Art supply shopping. Don't laugh. I was in the retail profession for much of over twenty-five years. Here are some salient tips for stretching that sawbuck when shopping the expensive world of art equipment and supplies.
- It doesn't hurt to price shop the expensive items. I went away from my favorite retailer to order an easel from an outfit in California that I had never heard of before, but who had a $75 - $90 item at $50.
- If ordering an unusually well priced item from an unknown source, call during business hours to check availability. It can be frustrating to e-order or mail order something and be put into "back order" status. Sometimes, you don't know you've been placed in such a limbo, and the product never comes.
- All of the art catalogers I've dealt with have been happy to either re-send or discount damaged goods. Call them.
- Go third party. That means buy from a resource other than the specialty art retailers. Cigar boxes are an example. I recently got a hunter's umbrella that cost a third of what the art umbrella's cost (and it works better). I consider Michael's a third party source, since their bailiwick is crafts. They sell some cheap but nice art supplies.
- Order paper in bulk. That means wherever the bulk quantity price-break kicks in. Sometimes the quantity break begins at 5, sometimes 10. I go with my second favorite art retailer for paper, because I price shop paper more than any other art supply.
What are your tips for art supply shopping?