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Ordering from Stuller


#1

I have just placed my first, and probably last, order with Stuller.
After completing the pedigree check to qualify for the honor of
buying from them I was still not qualified to buy all of the items in
the catalogs they sent to me. I had been purchasing from Swest for
over ten years. When I ordered from them they seemed happy to have
my business. Right now I can’t think of a good reason to want to TRY
to buy more from Stuller. What are other Orchid members experiences?
Why do we have to prove we’ve done business some where else in order
to buy from Stuller? Why not just continue to buy where our business
is welcomed?

Jane Clemmons in Casper, Wyoming where the air is filled with smoke
from the fires at Yellowstone Park.


#2

Quite simply Stuller is for professionals. To function as a
legitimate business you need certain credentials that they ask for
which should be no problem to produce upon demand. If they sold all
their products to anybody who got their hands on a catalog it would
undermine their core business of retail stores and manufacturers that
order from them on a daily basis.

I have been building my business with Stuller for the last 15 yrs
and enjoy the level of service and credit that has been granted to
me. They have expectations of my company to purchase a certain volume
annually and in exchange they provide us with expanded capabilitys
(extentions of credit & volume pricing) to maintain our growth.

When I read stories of people that have ordering problems from
Stuller I understand their frustration but it also proves they are
keeping their commitment to people like me who have tremendous $$$
invested in their operations.

There are programs that Stuller provides that I cannot participate
in because of stucture of our business, which is a source of
frustration but I understand why they do it. But the fact is why
should a garage guy/hobbyist with no credentials or legitimacy
(legally) be entitled the same privledges as a bona fide business.


#3

Jane and others, There are hundreds of jewelers who use Stuller
on a daily basis and have no problems. Stuller has policies, they are
for professional jewelers. At this point after listening to the
whining, and seeing the posts from others who have had bad
experiences apparently because they don’t understand that there is a
criteria, which others seem to be able to meet without problem, go
shop at Rio Grande, Tripps, ect. All you will be missing, is one of
the best selections of findings and products that most professional
jewelers could want, customer service that is second to none in my
experience. Mark Ruby’s experience is an anomaly to me. Just realize
that the limitation is yours, not theirs. The same folks that are
whining, I dare you to try to get into the JCK show Las Vegas. If
you think you have problems with Stuller, try that on for size. A
professional show for professionals. I have friends that came from
Hawaii who have two incredible high end jewelry galleries attend,
and they had to have an employee fax a copy of their lease, and
purchase receipts in order for them to prove they were legitimate. It
was a hassle because of the time difference ect. but they are
professsionals, and did what was necessary. It is not the burden of
the company you want to work with to prove you are legitimate, it is
your job. I have a small retail jewelry store, there are jewelry
designers that my customers want pieces from. If I call the
designer, they want to know my zip code to see if selling to me would
be a conflict with another store in my area, and then if they will
sell to me, they have to have a rep call on me, and there is usually
a $20,000 minimum. I just want the one piece to sell and make a grand
on that sale. They have their criteria, and I cannot meet it. I have
feelings about it, but I have choice to get real and come up with
the money if I want to play the game. Or not. They want dedication
and loyalty, and I have to be responsible.

Richard Hart


#4

Jane,

I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here. Plain and simple they are
a wholesale company. This means that they sell to the trade. If you
can not prove that you are in the business and they sell to you they
are operating as a retail distributor. What happens to them then?
They gain you as a customer and lose jewelry stores like mine as
customers. Now why should they worry about that? Because I
understand the business therefore i don’t waste time asking a bunch
of unnecessary question when placing orders. I know what I’m
ordering therefore they get very few return from me. I also buy in
quantity. But, more important than that, I will spend my money with
them year in and year out. This year I have only spent a little
over $16,000.00 with them but in past years I have managed
$30,000.00 and $40,000.00 annual findings budgets with Stuller.

Every time I hear a hobbyist or a newbie jeweler complain about how
hard it is to deal with Stuller it renews my faith in the jewelry
industry. This is one company that I am sure is not feeding me the
line that they are wholesale just to turn around and sell their
product to my customers.

Thanks to the entire Stuller crew for years of loyal service to the
trade.

