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Questions about Guild.com and Artful Home

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Cynthia

Questions about Guild.com and Artful Home

Postby Cynthia » Wed Jun 04, 2003 5:07 pm

I'm asking this question a bit prematurely, but I have been approached by Guild.com from two different departments of the organization.

For Guild.com I have a deadline of June 15th to submit my slides of the work to be sold to make it into their next catalog, for Artful Home the deadline is less pressing.

My first set of issues relates to the regular Guild.com retail catalog (I've heard mixed reviews, but they aren't reliable sources). They pretty much require that the images you provide are, if not directly reproducible, pretty darn close to what you will offer for sale...as in production pieces with variations from the description being within a small range in size or that designs may not be identical, but will be damn close.

I've looked at what they offer, and it looks professional and good for the most part, most of the work appeals to me. They do have blown and fused works that would not be identically reproducible, so I am sure I can meet their criteria.

The dillema is that I don't do production, have no experience doing production, yet that doesn't mean I wouldn't if I thought it could provide some monetary successes. There is one series in particular that I am currently playing with that would be fairly easy to put into production. The problem with it is that I hate doing production. Maybe I would be turning something I love doing into something I hate if I accept their invitation. Still, just because I don't like doing production, it could be profitible and beneficial and If I end up hating it, I can pull out from future catalogs. Maybe I just answered my own questions and concerns. :lol:

I would like to hear from you about Guild.com's reputation in terms of doing business with them... And what kind of demand for work might I expect if I go this route?

The next question is that Guild.com does a publication called the Artful Home. They publish about 700 copies per annum and distribute to galleries, designers and the like. They are sending me a copy of the publication (haven't seen this publication before) along with contracts and all that buggaboo for my edification and approval....This is a publication you pay to be in and the sales don't go through Guild.com, but it is a publication that would contain my contact info along with images of my work being offered as one of a kind work. Obviously this suits my style of working more closely, but there is an up front financial risk being taken on my part...lately I'm feeling a bit risk averse.

I hate to feel so ambivelent about the whole thing. I actually have a materials package of slides and all the details Guild.com wants for the catalog and have hesitated to send it in. I am on the fence wondering what to do. Take a chance at production, or take a chance at spending money on a publication I am clueless about? Do both?

Your experiences with Guild.com, and the Artful Home catalogs and how well it's worked for you as a seller, buyer, or if you've seen the catalogs and have an opinion about how they're percieved and recieved....would help me make some decisions.

Wish I had a business manager, studio assistant, administrative assistant and housekeeper. I seem to be wanting in those departments. 8-[

Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Wed Jun 04, 2003 5:55 pm

Cynthia

We all share the wear every hat challenge. There are way too many hats, maybe that's why I went bald?

I have never jumped at the send $2000 to Guild to be in the sourcebook. I have spoken to many people who are in the architectural glass book. Mostly they say that it might or might not work. There are several competitors who have listed there for several years in a row. They must be getting some pop but it might not be counted on every year.

One thing that has held me back is that I don't have the killer photo that I am willing to spend 2 grand to promote. One of these days, I will probably try and go for it.
Bert

Bert Weiss Art Glass*
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Dani
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Postby Dani » Wed Jun 04, 2003 7:13 pm

If you can afford it, do it.... they are great and very professional and have a gorgeous product and a relentless sales stuff. :wink: You won't necessarily get tons of commissions, but you get good national name recognition exposure. My sense is that you have to advertise with them for at least five years in a row to maximize any benefits. The biggest boon is that in the public's perception, you've hit the big time. Is it worth the money to you? Only you can answer the question.

Paul Housberg
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Postby Paul Housberg » Wed Jun 04, 2003 8:40 pm

I've advertised almost every year in the Guild Sourcebook for Architectural and Interior Art for at least the past ten years. I have not gotten a lot of work from the sourcebook and I have not gotten work every year that I've advertised in the book. But, I have gotten some of my best jobs from the book and it's been enough to make it worth it.

Having said that, my sense is that the Artful Home reaches a different audience - the residential client and interior designer. I can only speak for myself, but my work is more appropriate for public and corporate spaces and I find it hard to make any money - or get much satisfaction - in residential work.

I would contact some of the people who advertise in the book and find out what their experience has been. My advice, if you go ahead with it, is that you consider it one component of a larger marketing plan. Dani's and Bert's comments are right on. Btw, I think it's 7000 copies (not 700 - typo?)
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Cynthia

Postby Cynthia » Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:03 pm

Yes. A typo. :D

Marty
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Postby Marty » Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:11 pm

Cynthia-

I don't know beans about the Sourcebooks- I've never been tempted, and I have heard the same pros and cons as posted above.

However, I have been having a great time with the catalogs. I groan when another order comes in but it's been extremely lucrative, and the exposure is wonderfull. Yes, it is production. Yes, I do try to vary the pieces a little- mostly color and pattern, just to keep them a little interesting and different from each other. I've found out just how far I can deviate from the photo in the catalog because I've had a couple of pieces returned to me as "not being what I ordered" (and they were right!). One was willing to try again, the other wasn't.

