A Startling Discovery About An Online Home Furnishings Source

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Hey Everyone,

Right now, I’m working very hard, getting the new paint palettes ready for those who are interested, but am taking a break to write this post.

The other day, during my research, I found out something about an online home furnishings source that I just have to share with y’all. It’s one of those not-to-be-believed situations.

Here’s what happened. One of the features of the new paint palettes are the FORTY (!) mood boards I’ve created. There are links to where 97% of the items come from. For items that are to the trade, in most cases, I am able to find an online home furnishings source for that product.

One of the to-the-trade vendors that I’ve written about frequently, is Legend of Asia. I first discovered them at the New York Now Show, then at Americasmart and most recently at the High Point Market. By the way, the market is on right now, but I didn’t go this time.

legend-of-asia-beautiful-blue-and-white-chinoiserie-porcelains-at-the-high-point-furniture-market

A photo I took last April from the Legend Of Asia Booth at the High Point Furniture Market.

Legend of Asia has a beautiful line of Chinoiserie porcelains as well as Asian home furnishings and they have a fabulous website. The problem is… it’s one of the few that’s not open to the public. Unless one has an account with them, it’s impossible to see the line.

Furthermore, I struggled to find a place that has the complete line. I found one source, that at first I thought only had part of the line, but just now discovered that they do have the full line.

And no, that’s not the startling discovery.

 

This is the Startling Discovery

 

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about the dangers of buying home furnishings online. It’s one of my favorite posts because I unearthed some real shysters.

Well, while I was searching for Legend of Asia products online, I came across one of the crooks.

The one that was scalping everyone left and right. Remember them? (you can read all about them above)

They have the full Legend of Asia line, only this time, the prices were inline with what they should be. No wait– a little too low for retail…hmmm…

How curious. I wonder how are their prices for their other home furnishings, because last year, they were ripping people off like there was no tomorrow.

 

Apparently, there was a tomorrow but it’s in an alternative universe where up is down and down is sidewise.

 

I looked up that hideous bullet-holed, leather atrocity, the Alix Sofa from Zentique.

 

Sorry, this is going to hurt some.

 

alix-sofa-2016

<

And then I checked out the price from 13 months ago.(below)

 

zentique-alix-sofa-furniture-online copy

 

Last year, September, 2015, the full “retail” price was $10,056.00 and this year the full retail price is $5,365.59.

I’ll let you chew on that for a sec.

 

cow-smiling

haha

 

But was it a fluke?

<

nfs-mog
I took a look at the Mog Cabinet. Remember that one? It is a memorable piece of fine, bactine-ready furniture for the bargain price of only $10,400.00. (Deeply discounted from the “List” price of $12,576.00)

eyes rolling outta my head.

Well, that was last year.

mog-2016

 

Oh STOP IT!!!

 

From the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous.

And actually, I just consulted my wholesale pricing and the correct list price should be $6,238.00. My selling price because I can get it at wholesale would be about $3,800.00. But, now instead of price gouging, they are doing something else that could get them in trouble. They have posted a price that is below the Minimum Advertised Price.

From my research, the MAP for furniture is a multiplier of 2.1. That info is out there.

This is way below that.

 

Horrendous.

 

In the meantime, I found another online source for Legend of Asia.

 

It’s called Inside Ave.

 

So, this is what I did. I went to Legend of Asia and found a beautiful piece of Chinoiserie Blue and White Porcelain.

 

legend-of-asia-plum-open-jar
<

And then, I did a little comparison shopping of the three sources.

 

tao-accents-legend-of-asia-blue-and-white-plum-open-top-jar
Tao Accents is selling the Blue and White Plum Open Top Jar for $237.00 After consulting my price list, I found this to be a very good price. in fact, my price would be $231.00.

The full-retail price for this piece is $385.00

 

Next, I checked out Inside Avenue.

 

inside-avenue-lying-about-the-list-price

 

$523.60 for a retail price? Where do they come up with these numbers?

 

And finally, the company you need to be warned about— National Furniture Shysters.

 

undercutting-the-competition-legend-of-asia-vase
Their “full retail” is $285.00.

