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View Poll Results: What is your favorite online pastel supplier?
Dakota Pastels 98 26.27%
Dick Blick 165 44.24%
Fine Art Store 20 5.36%
Jerry's Artarama 68 18.23%
Madison Art Shop 0 0%
Mount Vision Pastels 2 0.54%
Terry Ludwig 20 5.36%
Voters: 373. You may not vote on this poll

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  #16   Report Bad Post  
Old 07-14-2005, 08:37 PM
Howard Metzenberg Howard Metzenberg is offline
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

I wish I could say I feel flattered that we are in first place right now, but I actually feel a bit embarassed.

While I recuse myself from voting, I would probably vote for Dakota if I were a qualified pastel artist, and I considered myself eligible to vote. Perhaps some of you are Wet Canvas regulars, who know we have supported Wet Canvas. You knew I would eventually run into this thread. I hope nobody voted for us for that reason.

We are still learning in the pastels field. It was only about five years ago that we added our first complete line of open stock pastels. Rick Rousseau (an itinerant art supply specialist who worked for us, after working for Pearl, and who now works for Joe) taught us that real pastel artists buy many brands of pastels, mixing and matching to find their favorite colors. He helped us identify the top five lines of pastels, and that's what we now offer. Plus a few others, like Townsend Terrages, that have an exotic ring.

Compared to Dick Blick, Dakota Pastels is a tiny company, and it's not in either of the Dakotas. I have never met the founder, but I have heard that he lives in Washington State, that he used to work for Daniel Smith. What a job he has done! I'm sure that his inventory fits into a garage! Yet he manages to offer more than 30 complete lines of pastels, oil pastels, and pastel pencils in open stock.

We should have such a selection. How can it be that a tiny company like Dakota can offer so many more choices than we can, even with our modern 21st century warehouse?

In fact, we more or less decided earlier this year that this was not a good year to increase our selection of open stock pastels. We are making technological changes to our warehouse right now, kind of like rebuilding it from within. In another year, we'll be in a better position to add new lines of open stock pastels, and we surely will.

I do actually think we deserve second place, and second place is not always bad. What's different about us and Dakota is that our business is scalable, and his is not. Thanks to people other than me, like my cousin Bob, who are good at operations, we can grow both bigger and broader over time.

I think the owner of Dakota understands that he has built the perfect small business. I am very impressed by many of his innovations, like the color charts and sample packs. He may or may not have reached his natural limits at this time, but he has a business that he understands perfectly. By comparison, I can think of several other art supplies companies that outgrew their ability to provide quality customer service.

So for right now, I am not actually voting, but I would feel very comfortable in second place. That being said, it may not look like Dick Blick is doing a lot in the pastels area at this time, but that's not true. We are watching and learning, and we will be improving, so Dakota better watch out. I hope that a few years from now, we'll actually deserve to win.

Howard Metzenberg
Dick Blick Art Materials
Highland Park, IL

"Opinion expressed is my personal opinion, not that of Dick Blick Art Materials."
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Old 07-14-2005, 09:24 PM
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HarvestMoon HarvestMoon is offline
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

Howard, I started the thread and actually had no idea anyone from Dick Blick (or Dakota) would ever read it. However, I have ordered a lot from both your site and Dakota, and both are great. Your site may not have as many pastels, but it has fantastic customer support- I had to return something that was NOT your fault but mine, and you not only took it back, but sent an email confirming that the charges had been reversed. Now THAT is customer service. I go to the site DAILY, today was looking at the artist smocks- you have a great price on everything like finger cots. I have had a couple of classes in statistics, and the survey is not statistically significant (not enough votes), but both Dick Blick and Dakota have great products, and great prices, AND great customer service. Many of the pastel artists also order other supplies- like watercolors, etc.
thanks so much for participating in the forum!
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Old 07-15-2005, 12:03 AM
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Khadres Khadres is offline
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

I agree with purples on this one. I remembered Dick Blick from my oil painting days back in the 80s, so it was the first place I ordered pastels from in early '04. While Dakota is very cool, it is, as you say, highly specialized and quite often I need things not necessarily pastel only. I've ordered everything from easels to pencil sharpeners to spray fixative to water color pans to drawing boards from Blick's and am always more than pleased with the speed of delivery, the correctness of the orders, the fact that the packing is obviously done with care, and any questions are answered quickly. And....last but not least, your prices on the pastels you DO carry is sometimes better than Dakotas. Now...if you eventually add Great American Artworks and Terry Ludwig to your array, you'll get my order even more often than you do now.

