Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Makers and Manufacturers Talk > State of the Industry Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3 
Author Message
Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,489

Feedback score: 100%
(3 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Fri 17 Jun, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan Senefelder wrote:
Russ, some of the sentiment expressed thusfar has me wondering if I was mistaken in spending $1000 plus dollars on the industry visibility giveaways. I was operating under the beliefe that I was helping out both my industry and the consumer base but seemingly I may have been opening the door to long waits and broken promises for the consumer. I was unaware of the latent animous for some of the business that exists and should perhaps have done more research and investigation before having gone forward with that idea and perhaps landing consumers in an albiet unintended by me, unwanted scenario.


If it generated more business for you, that's all that matters from my perspective. Issues with other vendors are between them and their customers, not you. Its only really a problem for you when they turn somebody off on the hobby outright, which happens, but from my point of view, you hold no responsibility for some of your peers who can't get their crap straight. Especially since you have a reputation for saying what you will do, for doing what you say, and for doing it when you say you'll do it.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
View user's profile Send private message
Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,489

Feedback score: 100%
(3 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Fri 17 Jun, 2011 6:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andrew M. wrote:
Quote:
Innovate...can't remember when I saw anything really new and exciting. That's part of the game more than ever when fighting uphill. Albion sure created a stir not that many years ago by innovating. The product was like nothing else and the community engagement (even-though that proved painful at times) was unprecedented. They changed the market overnight. People got in line to buy products that didn't exist (which has also proved painful at times).


Quote:
Perhaps it's because I am 18, living at home, with a part-time job, getting ready to go do collage, but I don't agree with that.


Fair enough but in our sample of two only half the market thinks it sees innovation. Cool

That's still a problem for the industry.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Edelson




Location: New York
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,032

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Fri 17 Jun, 2011 6:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

About six years ago I ordered a sword from Angus Trim. I was quoted two to three months. Seven months later, I had it. Then I ordered another one. Three months, for sure. A year later, I had it.

Two years ago I commissioned gauntlets from a European armorer. Nothing.

A little less than two years ago I commission a custom bouting gauntlet and told it would take two months top. I sent padded gloves(mine). It was made, but not assembled, a year later. The armorer said he couldn't finish it any time soon. I said just mail me what you have and I'll pay for your time and finish it myself and he agreed. That was a year ago.

I've had good experiences with Albion and Arms and Armor. The latter has been late with something (not a purchase though) but made up for it in a very very big way, so it's more than good. I would trust either maker and will order from them again. I would, at this point, trust no one else. Even so, most of what I got from them was either directly from their booth at various shows or from the classifieds here.

I've been in this boat for many years now and it has nothing to do with the economy. What do I think of all those custom and semi-custom makers who take forever to ship products going out of business? Honestly? I couldn't care less. They are of no use to me whatsoever. Maybe they should go out of business and be replaced by people who actually work and keep their promises.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Fri 17 Jun, 2011 11:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:


I've been in this boat for many years now and it has nothing to do with the economy. What do I think of all those custom and semi-custom makers who take forever to ship products going out of business? Honestly? I couldn't care less. They are of no use to me whatsoever. Maybe they should go out of business and be replaced by people who actually work and keep their promises.


I agree with the above that bad customer service should be " rewarded " by failure to repeat business.

I just mean that I will send money and order stuff from people who have a reputation for keeping their word and these are the makers I care about and wish these the best.

Chad said we can only spend money we can afford to spend, so this Topic and our encouragement to buy to keep good talent fed and in business, is not meant to make people feel guilty if they can't buy anything.

But the things we don't like about bad customer service means that money we can afford to spend should be spent on those who respect their customers in preference to those who don't. Wink

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 683

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Sat 18 Jun, 2011 3:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Your logic is flawed because the makers are the ones who set the expectations. My expectation is that the makers deliver on their promises. This is known as "Doing Business Well" and is absolutely reasonable for any consumer to expect this. All makers can pick and choose what they tell their customers, how they present their products, and what projects they choose to work on.


My point is that it may not be reasonable to expect that a craftsman is able to do business well, because he's simply not trained to do so.

One example: the scandal with the accelerating Toyota's in 2009-2010. If even a multi-billion dollar company can not deliver what it's supposed to deliver (a safe car), then why would it be reasonable to expect a craftsman without any formal training in project management to be dead-on with his delivery times?

There are a lot of aspects to doing business. Some people are naturally better in some things than in others. Many technical people, myself included, by nature have problems with sales and communication. Many commercial people do not understand technical matters. A sword smith will primarily be good at working with his hands, and probably also have a feeling for history and engineering. A businessman will be good at sales and management, and probably has a feeling for bookkeeping and planning. Only a few people in any segment will be able to combine the requirements of being an excellent craftsman and an excellent businessman. And since the pool of sword makers is not so big anyway, it will be even harder to find people who combine these.