NO WAY!

And they are selling it for–

$214.18 which is too low a price. Last year they were ripping off the public and now, they are ripping off the industry.

And what is this – “Make An Offer” Bullshit in the blue?

 

disgusted-cow

<

Disgusted, with their shoddy business practices, I went to click off when I got an exit pop up.

 

Don’t you just hate those?

 

YES! I REALLY DO WANT TO LEAVE MORON!

disgusting-pop-up
NO! They can’t be serious! That is just the tackiest crap ever. Sorry, I’m probably being a bit more vulgar than usual. I’m incredulous that this outfit is operating in this manner. It pulls our entire industry down and it’s what makes people so distrustful! grrrr…

Well, fine. I am not going to shop there! And they are not going in my updated Rolodex.  So there.

In summation. I am going to recommend Tao Accents as an excellent retail source for Legend of Asia. It looks like a nice company. They are in the new rolodex update coming out November 2nd.

 

I’m going to end with another board from the new paint palette collection. It’s one of my favorites and it coordinates beautifully with at least 30 of the other boards. Whoa!

 

Benjamin Moore Twilight Dining Room

And there on the beautiful Mahogany dining table is a spectacular Temple Jar from Legend of Asia.

 

loa-1564__00091__14341-1444176321-1280

 

The new Paint Palette Collection is also coming out on November 2nd.

 

And I am in the long home stretch. There are the 40 boards, the sources, the palettes, the palette families and then I’m going to show other boards that go with the board you are looking at.

And there is a ton of decorating advice and things you need to know. I’m tho ekthited to get it out in the world!

Well, back to work. See you next Sunday!

xo,

Laurel-e1443573876689

Save

  • Anne - October 27, 2016 - 10:36 AM

    Catching up on a couple of your recent posts is my treat for the day. Those cows made me LOL–as did the phrase “bactine-ready.”
    Thanks Laurel!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 27, 2016 - 12:08 PM

      Hi Anne,

      Glad you’re laughing. It is funny in a sad way. If you go to the old post, you’ll see very clearly why you’ll need the bactine. lolReplyCancel

  • Linda - October 27, 2016 - 1:30 AM

    Curious about the Tao Accents website….from what I can see, there are no product specs shown. It’s hard to know the value for a ginger jar, for instance, if there are zero measurements given. Am I wrong? Is there a link for each product to show more information?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 27, 2016 - 10:00 AM

      Hi Linda,

      You’re right! I had not noticed that. Not sure how they expect to sell stuff without having that important info. In the meantime, yesterday, I found another source for LOA – Belle and June, and they do have the dimensions. Their prices are also very good. ReplyCancel

  • Diana Paradise - October 25, 2016 - 10:14 PM

    where is the beautiful blue and white rug from?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 26, 2016 - 12:47 AM

      Hi Diana,

      I found it at Hassan Rugs, but it looks like it has sold.ReplyCancel

  • Valarie Edwards - October 24, 2016 - 9:57 PM

    You’re too funny! And so darned informative too! Keep up the good work and thanks for looking out for us.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 24, 2016 - 10:16 AM

    I totally lol’d at the cow pics.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 24, 2016 - 10:18 AM

      Thanks Kim. I was inspired by the charming black leather sofa. haha.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Savage - October 24, 2016 - 9:36 AM

    Things are certainly interesting aren’t they! I have to tell you I found a starting discovery too last week when I discovered palais velvet for 40% less than my wholesale pricing from overseas as well.ReplyCancel

  • George - October 24, 2016 - 9:12 AM

    This reminds of how travel agents felt when the internet started encroaching on their business. People were like, “Why use a travel agent when I can get a great deal on Expedia?” They had to redefine their their purpose.

    I never know what to make of the retail prices though. It seems quite arbitrary.

