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General Upholstery Questions and Comments => General Discussion => Topic started by: 1unique on October 11, 2014, 06:31:38 PM

Title: Distributors
Post by: 1unique on October 11, 2014, 06:31:38 PM
Hi from Oregon. I had an interesting visit from a Charlotte Fabrics distributor yesterday. It was late in the afternoon and I was elbow deep in a dodge seat. The first thing he says is "So we need to figure out why you're not selling our fabrics." then starts bashing Greenhouse Fabrics and has me take them off my wall to put his up front. I responded that I show all the fabrics I have available and people choose what they want. He's giving me a year to try to sell more or he's taking the books. He also added that there's a list of total sales and I'm at the "bottom". I've only had my shop 4 years and I stuck with the companies that the other upholsterer had. Charlotte Fabrics dropped their books at my door and I hung them up. So I feel I was kinda bullied. I should of saved him a trip and had him take his books. I've never had a problem with Greenhouse. Has this happened to anyone else?  I don't do just furniture.It could be tractor seats, Trucks,equipment. whatever anyone needs.
Title: Re: Distributors
Post by: sofadoc on October 11, 2014, 07:15:56 PM
Greenhouse has been my top seller for many years. Charlotte has always been second.
But lately, I have become a little disenchanted with Greenhouse. They make absolutely no effort to provide any reasonably priced books. Most of the books I'm getting from them now have MSRP's in the 60's and up. And they have WAY too many back orders.

Charlotte has a better selection of MSRP's in the 30's and 40's. And they always have it in stock.

My Charlotte rep does try to plant negative seeds about GH, and other distributers.
But I would stop short of saying that I feel "bullied".

As a general rule, I don't really push one or the other. But when I'm stuck in an "either/or" situation, I tend to steer the customer toward Charlotte, or one of my smaller suppliers only because I feel more confident that they will have it in stock. And the prices are less likely to discourage my customers.
Title: Re: Distributors
Post by: 1unique on October 11, 2014, 07:34:29 PM
I'm guessing I'm such a small shop that I don't order in real big quantities so there's not a backorder problem. Both Charlotte and Greenhouse seem reasonable in price for what I buy. I just think he could've been a bit more professional. If I hadn't been pre-occupied I would've let him take his books. I'm sure there's other companies out there with fabrics . Have a Great Evening
Title: Re: Distributors
Post by: kodydog on October 11, 2014, 08:13:21 PM
Actually we had this same thing happen with Greenhouse. Many moons ago. And the owner/salesman. Told us a sad story about his kids have to eat and if sales didn't pick up he'd pull our books. The sales stayed the same and he never pulled them. You were bullied but for now be the bigger man and just ignore him.  Next time he comes around be ready and calmly explain why his fabrics don't sell. Price? Quality? Variety? Whatever. Then if he wants to take the books let him. I doubt he will.
Title: Re: Distributors
Post by: sofadoc on October 11, 2014, 09:18:19 PM
Pushy salesmen that resort to "bullying" is nothing new. I've had them from just about every company out there.

I used to have one that would walk around my shop, and look for items that I didn't order from him. He would act all hurt and betrayed if he found even one thing.

On the flip side, I have a salesman out of New Orleans (over 500 miles from me) that calls on me 4 times a year, even though I buy almost nothing from him. He'll shoot the breeze with me for a half an hour. We talk about sports and whatnot. He never even mentions how little I buy.

Personally, I like Charlotte better than GH. Better prices, better service, no BO's. The only reason that GH doesn't have a pushy salesman now, is because they don't even have a salesman.

The worst sales rep I ever had was from Robert Alan Fabrics. She would "accidentally" set out books in my showroom with the wholesale prices displayed in them. She would even cover the word "wholesale" with her hand as she showed them to me.   
Title: Re: Distributors
Post by: Virgs Sew n Sew on October 12, 2014, 09:00:10 AM
I use National Fabrics (out of KCMO) for most vinyl items as they have good quality and reasonable prices.  They never harp at what or how much I buy.  We have a new sales rep and he visits every 6-8 weeks.  Sends out a letter about 2 weeks out from his visit.  That way if I order before his visit, he brings my order and I don't have to pay freight. 

I have a couple of other vendors that I use occasionally but don't have a sales person assigned to me.  Again, they have never said diddly about how much I purchase and are great about sending me new books.

Virginia