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News (of a Sort) and a Question

Well, it appears that Denver Fabrics online is back in business.

So okay, it is not really the original Denver Fabrics, since as we all know the sold their online business to a different company. However, their supplies and prices are pretty much the same as the old one, so I think that we can all sigh in relief -- and perhaps even rejoice.

And speaking of fabric merchants. I have a question for all of you. As you know, my website, features a section of links of my favorite merchants (which BTW, I need to update along with the rest of the page). The criteria that I use for selecting who goes in that section is that a) I have purchased something from this merchant; b) I like the product; c) the product is appropriate for the type of costuming or reenactment that I am using it for; and d) I like the service.

A while ago, I was contacted by a fabric merchant that I had never heard from. This person is not from the area, so I am not familiar with him. Apparently it is someone who is just building his business, and he asked if it would be possible for me to include his info in my page.

At the time, I told him that I didn't see anything in his page that I considered appropriate. Although he does carry some supplies like rivets and things like that, which may be usable for other folk, his stock consisted in a lot of blends and not really fabric that I would consider using. I told him to contact me when he started carrying linens (100%) and wools, not blends.

Several months passed, and he contacted me again. This time, he is carrying some linens and wools, although a lot of his stuff still remains polys and blends. He also carries a lot of ecclesiastical brocades. I don't use those, but I imagine that some people do. The thing is, I have never ordered from him, and I don't know what his level of service is. Also, I am uncomfortable about including someone as a "favorite merchant" when I am not even sure that he would become a favorite of mine. I imagine I could order something, just to be on the safe side, but I am not sure if the service would be good just because I am the owner of the page and then he could give less quality service to others.

On the other hand, maybe he is a great guy, with great service, and I don't want to be unfair. I am a big proponent of helping the small merchant, so I am a bit torn.

I am not sure what I am going to do, but I would like to hear some feedback from you guys.



( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 14th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
It's your webpage. He doesn't meet your criteria. End of story. You don't have to let yourself get pressured into it.
Feb. 14th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks. That is absolutely true. I would need to be absolutely sure about him before linking him to my page.
Feb. 14th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
You could have somebody else order from him, and help you write a review. Or you could list him with the caveat that you haven’t actually ordered from him. If nothing else, I think that you should request swatches of what he carries in wool and linen, and show them to me. :-)
Feb. 14th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a pretty good idea.
Feb. 14th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
Hey! How about helping out this small business? You've bought from us at Holiday Faires in the past and we have a website: http://reconstructinghistory.com

Plus we don't sell anything that's not documentable. Ever.
Feb. 14th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
Not even a single pirate rubber duckie? ;)
Feb. 14th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
You are absolutely right. Actually, I have you listed on my "Dressing the Rapier Fighter" handout, but I just realized that I don't have you in my links. For some reason, I thought I had you. I will definitely add it!
Feb. 14th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
You're the best, B! Thanks!
Feb. 14th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
Hey, you definitely *are* one of my favorite merchants! :-D
Feb. 14th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you, ma'am!
Feb. 14th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
I recently ordered from Denver Fabrics. The quality and accuracy and price were all fine. Delivery was considerably slower than before, so allow enough time in your project for that. Seems like it was a week before it even shipped and I used to get my order in 7 business days or so.
Feb. 14th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
Denver Fabrics is now owned by the same people who own Fashion Fabrics Club. http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/ I've ordered lots of stuff from FFC and their sale prices and fabric have been outstanding!
Feb. 14th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
This is very good to know. Thanks!
Feb. 15th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
As long as what they're selling as taffeta actually moves like taffeta.... I'm a little put out - I bought "silk taffeta" from FFC and it was decidedly untaffeta-like. The weave may be a taffeta weave, but it sure as heck doesn't move like taffeta.

Then again, I got a sample of fabric from District 96 fabric store that their supplier was telling them was 100% silk velvet, and it wasn't. Did a burn test to prove it.... So it's not always the fabric store's fault.
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
You know? I know that a lot of people swear by FCC. I have not had very good luck with their stuff. I wish they had swatches available like Denver Fabrics. Sure, they send you a little envelope with swatches every month, but mostly it is modern stuff and not what I need.

Does Distric 96 have a website?
Feb. 15th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
hey, they do actually now have a website with stuff on it. Er, I take it back - the website still has many issues. They were very good about sending me samples of the "silk velvet" when i asked for it, though, and their stuff is of good enough quality to be selling at the New Boston Fair out here (for re-enactors that have enough information to afford to be snooty about things)

Feb. 14th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
As for the small merchant - I'd be tempted to have a section at the bottom of the page, blocked off so it's obvious that it's NOT part of your favorite merchants list that says something like "Merchants to try in the future" or "Merchants I have no experience with". That way it's easy to find in the future if you want to buy something.

