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Feedback on gallery interaction


#1

Please tell me if I’m off-base.

A while back, a gallery that is about to open asked for artists,
here on Orchid. I responded, and some time later, got an email saying
they’d love to have a couple dozen pieces, 3 dozen even better, in
time for their opening.

I said great, what can you tell me about how you will guarantee you
will pay me, since the gallery has no track record? Can you buy some
pieces and I will consign an equal amount? No. Can you send me
personal references to check? No. A list of other artists who have
accepted? Apparently not.

As I write this now, it is obvious that I cannot send any work to a
stranger, 2000 miles away, with no deposit, no outright, no
references. I guess what I’m asking is, would anyone? I don’t think
these folks are probably scammers, but who would send work under
these conditions, and why would anyone expect it? What can they be
thinking?

Noel


#2

Noel… I definitely see too many red flags in this situation to
even consider sending jewelry to this particular gallery. They are
asking for “free” jewelry without giving you any you need
to make an informed decision. You have every right to ask for certain
specific before sending anyone your work. There are
plenty of galleries and stores out there that are willing to give
you the you need to make a wise decision. Also, I would
suggest that you serious look at what can happen to your jewelry if
a company goes under in this economy. Check out the UCC filing
requirements as outlined by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee on
sending memo. They are a wealth of In a worse case
scenario, the gallery can keep your jewelry as part of their
inventory and you have little recourse. Follow your gut on this one.
Don’t send the jewelry until you know a lot more!

Good luck…Marlene

marlene richey
www.marlenerichey.com


#3

Hi Noel,

Sounds to me like they are just starting up and don’t have a lot to
offer in terms of security or capital. If it were me, I would go a
head with it but send a comfortable amount of inventory for you to
feel ok if things dont turn out as expected, but I would insist of
some sort of contract and inventory sheet. I’m sure this is a
solution the gallery will understand and as the relationship grows
then you can send more work if you like the relationship.

Best of luck,
Christine


#4

Noel, Don’t send any jewelry unless you get some ironclad assurance
of payment, and the fact that your work will be fully covered by
insurance while in their possession.

I made the mistake years ago of sending on consignment, a
considerable amount of my most expensive pieces to a new gallery.
They did send me a contract, but it was worthless. I never received
any payment, repeated phone calls got me nowhere, except that “the
check would be in the mail.”

Finally, I asked them to return my jewelry. It never came. As they
were out-of-town I had no way of going there to return the return of
my jewelry, or payment. I consulted an attorney, who sympathized with
me, but advised that I just write it off as a loss rather than trying
to sue. The attorney was kind enough not to charge me.

Later the gallery closed, and I understand that none of the artists
had received any payment, nor their merchandise back.

So, I tend to agree with Marlene Richey. I see "too many red flags."
Alma


#5
Please tell me if I'm off-base. A while back, a gallery that is
about to open asked for artists, here on Orchid. I responded, and
some time later, got an email saying they'd love to have a couple
dozen pieces, 3 dozen even better, in time for their opening. 

If you accept their terms I think that I still have a couple of
bridges for sale :slight_smile:

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#6

Even if we assign them the purest of lily-white motives… there’s
this economy… and this nasty statistic about how many new
businesses fail even in a booming economy…

They could be completely honest, and have every intention of making
you and themselves quite rich, but if their business plan is
fundamentally flawed, or if they’re a victim of “stuff happens”, they
could fail, and legitimately not have money with which to pay you
back, and could have creditors who might outrank you, so it could
even be difficult to get your pieces back.

So unless you can truly afford to risk losing everything you send
them, I agree with you, Noel, how could you possibly do that? If I
were desperate enough to consider it, my circumstances would
probably be too dire to risk it.


#7

Hi Noel,

Either a scam or just people who haven’t a good understanding of how
to run a business. Rather than trying to build their business by
treating potential artists better than anyone else does, their chosen
path to success is wow them with incompetence! A good lesson of what
not to do.

I have always done work for retail jewelers, who operate differently
than galleries, but I think that sending your beautiful work to an
unknown, unresponsive, unprofessional gallery is just not going to
happen (unless you send it COD). The world is full of really well run
businesses who would love to sell your work.