For strictly pastels, it's probably, as you say, still Dakotas in the lead, but for overall art supply, y'all are the winners, hands down.
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Old 07-15-2005, 12:54 AM
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

Jerry's always ends up canceling my back orders- even if there are a lot them it takes too long- and they don't even tell me. I DO love to go to the new Jerrys in Austin, esp. when they send me a 20% off coupon... but that is not online, and the stock and prices online is much better, not to mention no sales tax. Seeing those huge easles and desks in the flesh though makes me drool, and during the opening I saw Jerry himself...does not look like the cartoon guy ha...seems to be a very nice man.

I recently had ONE .5 ml tube of paint out of a 6 or so page invoice that was not in stock from Blicks. I laughed out loud when they sent this one little bitty tube in a little box, with bubble wrap filling the box, a decent sized box at that- I could not believe they would bother to ship this one little tube, but was impressed at that. Check out the Boxed Brenda Madison sets of Unison- the box is pretty small- could go anywhere- yet the selection is great!

I love Dakota too- and those GA's and boxes- have paid someone's salery there for the year I am sure!!

Last edited by HarvestMoon : 07-15-2005 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 07-15-2005, 05:59 AM
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MarshaSavage MarshaSavage is offline
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

Thanks Howard for talking about your business versus Dakota. It is always nice to hear from owners or managers regarding their take on the subject. I am about to order my first on-line order from Blick's. I have usually shied away from them because their prices were usually higher than ASW or Dakota specials. And, when buying individual items, I usually go to the brick-and-mortar stores here near Atlanta: Binders, Pearls or Utrecht. Never go to Blick's unless I just can't go into Atlanta -- their prices again are too high, and their supply was minimal at best. I hope the in-store pastel sections will be updated as well as the on-line stores.

But, if we don't tell you, then it can't be fixed, right?

I have only heard good things about ordering from Dick Blick, and so I am about to find out myself!
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Old 07-16-2005, 10:18 PM
learning to paint learning to paint is online now
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

It's worth a visit to Fine Art Store if you are in or near Rochester, NY. No other store in the US, and perhaps in the world, has so many complete collections of pastels on hand, ready for try-outs if you like. I've even tried Henri Roche pastels there. In fact, I have spent hours putting together palettes. Very nice people, knowledgeable, a great art supply store whose likes are almost never found anymore.

Perhaps the world? I've shopped in England and in France for pastels, and although I've found knowledgeable personnel and wide selections of certain product lines (Unision, Sennelier, etc.), FAS carries far more lines, and they've got everything in stock, all the time: Girault, Mount Vision, Sennelier, Schmincke, Townsend, Unison, whatever you like.
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Old 12-28-2005, 03:53 PM
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

Hi,

I've started with ASW Express and since I haven't got any problems besides small ones that were promptly solved, I keep buying from them.
They have similar prices to Dick Blick and Jerry's.
Are they related to Jerry's ?
I wonder why people buy from Dakota. Their prices are higher. Is there areason for that ?

I didn't vote since there was no ASW

Best regards,

José

P.S. I must say that I've called Dick Blick for info and they seem to be
quite helpfull
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Old 12-28-2005, 04:56 PM
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Kathryn Wilson Kathryn Wilson is offline
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

Jose, ASW and Jerry's may be owned by the same corp. - their warehouses are back to back in Raleigh - not sure what that arrangement is and they do have separate web sites. Strange.

I still buy at Jerrys because I can pick up the items, although it is a fight with them each time I order because there is no place on their catalog order sheet to indicate a local pick-up. So, if I order, I then have to call an order agent to have it changed and not be charged for the shipping. You would think a company this size would get it right (and I have repeatedly requested this change)(secretly hoping someone from Jerrys is reading this).

