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Thread: Glass Companies

  1. #21
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Glass Companies

    I don't think Bob C. wants to compete with B&H or get involved in private labeling. I've seen this routine tried many times by startups, nearly all ending with utter exhaustion. This is also the era of thousand pound monsters lurking on the web with too good to be true pricing, willing to gamble on unsustainably low profit margins. He could do exactly what even the big art stores do - buy relevant things by the case and sell them by the sheet, or buy a few hundred sheets at a time for volume pricing, and sell by the package at a better rate than the art stores. I have a personal resale license (in addition to my day job) and have done this myself with volume order of matboard or mounting board, combining quantity for my own ongoing use as well as friends who do volume mounting and framing.

  2. #22
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Glass Companies

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I don't think Bob C. wants to compete with B&H or get involved in private labeling. I've seen this routine tried many times by startups, nearly all ending with utter exhaustion. This is also the era of thousand pound monsters lurking on the web with too good to be true pricing, willing to gamble on unsustainably low profit margins. He could do exactly what even the big art stores do - buy relevant things by the case and sell them by the sheet, or buy a few hundred sheets at a time for volume pricing, and sell by the package at a better rate than the art stores. I have a personal resale license (in addition to my day job) and have done this myself with volume order of matboard or mounting board, combining quantity for my own ongoing use as well as friends who do volume mounting and framing.
    Yes - Unique items that are hard to source- Stuff I use myself- and a willingness to purchase and resell. I would not be buying products, but rather consumables. For example portfolio boxes are really difficult to source, print files are really difficult to source, basic chemical components are difficult. Custom cut matts , sleeves for matts.

    This kind of source stuff that comes from 40 different locations, I would concentrate on them. B& H must have a couple of thousand items - I am not thinking this game whatsoever.

  3. #23
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Glass Companies

    It sure can be frustrating! Yeah, I can get very common sizes of cheap gray or tan portfolio boxes down the street or places like B&H, but nice museum cases now seemingly have to come from Archival Methods in NYC, since Light Impressions for all practical purposes bit the dirt, though I'm damn tempted to make my own, really deluxe. Gotta see if I get a second wind once I'm retired and don't have to deal with the daily freeway rat race anymore. I already have enough to do, house remodeling and making use of all my lab equipment printing, not to mention quite a bucket list of places still to go and photograph. If things take off, the only new toy I need to add would be a Speedmat, versus my ole linear one. I tend to buy matboard around a thousand bucks a pop, or equivalent full wholesale packages. Keep on hand both buffered and non-buffered museum ragboard, certain flavors of Aphamat, quite a bit of mounting board of significantly higher quality than one can buy at the Art stores. Need to restock my glazing supplies, but won't do that until I'm back in higher gear. I can cut my own AR glass
    as well as AR plastic just as good as any official source.

  4. #24

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    Re: Glass Companies

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    Thanks Bob

    I feel that there is a complete void in my neck of the world and cannot speak to other locations world wide. I feel that the products I use are very common to the other photographers in my area.
    I see Freestyle and B&H really kicking ass these days as they seem to be able to fill any need. But I am talking about more niche products than they would ever think of selling.

    I have dealer status in Framing and Photo Lab related services.
    Light Impressions that I remember was a end destination for people within a days drive from Rochester. A days drive to my location includes millions of people as Toronto is a major hub.
    I am from a small group of lab people that serviced photographers with film development , portfolio printing and custom framing, this was a community .

    The advent of digital basically killed all the hangout labs that I cut my teeth in, Today my shop includes a gallery , frame shop and printing- I see the next viable option as being a vehicle to sell products to all
    the art photographers using the same products I do . I think by having a destination I can create a hangout like the old days, just I will be the old fart sitting in the corner as time goes on.

    I do not need to go to trade shows for this, and I think that cutting out the middle man in this case is valid.. Who is the middle man these days anyway when they do not stock and have to make the same phone calls that I could easily make to get product? , and the manufactures are competing directly- see Ilford direct labs. This was unheard of years ago but the flattening of the world has had a huge impact. I cannot blame my distributers to have little stock , but I also am not going to let this corner me to submission.

    For me its a decisive decision to make sure I have a secure product to do my own work , and if I can financially swing it I see no reason not to become a destination location for products a small group of us use.
    I spend a considerable time sourcing material for projects that come my way, lately (last 5 years) our distributers have fallen short with stock. I am considering a large walk in freezer for material I use and have available
    for others, not to mention a complete U Frame it kind of solution for people who like me in the 70's wanted to drive to a location that actually had stock I was interested in.

    I cannot speak for where Light Impressions went with their business model but at one point it was a wonderful operation.

    Remember the couple who made Pd pre coated paper, boy I wish they were still around , only about 30 years ahead of their time.
    Could there really not be a glass distributor in the largest city in ON?

  5. #25
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Glass Companies

    There are not only channels of distribution, but channels of awareness. For example, within a hour or so, several different directions, there are massive plastics
    distributors that stock volume fomeboard of quality, variety, and pricing options that no artist or photographer would even imagine. They don't even know how to instantly search for these options on the web because they automatically assume something else, and likewise grub around for mal-formed opinions when official tech sheets can be instantaneously obtained. A career model maker, set designer, or trade show specialist would respond completely differentl. Analogously, I routinely notice how darkroom enthusiasts go nearly insane looking for esoteric pieces of equipment that are downright abundant on the used graphics arts or prepress market. They just don't realize that particular market even exists. So yeah, there are general glass distributors who offer museum glass too, but artists
    and photographers might not be comfortable dealing with an industrial supplier, or visa versa. Hobby woodworkers might think the same thing about me. I don't
    inherently dislike them, but there are other venues catering to them, and I frankly can turn more money in five minutes with a pro than in a week haggling with
    a tire kicker. There are huge coffee and restaurant suppliers around here too, but nobody hangs out there to chat with their friends over a cup of Java. So I can
    see how a venue combining lab services, workshops, display opportunities, and convenient supplies can create a niche (hopefully with a pot of good coffee too!).
    There are numerous successful niche photography or art-related businesses like that in this very neighborhood. But they are also all shy of the kind of remaining niche I can envision, at the higher end, qualitatively.

  6. #26

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    Re: Glass Companies

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    ...the manufactures are competing directly- see Ilford direct labs...
    I don't know the situation in Europe, but, for North America, "Ilford Direct" is a marketing ploy. I'm not sure whether HARMAN actually gets a cut of the net or if it's just doing this to promote sale of film, paper and chemicals. Either way, Swan Photo Labs in San Clemente, California, two miles from where I live, is the actual entity performing all "Ilford Direct" work.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    ...I cannot speak for where Light Impressions went with their business model but at one point it was a wonderful operation...
    It was indeed a wonderful operation. From my own experience and other indications, it's business model seems to have transitioned into some form of Ponzi scheme.

  7. #27
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Glass Companies

    So here's how you get rich on a gallery: your rent it out on weekends to wild parties. I had no idea that was going on around here, but apparently it has been going
    on awhile in gallery row, downtown Oakland. Done on the sly, without proper zoning permits. People complained, nothing happened. Now that three people got shot
    in one of those drug-crazed raves, with two dead, looks like the situation will finally get mopped up. But their lawyers are claiming these were all artists who simply had a dispute. Interesting, cause you can't exactly pack 300 artists at a time into some little wine and cheese venue.

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