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Customer Service Kiosk -- Questions for LE vendors.

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  #61  
Old 2008-04-06, 1:28pm
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I would like to start out by saying that whenever I challenge another’s opinion, I am humble. I take the approach of "I think I am right, but maybe I am wrong". There is the disclaimer. Now keep that in mind as you read
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I hate the expense, and I have thought the same thing as I stand by and watch suppliers just DUMP their stock and hurt the entire glass market. Believe me I sit back every year after spending around 10,000.00 dollars on glass every 365 days... No joke.

Dennis, just interjecting some thoughts here regarding glass that is an artisan by product or hand batched glass created by glassblowers such as specialty colors, traditional handmade pattern cane, veiled glass, hand batched silver glass, Trautmans amazing blizzards and Elvis reds that we just love.... and would dearly miss if they disappeared off the market. I say this with all the love in my heart. Is it truly wise for an artisan to acquire all the skills necessary to create veiled cane or hand mix batch in order to SAVE MONEY. OR hand build 5 rings of cored color using Italian glass to replicate the effects of Vetrofond odds? It takes time and costs us in fuel to carry out such tasks. Time money and energy that is best spent behind the torch creating art to keep cash flow coming in. A divided vision always fails...

Does everyone understand how much their furnaces cost them in fuel or electricity to run.... Try a whopping 900-1500.00 every 30 days. Go visit a few local glass blowers that only run ONE small furnace and perhaps two small sized crucible kilns and a color bar/pipe warmer. That is not including labor, the batch, and their skills acquired over time. Skills that no one else can do, or probably would never even want to do. Sea freight for German /Italian/ Japanese glass is dear, then it is broken down by staff who all need a pay check. How many hours were spent by boro mixers to expand our color pallet or strive to help us out by creating the perfect white boro rod. How about the air fair it costs during the negotiation of expanding our soft glass color selection/availability overseas. yada yada blah blah blah (I will spare you the the rest of the speech).

Is is possible that we do the same when marking up the cost of our own work to earn a living? Hmmm. How many rods of 50.00 per pound boro does it take to create one nice focal that might fetch us 30.00 - 80.00 each? My kiln only cost 5 bucks a day to anneal 10-45 nice sized focals. Raw material cost to fill the kiln averages around 20 - 65.00 tops when using precious metals. Our customers sort of do not understand why a bead that takes us an hour to make costs even 25.00 let alone 150.00 for a top grade premium (Bless their darling hearts).

Everything has gone up in price. Eggs, Gasoline, our stinking fuel/electric bill. Everything we buy has increased in price, but as far as the argument of the painter buying premium materials instead of furthering the development of his artistic skills... well that all depends upon your budget and ability to learn how to batch Trautmans teal blizzard or slave over recreating Terra
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Go give it a try… (insert giggle).

Seriously, just find the balance of selecting the glass that pleases you while being financially responsible. Grab these unheard of deals while they are there because they just might bankrupt other suppliers that are some of our absolute favorite companies. It is not just glass! Torch manufactures are just allowing distributorships with every mom and pop shop that opens up. The sales territory honor system just was done away with it seams. The market is flooded with product and the price undercutting begins, AND CUSTOMERS BEGIN TO SORT OF RESENT THE SUPPLIERS that have the nerve to charge a fair price for their materials. It confuses the consumers. So sad for everyone. I hope the recession does not continue to force stock dumping, as I truly fear the consequences.

Hope it was worth the read and does not ruffle too many feathers, and remember, maybe I am totally off base here?

It is only my opinion. ~ Starleen
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Last edited by *StarleensStudio*; 2008-04-06 at 4:07pm. Reason: This was my first rant in 3 years of posting in a forum. I did pretty good huh? ~ Starleen
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  #62  
Old 2008-04-06, 2:38pm
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Starleen that was a very thoughtful post and nice to hear coming from a consumer and not a dealer. I too have really been wondering about why some dealers are dumping product. As a new dealer and especially an East Coast dealer I am clueless. But isn't that how the robber barons got rid of all of their competition at the turn of the century?

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  #63  
Old 2008-04-06, 2:40pm
Reenie Reenie is offline
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Wow Bill You are making more than me!! I think I am netting 2 cents an hour. And I am up until 3 a.m. every night packing. I sure wish I had a wife to help! Weekends are spent either cutting glass or working on the website. Btw, I don't charge for peanuts or bubble wrap either and also do return extra shipping money because that is what I would want for myself!
I don't know of anybody getting rich in the glass business and I know a lot of people in it!
Well gotta run. More boxes to pack!