Place usual disclaimers here. No affiliation bla bla bla

John Sholl
J.F.Sholl Fine Jewelry
Littleton, Colorado

#5

I had the same experience 5 years ago. Swest, Hoover & Strong, and
IJS have consistantly over the last 12 years been the most pleasant
to deal with for me. My occasional trips to Atlanta are no longer
highlighted by a stop/shop or workshop at Swests (now sold/closed).
I also use Rio and most of the time they are very nice to deal with.
My 2 cents, Regis (finally beginning to dry out in Pensacola)


#6

Hmmm, I’ve ordered from Stuller since they opened their doors. What
do they ask for? I think it’s a business license and 3 trade
references. If you’re in the jewelry business, surely you can find 3
trade references… It can be any jewelry related vendor you’ve
traded with. I think Stuller has been burned frequently, and has
tightened its requirements slightly.

Jeffrey


#7

Anthony,

It is incorrect to assume that Stuller has an expectation for you to
purchase a certain volume annually. I have used them for 17 years and
have had no contact from them as to what they expect of me annually
or otherwise. As you do more volume and pay on time you can request
an increase in credit. Volume pricing is the same for any account,
they are listed in the catalogue, you can get it day one, as soon as
you are approved. If you order 100’s or thousands of the same piece,
you will get a price break based on the that volume. If you use
credit or have it shipped C.O.D., same prices, same quanity breaks.
Having credit is not related to quanity discounts. Customer service
reaffimed what I already knew.

Richard Hart


#8

In response to John and others - a wholesale distributor does sells
to those who then resell the product, either as is or after using it
to create a “finished” product. Some wholesalers are also retailers,
in otherwords they will sell to genuine retailer at a wholesale
price, or to retail customers at a retail price. This prevents them
from undermining their business accounts. Some only do wholesale.

That said, the next difference is between large wholesale accounts
(which John’s is), and small wholesale accounts (which I am). All
businesses, even when they are legitimate businesses with correct
licenses and tax forms filed, etc., do not do the same volume of
business, nor do they do the same volume in the same items.

I have had a retail license for 20+years, but I have been a small
business all that time, and anticipate that I will be a small
business for as long as I choose to stay in business. I do not WANT
to be a big business! That does NOT make me any less a genuine
wholesale customer than the big business customer. It SHOULD mean
that I pay more, since I am buying in smaller quantities. The bigger
businesses SHOULD get price breaks for quantity.

An additional way many wholesalers deal with this is by minimum
order amounts. If they simply don’t want to deal with legitimate,
but small, businesses they put their minimum order high enough to
remove those businesses from their market. Another way is to charge
an additional handling fee for orders under a minimum amount. As a
small business, I prefer it when wholesalers do this, as sometimes I
really need what a specific wholesaler carries, but don’t need enough
of it to qualify for a high minimum. In that case it is worth it to
me to pay the added handling fee, and get the amount of product I
need, instead of buying enough product to last me for years, that I
then must store and carry the cost for years!

I haven’t tried doing business with Stuller, but I don’t understand
how a wholesaler can allow some wholesale customers to buy certain
items, and not other wholesale customers, which is what I am
understanding to have been the case. I also don’t see how they can
require a certain volume of purchase. They would be better served to
go with the minimum order requirement, which is also much easier for
the custormer to understand and plan for.

Best wishes to all.
Beth in SC


#9

All, When you consider the fact that many of us are competing head-on
with billion dollar corporations let’s be thankful that we small
operators have a company like Stuller which gives us lightning fast
service, nearly always full stocks, courteous and well informed
reps, honest prices, reliable warranties, and gargantuan selection.
The idea that every wannabe jeweler should have equal access to
wholesalers is , quite simply pollyanish ! A large company cannot
stay in business if it is compelled to send out five and ten dollar
orders on an occaisional basis. The Stuller organization is probably
as fine a company as any in the world ! It has set new records for
service, quality and organization that have not been acheived by any
other company. I have depended on Stuller for fifteen years and
cannot imagine not having them. Let us be grateful for our
blessings…any criticism of Stuller is petty and un-warranted.

It is important to bear in mind that this pecking order of suppliers
is part of a contnuum that applies to us all. If you think that
Stuller is chicken---- about qualiying clients I suggest that you
try to get intoi one of the big wholesale shows in Tucson or other
major events. The credentials you will have to produce will be well
beyond thousands of us who have been independent jewelers for many
years. This is especiaslly true of those of us who are independent
manufacturing jewelers. Those shows do not want us as competitors
and deliberately shun us. So what ! This is where we are
competitive…we give individualized service and we create things
that are not sold by the kilo. Everything is relative…let us
make SOME attempt to acheive a balanced perspective ! Ron at
Mills Gem, Los Osos, Ca.


