What price cheap?

Funny heading I know.

I’ve been talking to a couple of our suppliers. These guys are the people who supply us with the top of the range services we use when we outsource stuff. Things like Museum grade printing and framing. Amazing hand crafted albums, carefully custom built to our clients specific needs. Some of the message we’re getting back is they’re doing it tough. Seems more and more photographers are opting for the cheapest of nearly everything.

Ten years ago, Australia had a thriving album manufacturing industry. Our album makers were amongst the very best in the world. Innovative teams of skilled craftsmen and women, producing products that were not only as good as those produced eslewhere but most case way better. Fast forward to today. All but a couple of these businesses have ceased manufacturing. Now they source their albums and mounts from Mexico, Thailand and China. Low labour costs, high tech mass production or a combination of both means that outsourcing is far more profitable than manufacturing locally.

The downside for us and in turn you guys is. Mass production is geared to profit. Not to making great products. Not to individually crafting an album specifically to suit our environment or needs. One example is of an imported magazine style album which looks and feels much like the only remaining Australian made version of this album. Yup it isn’t quite like the Ozzie version. But hey…. it’s hundreds of dollars cheaper. Unfortunately the glue used in its manufacture¬† dislikes the hot Australian summers. Over time, the sticky stuff comes out from behind the photos and pages stick together. Not a great look.

This story is repeated over lots of supplies. My concern is that at some stage we maynot be able to get quality materials. Recently while visiting an interstate framer. I noticed he was selling canvas photos, mounted on a stretcher ready to hang on the wall, $68 for a print a metre across. Firstly I have to say these weren’t family portraits or the like. They were mass produced art photos. But $68. We couldn’t even get the thing stretched for that price. In fact Id’ be supprised if we could buy a piece of quality raw canvas for that. Sure I know there is cheaper, much cheaper canvas than the stuff we use but we use what we use for a reason. I’ts good, it lasts and it is protected with a coating to help it last even longer. Still, I can’t figure out how it’s possible. I make a number of phone calls to people in the industry who I trust. Same result… They don’t know how it’s possible.¬† I look overseas to see what pricing is happening with canvas printing. Nothing with quality is anywhere near these prices I’ve seen. My gut feeling says there is a catch. If it looks to good to be true… most likely it is.


2 Replies to “What price cheap?”

  1. Hello I am looking to mass produce my daughters paintings for cheap..Is this something you can help me with please

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