Paula
Both of you are too funny. $4.00 an hour might be putting it a bit high don't you think?
Yea I have to agree. It's just me here packing, shipping, ordering, cleaning and at least I have two teens that Do help with the cutting because bundles of rods are not light.
I work 7 days a week and probably 16-18 hour days. If I'm not packing I'm cutting, or cleaning, or ordering more, or updating the website. I get yelled at for spending too much time (working) yet for new businesses or even anyone who owns their own....You have to work like this to get it moving along. Now I really need an accountant because I don't think I've balanced my checkbook in over 3 months. I've got a box of receipts that just keeps getting higher but no time to do paperwork. Anyone want the job? I'm totally serious here!
Now if I was a huge distributor like Frantz or some of the other one's. I could hire people (Sigh) Wouldn't that be great and they could do the work while I do the important stuff. But the good thing is...I don't have the overhead like Frantz and others do. I don't have to do payroll or benefits or whatever he does for his employees.
I don't have to pay for rent or utilities so that's a huge plus! All that factors in as does shipping and materials and such.
But for someone like me who has a mind that goes a mile a minute...this is the perfect place for me to be. My mind can never go to places that it shouldn't (panic attacks) because I'm constantly keeping it busy. That's why I had to quit my day job so....even if I made a penny a day....The benefits of keeping my sanity and being able to do what I love...is soooo worth it!

PS...this is what is waiting for me now....Been sitting almost a week
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  #64  
Old 2008-04-06, 2:48pm
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Yeah and I bet you never get to light your torch anymore!
Guess how I know!

Paula
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  #65  
Old 2008-04-06, 2:59pm
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Torch? What torch?
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  #66  
Old 2008-04-06, 3:07pm
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It has to be frustrating to suppliers when another supplier has a sale. (Or floods the market, etc.) Fact of the matter each self employed person has over head and has to watch their bottom line. Maybe they get discounts if they buy in quantity. So, how to generate the cash for a big order to supply more glass? Perhaps a sale of existing glass. (One of many scenerios.) It is pretty logical that each vendor will run sales and promotions as they choose. Any self employed person knows the job has to be done regardless of pay, or they close. It isn't like a pay is guaranteed. If they have too much wrapped up in inventory, a sale will help the bottom line. It may frustate the lampworker that they can't as easily change their sales, but like many self employment situations, all we can do is watch our inputs. I think sales are a good thing for us.

I think the vendors are also artists. They recognize not all glass is the same. The boutique colors are like limited edition collectables, small batch wines or hand dyed fiber. They are created with a lot of trial and error. Often one of a kind or a smaller quantity. With the small quantity supply and demand kicks in, be it odd lots, a limited edition color, something discontinued, or the first in the country, people chomp at the bit to buy it. These colors are at least briefly recognized as high demand or different, and for various reasons command a higher price. Of course the vendors charge what the market dictates.

Full time beadmakers buy more glass, often at a discount because of volume. Sally new lampworker buys her glass a rod at a time at a local stained glass store. There are price points and buying options for all and I think our vendors do a good job trying to keep tempermental artists supplied.
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  #67  
Old 2008-04-06, 3:37pm
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Yeah and I bet you never get to light your torch anymore!
Guess how I know!

Paula
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Torch? What torch?
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I have lit the torch three times in the past few months. All to make test beads!!
But I did stay up until 5am this morning so I could try and fuse something lol.
I have a huge show on the weekend of the 19th &20th. Californians will know it as the "California Poppy Festival" I'm pretty excited but the last 2 shows were no sales. Maybe 2 things sold in both. The economy really sux and it hurt all the arts and craft vendors at both. Doesn't help when they put your booth next to another jewelry person who buys her stuff at Walmart & Michaels and sells them for $5-$10 a piece. I've put out almost $1,000 for three shows so far. Had to credit card them all.
Praying this show is a bit better for me.

And Nancy as far as sales, you are right. When you're not making your quota and bills need to be paid, you have to offer ANYTHING in order to generate some income. I'm glad I sold off my ASK Glass...not for profit but that's the only way I can afford to buy the new Moretti Colors coming in.
And income tax returns help...my whole tax refund went to Germany for Lauscha. Thank God I only buy from them once or twice a year
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But with the dollar as low as it is..I paid nearly double what the euro is and boy did that hurt! That isn't even customs and bonds and shipping.