    So many website even allow the user to enter a email to get an alert when the price drops. The prices always drop and then rise again on the same schedule. I’m sure a marketing person here can explain the psychology behind do this. 🙂

    Great palette by the way!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Libby - October 23, 2016 - 10:44 PM

    A very fascinating post, Laurel. Read it last night very late and had to read it again today! I love to read your blog right away but my comprehension and memory suffers late at night! I always look forward to your posts – such a treat.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 11:40 PM

      Thank you so much Libby. I appreciate your support and always kind words!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Porkovich - October 23, 2016 - 11:16 AM

    I’m not sure exactly what should outrage us more, discovering that online retailers are overcharging or that the “industry” has been fixing prices for years contrary to established US free trade practice.

    Presently, “retail” prices are suggested prices set by the manufacturer or wholesaler. The actual price at which an item is sold can be any price set by the reseller. If the reseller advertises an item at an artificially high price and then drops that price it can still be higher than the suggested retail price.

    Fortunately for us and unfortunately, for these price gouging companies, access to the internet has made furniture pricing more transparent (for like items) and they have been forced to lower their prices.

    This increased consumer access to pricing has also demystified the “to-the-trade” pricing which is supposed to be wholesale to the trade but can more often be higher than another outlet’s retail price. (You have mentioned this before in your blog) In the end, all this tells us is that the “wholesale” price has such a huge markup that wholesalers can easily be undersold by retailers who operate on a small margin.

    A great example is Legend Of Asia where you can find the same item retailing for $260, $340, and $670! on different sites!

    The final veil was lifted after consumers had access to the manufacturers and manufacturer pricing through Alibaba, bypassing the wholesalers entirely.

    Now we see that even discounted retail pricing is at least 10 times the price from the manufacturer and more often 20 to 100 times depending on the volume!

    I recently remodelled my bathroom and decided against high-priced designer hardware and fittings this time around. I bought from a Chinese manufacturer who shipped in a week and the high quality brass and chrome rails were great and 10 times less than a designer bath shop or retailer like Restoration hardware. As even the Germans are having their brands manuafactured in China they are much higher quality than they used to be.

    I don’t what this will ultimately mean to the design industry as it is becoming increasingly more difficult for designers to find reputable firms that sell to them at a true wholesale price. If companies like the Legend Of Asia to the trade site is being underpriced by a retailer then this trend will certainly have a profound impact on how designers are remunerated for their work and expertise. Just sayin…ReplyCancel

    • Katy - October 29, 2016 - 9:16 PM

      Hi Susan,
      I have been exploring the Chinese manufacturers for just this reason. If I have to spend 100’s of thousands renovating a property, I have nothing leftover for furniture. Even amazon prices can be beat if you order on Alibaba.com or Aliexpress.com. I just ordered a chandelier from the latter and I found the same one listed at much higher prices online from American companies.
      I understand the issues of overhead and re-selling products. But if you can get it directly from China why pay the middleman at all?

      I feel sick that nothing is made in America anymore, or more accurately, that nothing can mbe made more affordably in America anymore. I wish to God I was rich enough to employ American furniture makers, as I fall into that category anyway. I love carpentry. But this is the new world. And I need 3 chandeliers. And I can get them from China for 1/10th the price.
      sigh.ReplyCancel

    • Atlantic - October 23, 2016 - 12:40 PM

      Hi Susan,
      could you share whom you ordered from? I have been hesitant to do the same because I was not sure whom to trust. But I agree–most of this is made in China at every price point and I don’t see why I should not be able to order whatever I wish to order and pay fair market value for it
      thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 11:29 AM

      Hi Susan,

      Bravo! It’s a big mess, for sure.ReplyCancel

  • Brenda - October 23, 2016 - 10:57 AM

    Hi Laurel…..we’re building a home with radiant floor heating so we will have a stained concrete floor. I’m wondering if you address this type of flooring in your new paint palettes/mood boards. There will be some area rugs, of course. It’s a smaller home, under 1500 sq ft, with an open floor plan for the kitchen and family room.
    I would prefer wood floors and certainly don’t want my floors dictating every design decision by being too busy.
    As always, I can’t wait to read your blog, regardless of the subject matter. Always a learning experience and FUN!
    Many thanks,
    BrendaReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 11:09 AM

      Hi Brenda,

      Thanks so much for the kind words!

