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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: New Stained Glass Business
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 00:21:04 EDT

Michele Blank wrote:
> You have to be able to compete with internet and catalog prices. I have
> recently  been advising  customers that I will no longer be willing to help
> them out of jams when they get backorderedfrom their mail supplier or give
> them an hours worth of free advice for 5$ in glass sales, as this is an
> hours worth of work gone. Good luck to you if you go ahead, I just have too
> much work to mess with small% profits, non-loyal customers, etc. Michele

This sounds like the old Buggy Whip Syndrome.  You know, cursing the
world as it changes and leaves you behind.

I hear stained glass dealers whine this all the time.  These are
usually the ones who have, oh, 5 selections of glass, a roll of
solder and maybe a pair of running pliers on the shelf.  I have a
simple question I always ask:  Tell me what your value-added is that
justifies my paying a third to 50% more than mail-order?  "Advice"
doesn't cut it.  We can get advice on the net or from each other or
even from the mail-order firms.

I frequent a local pro photography store despite being able to buy
most stuff at half the price mail-order.  Why?  Because this store
has literally everything I might ever need as a pro photographer. 
In stock and on the shelf.  And he has a darkroom I can use for the
cost of chemicals.  Custom processing and finishing and touchup. 
All the staffers are excellent photographers in their own right and
can give me accurate, specific advice when I need it.  And they
almost never have to utter the death-rattle of retail: "No I don't
stock it but I can order it for you."  Well damn, so can I!  Retail
feeds on instant gratification.  If I gotta wait for UPS, I might as
well wait cheaply.

Yeah.  Retail costs real money.  The little cottage business stuck
in the end closet of a stripmall or a couple of shelves of supplies
over to one side of your studio that you have there so that you can
buy your supplies wholesale doesn't cut it.  Half a million dollars
worth of inventory just sitting there waiting to instantly gratify
me is how it's done.  Selling online won't hurt you either.  Or you
can keep your 2 shelves, grouse all the time and bemoan every minute
of advice you have to offer in order to keep your 4 or 5 retail


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