But be prepared for a big sale starting Wednesday. Everyone else has been having these same sales for over a month now and it's time to jump in as well and see if we make room for the Moretti and God knows what else Mikey brought back from Italy in his huge suitcase
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  #68  
Old 2008-04-06, 4:18pm
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I have to say that I totally hate the price of some glass but I don't begrudge them from charging what they have to make due.. I hate the price because I want it and can't have it because #1 I can't afford it and #2 I am too cheap to spend $100 a pound on glass or even $50 for that matter..

I guess the way I see it is most glass sellers probably make most of their $$ in the odd lots and charge more for the odd stuff to offset the lower profit margin on the regular glass. If you can live without purchasing every oddlot or silver color that comes out, $11 to $15 a pound I can handle..

I do have a question though for the smaller glass sellers, please don't take this the wrong way, but I wonder why would you keep putting yourself through the hassle and work of selling the glass if your only making a couple bucks per hour?
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  #69  
Old 2008-04-06, 4:21pm
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Torch? What torch?
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  #70  
Old 2008-04-06, 4:25pm
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I do have a question though for the smaller glass sellers, please don't take this the wrong way, but I wonder why would you keep putting yourself through the hassle and work of selling the glass if your only making a couple bucks per hour?
I "only" sell beads, not glass, but I'm guessing it's the same reason beadmakers keep going while they complain about how hard times are and how few buyers there are - love of the glass.
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  #71  
Old 2008-04-06, 4:27pm
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I do have a question though for the smaller glass sellers, please don't take this the wrong way, but I wonder why would you keep putting yourself through the hassle and work of selling the glass if your only making a couple bucks per hour?
My business started to help pay the rent when I had a teaching studio. Once I started buying in quantity I more or less had to go online to sell the rest of the glass. For me I am just trying to build up a little retirement business to stay busy. I reinvest any profit into more glass. Except for last month when it helped pay my oil bill. And usually when I have a sale it's because there's thousands of dollars on my credit card for glass that I just bought and the bill came...Or it's a long weekend and I am off of the Day job with nothing to do!

Paula
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  #72  
Old 2008-04-06, 4:50pm
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I do have a question though for the smaller glass sellers, please don't take this the wrong way, but I wonder why would you keep putting yourself through the hassle and work of selling the glass if your only making a couple bucks per hour?
I do it for two very distinct reasons. One is, I LOVE glass and this was a natural progression for me from making beads. If it wouldn't be painful, I would roll around in it!
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The 2nd is very personal to me. My daughter has had a really, really hard last 4 years emotionally. When she was 16 she tried to commit suicide. When she was released after being in for several weeks, she was still not stable enough to be left alone and all the doctors agreed that she needed to be monitored 24/7. Well, there is no daycare for 16 year olds. So I talked with lots people and decided that it was time to do something that I had thought about doing for a long time already. Become self employed. That first summer home with my daughter and doing the start up was the best summer I have ever had in my life.

It has taken her a long time, but over the last several months life has turned the direction it should for her and me being available to her whenever I needed to be has been a godsend. I wouldn't trade what I am doing for anything in the world.
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  #73  
Old 2008-04-06, 5:08pm
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Yeah you have to really LOVE glass!!

Glad your daughter is doing better JameyLynn...

Paula
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  #74  
Old 2008-04-06, 10:53pm
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I do have a question though for the smaller glass sellers, please don't take this the wrong way, but I wonder why would you keep putting yourself through the hassle and work of selling the glass if your only making a couple bucks per hour?
Megan,
I think I mentioned this but I'll tell you my story. I worked retail for many, many years. In my position I last held there was just too much stress. Combine that with Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia and well it wasn't a good mix. I've had PD for about 20 years now but it went through stages. I ended up having a nervous breakdown in 2006 and I didn't even leave my home for 3 months. (This was a few months after I first started lampworking) Thank God for lampworking because it did save my life. I started researching and I thought maybe this is something that I could do since I was pretty much housebound anyways. I did make it back to work and researched what I could at the same time. I wrote to Frantz, Moretti N More, Jodel Glass, Arrow Springs and LBS supply and told them I was thinking of selling glass and I was hoping for their blessing. I promised no undercutting and to be comparable in price but that this is something I think I needed to do.
I think almost everyone wrote back and said, "Go for it!" A few even gave me tips which I was really just blown away. I knew it was the right thing because pieces of the puzzle were just falling into place.
I started up in April of last year and quit my day job in August because it was too much to do both. I still struggle with panic disorder but my mind is constantly on packing, cleaning, selling, ordering...etc that I don't have time to let my mind go into the dark places.
So this is a good thing. I still don't drive out of town but I'm working on it.
Thank God the post office is only 4 miles away.
But that's why I started. No profits yet. I am like everyone else, if there's any profit it goes to building up my supply or trying to add to the variety of things I sell on the site and that's okay...I do hope that this business does turn a profit in a year or so which would be normal but I'm just getting started so I expected the 7 days a week and I expected a loss. But the best thing is I'm home. I'm home when my kids are home. I'm home when they're sick....I'm just available to them more now and they all pitch in and help when needed. One day, I hope they will take it over from me if I'm not here anymore. Or at least my daughter since the boys already have their careers picked out and it doesn't have anything to do with glass.
So that's the story.
Hope everyone didn't mind me sharing.
It's also on the About me page on my website.
Irene
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  #75  
Old 2008-04-06, 11:21pm
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This is exactly the reason I switched to BE. I got sick and tired of paying a whole lot for what were essentially mistakes and duplication was questionable. The final straw for me was all those corals that weren't coral at all. [Yes, I know lots of you loved them, and tell yourself (and call the colors) whatever you want, but they weren't coral.]
I have the same issue about the corals. I jumped on the coral bandwagon and bought several of the corals only to discover that none of them are coral.