I agree with you that sword makers should learn not to create unrealistic expectations. Maybe a simple trick would be to just add something to what you think the delivery time / price / quality will be. But then maybe some people wouldn't buy. And since the market is, I think, fairly competitive nowadays, that may also lead to losing business that you can't afford to miss.
View user's profile Send private message
Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


myArmoury Admin

Location: San Francisco
Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Likes: 29 pages
Reading list: 327 books

Spotlight topics: 32
Posts: 11,410

Feedback score: 100%
(7 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Sat 18 Jun, 2011 4:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
Nathan Robinson wrote:
Your logic is flawed because the makers are the ones who set the expectations. My expectation is that the makers deliver on their promises. This is known as "Doing Business Well" and is absolutely reasonable for any consumer to expect this. All makers can pick and choose what they tell their customers, how they present their products, and what projects they choose to work on.


My point is that it may not be reasonable to expect that a craftsman is able to do business well, because he's simply not trained to do so.


I understand your point, but I disagree with you. It's reasonable to expect a person who is doing business to be doing business well. It is not the consumer's job to be forgiving of bad businesses. As such, we choose not to patronize bad businesses. This is how the market works. If a business wants to be successful, that business must first and foremost do good business. Failing to do so will create a failing business. These rules apply to us all, including makers. Such are the realities of life.

Quote:
I agree with you that sword makers should learn not to create unrealistic expectations. Maybe a simple trick would be to just add something to what you think the delivery time / price / quality will be. But then maybe some people wouldn't buy. And since the market is, I think, fairly competitive nowadays, that may also lead to losing business that you can't afford to miss.


Exactly. Expectation management is simple. Even a person "not trained" in business can figure it out. Makers can either risk losing potential business on the front end by setting proper expectations and turning highly demanding customers away, or they can lose business on the back end when they fail at meeting said expectations. The problem with the latter is that it causes a horrible ripple effect as reputation and brand are negatively impacted causing even more lost business.

.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Sat 18 Jun, 2011 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My past experiences with various vendors makes me buy mostly used now. I grew tired of what I would consider slipshod customer service before, during, and after the sale, lengthy wait times, and non-responsiveness to inquiries concerning the commission of products. Now, I buy primarily in the used market. In the current economic climate, I frequently pay only around 50% of retail value for swords that have never been cut with.

Why would I want to pay more? Less money per sword = more swords, that's the simple math of it.

In very select cases, if I trust a vendor, I will buy a new product - but these are exceptionally rare cases. Kult of Athena, for example, sees some of my money on a regular basis if they have what I want in stock. There is no wait time, excellent customer service, and a liberal return policy - all of which please me greatly. However, this is limited to only a few pieces popping up from time to time from the 2-3 manufacturers they carry which are of interest to me. Other than this, it's used, used, used. The classifieds in the forums are like a cornucopia of value priced steel to me...

I rest easily enough knowing that much of the money I invest in the used market is re-circulated into the new market when the person I bought from turns around and buys another sword from somewhere else. It's not directly supporting the industry, but in my eyes, it's still a form of support.

If things improved in the customer service realm, I'd might consider buying new again from some manufacturers. But for now, I buy predominantly used and save a ton of cash doing so to get exactly what I want.

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
View user's profile Send private message
Harry J. Fletcher




Location: Lost in Texas
Joined: 19 Aug 2009
Likes: 9 pages
Reading list: 44 books

Posts: 260

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Sat 18 Jun, 2011 1:24 pm    Post subject: Market economy         Reply with quote

The poor economy is a blessing in disguise in my opinion and perhaps will result in a shakeup of the sword industry. Those manufacturers who produce quality swords at reasonable prices will emerge while those who take advantage of the sword consumer will fall by the wayside. The same holds true for craftsmen as well. All too often many have taken advantage of a consumer while good sword makers have lost business because of them. With the economy as it is now people will not pay high prices for substandard quality, long waits, excuses, poor attention to detail, and take as it is while paying up front.

Sword manufacturers are going to have to implement quality control measures to insure uniform quality rather than a hit or miss proposition. I could name one manufacturer that knowingly shipped out several batches of badly tempered swords. Frankly, there was no excuse for this. With good quality control those batches should have been rejected before leaving the factory.

There was another instance of a brand name manufacturer that took orders with payment made up front and never delivered the custom swords leaving a well known retailer having to make some of the refunds out of pocket.

Unlike the gun market the sword market has no real means of communication or regulation except the internet and in reality there are three forums out there to discuss sword or manufacturer issues. In the gun market there literally dozens of magazines, places where gun owners and buyers gather. Additionally there are gun manufacture standards Substandard guns do not last. For instance one gun manufacturer made and distributed a .45 cal auto 1911A1 WWII model but at low price. It was low quality even though a brand name gun and was forced off the market. This was market economics at work.

As for swordsmiths of lesser ability charging the same price as the swordsmiths providing swords of excellent quality, then the present market should either cause them to drop out or else lower their prices.

This then is the benefit of a poor economy, it causes the better manufacturers to survive, poor manufacturers to drop out, and benefits the sword consumer with better products at a cheaper price.

