Business

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Corrugated Metal roofing: Here are a few suppliers of this product. Model train sources offer a good selection of mini bulbs, metal products etc.
http://www.williamsbrosinc.com/buildings.html

http://www.oakridgehobbies.com/Gpage/G_scale_62A.html

George Hoffman


Needlework supplies and mini rugs: I have found the Needlework in Miniatures web site to have the crochet tools I need. She also sells knitting and rug making supplies and finished items.I learned of her from my MiniatureCrochet Yahoo Group. The URL for Needlework in Miniature is: http://www.angelfire.com/ma2/vmsw

or an easier URL http://www.pobox.com/~nim

Lynne, from Ames, Iowa


Polymer clay molds:. I just visited Sue Heaser's web site, and she now offers molds, too. Here is the link. http://www.heaser.demon.co.uk/products/Kits/dollmoulds.htm

Lauren from Abingdon


Medical miniatures: For the individual looking for miniature medical supplies try :
http://littleobsessions.com/ click on accessories and more and you will see Medical Items.

Nursemini


Medical miniatures: We make many unique items for a doctor's office, medical clinic or hospital. They are pictured on our website. We are continually adding new items , so check back from time to time.
Mark and Sharon Stockton,Miniature Artisans
http://www.stockton-miniatures.com

Sharon


FIREPLACE EMBERS: Somebody was interested in fireplace embers. I have them in 3 sizes, small, medium and large for fireplaces. They work with a fire and bulb which lights them up. They are in stock and if interested your can contact me by return e mail for the price ANNARTW@aol.com at www.worldofminimania.com,

Ann Weiner


Changing prices: Whoever said "would you like to see the same local dealers at every show, or would you rather see new dealers who have to come from further away?" said it best. If I were selling things at shows, and I had to go somewhere that entailed travel expenses, hotel expenses, food...etc, etc. etc. I would have to raise my prices to reflect those expenses or take a loss. And why would I want to do that? It would be cheaper and a whole lot easier just not to go to those shows! The purpose of having a business, any business, is to make a profit, period. Otherwise, why bother? (In fact, the IRS feels the same way...if you have a business, and declare a loss, or even a break even for three years...or four, I forget...they say you don't have a business, but a hobby.)

Makers of miniatures do tend to burn out in our hobby, and it may be that pricing is a big issue in this. If your prices are too low, and you are spending hours and hours doing whatever it is you do, you start thinking that you could go to work at a factory and make more money than you are... If they are too high, you have a very difficult time selling anything. And, shows are a part of expenses...the further away, the bigger the expense.

My husband and I were at a craft fair a year or so ago, and overheard one dealer, (and I forget what he was making...some kind of custom wooden wine thing...) telling the dealer next to him that someone had come up to his booth and requested that he half his prices and give him a deal because he wanted a bunch for a wedding. The dealer was laughing about it. "Why should I do that?" he was asking..."why should I do all that work for nothing, just because this guy wants a bargain?" And I agree, it's silly to price your work so that you are making...or not...the cost of materials.

As a collector and a maker of miniatures, of course I'd love to see bargain prices! Anyone would! I'm not completely crazy, after all. But, I also know how many hours have gone into research and development of everything we see at the shows, and how many hours it took to make those things, so I have to go by my own personal budget. (Which is whatever I feel I can get away with when dealing with my husband!) So, I guess it all boils down to personal preferences. As a maker of miniatures, do you want to spend hours and hours on things and then basically give them away? (i.e. a hobby), or do you want to try, at least, to be a good business person, and actually make a profit...which, by the way, encourages you to keep going.

Also, as a buyer, that too is a matter of personal preference. If I can't afford something, I don't buy it...(well, mostly, anyway.) but I certainly don't stand in front of someone’s table and make nasty remarks about their high prices!

Kaye in L.A.


Changing prices: Before anyone bites my head off, I wanted to say that I didn't mean to imply that anyone selling for just the cost of their materials is silly! It's totally up to you what you charge...really. Pricing has got to be the hardest issue that we miniature makers have to face. Often times, what we make is unique, how do you compare, say, a piece of furniture, perhaps made in China or Mexico, with a handcrafted, one of a kind piece? It's very difficult. What I did mean to say, was if a miniature maker wants to have a business, and expects to make a profit at it, they have got to include all expenses incurred doing that business in their pricing. So, I sincerely hope that I didn't insult or offend anyone, because I really didn't mean to!