If you don't want to do something like that I'd leave him off the page. If you haven't ordered from him you should not feel pressured to list him as a "favorite merchant"
Feb. 14th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
on a merchant note: much like silk connection, dharma trading is wonderful for natural fabrics and the dyes to go with them.

on a website note: you might be interested in linking to asim's research on ottoman clothing in the "middle eastern costuming" section of your "dressing the rapier fighter" class notes.

on the actual topic: in order of effort involved, you could either not include the guy, cause you have no experience with him; you could put him in an "untested merchants" section; or you could set up a trial order for him and see how he turns out (or solicit opinions from people who may have already given him a try).
i'd vote for #2, which could be made up of people who've contacted you like this guy as well as people recommended by others but whom you haven't tried yet.
Feb. 14th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
Asim's site, definitely a good idea. *Note to self, update "Dressing the Rapier Fighter" too.

i'd vote for #2, which could be made up of people who've contacted you like this guy as well as people recommended by others but whom you haven't tried yet.

Actually, this guy is in An Tir. I'll send you an email to see if you or anyone you know has experience with him.
Feb. 14th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
I probably haven't, but I'm certainly willing to check out his website. Most of my fabric shopping recently has been a futile search for silk broadcloth/poplin - plain weave, heavier than habotai and (here's the kicker) available in something other than just off-white and black.
Feb. 14th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, join the club. So far, all I have found is from Silk Connection and you have to dye it yourself.

On the plus side, the darn thing takes to dye like gangbusters, so at least that's cool.
Feb. 15th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
Navy is different than off-white and black... Class Act Fabrics (www.classactfabrics.com) is one of the fabric merchants at Pennsic. I haven't bought anything from her via mail order, but the stuff she's had at Pennsic is good.
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
I have purchased stuff at Pennsic, and once a nice piece of wool online. But I wish they had a better way of displaying their stock online. As it is, it's very confusing.
Feb. 14th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
And on another note: has anyone reading this had experience with Historic Enterprises? Their website in general and product photos in particular are quite snazzy. Are they as good in practice as they look at first glance?

Looks comparable to Kass's work (as linked above) but with a time range a few centuries earlier, and playing a bit more fast and loose with the documentation than she does.

Edited at 2008-02-14 07:29 pm (UTC)
Feb. 14th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
Pirategirleee has bought a number of items from them - she would be a good one to ask. I have purchased a few items as well, and while they are serviceable, I have concerns regarding the finishing of the seams. The items are ok and look nice, but not quite the quality I would look for at that price.

Also, as you stated, they do play a bit fast and loose on the documentation compared to Reconstructing History, which is da bomb (and Kass is pretty darn cool, too :-).
Feb. 14th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
Their stuff is nice but not always on (particularly some of their early stuff). I've poked at it at Pennsic. ;) (meant to say, waaay better than some of the other "authentic" merchants around)

I think there's less original research there and more picking up form other people (as opposed to Kass) but I could be mistaken.

Edited at 2008-02-14 08:09 pm (UTC)
Feb. 15th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
Actually, for pre-made garb they are not bad. As commercial gowns go, they do the job and look quite presentable. I own two of their gowns. It cannot be claimed that they are perfect, but they look pretty good.
Feb. 14th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
Don't know him

Don't use him

Don't list him
Feb. 14th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks :-)
Feb. 14th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
But I'm the suspicious type . . .
I find it interesting that he is soliciting YOU to put him in your links - gotta wonder if he does that to every SCA person with a website and links. Sounds very strange to me.

Don't know about you, but that raises a bit of a red flag to me. He could be fine and have a decent product and service. However, it just seems unusual that he is badgering you about putting a link to his site on your private webpage.
Feb. 14th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
Re: But I'm the suspicious type . . .
Well, he really hasn't badgered me, and you can't blame a guy for trying to drum up some business. But the thing is that I don't like to recommend anyone that I haven't tried. And the fact that I list my merchants as "Favorite Merchants" would give the idea that I am sure of who he is and that I am recommending him :-)
Feb. 14th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
I'd thank him for his interest and let him know that you'll try to make a point of ordering from him next time you need to put in an order.

"I'm sure that you understand that I can't recommend a merchant I've never used on my website."

Another option is to note that he carries some relevant material, but that you've never ordered from him.
Feb. 14th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
I like the idea of the polite response that I cannot recommend someone that I haven't tried. In the end, it is the truth :-)
Feb. 14th, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
Don't feel bad about saying no to him - it really was an inappropriate request.
Feb. 14th, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :-)
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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