Guild projects how many orders they'll get over x weeks and asks me to keep a certain amount in stock for immediate delivery. We agree on a reasonable schedule. Guild gets the order, emails me, I email back "ok", they confirm. I ship to the customer in my packaging (cost of pkg and shipping material is in the wholesale price) and bill shipping to Guild. I email Guild with a UPS tracking # and they email back receipt of the transaction. 30 days later I get a check for the wholesale price (half of the posted price in the catalog).

But it most assuredly IS production. If you decide to do it, you and Guild can work out the terms: for example, you can only supply 8 pieces over a 6 week period at $1200 retail. They may only project sales of 5 pieces at that price and time period.
Talk to them. They're nice people. And keep us posted.

Marty

Dani
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Postby Dani » Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:39 pm

Thank you for sharing this... the "relentless sales stuff" staff hasn't told me about this..... :?

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Postby Brian and Jenny Blanthorn » Thu Jun 05, 2003 4:26 am

Marty wrote:Cynthia-

I don't know beans about the Sourcebooks- I've never been tempted, and I have heard the same pros and cons as posted above.

However, I have been having a great time with the catalogs. I groan when another order comes in but it's been extremely lucrative, and the exposure is wonderfull. Yes, it is production. Yes, I do try to vary the pieces a little- mostly color and pattern, just to keep them a little interesting and different from each other. I've found out just how far I can deviate from the photo in the catalog because I've had a couple of pieces returned to me as "not being what I ordered" (and they were right!). One was willing to try again, the other wasn't.

Guild projects how many orders they'll get over x weeks and asks me to keep a certain amount in stock for immediate delivery. We agree on a reasonable schedule. Guild gets the order, emails me, I email back "ok", they confirm. I ship to the customer in my packaging (cost of pkg and shipping material is in the wholesale price) and bill shipping to Guild. I email Guild with a UPS tracking # and they email back receipt of the transaction. 30 days later I get a check for the wholesale price (half of the posted price in the catalog).

But it most assuredly IS production. If you decide to do it, you and Guild can work out the terms: for example, you can only supply 8 pieces over a 6 week period at $1200 retail. They may only project sales of 5 pieces at that price and time period.
Talk to them. They're nice people. And keep us posted.

Marty


Yo Marty

Still famous ??

Or famouser

Guild.com is ur sales from a printed catalogue or on the net at guild.com ??
Image

Marty
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Postby Marty » Thu Jun 05, 2003 8:53 am

Just a couple of sales from the Guild web site(over 2 or 3 years); almost all sales from the catalogs.

Re famousity: it waned for a while but is now coming back. Details later.

ellen abbott
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Postby ellen abbott » Thu Jun 05, 2003 10:47 am

re guild sourcebooks...We have advertised in them 7 times in all starting with book 4 and ending with 16. I have not received a single job as a direct result as far as I know. But then, I'm not very good at marketing and, as I understand it, you have to 'work' it, like anything else. I did benefit from it, I think, in that it gives you the 'air' of professionalism and I do use the tear sheets to promote our studio and work. Only rarely will I get a request for a promo packet from a designer and once sent, hear nothing more. And the times I have called to follow up these packets, they haven't accepted or returned my phone calls. Although, just last week I got a request for a packet from someone in NJ. The target audience for the sourcebooks are architects, interior designers, and art consultants.

re guild.com...we signed on fairly early with the on-line 'gallery'. And for the first year and a half or so they sold a lot of work for us. Average one a month or so. Then they merged with Ashcroft.com and it all came to a screeching halt. Did not sell a single piece during that partnership. After they split off from Ashcroft and became guild.com again, they started the catalog up and all their marketing and sales are centered on the catalog. We don't do the kind of production work that they want for the catalog. We do 'editions' (25, 10 pieces), but each is done in different colors so are not suitable for the catalog. They have sold so few pieces for us since they started the catalog that, although we do still have a page on-line, it only has one thing on it and I'm just not interested in sending them anymore pictures because I can place the pieces elsewhere where the recipients are interested in selling them. Guild.com's reasoning is that the catalog draws people to the site and then they look at other work by the same artists or different artists. That has not been my experience. Of course, the fact that I don't have anything good on my page currently and haven't for a year or so might have something to do with lack of sales. But I did have 6 or 7 nice works posted for a long time and I finally sold them to someone else since guild.com wasn't moving them.

re the Artful Home...They have been trying to get us to advertise in this publication as well. And they sent us a copy of the book to look at and it's a very nice publication. Might even do it. But it is costly (although less so that the Sourcebooks) and we pretty much live hand to mouth. All of our extra money this year went to having to re-build our shop (termites) and buy a new air compressor. I think the target for this book is, as Paul says, homeowners and designers.

Our architectural work lately has been either through the homeowners or art consultants. In the past it has been mostly from designers. Can't seem to get any work from designers lately though and I don't know what's up with that.

