Greetings Beading Friends!
You will have perhaps noticed that we are enthusiastic supporters of efforts promoting "Buy Local". While this is an obvious case of self-interest, buying local is in everyone's interest on many levels and we have been reminded of this several times in recent weeks.
People have complained about merchandise they have bought online because "the price is right", usually from sources which sell a broad variety of merchandise (often from a company with a curved arrow logo). They comment on things such as the quality and colour not meeting expectations, receiving items not ordered, incomplete orders, the difficulty in communicating with someone who can deal with the problem and finally returning unacceptable merchandise. Sometimes they are surprised about having to pay Customs duties. Their conclusion: buying the cheapest items was not always the best choice.
The comments are rarely directed at specialized online sites, like ours. At Canada Beading, for instance, we have over 70 years of combined experience between employees. Thus we are able to help customers problem solve most issues. We communicate promptly by phone or email when customers have questions. We aim to provide quality products at the best price we can give our customers and we know how our tools and supplies work. We are often asked if we can find special items and often we are successful. Large multifaceted online businesses are not able to provide the level of customer service that specialized businesses offer and that service may cost you a bit more.
Something to think about when deciding whether to deal with local or specialized online businesses, is what you and others will do if there are only a "few middlemen" left because smaller entrepreneurs close shop? Large retail firms have centralized purchasing as this enables them to get better prices from suppliers but this means fewer people influence purchasing decisions and that limits the choice available to you. Small businesses offer a greater variety of unique products. Buying local helps to preserve more choice options. The way you spend your money indicates what you approve of and what you hope will remain in the marketplace.
Seth Godin has said: "Entrepreneurship is a chance to trade a solution to someone who has a problem that needs solving". Small businesses try to solve customers problems by listening and providing a unique variety of merchandise and support.
This is our 40th year in business. Our tag line is "Your dreams. Our beads. We help!" Thanks so much for supporting us!
Meredith, Brent and Carrie