Mark


#8
The world is full of really well run businesses who would love to
sell your work. 

You would think so, maybe, but I guess I just haven’t figured out how
to find them. Plus, I’ll admit (because I’m sure I speak for at least
a few others out there), the rejection you (I) get from approaching a
gallery one-on-one is much harder to take than the impersonal and
remote rejection of not getting into the shows I want to do.

Plus, the overlap between galleries who want to sell my work and
the ones who actually can sell my work seems to be, well,
nonexistant.

So, who are these well-run businesses that would love to sell my
work? I sure could use some.

Noel


#9

It’s very easy to expect galleries to “sell” work these days…but,
the reality is, unless people are willing to “spend money”, rather
than just look and compliment, sales will be non-existent, especially
in this economy.

“Plus, the overlap between galleries who want to sell my work and
the ones who actually can sell my work seems to be, well,
nonexistant.”


#10
You would think so, maybe, but I guess I just haven't figured out
how to find them.... So, who are these well-run businesses that
would love to sell my work? I sure could use some. 

That is the trick isn’t it? I guess that post may have sounded
overly optimistic but I really do believe it. My experience has been
that although you will come across the occasional bad seed in the
jewelry business, there are many more really good ones. Once you tap
into a vein of two or three good ones, they seem to lead you to
more. It seems that good and ethical business people like to
associate with other good and ethical business people.

So it’s not easy, but they are definitely out there and referrals
from networks of trusted businesses is fertile ground.

As I’d said in the post I have always done work for jewelers, not
galleries. I have also spent my life making what they want, or rather
what their customers want. There is a real difference between what I
have been doing and a metals artist who makes what they themselves
like…and then hopes to sell it. That seems like a beautiful thing
to follow you heart in your work, but also financially risky. It’s
harder to sell people something that you love than to sell them
something they themselves have been dreaming of. I don’t believe one
way is better than the other, they are just different paths we choose
as metalsmiths.

I’m not being at all critical of you work Noel, I admire it a great
deal. I must admit that I have always wondered just how metals
artists (really not sure of the preferred title) generate a regular
paycheck and pay the mortgage? I find that as I am entering what I
hope is the third quarter of my life that I have the time to create
a line(s) of anything I want (while still paying the bills by making
what customers want). But I still am making things that I know from
experience that people will want to buy and maybe that makes me think
that things are easier to sell than they really are. I will be
drawing on that network of well-run businesses to help me sell my
new work.

Mark


#11

As I read the posts regarding experiences with various services,
both positive and negative, I’m surprised that we often see positive
expressions of satisfaction, but when a negative expression of
satisfaction is posted many find it offensive. Why? If one side is
permitted, then shouldn’t it’s opposite?

Mike DeBurgh


#12

Mike,

As I read the posts regarding experiences with various services,
both positive and negative, I'm surprised that we often see
positive expressions of satisfaction, but when a negative
expression of satisfaction is posted many find it offensive. Why?
If one side is permitted, then shouldn't it's opposite? 

My personal opinion is that when dealing with a problem with a
company for good or services, part of the responsibility for the
resolution lies with the customer. Some customers do not know all the
options to resolve an issue, some think they have a right regardless
of any stated policies because they did not read the policy. Some
people get emotional and argue, when the correct process for
resolution is to find out what all the options for resolution are, if
there is not one that is acceptable, keep asking for another solution
as that one does not work for you.

If none of the options are acceptable, one of the options is,

if the order was paid by credit card, was to send back the
merchandise with a receipt for delivery that is returned to you, and
file a claim with the credit card company claiming merchandise
received that was not ordered. If you contest the charge, you will
receive all the money you spent on the transaction, including
postage.

I am sure all of us have heard a story from a friend or relative
about their experience having a problem with another friend or
relative, and then you hear the other side, and you realize there is
different info that changes who you thought caused the problem.
Hearing only one side of a dispute posted online might prejudice
people reading the post toward the company when all the facts are
not known. I contacted someone on Craigslist who was selling cabs. I
asked if he would cut for me using my material. He cut cabs at a
predetermined rate per stone. At one point, I offered him the use of
my 16 inch saw thinking I was doing him a favor and that it would
speed up production. I had him cut four groups of stones, paid him
$1200. I could not afford to have more stones cut, and it was just
before Christmas a year ago. I decided to let him keep using the saw
until I needed it. A few months later, I saw a post by him and he
was selling the saw. I requested him to return the saw without
letting him know I saw the post on Craigslist. Several months of
emails and phone call where he said I could come and get it, and then
refusing to return it left me with no option other to sue, which I
have not been willing to spend the time doing so far.