And for any of the publications to work for you at all, you really need great professional photographs.

ellen
http://www.emstudioglass.com

ellen abbott
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Postby ellen abbott » Thu Jun 05, 2003 10:51 am

Say Marty...is there a formula for this famousity? The closest we can get is near-famous.

e

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Postby Paul Housberg » Thu Jun 05, 2003 1:52 pm

Visited your site very briefly, Ellen. Very beautiful pate-de-verre.
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ellen abbott
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Postby ellen abbott » Thu Jun 05, 2003 2:41 pm

Thanks Paul. Now if I could only get the collectors to notice...

You do very good work yourself.

E

Brian and Jenny Blanthorn
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Postby Brian and Jenny Blanthorn » Fri Jun 06, 2003 4:59 am

Marty wrote:Just a couple of sales from the Guild web site(over 2 or 3 years); almost all sales from the catalogs.

Re famousity: it waned for a while but is now coming back. Details later.


Got 2 B my turn soon

Not 2 concerned about fame

But a few riches would B nice

Geting back 2 guild.com

Is the catalogue the same as the web site ??

If so very odd that U sell better on paper than the web

Is anyone making sales from the the web ??

We dont get much direct sales from our site
Image

ellen abbott
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Postby ellen abbott » Fri Jun 06, 2003 9:43 am

No, not the same. The web site has way more artists. You can only get in the print catalog (which they mail out) if you do production work, all very artistic stuff. I think maybe the minimum pieces available is 10 in order to qualify. They have to be able to generate a certain amount of money per page.

As for sales from web sites, we don't get any, but then we are not set up for a commerce site. If they want to buy something on the web site, they have to call us or e-mail or the same to one of our representatives. Mostly I use the web site as an on-line portfolio, to generate interest in the work.

A jeweler friend of mine who makes really beautiful silver belt buckles says he gets sales from his web site, but they are generated and driven by his print advertising. Not by the web site itself.

ellen
http://www.emstudioglass.com

Paul Housberg
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Postby Paul Housberg » Fri Jun 06, 2003 10:32 am

Just to add a clarification, there is the website, the catalog and the sourcebooks such as the Artful Home and Architectural and Interior Art. The sourcebooks are oriented more toward site-specific commissioned works.
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Dani
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Postby Dani » Fri Jun 06, 2003 2:03 pm

Now can we take a look at the competition? I know about the Ashley Group which reaps pretty much the same comments. Any other similar organizations where we can spend our advertising dollars? Just for comparison's sake.....

Carla Fox
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Postby Carla Fox » Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:52 pm

Cynthia...
I have gone thru much of the same thrash you are doing with my jewelry. I did not go the guild.com route as I don't want to do a bunch of production work.

What helped me was to reevaluate my goals as a jeweler. I found I could do a lot more with my advertising money locally and build my business locally then trying for one big splash on guild.com.

So what are your goals for yourself and your business. Can you accomplish them in other ways?

Hope this helps.

Carla

Cynthia

Postby Cynthia » Sat Mar 06, 2004 3:28 pm

CM Fox wrote:Cynthia...
I have gone thru much of the same thrash you are doing with my jewelry. I did not go the guild.com route as I don't want to do a bunch of production work.


Ditto. I opted not to do the Guild.com thing because I knew I would rather stick pins in my eyes than do production. Not a comment about the value of production, I just don't like doing the same thing twice. Kinda like painting by numbers...when I know what I'm gonna have at the end, I just don't see the point in doing it...Probably a character flaw.


What helped me was to reevaluate my goals as a jeweler. I found I could do a lot more with my advertising money locally and build my business locally then trying for one big splash on guild.com.


I came to the same conclusion, and it also helped me to focus on developing personal relationships with both the buyers and the sellers of my work. Personally, I am better suited to these kinds of business dealings.


So what are your goals for yourself and your business. Can you accomplish them in other ways?

Hope this helps.

Carla


This is an older post, but absolutely, what you have to say Carla is very helpful and reinforces for me that I have chosen the right approach that suits me, my style of work, how I like to work and who I want to work with. Lesson learned for me over this past year is to stick to my gut instincts and continue to work in the fashion that suits me. There are opportunities and markets that are a good fit for me and the work. The beauty of being able to do this is that it's a very fluid and flexible approach. It allows me to continue to develop my work and allow it to evolve with time and experimentation....and I don't have to do multiples in order to satisfy my needs.

Developing a broad group of collectors for the work has taken time to cultivate, but the wait has been worth is...even though the market seems to be up and down, it's overall been stable and I believe it's because I chose to focus on who my audience is, not trying to work in a fashion not suited to my ways and finding the avenues that will support that.

Carla Fox
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Postby Carla Fox » Sat Mar 06, 2004 3:36 pm

I'm an idiot.

For whatever reasons my browser keeps opening up this page at the oldest posts. So here I am merrily answering questions posted a year ago. :oops:

Thanks Cynthia for being polite. I'll try to figure it out, or being more observant, or keep answering old questions. :?

Bare, bear? with me. I normally am pretty smart. Huh, Geri?

Carla


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