      I don’t get into flooring in a big way in this guide and have limited it to hardwood floors since that’s what the vast majority of us have. I had to draw the line somewhere. I do talk about my preferences for stain colors, however. There are some stain colors that pretty much go with everything and that is what I recommend. And I don’t recommend, unless it’s a very rustic place and one truly loves it, a gray (limed) oak. Although, I know in certain parts of the country, it is immensely popular. I do love pale ash floors, however.

      As for concrete. I had a client over 10 years ago, who did a massive reno on a contemporary home. Wonderful clients and job and quite a departure for me. They put in a concrete floor in their mudroom which is stunning. The color is a warm, earthy, greenish, tannish color. Difficult to describe. But quite neutral.

      I guess for you, it depends where you are, what style is your home and also how long you plan to be there. Perhaps consult with a designer in your area if you’re still not sure. ReplyCancel

  • Susie - October 23, 2016 - 10:10 AM

    I’m a thrift store junkie and if you keep browsing the thrift stores it’s amazing what you can find. You can find stuff that looks like it is from the Nieman Marcus catalog but at the thrift store it only costs a couple of bucks. If I can’t find what I’m looking for at the thrift store, I might search Home Goods or Target. But we are still talking reasonable prices. Those big oversized colored glass wine jugs? Fifteen bucks at Home Goods. My friend Martha came over to take a look at my recently purchased condo and said “what neat furniture you have!”
    Just about all of it I didn’t pay more than $65 for any particular piece. It’s just about knowing where to look. Flea market chic is great!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 10:14 AM

      Hi Susie,

      That’s great! And it’s also why I have some big box stores included in my rolodex. It’s a reminder that there are some great deals to be had out there. Home Goods and Target in particular have some tasteful offerings.ReplyCancel

  • Gail Neylan - October 23, 2016 - 10:00 AM

    So my elder golden retriever woke me up at 3:30 am – wide wake after a brisk trip outside I read you blog and followed link to Tao Accents – and found a super garden stool – Blue & White Sea Wave Fish – to put in my just renovated powder room – Thibaut Imperial Dragon (coral and navy. Just ordered. Thanks so very much.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - October 23, 2016 - 9:01 AM

    Dear Laurel,
    I’ve found (by accident!) that the best way to protect yourself from a questionable online seller is to pay with PayPal. I did so when I had the unfortunate experience of ordering a King size bed from one of these shysters. They delivered a Queen size bed instead. When they insisted I had ordered the Queen and wanted me to pay return shipping costs and a 30% restocking fee, I contacted PayPal. To my delight, PayPal opened an investigation and refunded me the total amount within 30 days! Needless to say, I am now their biggest fan!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 10:10 AM

      Hi Robin,

      That is most likely true, but here’s the flip side. I am currently using paypal to sell my products and here’s what happens to me.

      Sometimes folks claim not to receive their product. Two reasons are that it’s either sitting in their spam folder or they don’t realize that it’s a digital product.

      All they need to do is contact me to find out what’s going on. But no, what some do and fortunately it’s not terribly common, but they contact PP who then removes the funds out of my account and then I have to prove that I’m not defrauding the customer.

      It’s all automated, so unless someone makes a typo on their email address, the product goes out to them 100% of the time. However, PP offers no protection on Digital Products.

      Anyway, so glad they could intervene on your behalf because clearly they are not good business people. Sounds a lot like the the post I wrote last year, where the dude ended up spending some absurd sum when things went wrong beyond his control.ReplyCancel

  • Dolores - October 23, 2016 - 7:41 AM

    Laurel, I need to give a plug for your paint collection! We already used the information and tips you provided twice, it has permitted me to paint without hassle, trials and better, no error! What a relief! I used ‘Cotton Balls’ in the kitchen for walls as well as trim- and it is just a gorgeous white.I elected not to do a backsplash in my kitchen, and based on your advice I used Benjamin Moore’s Regal® Select, which has held up extremely well even behind the range, and is fully washable. Then you recommended OPAL as a pale,off white pink which we used in one of the bathrooms.I think it’s the most beautiful pink I have ever seen- and looks fantastic with the grey veined marble sink. Both paint colors were everything you promised.:-)
    Re the ginger jars- I think I got a deal! I was browsing in a local antique store and there, sitting in a nook- were two perfect blue and white ginger jar lamps with perfect shades, priced $125 for the pair, plus a 20% discount. Of course I grabbed them..ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 10:02 AM