Just before Christmas this year, he made a post, a negative post
about me as a business person. It is basically personal disagreement
that has nothing to do with his experience as a customer at my
jewelry store, but he posted it as if he was a dissatisfied customer.
I have no recourse. Google won’t do anything. If you list your
business for Google search, that is what can happen.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#13
we often see positive expressions of satisfaction, but when a
negative expression of satisfaction is posted many find it
offensive. Why? If one side is permitted, then shouldn't it's
opposite? 

Well, duh, it is because positive sentiments never did unjustified
harm to anyone’s livelihood!

That’s not to say what should be allowed, just answering the
question. But I agree that it is important to be very cautious
before mentioning the name of a person or business in a negative
light. This forum has an unparalleled power, available to all its
members. Those who do business with us should be aware that shady
dealings may be mentioned here, as well as good ones. To outlaw this
would be to handicap ourselves, since most of us have little "pull"
on our own. But with power comes responsibility, and we should all
think very carefully before naming names.

Noel


#14

Thanks for posting this Mike.

As long as folks have taken the usual direct B2B vendor remedy
steps, if someone has an experience they feel was so out of bounds
they want to send a heads-up (as with the findings vendor recently),
or another poster asks about vendors and someone mentions a company a
member had consistently poor experiences with, I want to know–on
list. A rave at the delighted end of the spectrum is also a nice bit
of light :-).

Folks recommending are no more shills than those warning have
vindictive agendas–yes it’s possible, but this is a solid,
supportive peer group and looking for that kind of evil isn’t healthy
for any of us (while new here, I’ve been a moderator on large
professional lists).

The key for me to “hear” whoever is sending a post is that they stay
focused on facts/business rather than hyperbole. And if
the thread gets heated, personal attacks against other posters–even
if I deeply disagreed with the target–is a sure way for me to start
questioning your basic intelligence and eventually auto-route you to
Deleted Items. (Not sure about this list’s policies, but on others
I’ve been on, off-list attacks were also cause for official censure.)

And for anyone concerned about the vendors themselves hearing things,
it’s all feedback–even all caps VENTING with half the back-story
missing–and that’s what I tell my clients too. There are tons of
studies about how people are more likely to mention a company that’s
irked them than one that’s kept them satisfied, and how much more it
costs to acquire a new customer than retain one, but companies often
forget that when it comes to managing their "customer service"
departments. They also forget that some of the biggest evangelists
come out of recovery experiences, when a customer had a problem and
the resolution they received not only exceeded expectations, but the
company also listened to take steps and remedy any underlying issues.

Cheers,

Ann Ray
Day job: http://www.querygroup.com
http://www.practicalsurveys.com


#15

Richard, I’m sorry someone slammed you so unfairly–after abusing
your generosity!

Unfortunately everything online lives forever (including this thread
and likely some college photos and “aliases” we may eventually wish
forgotten) and all I can say is that your real self will outweigh any
momentary venom he spouted. If you send me your URL offlist I’d be
happy to provide some amateur SEO feedback.

But I did want to provide a counterpoint to one piece of your
advice:

file a claim with the credit card company claiming merchandise
received that was not ordered. If you contest the charge, you will
receive all the money you spent on the transaction, including
postage. 

As a vendor, I would hope that customers resort to credit card
chargebacks only after all attempts with the company have failed, and
when the firm is in contractual violation such as failure to deliver
in some way–not simply as a straightforward path when one’s
dissatisfied. IIRC, chargebacks are a key factor in setting a
vendor’s discount rates, with the bias generally being toward the
consumer in resolving any contention. While it’s damaging to be
badmouthed online, I could address someone’s concerns about a post
they saw, but I could never move Visa/MC.

Cheers,Ann Ray