In fact the one color that came closest to coral was the first pound of Red Roof Tile I bought and what do they name it? Red Roof Tile!......LOL

The second batch of Red Roof Tile I bought came looking more on the yellow side in rod form. I haven't tried using it yet but I'm guessing I'm going to be disappointed.

And what of all those corals I bought? It sits there gathering dust. I might use it if I ever want to make an orange bead.
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  #76  
Old 2008-04-07, 1:37pm
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The last time I saw a real good mediterranean coral was 5 or 6 years ago..Paula
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Old 2008-04-07, 1:41pm
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I never had a problem with all the corals - I like the range.... And I like the tones better than the orange pallette.
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  #78  
Old 2008-04-07, 5:07pm
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I am so hoarding the three 13" rods of 'real' coral I have right now. They've got to be more than five years old... I wish this color was available all the time! I got a 'terracotta' coral lately that was closer than most, but still not great.

I really appreciate all of the suppliers I've used - I'm always grateful when I find one that will just ship to me (Australia). Lots of stuff isn't available within Australia until *ages* after it first comes out (but then can stay in-stock for longer here with the smaller market demand... I got some Petrified Wood last week). I'm not quite so concerned with the price of glass - everything costs more over here anyway. I figure that if it works for me then I can make my $$ back whether it's $15/lb or $80/lb - although I'm less likely to try the $80/lb glass in the first place
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  #79  
Old 2008-04-07, 10:30pm
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Jelli, I happily ship to Australia. A big part of my business is overseas! My shopping cart makes things easy and automatically calculates for any country that I ask it to!

Megan, I also remembered another reason why I sell online...I am 90% deaf. I totally forget that I am deaf until I think about what other jobs I can do...Most require better hearing than I have! What??

Paula
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  #80  
Old 2008-04-10, 8:20am
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I find it interesting that the silvered soft glass coming out on the market is so much more $ than the silvered boros that already exist. I love using them when I do soft glass but admit, I only purchase them when on sale. I just can't justify spending $100 a pound on soft glass when I can get the same colors and more from boro for a lot less.

I am wondering why silver in soft glass is any more expensive than the silver in boro?
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Old 2008-04-10, 10:59am
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PaulaD PaulaD is offline
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Maybe because the are making smaller batches???

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Old 2008-04-10, 2:56pm
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I find it interesting that the silvered soft glass coming out on the market is so much more $ than the silvered boros that already exist. I love using them when I do soft glass but admit, I only purchase them when on sale. I just can't justify spending $100 a pound on soft glass when I can get the same colors and more from boro for a lot less.

I am wondering why silver in soft glass is any more expensive than the silver in boro?
Everything is relative to production volumes. The dichroic boro (sheet or rod) is double the price of soft glass.
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Old 2008-04-14, 6:25am
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LAG LAG is offline
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Production costs in the smaller batches could be the cost .... OR perhaps, some people are having it imported? I am not naming any specific distributor because I personally don't know (so please don't slam me here) but the thought has occurred to me.

And one has to commend the entrepeneur (sp)that jumps on these opportunities to make $.

but seems to me that the silver cost so much per ounce no matter how much you buy unless someone knows a place where they offer a discount in volume?? Silver is going up so one would suspect the costs of the boro colors will take a hit soon.
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