Kaye in L.A.


Changing prices: Okay, you've got my attention. As most of you know I do not get involved in Small Stuff discussions but this time you are doing something that I believe is very destructive to our hobby and I am alarmed. I refer to a recent post regarding dealers raising their prices at certain shows. A dealer who sells in a localized area sets what they think is a fair price on their product. They don't have any expenses other than their table fee. Later they decide that they are selling enough to warrant travelling to shows. Their expenses now increase dramatically. I believe there has been a recent discussion on the costs of doing shows so I won't go into that here. I personally don't believe that a dealer is wrong if they raise their prices to offset the expense of traveling to shows. I can truthfully say that I do not know of any dealer that practices that method but would not be surprised to find out that it's true. Of course if an individual customer is offended by this they have two options. The first is to avoid that dealer's table. The second is to purchase the piece where they've seen it at the cheaper price. To avoid any show anywhere because you know of a dealer who practices that procedure is stupid. Why would anybody do that?

Now to get down to reality. I live in Parkland, Florida. It is located between Coral Springs and Boca Raton, Florida. I am dead center between two Wal-Marts. Our mood determines which direction we will travel, south to Coral Springs or north to Boca Raton. You may not choose to believe this but the prices are different at both Wal-Marts. The Boca Raton location is more expensive than the Coral Springs store. Why? So I asked a manager one day. His response was that they price by the area they're in. Boca Raton is a more upscale area so they charge more. My option is not to shop there. Don't believe it? Check it out. K-Mart does the same thing and we've run into it at other chain stores that are in malls. I don't understand why so many people want to get up on a soap box and condemn others all the time. If you're unhappy with something walk away from it, you don't have to do business with those you don't like.

Why do some of you feel the rest of us want to hear about all this negative stuff all the time? This is supposed to be a fun hobby, your life doesn't depend on this. Any dealer, or for that matter retailer, anywhere has the right to charge whatever they want and you have the right not to buy it. What gives anyone including show promoters the right to admonish somebody because they have as the letter states been dumb enough to actually admit to, if not brag about it. The American system is based on free enterprise and to continue to flourish it must be able to continue without interference. Would you have it any other way? As John Stossel always says, Give me a Break!

Tom Bishop


Lack of price stickers: [Many dealers who don't have prices on their wares may do both wholesale and retail shows and just find it not an effective use of their time] It is a lot of work to have to keep changing prices. They might find it useful to have one sandwich board sign that reads: "Wholesale prices: ___% off marked price." Some dealers provide a wholesale list of prices that are given out on request. I thought that was a good idea too. It always impresses me how inventive people can be when they are in business and have to deal with a variety of problems. I think that inventiveness is just a part of their artistic nature.

Viola


Re Alice's comment on pricing..esp. the bit about wholesale and retail. I, too, have never heard of someone changing their prices for different areas....very unethical IMHO. Since I also do wholesale and retail I use "tents" cut out of Index card weight paper to mark my items instead of stickers most times. Anyway, my prices are always in view. When I did strictly retail, I used stickers, and like Thelma deMet, it was amazing where those stickers sometimes landed. LOL

Dawnsminis


Prices: I have been reading with great interest the posts about pricing and I'm finding the opinions very interesting mainly because I'm a dealer and always feel like I'm walking a fine line with prices. Make enough to justify being in business while trying to be fair to customers. If I remember correctly the pricing issue started because someone said that artisans/dealers don't put prices on their items so that they can charge more for shows in more affluent areas and the discussion seemed to have gotten off the track a "bit".

