Friday, April 18, 2008

Tips for Friday

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. All of the art catalogers I've dealt with have been happy to either re-send or discount damaged goods. Call them.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?


vivien said...

good tips

and buy toolboxes from a DIY store (designed for tools and nails and stuff but equally good for your art materials in various sizes) - a fraction of the cost of the ones in an art shop that have Art Bin on the side but are otherwise very similar!

Casey Klahn said...

Good one, Vivien.

Anyone else?

William said...

I usually go with Michaels... why? well my wife is a framing department manager at our local Michaels. Anyway, I usually opt in to the weekly 40% coupon that is available to her. ;)

Casey Klahn said... fair!

Just kidding. That's why I have a walk-in closet full of climbing gear - fourteen years at REI.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

I buy cartridge paper in bulk, eg: half ream (250sheets), and most other supplies from an English artstore (Ken Bromley) who gives great "offers" and delivers free of charge on orders over £35, so I get oil paint for example in 200ml tubes and acrylics with as much as 25% off rrp.
Otherwise, for smaller purchases, I asked an artshop for a discount as I was buying regularly. I was given an extra 10% off.

Lindsay said...

I highly recommend doing an inventory on all the existing materials one already owns. I have forgotten something I had purchased years ago and re bought.

Casey Klahn said...

I can see right now how I have to start looking into this "pro deal" business...

My readership is teaching me, this time. And they often do.

Lisa B. said...

I keep a list of things I'm running out of, and place orders only when I have enough on it for "free shipping" or some other discount the store is offering.

Heavy duty canvas totes from a surplus store are often more user friendly than the fancy ones from the art store. They're also not as pricey.

Cookie/candy tins can be modified for art supplies, too.

Casey Klahn said...

Those are good ones, Lisa. I needed the top opening (wide) canvas tote for certain trips. That's one feature I would look for.