Saturday, November 19, 2011

Preparing for LosCon38 - My 3rd Show There!

I'm trying to make some new pieces for LosCon38 this coming Friday, as well as a holiday event where my husband works in early December. The first piece below is an assemblage of copper floral bits on a copper oval with a copper cuff bracelet base. I'm very happy with how it's turned out. The various copper pieces came from B'sue on Etsy (she also has B'sue Boutique) and Vintage Jewelry Supplies.

The next set are a few of the assemblage pieces in steampunk style that I'm going to make pins and necklaces of. Lucite flower from The Beadin' Path, filigree and chain from Vintage Jewelry Supplies. Most of the larger watch parts, the moon face stamping, & tiny watch gears are from Steampunk Supply on Etsy. I think the key may be from there, too. There are a few bits and bobs from Earthenwood Ceramics and Tim Holtz's  "idea-ology" line of supplies, too.

Finally, here's a necklace with some gears on the chain and antique watch face, watch part with ruby jewel, brass filigree and brass chain. All the watch parts are from Steampunk Supplies, the chain from Vintage Jewelry Supplies.

Of course I'll have my usual lanyards, bracelets and a few other steampunk pieces on display as well. If you're going to be near the airport (LAX) Marriott the weekend after Thanksgiving check out LosCon and come see me (and my dad!) in the dealer's room! If you can't, I'll try to take a lot of pictures and maybe even live-blog from the event. You can read all about it here!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Another Update on Complaints, Quite Revealing

Now I don't give the BBB all that much credence because of a number of things I've heard about them. For an example, check out this 20/20 report from last April. You can Google "complaints about the Better Business Bureau" and see for yourself.

However, the BBB listing for has full address and phone number information, as well as info you should know if IntoStores has contacted you, I'm going to share the current BBB link about and keep screen shots for future reference.

I *highly* recommend you read the full details of the unresolved complaints on the site - they are very informative. Here's an excerpt from one of them:

...After signing up I realized I could not contact buyers. I emailed my sales rep asking for the buyer contact information and he emailed me approximately 50 company names without their contact info. I emailed my sales rep again asking where the buyers names and contact info were and why weren't there more?He said there was no way to contact buyers, their site was designed for the buyers to contact me only. What did they mean when they promised me "unprecedented access to head buyers, key decision makers and upper level executives?" I emailed my sales rep saying I was mis-lead and he offered me free advertising. I told him I was very unhappy and I want a refund. They said no- I have to pay for 6months of membership before I am eligible. To request a refund before makes me not eligible.
Business response: Per consumer *states via email: The company I have submitted a complaint about has contacted me and has offered a refund of $117.00 of the $230 I have invested. I would like to accept this refund so that I am able to recover some of my investment.
*note that IntoStores didn't respond - this is what the consumer who complained emailed back to the BBB.

As I said in the previous post - Seller Beware, what IntoStores offers looks too good to be true, they spam people's emails for clients, and they deliberately make it very difficult to get a hold of them when you're not satisfied with their service.
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Friday, November 4, 2011

Caveat Venditor, Redux - "" Sends Me an Email

Every  now and then this post from 2009 gets a comment thanking me for the research I did into "" which is re-posted under the Monday Miscellany graphic below. The last comment I received got me thinking that I should re-post this, with that comment as an intro to remind us to investigate as best we can (before we commit our credit card #) to any 'deal' we might hear about to get our work out there with retailers! Also, if it comes to you via email out of the blue, it's a pretty good bet it's not something you want to be involved with.

Here's the comment:

Thanks for posting this since, like an ass, I fell for it! I have been trying to cancel forever now and they have no phone number on the site (imagine that!) and the number listed on my card statement just rolls right to a voice mail. I called the number you posted and got the guy's voice mail too. I did leave a message though. Hopefully they'll cancel it. I don't even care about the refund (it was my own stupid fault for falling for it. I'll chalk that up to a learning experience) but I don't want to continue to pay for it!! I appreciate your posting the number. Thanks!! 
First off, thanks MomX for commenting. Secondly, you weren't an ass at all, these kinds of schemers are clever, they have a legitimate looking site, and the message appeals to our desire as artists/creators to get our work out there in the public and make it more profitable. 