Finally, a poor economy forces the sword consumer to make better choices by becoming better informed. Admittedly the tools for consumer information are sadly few and controlled but the way is pointed forward for some intrepid entrepenuer to come up with a sword magazine, Talk Show or something where sword consumers are free to say what they think about various issues and sword makers.

To Study The Edge of History
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Sat 18 Jun, 2011 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What a good craftsman, but a lousy/disorganized businessman type can do when they can't figure out how to give accurate estimates of delivery times is to go to an " In stock " model of business where they make what they want and sell it after it's made.

If their work is known to be good then they should sell " eventually ": This may be easier for those who already have a reputation for excellence in the work or for a " part time maker " whose sales are a nice bonus but has another source of income to pay the rent !

For custom orders, if they still want to take custom orders, they should not take any deposits and only give a ballpark estimate of delivery date saying up front that it may take 1.5 X, 2X or more time to finish. ( Not great but at least honest and not making promises that won't be kept ).

The final thing is to at least reserve one day every couple of weeks to reply to e-mails or sent out progress reports. ( Also not great, but a lot better than never communicating or worse " Hiding " from people trying to communicate with them about late orders ).

What is appalling are those who can't even meet these rather mediocre but at least palatable standards.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Harry J. Fletcher




Location: Lost in Texas
Joined: 19 Aug 2009
Likes: 9 pages
Reading list: 44 books

Posts: 260

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Sat 18 Jun, 2011 11:07 pm    Post subject: Market economy         Reply with quote

Jean:

Thank you for your reply but I think you were referring more to individual craftsmen than larger manufacturers as a whole. I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head about a swordmaker taking orders and then evading those who placed orders with him.

When either a person or an economic entity enters the market place then they are subject to market forces. A large manufacturer risks a capital investment. If a product is produced with quality and the customers are satisfied then everyone benefits. The risk is that a product must be produced within certain cost constraints or the cost of the product must be increased. Still if the customer receives product satisfaction all is well and will pay the increased cost. If other manufacturers can produce a similar product either with higher quality or at a cheaper price then to compete a manufacturer must cut costs or increase quality within the cost parameters of the product to compete otherwise the doors are closed and the investment lost.

individual sword makers or craftsmen are not equal just because swordmaker A is selling his sword for $1500 does not mean that swordmaker B is entitled to charge approximately to same price if swordmaker A can deliver a sword that can truly be seen as a work that obviously meets and exceeds the customers expectations and has an excellent reputation to back up what he charges. While swordmaker B may spend many more hours working on his product he may not match the quality put into the sword make by A. Also the reputation A is such that when people order and pay for his sword they know what they are getting.

To Study The Edge of History


Last edited by Harry J. Fletcher on Sun 19 Jun, 2011 2:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Cincinnati, OH
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 21 pages
Reading list: 231 books

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 9,138

Feedback score: 100%
(3 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This thread has wandered from its original intent. Here are important points that I don't want to become buried:

The good:
-No one wants to see their favorite makers struggle or go away. There is a lot of personal support for makers people have developed good personal relationships with.
-There are a lot of great makers out there doing great things.
-There is high consumer satisfaction with the unprecedented variety and quality in the marketplace.
-Some consumers can still buy freely. Others are still buying but more selectively than in the past.

The less-than-good:
-A number of consumers can't support their favorite makers as much as they used to do or at all right now because of economic factors.
-There is notable consumer dis-satisfaction with the business practices some (not all) makers employ.
-Some are in favor of market forces correcting some of the business practice issues out there.

So where do makers and consumers go from here?

Consumers:
-Buy as much you're responsibly/comfortably able to.
-Continue holding makers accountable.
-Continue spreading the word about good makers to others in the hobby.
-Don't bother makers unnecessarily with calls/emails. They're busy and time on the phone/computer is time away from your project. Don't take up a lot of their time unless you're ready to place an order.

Makers:
-Don't sacrifice quality to get orders out the door quickly. This will hurt you and the marketplace in the long run. Quality is king.
-Continue (or begin) to be honest with customers and yourself about expectations, including delivery times.
-Find ways to deal with the plethora of emails from potential customers. The ease of email makes these communications from customers easy, quick, and cheap on their end (even if not on yours). Email isn't going away.
-If orders are slow, consider using any extra time you may have to update your website or make easy-to-sell stock items for the impulse shoppers.

Things will rebound someday and the market will self-correct some problems to a degree.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Karl Knisley





Joined: 05 Sep 2003
Likes: 2 pages

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 799

Feedback score: 100%
(4 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 10:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello
I wonder if we could use a, feedback system, here,like they have on Ebay.A person could leave ,good feedback, for
a smooth transaction and vice versa.So a buyer could get an Idea about the "Good,Bad,and the Ugly" And only the good survive....like in the movie:-)

Just a thought
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Makers and Manufacturers Talk > State of the Industry
Page 3 of 3 Reply to topic
Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3 All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum