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Thread: Current state of the industry circa 2021

  1. #1
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    Default Current state of the industry circa 2021

    This is specificly a question geared towards the functional side of the glass scène. However I am totally interested in any part of the glass industry, the more people who help paint this picture with a reply, the more complete it will be. (Soft glass , pipes , beads, or other. )

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    I'm curious where people feel the industry is at in genral post covid. Post leagilzed weed most places. Are sales easier? Prices similar? Availibility? Compition? Quality? Online changes? Everything seems to have gone up in the last 24 months. Have glass prices as well?

    ( Posting the genral area where you are located and where sales are, would help clarify imo. Also Pics with prices, or genral pricing question finished or otherwise would fit this thread. )

    I personaly haven't done much production lately. All my sales have been to the final owner (* no wholesale. ) I don't charge much, I see way lesser glass sell for way more. Prehaps I'm jaded, or prehaps I'm behind the times?

    I can tell you there was almost NO glass at phish this summer in the mid west or the east coast. Or the gorge in Washington state last weekend. The rest of West coast phish is this week, so who knows what that will look like. (Califorina arizona) I was very suprused to only see two or three blowers with an open case at any given phish show. The amount of vending was way up over all. I just saw less glass. Tripple the vendors. 1/3rd the glass.


    Indiana phish...
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    Atlantic city phish
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    washington state phish last weekend.
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    Last edited by BORO; 09-12-2021 at 12:40 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Current state of the industry circa 2021

    Most smoke shops I talk to are having a hard time finding USA glass. Lots of blowers backed up on orders. Maybe it's because of so many people selling direct to consumers rather than shops. I have a hard time with that myself. I feel like selling wholesale is the right thing to do, but damn the retail sales are nice. It seems to be the way a lot of industries are going though. Color manufacturers included. I personally don't like having to buy direct though. I want to buy color along with clear and not have to pay shipping from 3 different places, at least, to stock up. Glass alchemy shipping is ridiculous (ok I got that off my chest lol)
    I have had great sales during and post covid but things were already picking up for me so I dunno.

    I do know there is a lot of demand for scientific glassblowers. The ASGS is desperately looking for more members.

    I have more to say but out of time for now

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Current state of the industry circa 2021

    +1^

    Thats exactly what I was looking for. I agree with the direction things are moving with online sales.

    Private sales, it been that way forever in my world. (I'm a fan of "used" ) Are private sales becoming the norm? More people accept what little risk there is with online transactions. Life is EXPENSIVE. It shows with the way people spend their money.


    I would rather put my money in a persons hand vs. a giant company. Mabye it feels more in line with the "buy local " thing? Idk.

    I think buying direct will get you a better end product. Raw material or finished work. There's no side steping any issues. If you whole sale , some things may get through. A.k.a. "good enough, especially for wholesale." The end buyer just pays that difference to the middle man. You may end up with a lesser product in hand. If you do have an issue your one step removed from the source.


    I personaly seem to have issue selling direct if its commision. (I go too far above and beyond for the $) I think I low ball prices for friends too much too. In the end I would rather someone I know will love it, has it. Vs. Selling it to someone with lots of money. In turn they may value my work less. (Or it feels that way sometimes?)
    Last edited by BORO; 08-31-2021 at 10:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Current state of the industry circa 2021

    I feel like we NEED to raise prices on our work. Supplies are in high demand, and going up in costs. The only way to survive is follow suit!

    If you are ever back in Washington for a show hit me up! I Live around the Seattle area, but grew up in central WA around the gorge.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Current state of the industry circa 2021

    Toby logic studios just moved between bellingham and seattle. (From vegas)



    You should look them up on instsgram.

    Peetwice is a super close friend ( lives at tobys )

    I think they will run classes ? Not sure exactly what the plan is. I think its suposed to be like the a.g.i. property was. Outbuildings with stations. Ect.

    I can connect you guys. They are looking for local peeps.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Current state of the industry circa 2021

    For me personally, lots of the move to facebook really made things weird. They are starting to crack down on people using keywords and selling glass, posting an item in a group with 50k people sounds great until you realize how many of them are also glass blowers and your post gets shot to 30 mins of down scroll in an hour to where no one really see's it. I also feel like the sheer number of people blowing glass has gone through the roof, so lots more competition. I also don't get prices. I have seen some really rather janky stuff fly for prices I wouldn't imagine, but a solid simple piece (frit spoon with well done murrine marble) for a suitable price sits... So I can't find much in regards to consistency in prices and what people want or will pay other than maybe "big named artists" who have an obvious "cool" rep. And hey some of them do seem really cool and are obviously very talented. It is also hard to deny that some of the most amazing glass art ever is being made before our very eyes now. So that is kind if fun to witness.

    Legal weed has brought a lot of money around too... so you would think more to spend or wash or whatever. But with that you get collectors vs smokers buying things which also makes stuff weird... like I don't think I could ever relate to someone who can spend 5k on a bong or glass piece, just a whole different type and class of person. So I am less into the customers than I used to be when making pipes post OP pipe dreams... it feels more like we're just part of the whole big capitalist industry machine than a community sticking up our middle fingers in the air to the powers that be, and helping people get high with cool looking shit. But hey people and their families gotta eat.

    I also have little interest in dab culture and that seems to be a major focus and shift in what is being made and what people want... It makes me want to kind of stop making pipes altogether short of for me or friends or whatever and just make random ass shit that tickles me creatively... and get a stupid job that takes care of the bills/rent and work as few of those hours as possible. Its odd there isn't much glass on tour, considering I feel almost overloaded with the amount of it I see online from the million new and old blowers that are now out there. Maybe I am just jaded though, I kind of hate selling glass and would much prefer a shop just take some orders from me when I make a batch of stuff up than deal one on one with a person. Or put up an auction online only to have people back out after winning over and over (like many many others have experienced). I try to keep my hourly rate at $15 to $20 an hour.... some old glass heads wouldn't even consider turning on their torch for that and I respect that, but when I see someone at a shop with a case of (albeit nice clean looking pipes) that are just silver and gold fume, with some basic tek or something and ask like $75 wholesale it blows my mind. The buyer at the store was like sorry dude you kinda just priced yourself out of our shop/budget... and of course that shop isn't even around anymore (RIP 3rd Eye in PDX).

    If anything the scene went from like hippy/punk rock to like "collectors" owning 3 sports cars and flexing on kids or artists on social media about how badass they are. It is a huge turn off. Like why would I ever want to have someone like that own one of my pieces of art.... then I think... why ever strive to practice and upgrade my skills to even make something worth a grand or more if THAT is who my customers would be! I am probably just an asshole though. Also I am a hermit so maybe this was still going on in like 2004 but I was just somehow shielded from it until legalization and social media came along.

    As far as raising prices, we def should be! I have like 3 or 4 letters from 3 or 4 years of airgas raising oxy prices by 25% each year. We finally got a hvlp system going thankfully, but our liquid tanks doubled in price in a few years... and despite the ever expanding amount of new colors, it feels like color costs are going up all the time too, at least if you look at GA... I give molten aura a pass because they brought some colors we NEEDED in our lives, but when color is going for like 100 dollars a lbs and it isn't even like something super special and oxy prices go up every year... well we need to do something.
    Last edited by gomilobster; 09-14-2021 at 01:41 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Current state of the industry circa 2021

    For me personally, lots of the move to facebook really made things weird. They are starting to crack down on people using keywords and selling glass, posting an item in a group with 50k people sounds great until you realize how many of them are also glass blowers and your post gets shot to 30 mins of down scroll in an hour to where no one really see's it. I also feel like the sheer number of people blowing glass has gone through the roof, so lots more competition. I also don't get prices. I have seen some really rather janky stuff fly for prices I wouldn't imagine, but a solid simple piece (frit spoon with well done murrine marble) for a suitable price sits... So I can't find much in regards to consistency in prices and what people want or will pay other than maybe "big named artists" who have an obvious "cool" rep. And hey some of them do seem really cool and are obviously very talented. It is also hard to deny that some of the most amazing glass art ever is being made before our very eyes now. So that is kind if fun to witness.

    Legal weed has brought a lot of money around too... so you would think more to spend or wash or whatever. But with that you get collectors vs smokers buying things which also makes stuff weird... like I don't think I could ever relate to someone who can spend 5k on a bong or glass piece, just a whole different type and class of person. So I am less into the customers than I used to be when making pipes post OP pipe dreams... it feels more like we're just part of the whole big capitalist industry machine than a community sticking up our middle fingers in the air to the powers that be, and helping people get high with cool looking shit. But hey people and their families gotta eat.

    I also have little interest in dab culture and that seems to be a major focus and shift in what is being made and what people want... It makes me want to kind of stop making pipes altogether short of for me or friends or whatever and just make random ass shit that tickles me creatively... and get a stupid job that takes care of the bills/rent and work as few of those hours as possible. Its odd there isn't much glass on tour, considering I feel almost overloaded with the amount of it I see online from the million new and old blowers that are now out there. Maybe I am just jaded though, I kind of hate selling glass and would much prefer a shop just take some orders from me when I make a batch of stuff up than deal one on one with a person. Or put up an auction online only to have people back out after winning over and over (like many many others have experienced). I try to keep my hourly rate at $15 to $20 an hour.... some old glass heads wouldn't even consider turning on their torch for that and I respect that, but when I see someone at a shop with a case of (albeit nice clean looking pipes) that are just silver and gold fume, with some basic tek or something and ask like $75 wholesale it blows my mind. The buyer at the store was like sorry dude you kinda just priced yourself out of our shop/budget... and of course that shop isn't even around anymore (RIP 3rd Eye in PDX).