  1. No prices on items. Mea culpa. Most of the things on my table have prices on them but I have some things in glass cases and I don't have the prices on them because I haven't figured out a good way to show the prices without ruining the appearance of the display. I don't think that little tags all over the place with tiny writing on them will be very helpful or aesthetic. I have a price list and I hope people feel free to ask. Not everything in the case is expensive, some things are just too delicate to have out in the open.
  2. Prices where they can be readily seen. Mea culpa again.   I hate having the prices on the top and have my table look like a flea market. This is after all a "show" as well as a sale and I like the things I show to make a nice appearance and price labels detract. Frankly I don't have the time (nor the inclination) to make up pretty little labels for 1000 items. Feel free to pick them up and check the price which is on the bottom. I will put a prominent price tag on something that I would rather people not pick up.
  3. Changing prices depending on shows. I do think it's unethical to charge a higher price if the area is affluent or the clientele at the show is perceived to be affluent. However, prices in stores depend on the cost of the store location and one would expect to pay more for something on Fifth Avenue in New York because the rent is higher than in a small town in Tennessee. If a table at a show is $200 I wouldn't blame someone for charging more than they would if the table was $100. In addition, you would expect to pay more for something that is shipped a great distance rather than something made locally. Therefore, I wouldn't blame someone for charging more at a show that's a great distance from their home in order to cover their cost of "delivering the goods". I don't change my prices at shows because I personally don't feel good about doing it but can understand why it can happen. I just don't do shows that would not be very  profitable unless I charged more.
  4. Charging more if the person makes more money. At first this statement shocked me until I thought about it. What the lady should have said which would have sounded better was that her husband charges less to people who can't afford the full price. We don't balk at senior citizen's discounts why should we balk at giving a discount to someone who's income is low. Of course, this applies to necessities, not luxuries like minis. Yes folks, minis are a luxury (I'm sure I'll get plenty of flak about this statement).

And that is my humble opinion.

Carol


Show pricing: Boy, I'm probably going to get a lot of hate mail for this, but here goes....Tom Bishop's post is right on the money! "...... You may not choose to believe this but the prices are different at both Wal-Marts. The Boca Raton location is more expensive than the Coral Springs store..... I know for a fact that the same holds true right here in Des Moines, Iowa. Proof.....three years ago I was shopping for a new living room set. I was at a popular local chain store with my sister and had picked out the set I wanted. I was shocked when she suggested we go to the same store on the East side of town because she said the prices were lower.....we went, they were, I bought. Its called free enterprise. It may not seem right, may not seem fair, but that's the way it is. And, what if you were the dealer traveling several hundred (or thousand) miles to do a prominent show and had to pay for shipping your goods, table fees, travel, hotels, meals, etc.......It only makes sense that those costs are passed on to the consumer. So what do you, the end buyer get in return? How about a one of a kind, original work of art in miniature that, if the dealer hadn't flown across the country to bring to a show in your area, you may never had gotten the chance to have in your own beautiful collection. Seems like a fair enough trade to me.

I've been there, done that from the consumer's end. Last year at the St Louis show I bought several pieces from my favorite dealer. Once home, I was browsing the dealers website and saw some of the pieces I'd brought home.....priced lower. Was I upset? NO! Whyshould I be? If I had not gone to the show, I'd not gotten to meet this person, and if I'd ordered off the internet, I'd have had to pay shipping.....which, quite honestly, would have probably been more than what I paid for the items in person.

Sloan


Show Pricing: [ I don't understand why so many people want to get up on a soap box and condemn others all the time. ] But, Tom, don't you think that your post was also a condemnation of others others whose actions YOU were opposed to? The point I'm making is that if WE are critical... it's not "condemning".. but if someone else is critical, it is condemning. Personally I don't think we should even think of it as a condemnation, because people should feel free to express their thoughts... it's helpful to dealers to know how customers feel. By hearing complaints about the price changes, it gives the dealer an opportunity to explain WHY the customer will pay more for the same item at one show, and less for it at another show. Without having heard the complaints it probably would not have occurred to them to justify the pricing inconsistency.

Although I've not altered my pricing, I have found that some shows are so expensive to do that my profit margin is very small so my choice has usually been to not do that show. I may sell fewer items at another show, but my PROFIT on each sold item will be greater; and I will not have to work so hard to have adequate inventory for a smaller show. In other words, I might sell half as many dolls, but at twice the profit, and half the preparation time.

Other dealers choose to do the more costly show, but to increase their prices to compensate for the higher expenses. In support of the dealers, I have to say that I don't know what else they could do. In support of the buyers, I have to say that I know how you must feel when you know that you could have bought it cheaper elsewhere. And in support of everyone who expressed their feelings (including you, Tom) I think it's important that you have done so. I have learned a lot from this list.

Viola


Price Changing: I agree with Tom Bishop and Kaye.   We have several Stop & Shop supermarkets and each city has different prices. This is the USA...people can charge what they want.  I either will buy or not. And I usually buy!

Judy K


Show Prices: We have been intrigued by the debate on pricing lately. To price products according to venue or type of customer is not new, but it does confuse customers. Surely, a consistent pricing policy, regardless of venue, allows all customers to gauge both aspects of purchasing. Those are the quality of the product and the price charged. If they don't have enough money for an item at a particular show, then they'll save for the next appearance of that exhibitor at a future show or get in touch between events to place an order. In the UK it's illegal not to indicate clearly the price of goods. At many shows we hear customers asking how much a certain item is on a table, so it seems quite a global problem.

