I saw that Berger Beads left their information on a post I wrote last week and it got me thinking about dealers. Bead dealers, textile dealers - dealers in general - they are a funny sort. Some of my dealers are my closest friends - and I wouldn't have it any other way....they are funny, direct and at the end of the conversation, they are interested in just one thing - making the deal. When I visit flea markets, I like to find one or two dealers and just buy deep - once I find a dealer I like, I tend to stick with them.
I speak with one of my dealers almost every day - and it's usually the same conversation...but he always hopes that at the end of the conversation I will say, "Ok - send me a few pounds of that opaque lemon druk bead" - but most of the time, we just check in with each other - see how the other one is doing, throw in a bit of bead gossip here and there and then it ends with "Call me if you change your mind" or I say "Call me if you find any glass flowers, birds or leaves!"
Another dealer, here in Los Angeles, stops in French General every once in a while, last week she stopped in to invite me to her 81st birthday party this weekend. Her house is really her trunk - it is filled with textiles from around the world that she collected when she and her husband traveled the world during the seventies while he was a bigwig at Paramount Studios. Half the time she won't sell me what I want, because she is emotionally attached to it (something I also suffer from) but usually, she ponders on it a bit, tells me where she found it, what she had always wanted to do with it and then - let's go. I pay her whatever she asks, because she takes me on the journey with her - it's worth the trip.
Sometimes deals can go bad - but I usually give in before they do - because if I am fighting that hard I know I really want it. Take for example, the morning at Berger Beads last week. I have been visiting this old bead shop for 20 years, and, it still amazes me the old, old pieces they have in quantity. On this day, I knew exactly what I wanted. I went to the back, picked up the small boxes of old glass pearls and walked up to the counter. Along the way, I spotted some old, old, old cranberry dimpled glass on wire - the cranberry glass that was made with the flash of gold, it sparkled.
The dealers spotted me, they knew I had found something beautiful. Let the games begin. I thought it was overpriced, so they came down a bit. I offered. They countered. And on and on it went. For almost an hour!! Finally, the owner walked in - I had been dealing with the counter-dealer - there was a bit of hushed talking between dealers. Finally, I said to the owner, this is what I am offering, do you want it or not? - he quickly said, Done! I loved it. My brother said he heard the counter dealer cry out, "OOOOOOHHHHH" - as if she had lost. The owner knew it was a good deal for both of us and we were both satisfied. But oh what a struggle!!
I guess that's what some business is all about - a good deal at the end of the day.