Turning Archive 2005

Arts and crafts market changing?

Ed Davidson (Colorado Springs)
>I spent the day in Vail Colorado earlier this week, and visited several high-end stores who carry glass and wood art. There was one store in particular that caught my interest, and seemed to be just the kind of place where my turnings would fit in...loads of very nicely turned wood boxes and vessels, jewelry boxes and blown glass. Asked the shop manager if they would be interested in a wholesale or consignment arrangement, offering him my product brochure...his reply: "No thanks; we get all our goods from Asia much cheaper than we can here in the USA."

On closer inspection of this shop's goods, virtually every piece was marked "made in Taiwan, China, Thailand, etc...", all fairly high quality, attractively designed and high priced. This shop's mark-up could easily have been 6 to 10 times the Asian wholesale price. Looks like there is a move by some "galleries" to improve their margins by importing all of their "art". And perhaps more important, the quality of this "art" is getting pretty good.

If this small sample is indicative of the rest of the country, my thinking is that the Wall Mart model is spreading to smaller scale retail markets, and may some day put all but the very best crafts-people out of business. What do you think?

Best regards,
Ed Davidson

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