I was a bit ahead of the game as I had read tons of posts and warnings about similar types in the world of publishing. It's just that I was a bit more educated about how these guys work when I got their email. These kinds of schemes are not something everyone has knowledge of. I'm just so sorry you have had such a bad experience.  Please call your credit card company and tell them you want them to stop making payments to that vendor, ask if they'll help you get a refund and that you called them because you've tried to deal with the vendor but he refuses to deal with you directly.  Good luck!

Anyone remember my post about WiseRep? Well, maybe the buzz about it was bad enough that they decided to change their name? Either that, or someone else thought it was a good idea - I just got a very similar email from "".

Do you wholesale your jewelry? The department stores, apparel and accessory retailers, gift shops, specialty stores and large chains we work with are aggressively looking for jewelry to purchase this Holiday season. We need a larger variety of pieces they can choose from, hence my email to you. If you want to make a Christmas push and if you're interested in selling to more stores, now's the time. Visit us at
Kevin Sanderson
VP Merchandising
866-788-5799 (ext 3)

Emails like this should set off your inner skeptic. It's not personalized at all. They say they're working with "department stores, apparel and accessory retailers, gift shops, specialty stores and large chains" but nowhere on their site do you actually get verification that they do. Get an email like this, it's time to do some detective work.

When you get these kinds of emails you might want to check out the site - but be sure your virus scanner is operating and updated, just in case. I checked the site and it's full of phrases that suggest to me it's a way for them to make money off of the desperate and of no benefit to you.

I learned about similar kinds of sites at places where they discuss 'display sites' that promise to get your book picked up by agents and publishers - promises that don't pan out. A great post to review is on Writer Beware about writer' services. Many of the tips on how to evaluate a display site are applicable here.

So, what am I skeptical of with IntoStores?
  • "Welcome to one of the largest wholesale networks on the planet." but they don't provide any verifiable statistics back that up.
  • They want to "streamline the wholesale industry" - uh, a website could do that? That's a huge claim, like wanting to solve world hunger. Hyperbole like that always worries me.
  • Costs you money to join - lots of it. "Pay a one-time set-up fee of $275 and a monthly maintenance fee of $29."
  • Also, "Stores that come to you are already motivated to purchase. They'll buy on your terms. You'll set pricing, payment and delivery dates you can handle. They'll pay you directly. Pick and choose who you want to work with."
I'd be willing to bet real money that at major retailers the buyers (well, their contracts and legal staffs) set the terms. You negotiate the best deal you can, but in the end it's 'take it or leave it - there are millions of fish just like you in the sea'. That's how it works in other industries, and I'm professionally qualified via my day job to say so.

Like the buyers at Macy's, or the other stores they've swiped the logo pictures from and posted in their sidebar to make it look like they actually work with them, really want to wade through the listings on a display site. I've looked at some of the listings and I know I wouldn't.

This all sounds like come-on language for the starry-eyed. Stop and think logically. Think about how big businesses really do their purchasing. This is not how they work - I happen to work in the purchasing organization of a very big company (although I'm not a buyer) and I'm seeing a lot of red flags in how this site presents how buyers work, compared to my observation of real ones. In my opinion, this is not how you get your work sold. What it's a lot like, is how someone takes advantage of you on the internet with flashy graphics and grandiose promises.

There's nothing I can find on Google except questions in forums asking "do you think this is a good deal?" (although "elvendude's" comment here is great, so read that) - so unfortunately people are going to fall for this and spend money hoping they'll hit it big right before the holidays. I think your chances are better at Vegas.

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