Stiletto Heights

I am Jennifer Gordon- a mixed media collage artist and comic writer living in Columbus OH, with my fiance and love- Keith. I specialize in paintings, ACEOS, journals, art boxes and more. I am always available for commissions! Visit my etsy shop at:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

When small business is not friendly to small business

please allow me to rant today....I need to.

So as you all know, I sell lots and lots (sometimes) of reproduction prints in my shop, some day I do pretty well. Now, I don't even own a printer, so I have my prints done at a local printing shop, this way I can get the highest quality I get them done locally even though it is WAY cheaper to get them printed from larger "art house" type printers.

But....I go for the mom and pop places, I like to know my money is going back into my city, where I live, the place I want to flourish. There is something great about the personal relationships that you can build, I love calling my print place and having them know who I am, I like having direct connection to the owner, the person who is printing my work.

It makes me feel good to know that the hundreds and many more hundreds of dollars I spend are going directly to help keep a place open, to put food on the table.

Now, I don't spend thousands of dollars all at once, no, I spend hundreds and I do it it often. I sell limited editions and soon, one of a kind pieces that need printing. I print a lot, on a weekly basis at times.

So that being said I was pretty shocked when I was talking to my printing company about my latest prints (that are so beautiful it hurts pretty), when mr print shop owner informed me that it was not really "worth their time" to have me as a customer anymore, that they preferred it if I printed at least 100 prints of each design.

well, that's just not me, I don't want to offer hundreds of each piece, I want limited quantities, I want them to be really special.

Now, I was shocked, it was not like I was paying next to nothing for the work I got there, they quoted me a price and I paid questions asked.

Did I know I could get them cheaper from a bigger place, hell yeah...did it

So here I am "dumped" by my printer for not being "big enough".

SO I spent yesterday calling and contacting all the local print shops in my town, again, wanting to support local.

You know what I found out....small places don't want to deal with small places. No one was even willing to give me a price quote on anything...not caring that I had 20 different designs that I wanted 10 prints each, again I heard I had to do at least 100 of each design or they did not want my business.

I felt like I was going to throw up, I really did.

You know, it must be nice, to be able to turn down hundreds of dollars on a regular basis saying it is not worth their time.

Now....I am not suffering from delusions of grandeur, I know I am small potatoes, but I am potatoes nonetheless.

(oh, I like that...I am potatoes)

So...yesterday ended with me placing a preliminary order with a large print company with a "no minimum" requirement.

Did it make me feel dirty inside that I had gone totally mass market...a little bit, but that quickly changed when about an hour after I placed my order I got a personal email from a customer rep at said "big box" company, thanking me for my order, telling me I would have it by Friday and to contact them should I have any questions or concerns.

So anyway...hopefully things will go well with the new company, I will let you know Friday about how the pieces look...

wish me luck.


(piece today is a new one, it's not listed yet, and I am not sure when I will list it...but I love it, it's a combination of digital and regular collage)

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Blogger LazyTcrochet said...

Wow, that is disconcerting. I hope it works out to your satisfaction. Keep trying. Maybe a printer in the next town over would be happy to support your business! Good luck and keep up the good work.

8:26 AM  
Blogger The Dutchess of Kickball said...

Wow, that really is pretty ridiculous. But the new piece is lovely!

8:53 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

You are potatoes.

That is regoddamndiculous, but you know what? It's going to suck for those small places when they get run out by the big chains. And I don't say that gleefully -- I am pro small business all the way* -- but that's just a crappy way to build loyalty and word of mouth.

* - Except when it comes to Target. Best. Place. Ever.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh that sucks Jenn. I am discovering it is not as easy as I thought to get prints done. The print company I use for my giclees has literally doubled it's prices since I started doing prints and I just can't find them cheaper anywhere else. I too want to support small businesses but ironically it just isn't always possible so you shouldn't feel bad! Your new print is a stunner, really beautiful

10:48 AM  
Anonymous beej said...

I'm so sorry, Jenn.

Making a living in small business is hard enough without other small businesses being stupid about it.

11:02 AM  
Blogger melancholic optimist said...

wow, that's so disappointing... I would share your view that it's really nice to go local, to know the people you're doing business with and to be able to have a relationship, and how disappointing to have the people you're used to working with just drop you like that... I can understand that maybe they have to do that kind of thing in order to be able to compete with big print shops, but still, it just sucks... I hope things go well with the new place!

11:33 AM  
Anonymous karen beth said...

Wow... that is uber-crappy of them! I can't imagine them not wanting to support you and help you just as you have wanted and tried to support and help them. Sounds like they aren't worth your time or money anyway.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Erikka said...

i agree with you, this is so sad and hurtful that a small community bizniz is not willing to support another one. but like small being run out by fed laws and reg. they just can't maintain, I bet it is similar in small biznizes competing against boxstores and online options. i think it costs them more money to do small orders than it does to turn you away. it is sad...hurtful...but probably true.
this may be a big leap, but maybe call back, talk to them really openly about how you feel and maybe they can explain or compromise...who knows.

good luck tho.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Nicole R.J. said...

And those same print shops will wonder why they flounder while the big guys only get bigger... a big "tsk" to them all for being too big for their britches!

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, that sucks. I've dealt with it myself too, though. Smaller glass companies don't want to take smaller orders - and I only buy a few dozen bottles at a time. I too have found some "larger" places online that seem to be very grateful to have my orders. I guess, even if you are a potato, you're a potato in good company!

I adore your new work by the way. So light and ethereal. Just stunning!

2:10 PM  
Blogger Chucka Stone Designs said...

This really bothers me. Because your work is something they should be proud to print and as a small business owner you had the right attitude -- don't throw business at the "big-box" print company, give it to another business just like you and the local happiness will flourish. If they treat everyone like that there will not be a business long enough to be snobby in.

Your new print is AMAZING you are not just potatos you are double baked, mashed potatos with cheese & garlic :~D

4:10 PM  
Blogger Chickenbells said...

As a small business owner myself...I often find myself thanking each customer in my head for coming in...even when they don't buy anything. I mean, I thank them outloud too...but, every little bit helps (unless they are too unruly...which I don't think is the case with would be a shame to loose a nice person as a customer)

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the greatest lesson here is that you had to ultimately do what was best for you, good for others or not. They were unbending when it came to their 100 print standard and you are unbending with your need to keep your prints exclusive. I commend your potatoes.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Sarah McBride said...

I am sorry that happens. "not worth our time" is THE WORST thing they could have said to you. You should inform them that you know plenty of artists and designers who will no longer use their services and you will no longer recommend them to anyone.(or some threat similar)
not really something you could get done at Kinko's huh??(JOKE)

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Alissa said...

whoa. what a downer. I'm sorry that happened--I hope you gave the printers a piece of your mind.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like that you tried to support your local area, boo on them for not wanting your business. Money is money to me, they are bad business peeps. The new work is SO amazing, really, just so lovely to look at. I love the new directions you take that are so surprising and beautiful but still very you.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Waterrose said...

That is too bad. What's ironic is that most mom and pop print shops, when they started out were happy to get any kind of print order, including small ones. How quickly they forget who helped them build their business in the first place.

1:56 PM  
Blogger BlossomingTree said...

Not good at all. Sorry about that. Makes your wonder why small shops stay small shops. Can't wait to see what you have planned.:)

6:36 AM  
Anonymous somechick84 said...

You know, the greastest investment I ever made in college (well, second counting my mac) is my canon photo printer. Prints up to 13 x 19 and BEAUTIFULLY. Just a thought :)

12:34 AM  

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