      Hi Dolores,

      All endorsements are most welcome! This is just so wonderful! One of my 40 boards features Opal and it is so, so pretty. And $125 for a pair of blue and white ginger jars IS a steal. And then a discount? Wow! And I be that they are gorgeous too!ReplyCancel

  • bfish - October 23, 2016 - 6:47 AM

    This was fascinating Laurel! With the huge price drops and now-below-to-the-trade pricing, how is this National Furniture Supply company doing this? Are they really using a sales model that will minimize their take and leave a lot of potential profit on the table, or are they pulling a bait-and-switch? Do you have experience with others that might suggest what they’re trying to pull? Thanks, as always, for sharing your research and insider knowledge!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 9:58 AM

      Hi Brenda,

      Thanks Brenda. Sleuthing is a little hobby of mine.

      They are selling at a price that’s above wholesale, but it’s not even 50% of above wholesale which is absurdly low for an advertised price. If you recall from the post, it’s supposed to be at about 110% for the minimum advertised price.

      Full retail is supposed to be 150%-200% above retail. (2.5 – 3 times wholesale) And never more than 200% which is triple net.

      Most online sources are at about 100-150% which is a fair markup. After all, the operating expenses are enormous. Just maintaining a huge site with thousands of products is going to cost 100s of thousands a year.

      But when they say that the retail price is 350% over wholesale and then come down to 200% as a “discount,” I have a problem with that.

      That is out and out deception and if not illegal, it’s highly unethical.

      I have only ordered from online sources a handful of times and only out of desperation. I’ve never had a bad experience, but I’ve never ordered from a company pulling crap like this.

      The worst is that “make an offer” nonsense. Bartering is phenomenally declasse.ReplyCancel

  • Gaye - October 23, 2016 - 3:43 AM

    Anybody ever tell you that you’re funny when you’re disgusted? 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 9:44 AM

      haha! Well, some of these “cartoon characters” are easy marks. And folks who feel entitled in some way to do something unethical are at risk of getting called to the mat!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - October 23, 2016 - 12:29 AM

    Dear Laurel- LOVE the palette in this post! Of course my favorite color is blue and I was thrilled to see so many blues in your color collection. In fact within a short time of receiving my copy, I painted my den/library Van Duesen blue. We have cherry wood stained judge’s paneling and bookcases in the room and this color looks AMAZING. I love your color collection and can’t wait to get the follow up edition with all of those lovely boards. I am a novice decorator and I look forward to your blog every week. Keep the entertaining (and educational) posts coming. All the best-ElizabethReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 12:36 AM

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Oh, that’s so wonderful and thank you so much for the kind words! I’m very proud of the paint collection and palettes with the boards and all the rest. It really brings it all to life and I think too, it becomes a kind of training so that one begins to see color in a whole new way. xoReplyCancel

  • Kathie - October 23, 2016 - 12:10 AM

    Why is it that designers/decorators ace so many places to get furniture /kitchen materials that the average person can’t? I can’t afford to hire a designer so why can’t I get countertops, etc at a good price? Makes me really angry.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 12:14 AM

      Hi Kathie,

      Well, it’s like that in all industries. I can’t get groceries wholesale, or clothing, or cars… I went to school for three years and worked for other people for four years, before I put out my shingle and was privy to wholesale prices. And that was over 20 years ago that I started my business. I would not think it fair that anyone off the street with no design education and/or experience in the trade would be eligible for the same pricing. ReplyCancel

      • Kathie - October 23, 2016 - 12:19 AM

        I don’ even want the same prices as you; I just want the selection.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 12:22 AM

          Well, then get my rolodex. There isn’t much about kitchen and bath stuff, but for all other home furnishings, there are many, many sources and most are available online or at a store somewhere.

          If I post an online source, it’s a reputable one— not like the idiots in this post.ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*