The one aspect of being a jewellery designer that I find most frustrating is sourcing. Finding good supplies can drive you right 'round the bend... mad actually. I'm picky about my components and gems. So recently I posted trade leads on Trade India no less. We'll see how that pans out. One gem supplier from India actually referred me to a bead buying group moderated by a list owner who lives in New Mexico. I'm not exactly certain whether this particular buy group will work for me, but we'll see. At the present time they've got lots of buys on the go.
I'm unfamiliar with this group purchasing stuff... I suppose I've led a very sheltered life. When I want something I'm pretty used to paying retail or darn close... and I thought I was doing very well for myself on the jewelry acquisition side by travelling to the InterGem shows that regularly take place throughout North Eastern USA to get gemstone beads at wholesale... But this jewelry buying group is a horse of a different color. These ladies have got it all going on. They sit at their computers and chat seemingly endlessly via their Yahoo group about 'group buys'. wow!
They've got an elaborate system of volunteer hostesses who deal with collating and forwarding complicated spreadsheets from all sorts of gem and jewelry supply channels. You name it, they've already got a buy connection set up. Their most recent gem order to India was $22K and they've currently got a buy on the go totalling $16K in just crystals. Wow!
I'm blown away with this revelation. The first order I placed at www.zwebshows.net years ago for example totalled around $500 at wholesale. I'm fairly used to doing my own research and acquiring my materials independently. So it will take time for me to adapt to a group buy mindset.
Already I'm reading all kinds of posts on this new group buy forum from hostesses and group leaders scolding members who haven't paid for their orders. This procrastination is totally unfair to other members who did pay on time and who may in all likelihood actually keenly need and want their order fulfilled and shipped pronto. Now that I can relate to. When I want something, I want it now... not in a month - I mean expedited delivery, courier if necessary. But once I plop down my money, I want immediate gratification.
Another bone of contention that has emerged on the buy group is that with their strong purchasing power, this unit gets early notification from some very large jewelry supply houses of upcoming and weekly specials - specials that are offered at ridiculous prices for certain elite customers. The early newsletter releases of weekly specials is yummy and the platinum level pricing is truly drool worthy. The problem is that again, lots of gals haven't paid up in time for the orders to be processed. And members who paid early/on time are being shafted as they may in all likelihood lose out on some of the great deals due to sell outs.
Wow, again I say wow. I'm so independent and impatient and controlling. Can I deal with sending my funds to the USA to wait for this group to get its act in gear? Dunno. I'll give serious consideration to planning ahead - way ahead... in order to avail myself of the deals. I'll need to adopt a new mantra - something about patience being a virtue -- although I think I'll need something much more spiritually meaningful than that to help me through this.
For very expensive items (highest end gemstones and precious metal) this group buying will grant access to prices I likely can't get anywhere. Unless I can find gemstones that somehow fell off a truck :)
All that said, I really need sterling, gold filled and vermeil findings, so I placed a $500 order today... my first one directly from Bali... okay changing my independent ways may be harder than I thought... And in my defense, I can't wait months to work all this out with a buy group!