[Orchod] Negotiating with retailers

Hi, all,

The many angles on this thread have been reminding me of why I keep
procrastinating on the article I intended to write for Lapidary
Journal. I went to Mendocino, CA, on on what to me is jewelry lovers’
dream vacation, and thought how wonderful it would be to promote the
jewelers and galleries and Art Center I love to other enthusiasts.

Instead, I came back feeling that, by asking questions, I’d opened a
can of worms: the high end retailer who really didn’t want me to
write about his store or designers (whose names aren’t in the cases)
because he doesn’t want people to go to ebay, when he’s spent so much
time and money finding and promoting his jewelers; the gallery
selling forged silver earrings “made in Santa Rosa, CA” for $25 (when
I asked how the maker could get the price low enough for the standard
mark-up, the owner said “I don’t want to know”); the famous jewelers
who have someone else doing their grunt work (and the gallery owner
will be honest about it, if you ask, but I learned about it from an
angry jeweler who might be just as good but has to do all her own
work and can’t charge a fraction…).

I’ve worked in retail. Some owners drive Jaguars and some can’t pay
the rent. 50% is a standard mark-up and lots (I’d scream if I could)
of dedicated people go out of business anyway–even if they aren’t
storing a lot of 60/40 consignment that doesn’t move. Few can afford
to pay a living wage to sales clerks, so if the clerks don’t focus on
selling your stuff, it could be because they’re worried about their
health insurance.

The economy is bad right now for everyone except the very rich and
and the very lucky (maybe the ones with a lot of good karma).
Unfortunately, coop galleries may charge you a whole lot more than a
commercial gallery (check it out) and according to a relative of
mine, who is a member of that famous Soho gallery, you’d be better
off flushing your money down the toilet.

And…some people just raise their prices and it works. Others raise
their prices and are out of business over night. Reminds me of Rumi:

Some people work and become wealthy,
Others do the same and remain poor.
Marriage fills one with energy,
Another it drains.
Don't trust ways, they change.
A means flails about like a donkey's tail.
Always add the gratitude clause
To any sentence--"If the Divine wills"--
Then go. 

I don’t really intend to be grim. I do mean “go.” I intend to keep
going. I just don’t think there’s an answer, short of changing the
entire world capitalist system, and I’m not holding my breath for
that one. My suggestion is, check your gut, flip a coin, tie your
camel to a tree, and don’t look for a villain. (For more on the last,
see Marx on Mr. Moneybags.)

May all beings prosper,
Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
(and please, no more off-list slams from nasty little right-wing creeps.)