    If anything the scene went from like hippy/punk rock to like "collectors" owning 3 sports cars and flexing on kids or artists on social media about how badass they are. It is a huge turn off. Like why would I ever want to have someone like that own one of my pieces of art.... then I think... why ever strive to practice and upgrade my skills to even make something worth a grand or more if THAT is who my customers would be! I am probably just an asshole though. Also I am a hermit so maybe this was still going on in like 2004 but I was just somehow shielded from it until legalization and social media came along.

    As far as raising prices, we def should be! I have like 3 or 4 letters from 3 or 4 years of airgas raising oxy prices by 25% each year. We finally got a hvlp system going thankfully, but our liquid tanks doubled in price in a few years... and despite the ever expanding amount of new colors, it feels like color costs are going up all the time too, at least if you look at GA... I give molten aura a pass because they brought some colors we NEEDED in our lives, but when color is going for like 100 dollars a lbs and it isn't even like something super special and oxy prices go up every year... well we need to do something.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply. ( Your time is the most valuable thing you have.)

    It will be intresting to see how sales shake out as social media refines the algoritm.

    I agree about the social media flex . I'm glad I don't rely on it to feed myself. How long until soceity looks back at social media and how the self centered generation is all "look at me ! Look at me!" It is the american way. "You can be anything in america kids." Just to grow up thinking you have to prove it to the world with a fasade of persona. Its a fine line the modern day man must walk.

    I wouldent change the industry i chose to be in. I do see my self putting energy into different parts and people vs. What a 20 year old me would have predicted a few decades ago.
    Last edited by BORO; 09-14-2021 at 08:50 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Current state of the industry circa 2021

    I think buying direct is going to become more of the norm. I have talked to countless customers that have had terrible experiences doing that though. At least with a shop you know what you're going to get and actually get it.
    As far as pricing, yeah it's all over the place. People blowing for a year or 2 and selling basic carb caps for 400+ I don't understand that at all. Hype is a crazy thing. They would definitely get laughed out of a shop but have no problem selling on IG. I definitely have respect for the guys banging out prodo year after year. I'm not a big fan of social media and hardly ever post. I don't want to be on my phone all day having one out of 20 people follow through on a sale after having long conversations. That's for sure the benefit of selling wholesale. I think a good mix of both is best.
    I feel like I charge too much sometimes(selling retail) but I wouldn't want to charge less than half of that wholesale. I don't want to under cut the stores I sell to, it seems disrespectful. Although I do know people that do it. I do enjoy when somebody can't afford a piece at regular price hooking them up with something minorly flawed for cheap.
    If I open for my local art hop people generally think wtf that is way too expensive but online lots of people think it's an awesome deal. So weird. I am in michigan though.

    Boro, if you're not doing the social media flex and not selling to shops how are you drumming up sales if you don't mind me asking? I'm assuming it is you're only job though.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Current state of the industry circa 2021

    Mabye 1/3rd of my time? (Or a little less)

    Q.c. testing / r.n.d / for greasy. I work trade, color mostly. I could move closer to them and be full time. For now tho. I like my time there , and my time away. Makes it all feel like it's not work. Keeps them as friends and not as employers. The pipes made at greasy are mine to sell so its like double pay/ no overhead.

    1/3rd of my time, Take said color trade on road trips. Call whom ever I fancy thats local to where I'm at. Tell then I want couch space in trade for color / let's colab a day or 3. I have glassblowing homies just about every where now. I drive 30 or 35 thousands miles a year. (Working on my pilot licencs. I would rather fly as I get older. )


    The other 1/3rd I work where I live in 'n.y. I have a long long list of people whom will take whatever I have avaliable when its avaliable.

    Think : "A list of people I may think of when I produce a given piece. I p.m. thoes people the current "what I'm making " and usually a few will bite.

    I have been full time sense the end of 2001. I was on etsy a long time ago. I did high $ custom stuff for years. I always go too far vs. What they paid. So everyone always wants more stuff. Never enough time. A lot of my generosity that kept me poor for a long time , seems to be comming back to hook me up. Like working for greasy for free when they first started , or hooking up a custom, or hooking up blowers with color.

    The leftovers go to phish , or glass conventions , or even other blowers. I know it sounds weird from the outside , but i would say a good chuck of my stuff sells to other glassblowing peeps. Thoes are the people I'm around the most so it makes sense to me to sell to my friends.

    I post less than 1 in 10 things i make. I also crack/destory a lot of stuff because it does not matter as much. Its no longer my only income. . Busting out big stuff, and or busting stuff, Its also a part of my job. Makes me a better blower to push my limits. If its not some heroic monstrocity , it usually survives. "If it breaks, Smeh, next one will be better. " at that point I literally cut away my losses and save whst I can. (Don't we all?)

    Also, working on a personal show. Thoes pieces take a long time. I don't mind sitting on them waiting. It will be worth it in the end. "Lamps and Loungeware show"
    Last edited by BORO; 09-18-2021 at 08:30 PM.

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