#10

Excuse me I am small time and order a little bit here and there. I
have a license and certification GJG but, I work out of nmy garage
and I am a self taught aka ‘A hobbyist’ trying to make it a career.
I order from Stuller and have for many years. Never a problem. Lets
get over our little-big guy attuitudes and act like professionals
and artists in a forum! Drop the Stuller issue!!! Denise G. Ruiz GJG


#11

Wait a minute, I am inclined to take this whining about whining
personally.

First, I explained my experiences with Kroungold, who kept repeating
that I do have an account with Stuller, while I don’t have one,
which is the reason I cannot get one. I find this unbelievably …
um, stupid?

Second, I made it quite clear that I understand that they have their
policies and that I can see why. However …

Since we are moving soon, and since I cannot do anything overseas
with casting grain, findings, solder or finished pieces from the USA

  • the carating is too low - I have been looking to find sources in
    Europe and there is quite a bit of difference in the prices for
    certain tools as well as - most probably - an overall wider
    diversity. Why am I saying this? The business of a company like
    Stuller is not only about wholesale, they also try to influence, to
    steer and to stimulate technological innovation as well as innovation
    in design, in new materials, etc. Now, sorry for all you professional
    jewelers here who whine about the competition with newbies and
    hobbyists, but history and indeed much of the sociology of
    innovation processes proves (without any doubt) that the more open a
    system is (i.e. the more free and accesible the the
    know-how, the hardware and so on), the much more likely innovation is
    going to take place. Just take any applied field you want (medicine,
    jewelry, electricity, engines, …) and look at where innovation came
    from. Besides, do you hear guys of a garage complain that some people
    try to build their own cars? How lame is that? A while ago, I found a
    similar point (essentially isolationism leading to bad education) in
    the archives being made by Lewton-Brain about education of jewelers
    in North-America.

I will be a professional jeweler soon, but I am not going to exclude
someone from getting what s/he wants to have because of the mistaken
idea that it could just be against my interests. A point that is
often made, yet never has been proven. Best, Will


#12
But the fact is why should a garage guy/hobbyist with no
credentials or legitimacy (legally) be entitled the same privledges
as a bona fide business. 

Agreed. But that’s not all they limit. How 'bout the expert
commercial goldsmith, with, say, 30 some years at the bench making
the finest jewelry you can imagine for the finest stores, while
working for major manufacturers. And now, starting on his own,
perhaps, or maybe doing a bit of side work, how can Stuller pretend
this guy isn’t a legitimate part of the business? On another front,
how 'bout the students just starting out in their training. They
sure look to me like the future of the field. Seems like poor
business sense that Stuller won’t sell to them if they can show
they’re enrolled in a legitimate jewelry arts program somewhere. In
between, there are a lot of small scale jewelers working from
studios, who make most of their own work, and only occasionally need
some of what stuller sells. They can find it difficult to get an
account if they don’t normally buy a lot of findings. For my own
part, about all I usually buy are stones, raw metal, and tools.
That doesn’t seem to be quite enough to get me an account, (though
I’ll admit I’ve not tried to press the issue). So when I very now
and then have a need for a commercial finding of some sort, guess
what… Frei and Borel, or another of the other fine findings
manufacturers out there, who often have just as fine goods and
prices, are happy to get my order. Stuller obviously doesn’t really
want it.

Sure, Stuller is wholesale only, and needs to be sure they’re not
selling to our retail customers. But I think they need to be just a
tad more flexible, if only for the good will they’d generate among
some of us.

This notion that being a spendy big business somehow entitles you to
greater privileges is hogwash. The size and budget of the business
says nothing of the quality of the merchandise or integrity of the
business. It may make sense for Stuller to concentrate on those who
spend the most, but calling this a privilege? Not in my book.

Peter


#13

As a fairly small fish in this wonderfully large sea I would like to
weigh in on congratulating Stuller for their courtesy, helpfulness
and willingness to work even with smaller customers. There have
only been two occasions when I didn’t have what I ordered immediately
and in each case i could trace it to something I had said or done to
cause uncertainty about the order - in each case they called
immediately to clarify and the order was shipped immediately. They
have, indeed, help me to grow my business. Thank you Stuller Sheridan
Reed