Beyond that, I have found Dakota to be very knowledgeable and helpful and they do have some things that are not carried by the big art suppliers.

I think comparing Mount Vision and Ludwig to the large catalog houses is unfair - it's like comparing apples to oranges.
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Old 12-28-2005, 05:08 PM
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KJSCL KJSCL is offline
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

Interesting poll and thread, especially the post by Howard Metzenberg. Nice to see that he recognizes Dakota's success.

I voted for Dakota because they specialize in pastels. For pastels, I'd rather be able to choose from all the available brands and other items geared specifically to pastels. Here in Canada, we only have a fraction of the brands available, so if you want GA's, MV's etc you pretty much have to order from the Sates. Most other art supplies I can get locally, I wouldn't order those online because of the shipping charges to Canada.

I've ordered from Blick's and found them to be good, but they just didn't have the pastel selection that Dakota has. Dakota's prices can be a bit more expensive but they have good sale prices as well. I tried ordering from Jerry's once but when they informed me of the shipping charges to Canada I almost had a coronary!
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Old 12-28-2005, 05:15 PM
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

I only once tried to order something from the States and that was at Jerry's. The shipping costs were so high I cancelled the order. It has put me off from ordering in the US. It is a shame as the selection is a lot bigger than in Europe. I wonder in what state pastels will arrive when travelling so far. In what state do your orders arrive?
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Old 12-28-2005, 05:17 PM
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

Marina
My orders from Dakota's has always arrived in perfect condition. Not one broken or damaged pastel yet!
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Old 12-28-2005, 05:18 PM
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

Hi Howard,

It's good to read a positive opinion about a competitor.
Unfortunately in my country public atendants(sp?) still prefer not to sell or sell not so proper goods, instead of indicating another competitor.
As as public atendant myself, if I don't have the correct product, I prefer to indicate where the person can find what he/she REALLY needs because I know that I'm captivating a future customer.

Best regards,

José

P.S. Now I've noticed that altough I indicate the paragraphs by starting it a space further, it does not show :-(

Last edited by Bringer : 12-28-2005 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 12-28-2005, 05:59 PM
PeggyB PeggyB is offline
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

Well I voted for Dakota because I've known Craig Lemley since before he started the pastel only line of art products. His original stores carried all art materials, and the store in Seattle still does. They may be a bit more expensive, but as others have pointed out they have good on-line sales. Above that though is the fact that if I have a question, I can call them on their 800 line and a very knowledgable person (frequently Craig himself) answers the phone and my question/s. Their delivery is very prompt - but then I'm only about 1 1/2 - 2 hours away depending upon traffic. Customer service is a high priority, and I appreciate that.

Peggy
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Old 12-28-2005, 07:19 PM
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prettytulips prettytulips is offline
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

I admit I order pastels from the place that carries them the cheapest. Here is my process: I go to Jerry's to look at color and inventory because they have colors isntead of numbers. Then if their price is lower, I buy, if Dakota's is cheaper I buy there. But DakotaPastels doesn't show color values of open stock sticks, which I like. I also like knowing what sticks are in what set and Dakota offers that, so really, when buying pastels, I use Jerry's to look and then buy whoever has the cheapest price. Dakota is by far better in shipping than Jerry's. Dick Blick product info line was great, but prices are still higher in some cases. Sometimes, I just go to the local store to buy too.

Kelly
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Old 12-28-2005, 07:49 PM
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Re: What is your favorite online store for pastels and supplies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by applebee
I only once tried to order something from the States and that was at Jerry's. The shipping costs were so high I cancelled the order. It has put me off from ordering in the US. It is a shame as the selection is a lot bigger than in Europe. I wonder in what state pastels will arrive when travelling so far. In what state do your orders arrive?

Hi,

Why don't you order from Gerstaecker ?
They also have an english site :
http://www.greatart.co.uk/
(click on WEBSHOP ) at top of page

Regards,

José

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