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an open letter to manufacturers...


i was talking with ac this morning about how happy i am to have such a large and enthusiastic aussie and new zealand audience, but that more often than not i get unhappy emails from them saying that about 70-80% of the american design shops i mention don't offer shipping to australia or nz. the common complaint i hear is that, while local aussie and kiwi designers are fantastic, they'd love to have more affordable mainstream modern design options. shops like dwr, west elm, cb2, etc. don't have australian outposts and while some might cringe at the "mainstream-ness" of the larger chains here, they are really great ways for people on a budget to pick up modern basics. the picture i have painted for me over and over by readers is that the market tends to be fairly polarized- there are great local craftsman ($$$$) and then local boutiques ($) but nothing in between (i often forget how lucky we are to have a wide range of design options in the states). so, to manufacturers, e-commerce sites and design outlets i say, don't forget our friends in australia and new zealand, they are passionate about great design and would love to be able to order things just like the rest of us here in the states. so, if you can, consider opening up your shipping range to include them, because affordable design should be able to arrive at all our doorsteps.

[if you live in australia and have suggestions for local design shops, please feel free to leave them below. if you're a shop and want to let readers know that you're ready and raring to ship down under, please leave your shop and contact info below. it's about time i rounded up great resources for the design fans down under]



Blogger mintyfresh said...

can I second that open call for canada, too?

It's soooo frustrating to fall in love with a product and have companies (even little ones!) say "I'm sorry - we can't ship outside of the United States". As someone who designs and ships my own stuff to any customer *anywhere* they are, it just seems strange to me that there are companies that are turning away customers because of where they live.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

d*s: having just returned from NZ with wonderful arts and crafts crammed into 4 suitcases, here are some neat things for you to look at:



http://www.westcoastarts.co.nz/gallery/paint.html (look at william steyn's work)

if you like rugs you'll love this place: http://www.dilana.co.nz/rugs/gallery.asp

both little river and the christchurch art gallery ships to the US (we bought a 5' long tin roof fish)


1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Mintyfresh. It's very frustrating not being able to get products overseas. I used to live in the US and now live in Auckland where there is very little choice or variety in products and as you mentioned, somthing cool and unique is going to cost a bundle. I am constantly emailing US companies to find out if they'll ship to NZ and most say no, others charge a ridiculously high shipping fee, and the rest don't even return my emails.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may not be widely known, but we have always offered our goods to AU and NZ.
We ship via airmail; it takes longer, but is affordable. We even eat part of the sometimes intimidating ship cost to help out our faraway funky design lovers :)

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree it is sometimes frustrating seeing cool stuff on the webs and in mags and not being able to buy it. But on the other hand Austarlia and New Zealand have their own great designers too!!

2:46 AM  
Blogger SlaveToShopping said...

I just moved to Sydney from Vancouver (and was travelling in the US about once a month) and have found that although there aren't the same stores here, the offerings are just as good:

my post on Space - design shop extrordinaire, all the design big hitters

Chee Soon & Fitzgerald have all the Marimekko you need + tons of other fun stuff

Vampt and Glory Design will keep you in mid-century modern, both in Surry Hills.

No - these aren't the same as being able to head into CB2 or DWR but I think these stores that I've mentioned are better, honestly. I've had good luck finding great design here in Sydney. Also have found some great items on eBay. Like a super fab mid-century cherry wood sideboard for $169 and a pair of black Wasilly chairs for $275. Yay!

Shipping really does cost an arm and a leg from North America so I've given up. At first I was jonesing for American style design shopping but I've found that there is a lot to be said for smaller retailers that really know thier stuff.

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with the business sense of ozzies and kiwis?! I have heard this complaint so much ("why is there no ikea in nz?" whine whine) that one might think there must be at least one person down under to see a business opportunity there. Stop complaining about what you can't have and start acting yourself - is what i would suggest to our fellows at the other end of the globe. Go and set up an import or whatever, forget what US bizz is not shipping. Come on, you can do it.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to be a jerk Anon. If you're not an Aussie this doesn't concern you. Enjoy your design in the states and stop being so rude about it.


1:26 PM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

"Stop complaining about what you can't have and start acting yourself - is what i would suggest to our fellows at the other end of the globe."

Ouch. Someone's touchy.


1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another one - Japanese shops shipping to the US. Also, I've tried buying a few items from Scandinavian shops and/or British shops - lightweight textiles - and they ask $50 US for shipping. That's ludicrous. I own a business and ship items to Europe all of the time and at worst it costs $20.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand the frustration that people have in countries far removed from the mainstream of design whether it is Europe or the States - I grew up in a country that was very far removed! This is probably the reason that when I designed my website I was most insistent that it would cater to everyone - no matter where they lived - as long as FedEx/UPS ships there - so do we! Why have web-based businesses if you don’t think of everyone who can access it?
Anyways – it’s great to be able to check in here and see everyone’s feedback ….

