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Author Topic: Offering a gaurentee dilema  (Read 3421 times)
Walt Roycraft
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« on: April 09, 2012, 08:27:08 AM »
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I have been selling art prints for a few years and will be giving more energy this year.
I like Alain's 100% guarantee but it presents a dilema for me, I am 62 and plan on being in business for 13 more years.
What will I do if someone calls me 15 years from now with a problem with a piece of art they bought from me?

What realistic guarantees do you all offer?
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petermfiore
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 10:10:50 AM »
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I don't think you retire from fine art. A fine artist's life is all about the work and so needs to stand behind  the work in one's lifetime.

But that is me.

Peter
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Walt Roycraft
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 11:58:19 AM »
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Peter, that has been my thinking as well.  But then as I thought about it more, I'm not sure that it's a reality. Lets say I'm 80 years old and no longer keep a digital darkroom. I'm no longer producing fine art. What do I tell a collector if my work carries a lifetime guarantee and they have a problem? What would I tell them if I don't say I guarantee my work?
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EduPerez
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 01:55:12 AM »
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Why don't you just offer a time-limited guarantee?
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 02:28:01 AM »
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Walt, just a thought: could somebody else not be asked to do the reprints once you have retired (or even after your passing).
I understand that many practicalities may may this a non-starter but I do feel it is food for thought.

Interested to see if other have any thoughts on this.

Regards

Tony Jay
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KLaban
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 06:58:13 AM »
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I have been selling art prints for a few years and will be giving more energy this year.
I like Alain's 100% guarantee but it presents a dilema for me, I am 62 and plan on being in business for 13 more years.
What will I do if someone calls me 15 years from now with a problem with a piece of art they bought from me?

What realistic guarantees do you all offer?


What exactly are you planning to guarantee? Print life expectancy, your life expectancy...?

Hopefully at 62 you've got a good few years left, but do you honestly think you need to guarantee print life expectancy for this comparatively short time span and what would be the point of guaranteeing your life expectancy?

If you do offer a guarantee how are you planning to reprint ten or twenty years down the line when your original printer has given up the ghost, the inkset and or paper is no longer available and the profile is no longer viable? Will you guarantee that any reprint would be identical to the original? Will you honour the guarantee if the client has displayed the print in less than ideal conditions? How will you know how the print has been displayed? Will you guarantee the reprint?

If you do offer a guarantee be very sure you’re willing to honour it and will be able to do so.

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Walt Roycraft
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 07:55:19 AM »
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If you do offer a guarantee be very sure you’re willing to honour it and will be able to do so.

I guess that is my dilemma. How would I be able to do so.
I guess the answer is, I would not be able to.

So Edu is on to something, about a limited guarantee.

Still wonder about Alain Briot lifetime guarantee.
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KLaban
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 11:28:20 AM »
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So Edu is on to something, about a limited guarantee.

Not really. What limit would you apply? Five years, ten years, twenty years? Does offering a five, or ten, or twenty year guarantee suggest that this is the expected limited lifespan of your prints? Does this sound like a good life expectancy or good selling point?
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EduPerez
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 11:48:11 AM »
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Not really. What limit would you apply? Five years, ten years, twenty years? Does offering a five, or ten, or twenty year guarantee suggest that this is the expected limited lifespan of your prints? Does this sound like a good life expectancy or good selling point?

Probably not a good selling point at all... but a honest declaration of intentions: if you plan to back your offer for a limited time only, as Walt Roycraft has already stated, why would you call it lifetime?
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KLaban
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 11:54:27 AM »
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if you plan to back your offer for a limited time only, as Walt Roycraft has already stated, why would you call it lifetime?

?

Has anyone done as much or suggested you should?
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 11:58:36 AM by KLaban » Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 11:59:25 AM »
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How about formulating it along these lines: "as long as I am in business" or "as long as it is practically possible"? Say, twenty years from now, they decide to take you up on your guarantee, look you up and find you are still active, selling prints. If not, c'est la vie.
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Slobodan

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KLaban
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 01:23:26 PM »
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I'd far rather give advice - and do so with every print sold - on how to best ensure that the expected print lifespan is realised.
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EduPerez
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2012, 03:18:35 PM »
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Has anyone done as much or suggested you should?

I obviously misunderstood your comment; I'm sorry.
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Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2012, 03:24:55 PM »
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I think Keith's perfectly right, and also morally correct in his stance.

The most you should do is state, if pushed to so do, what the paper/ink manufacturers claim for their product. Since that suggests a hundred years or so in the case of quality materials, that knowledge should be sufficient to satisfy the normal buyer of photographic prints.

In the case of big-time art, then I'd suggest that the galleries have their own ways of handling such ethical issues, and that short of having such a business relationship, you refrain from commiting yourself or your heirs to anything at all. Caveat emptor was always a realistic approach to life.

Rob C
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KLaban
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2012, 03:53:29 PM »
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Thanks, Edu, but really, no apology is necessary.
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KLaban
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« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2012, 03:57:00 PM »
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The most you should do is state, if pushed to so do, what the paper/ink manufacturers claim for their product.

Rob, agreed, anything else is just marketing.
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Walt Roycraft
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« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2012, 07:29:58 PM »
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Rob, agreed, anything else is just marketing.

Not exactly.
I sell either framed or matted art work. So there is more than the manufacturer of paper and ink warranty. It is the care taken (and expense) to provide archival materials and procedure. Archival baker boards, archival mat, archival tape, etc etc I think that is where the guarantee makes sense.  That I guarantee that I use archival materials and if anything goes wrong I replace it.  That is what I would like to say, but can't.  Not because the product is inferior, but because I won't be in business to replace it. So how do I inform my clients that I do everything possible to ensure a high end product yet offer only a time limited guarantee.
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louoates
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« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2012, 08:54:22 PM »
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I've been selling paper and canvas prints at galleries, on line, and at art shows for over ten years and have never been asked by a customer about a guarantee. Must be my honest face and quality presentation. Or maybe because I'm 71, a lifetime guarantee would sound a bit skimpy. Anyway, at the current price points I wouldn't consider doing so.
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Colorado David
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« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2012, 10:18:57 PM »
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I certainly don't intend to answer for Alain Briot.  The OP referenced his guarantee.  I've been reading the Briot book on Marketing Fine Art Photography, but I've slept since reading the part about the guarantee so I could be a bit foggy.  I believe one of the things Alain guaranteed was that the purchaser would still like the photograph when they got home and displayed it in their home.  If not, he would replace it.  I think it may be reasonable to offer such a guarantee, but limiting the time the purchaser has to make that choice is also perfectly reasonable.  You can't afford to fund a Fine Art Photograph Lending Library.  I would think that you guarantee the quality of the materials you use.  Not that they might go bad someday, but that you are using the best available and not passing off substandard materials in your art.  Then you guarantee that they'll like the art when they get home.  And then you're done.  Allow them a period of time to appreciate the art in their home and if they just don't like it in that context, they can choose a replacement from your catalog.
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louoates
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« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2012, 10:31:14 PM »
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Exactly Dave...my gallery will take back any item that the customer brings back after a few days if it just doesn't fit in. I'd do the same if it ever came up. But trying to tie in my guarantee with some longevity factor of the materials just wouldn't work.
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