Our prices have stayed fixed for the last two years, with the exception of postage. We realize our products are expensive but even when we exhibit in Europe or the USA, we charge exactly the same price. We take the decision to travel, we believe our products to be excellent value, why on earth should we charge more? If you're seen to be operating a fair and consistent pricing policy, customers become confident and less confused. That combination makes sales!

Peter Cook & Annie Logan


Show Prices: I had hoped this line would have gone to sleep by now and here I am adding fan to the flames. If I am selling an item at home and you come get it- - - -basic price. If it is mail order and I ship it from Nevada to California - - - shipping added. If it is mail order and you are in Boston - - - a bit more shipping. If I had to come with it and pay for a place to show it so MAYBE you Might buy it and I hand it to you there - - - -heck of a mark up with no apologies and so guilt. If one show costs ME considerably more than another - - - - -similar effect for you: Cost of materials + value of time + value of originality and special talent + cost of marketing = price. For those fortunate enough to shop at multiple shows and make comparisons- - - -how fortunate for you. Share the wealth.

Mel K.


Show prices: I don't know anyone who changes the prices according to the area they are in or who they are selling to, I know some who did that 10 years ago, but I think the market took care of that. Once you get a reputation for being dishonorable, you don't survive long in the business. What does happen is that dealers often choose which pieces they will take to a show depending on what they believe will sell there. Larger and more elaborate, expensive pieces often go to a show that attracts major collectors. Smaller, less expensive pieces go to smaller shows. Since travel takes a toll on miniatures, especially the more delicate things, it just makes sense not to take everything everywhere. Also, because I don't like to carry things long enough to look "shopworn", if a piece doesn't sell at a show or two, I generally mark it down a little and I think a lot of people do that. That could account for the variations in prices.

As for marking prices on everything, it's often impossible, and a lot of the Artisan dealers feel that price tags look bad and cheapen the whole display. My personal compromise is to mark enough prices to indicate the price range on my table, and try to do it as discreetly as possible. I don't know any dealer who minds telling you the price and we all understand that it's often only curiosity that makes you ask. You don't ever need to be afraid to ask or think that they expect you to buy it just because you asked.

Cat


Web site advertising: There are several ways to advertise: one way that you already did so was by telling everyone at small stuff digest. Other ways to do it would be to make sure that your signature has your website in it. You also want to make sure that it will be a clickable link: so you want to have it look like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com Then, every time someone asks you for information (via e-mail), you use an auto-responder which will automatically send them a message saying that you will get back to them. and in that message is your web site. You also want to put in your website on all your pages the e-mail address to contact you...You do not have the address on all of your pages.

You may also want to make up business cards w/ your business, names, phone numbers, e-mail address and web address on it. You can have people subscribe for mailing lists or updates on your website. That way you can keep track of people through your mailing list and send out an e-mail that they can then forward to others.

Laura C. Jevtich


Joining IGMA: Yes, joining IGMA is well worth it! Some of the benefits of membership include focused study programs in such wonderful places as New Orleans and Williamsburg, discounted tuition to the Guild School in Castine, Maine, which is held every June (your tuition includes room and board and 36 hours of instruction from your choice of over 20 different instructors, all of whom are either Artisans or Fellows of the Guild -- no better way to learn than from experts! My DH ... who is a mini newbie ... and I just attended for the first time this year and loved it, and we both had such a wonderful experience that we've already signed up to attend again next year!) -- there are a limited number of scholarships available to the school for those who can't afford the tuition and meet the necessary criteria. Also, you get discounted admission to the IGMA Show in New York in April and a wonderful newsletter called The Cube.

There are juried levels of achievement (Artisan and Fellow) which are recognized worldwide -- and there's no better way to sharpen the skills you already have along with the opportunity to learn many new ones. But *everyone* is welcome to join The Guild as a General Member - from those who simply have an appreciation for miniatures and don't create them themselves, to those who create miniatures for their own personal enjoyment, to those who sell their work, and those who wish to have their work evaluated for elevation to Artisan and possibly Fellow status. The goals of the Guild are to promote miniatures as an art form and to increase awareness and appreciation of high-quality workmanship through public education.

For more information, please visit the IGMA web site at: http://www.igma.org

Bev Gallerani


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