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a designer from the US (San Francisco) and have been living here in Sydney for the past 5 years. The sad part is I still have to shop in the US and bring a lot of products back myself. I've taken matters into my own hands after getting little to no response from US manufacturers and will be importing my own items direct from the designers themselves and cutting out the shops who think so little of valuable customers down here. Patience my brethren, it's all coming soon and we'll find a way to make it affordable. There are a great number of design resources in Australia already believe it or not but no one has yet to put together a good guide or market them properly. Design can and will be affordable.

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same goes for South Africa. There are loads of people here who would love to have more choice and would kill for stores like ikea. We have many great independant designers but the the mainstream market has been totally monopolised by local retailers who are just copying the overseas stores. It's very annoying for those of us who cannot pay exhorbitant shipping costs (Sometimes more than double the price of the product!). In addition, as karebou mentioned, that's if anyone even bothers to get back to you.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heads up NZ - we will be getting Ikea shortly, albiet in Auckland, but it's a good start!

But yeah, thanks Grace - it's definitely something I wish more suppliers would do - ship down under :)


5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just missed this year's but look out in a years time.


6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi All,

Just to let you know, peekkeep.com ships worldwide. Shipping costs are calculated in the shopping cart; so check it out. I will say that shipping internationally is not inexpensive, and then custom's charges are on top of that! However, I am always willing to work with customers if they'd like to ship via USPS Global Priority or Airmail as well, which is often much less expensive.

Kind regards,


6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out these funky chairs and bedheads from downunder


I love the funky wingchair for kids



7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post - I have felt so sad sometimes that I can't get things shipped to NZ. Let's hope this changes soon :)


8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes it is frustrating that many US online shops don't ship to Aus/NZ however I get more annoyed seeing many local designers don't even offer any online shopping or means of purchasing unless you jump over hoops and contact them directly. I find that a lot of designers here are losing out on promoting to a worldwide as well as national audience, and I am trying to fill this gap by featuring other designers in my Aust/NZ design blog- modamuse - We should get out of the mentality that designers only have to stock local shops- by the way we're blog of the week on Decor8 !!

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

over here in lithuania we also feel a little neglected - many companies do not ship to this part of the world either. there's some good reasons behind that, but it's still frustrating!

for those interested in lithuanian design/art - come visit us at www.ona.com! we ship absolutely everywhere :)


4:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, i can tell you something. internal australian shipping is very expensive, go figure how much it is to ship from there, and vice versa. I wanted some lousy (not really lousy actually, but very VERY good) quince paste from Maggie Beers to be sent to me in Europe. Just to have half a kilo sent from Maggie Beers farm to Canberra was US$20. To have the amount I wanted (under 1kg) sent to Europe was even more (obviously), nto to mention customs taxes.

It's not an easy issue to get over-- and what if the merchandise arrives (in either direction) damaged? It's so not a question of bad business sense, it's a lot more involved. From a consumer's point of view it may not seem that way.

7:27 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

I think like any other shipping, the customer has to incur costs of shipping but the manufacturer wil decide whether or not to eat the damage charges if there are any. I've had things shipped from Europe and it's the same way. Even Japan, which is admittedly tough to do. But I think the point is, many customers are willing to pay the extra money to have a special item sent over, but so many companies don't even give you the option to do that. I tried to order something from Russia and Japan once (textiles- soft, not easy to break in the mail) and they both wrote me off. I offered to pay the certified mail rate (which was sizeable) and they still wouldn't do it. Sometimes it's confusing why people won't send things if the customer is willing to pay for them...


7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ikea does not seem to love many cities, so don't feel left out if you live down under and can't get it. I live in Ikea-free Colorado and 90% of Ikea products are only available in the stores. I feel your pain.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Aucklanders looking for an equivalent to SaturdayInDesign, check out www.urbismagazine.com/designday. Similar concept - showroom tours of places you may not have been checked out yet, fashion designers doing installations, fun and games.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah and decal are definately out, out out...

but only because blik wanted to charge my $US 50 shipping to Auckland!!!

2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a design retailer here in the USA and I can tell you that we ship things all over the world.

It is true that people will pay to ship special things. We pay shipping to get the merchandise to us and then the customer pays us to get it to them.

I can't speak for other retailers, but i can say that international shipments are time consuming and for those of us that do not mark up shipping costs, we sometimes wonder if it's worth it.

Of course it is. We get emails from people who so completely appreciate the effort that we know we've won a customer for life.

It can be expensive to ship from the US, but we take great pride in finding the lowest rate possible and again, we don't mark it up.

Check out what we have at http://www.amadonWeb.com. We have been featured on this very blog before and do appreciate all the participation.

chuck palmer

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to buy a lot of stuff from the USA, it may be worth signing up with a "mail forwarding" company that gives you a US postbox and consolidates/ forwards your goods. I haven't tried them yet because for now I have a friend in the USA who does it for free :)

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go d*s - I for one appreciate you raising the awareness that their is a market here in Australia (and in NZ also)for cool stuff!

2:05 AM  

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