially stock items _you_ need). If you need just a few of something, you have to place a full order, rather than picking up the few items you need. If you get defective, or wrong items, you have to wait to return them, and wait for replacements. You always pay *full* shipping costs, never get to 'share' them on the shop's larger orders. And many other "perks."
I've lost count how many times we've "saved the day" for people because they ran out of a wire, or a bead, and needed some _now_ or on a friday, and we had them in stock (because they shopped with us, we stock preferentially what they need.) I know many of them order from catalogs, but I also know they are often disappointed -- and never disappointed with their purchases with us. Some have started going to NY to shop, avoiding mail order and catalogs all together (we can't compete with NYC, we're one bead shop in Pittsburgh).
Before writing off your local shops, have you talked with any of them to see if they can get you what you need?
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217