TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  How to keep the dealers happy?
Author  :  Yon Bard mailto:%20doryon@rcn.com
Date  :  10-30-2001 on 08:48 a.m.
As my collection matures it becomes increasingly difficult for me to find new pieces that I want to acquire. As a result I have to reject almost all the offers that I receive from the dealers who have me high up on their lists. After a while they give up on me, and I don't even get to see the few exceptional pieces that I might have bought. What to do about that?
I should add that this problem is particularly acute for collectors with a narrow focus; the eclectic collector can always find new pastures.

Regards, Yon

Subject  :  Re:How to keep the dealers happy?
Author  :  Richard Farber mailto:%20farberr@netvision.net.il
Date  :  10-30-2001 on 12:28 p.m.
Dear Mr. Bard,

I agree wholeheartedly! Finding dealers who are prepated to 'work' for a focused collection is difficult. To find an addition to my niche collection, at a price that i can afford, [or at any price] has become an almost impossible project. I wrote by email to many dealers asking them to have a look at the salon I posted and suggest pieces --- with no results. And I am not condition oriengted which one would think makes collecting easier.

Just to find a dealer with beautiful things to look at is difficult and when I did find one here I was sure to purchase three objects over the year or so of his being in business to further the relationship.

A second dealer has some business of mine, I buy little things that I like to cultivate a relationship

so maybe to sum up I think that even a focused collector should cultivate relationships with dealers in the hope that . . . .on one of his or her trips . . . someone will bring in the piece that you want-love-need



n.b. I am waiting for somebody to write about online dealers so i can tell why I wont do business with one who I havn't met in person before.

Subject  :  Re:How to keep the dealers happy?
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  10-30-2001 on 02:41 p.m.
Hi Richard,

Why do you have to await for someone else to raise the subject of on-line dealers? If you have something to say along that line, please post it.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:How to keep the dealers happy?
Author  :  Patrick Weiler mailto:%20theweilers@home.com
Date  :  11-03-2001 on 09:55 p.m.

A number of threads here are somewhat related. The two titled "A Good Dealer" and Tom Cole's A "Good Dealer - (Collector)" tie into this one.

I suspect that most dealers would not consider me a good collector because I go into a lot of stores and do not buy anything. A couple weeks ago, my 10 year old said "We have gone to a lot of rug stores and I have never seen you buy anything."

There are only two storefront dealers from whom I have purchased more than one rug. Not because the rugs are no good, but because:
1 the "maturity" - (as you call it) of my collection has exceeded the amount of money I am willing to pay.
2 I already have examples of many of the things in the store that interest me.
3 I do not have the disposable income to buy the really nice things.

Several items have come from rug dealers and antique stores no longer in business! A number have come from e-bay, but at least 1/3 of those I would not have bought had I seen them in person.
On the other hand, most of the e-bay items cost considerably less than I would have had to pay at a storefront dealer.

One piece I own came from a dealer who had it on the wall for a couple of years. I would visit him and admire it each time. He finally said "Are you ever going to buy anything from me?" I said I liked that piece on the wall, but it was priced too high. He halved the price and I bought it on the spot. I suppose he would have lowered the price earlier if I had "bargained" but it was more likely that, because he was going on a buying trip, he decided it was better to have money to buy stuff than things on the wall that didn't sell.

I still visit his shop but have not bought anything since - which leads to a bit of a problem: Should collectors NOT go to rug stores just to see what wonderful stuff is there, knowing full well that they probably won't buy anything? Does NOT buying anything strain an otherwise good dealer/collector relationship?

I think it was an antiques dealer who said they don't like old people coming to their shop because old people already have everything they want in their collection, their house or apartment is full, and they only want to see what things are priced at to compare the prices with things they own. They are a waste of the dealers time.
It is for this reason that I try to be sensitive to a dealer if another customer comes into their store while I am just there admiring all the very expensive things I would like to have if my collection were to go to the "next level" of quality. The quality I would desire "if I win the lottery" philosophy.

So, in answer to your question, the way to keep dealers happy is to buy things from them.

Happy buying,

Patrick Weiler

Subject  :  Re:How to keep the dealers happy?
Author  :  Tom Cole mailto:%20thomascole@earthlink.net
Date  :  11-03-2001 on 10:19 p.m.
To sum up the "happiness" one may give to a dealer in pure economic, business terms is superficial in my opinion. As a dealer, I enjoy people and what they have to offer in terms of intellectual stimulation and engaging conversation. Don't shortchange the gift of social grace. Money is not the only factor in forging a good relationship with a dealer. Remember, dealers are people too, not just dealers.

