Awards & Engraving

November '19

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42 • A&E NOVEMBER 2019 ting may be justified in some limited cases, but not in the second. Inappropriate price cutting lowers the perceived value of the product in the eyes of the customer, and that hurts us all. During the second phase of the business, we see many manufacturers and suppliers "spying" on each other so that when one company produces a new shape of award blank, the others follow suit. It hasn't taken long for the suppliers to more or less have the same products available, some with very slight variations on the original item. We are pretty much used to this scenario and are all familiar with the basic shapes available today. The prices have evened out as well, making it less of an issue to buy from one or the other supplier. The manufacturers have also caught on to the fact that it has always been a challenge to find appropriate pre- sentation containers for the various shapes and sizes of products. As an answer to that problem, most suppliers now offer presenta- tion boxes for each of their products, helping us, the shop owners and sandcarvers, look good in the eyes of our customers. All of the above features have also made it a bit harder to distiguish ourselves from our next competitor. Because of that, some went down the path of competing with pricing. Again, I discourage that. STAGE THREE: STAY COMPETITIVE Entering stage three of the game, it is apparent that the manufacturers had to come up with some products that would be more unique besides the standard reper- toire of shapes, such as diamonds, flames, rectangles, and such. This requires some companies to look into other produc- tion techniques that are different from the usual: how many shapes can you cut from regular or low-iron glass? Well there are finite numbers to do so and still have them look like an award. Enter the scene: adding color to some award components as part of the uprights The Conway award demonstrates another possibility to add variety to an otherwise plain glass award by giving you the choice of color for the base. IMAGE COURTESY THE SLEE CORPORATION The Duet award showing the combination of clear glass with a color piece laminated to the main shape. IMAGE COURTESY THE SLEE CORPORATION The Corinthian Blocks are crystal glass blocks with an added carved design area, making them unique. IMAGE COURTESY TOPMOST PRISM CRYSTAL

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