Subject  :  Re:How to keep the dealers happy?
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  11-03-2001 on 10:28 p.m.
Hi Tom,

Your point is a good one (Money is not the only factor in forging a good relationship with a dealer. Remember, dealers are people too, not just dealers). It is much too often forgotten or ignored, and I think the collectors who forget or ignore it miss out on a lot. Dealers are not only people, many are good people, and many of those good people are very knowledgable people. What more can a collector ask for in a friend?


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:How to keep the dealers happy?
Author  :  Patrick Weiler mailto:%20theweilers@home.com
Date  :  11-03-2001 on 11:29 p.m.

I agree that "dealer happiness" is not purely monetary. That would be just as simplistic as Yon wanting a dealer to call him first with the best stuff and lowest prices. I am sure that most good dealers enjoy sharing their enthusiasm with others who can also see the beauty in their weavings, even if they don't always buy something. After all, we are not talking about something like a couch or table saw. I do not think many deep and lasting relationships develop between a couch dealer and his customers - people just do not buy very many couches.
And Steve points out that sometimes collectors forget that the relationship does not need to be adversarial. Granted, some people have adversarial personalities. They bring out the worst in others. But most of the dealers in antique weavings that I visit regularly are actually generally quite congenial, friendly and helpful, even if I don't buy a lot of things. Before the internet, rug dealers, books and periodicals were the only interaction I and probably many other collectors had with the subject. Unless there is a rug club in your town, there is not much opportunity to "hang" with others interested in rugs.
It is a symbiotic relationship. We collectors need the dealers and they need us.

Symbiotically yours,

Patrick Weiler

Subject  :  Re:How to keep the dealers happy?
Author  :  Jerry Silverman mailto:%20rug_books@silvrmn.com
Date  :  11-04-2001 on 12:58 a.m.
For more than 20 years I have had at least one oriental rug dealer as an advertising and/or public relations client. So I have a pretty good idea of the sort of customers rug dealers are looking for. There's no better way of knowing what's important to a rug dealer than observing what he's willing to spend money on. Choosing publications/radio stations/television shows/direct mail lists based on their demographics puts the dealer's money where his business interests lie.

The "best" customers are those who need rugs right now...preferably more than one. People forming households, buying homes, or separating and starting out again on their own are the ones with the most immediate need. Whether they are in the market for $1,000 rugs or $30,000 rugs they can be motivated by advertising and/or public relations. (If you don't need a rug, all the advertising and crazy discounts in the world won't drag you out to your neighborhood rug dealer on a particular weekend.) Having a broad selection of pieces in the right size with the right colors at acceptable prices is pretty much the stock in trade of most dealers. While these customers may have quite specific requirements, they are also likely to find what they're looking for since their goal is simply something decorative that fits their other choices.

Collectors are another market entirely. While they always "need" more rugs, their tastes may have evolved to the point where it's damn near impossible to find anything that fits their niche of attribution/age/design/color/price.

Every dealer I have ever worked with loves collectors and wants to sell to them. At the same time, they dread seeing a collector walk in, knowing that they probably won't have anything for them. So they usually take a more passive approach. They support collectors (rug societies, exhibitions, lectures, etc.) and hope the collectors will act as sources of referral when their non-collecting friends ask them for the name of a good rug dealer.

Would they like to hang out with collectors, whiling away the day showing their pieces and discussing arcana about each? Some would. Others would see it as an imposition on time that could be put to more effective use following up on rugs that are out on approval or generally seeing to the endless minutiae of their businesses.

As you've probably deduced, none of my rug dealer clients have dealt solely in collectible pieces. In fact, they've all sold primarily new rugs. But they all have had old pieces, some of wonderful quality and collectibility. When a piece like that comes in, we consider marketing it via the specialty rug publications.

For a dealer of new rugs an effective advertising/public relations campaign in Chicago requires a six-figure annual expenditure because it's aimed at a fairly wide audience (the entire decorative marketplace). A dealer in antique pieces must target individuals not masses. This is both less expensive and vastly more difficult. Personal relationships with collectors and other dealers are much more important and the result of long cultivation.

Finally, the previous comment that some dealers believe older collectors already have established collections is not always true. Those who are aged 50+ are at the height of their earning power and may be looking to upgrade the acquisitions of their earlier, less-afluent years. That's also an age at which people come into inheritances. If they're moving South, they may be selling their old furnishings and buying new things for their new home.

Sorry if I've been rambling, but there are zillions of angles to this...especially when it's examined from the perspective of the dealer.



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