Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PPT is Almost Here ...

Countdown, the first shipment of the Japanese Professional Precision tools are being delivered from my freight forwarder TOMORROW. In the past week and a half, I have learned a LOT about fluctuating exchange rates, wiring money, US Customs, freight forwarding, duty fees and how extremely expensive it is to import product into the USA. Custom fees are where the US government gets it's revenue, second only to income taxes from the IRS. Woohoo. Yes indeed, I feel GREAT being able to help the US government and economy in my own special way!!

When I first got my hands on the round nose and chain nose pliers in late February, thanks to a gift from my friends at Ezel Findings, I NEVER imagined I would become the exclusive importer of these Japanese tools. I'm a beadmaker, jewelry designer, beader, metalsmith and author but tool importer? Well I am an ex-electrical engineer so I knew good tools when I felt these in my hands. It was instant LOVE at first touch! I KNEW I had to have them ALL and thus launched my quest to complete my set of five tools with the missing three pliers (bent nose, flat nose and flush cutter). I tracked down a Japanese friend who happened to know the factory manager. What a small world full of connections. I truly believe these RED handled tools FOUND ME as I didn't look for them.

In order to get a good price to complete my own set, I had to order a small sampling of these tools which I originally intended to gift to good friends, selling the remainder few extra sets. I didn't WANT to become a tool importer but the tools wanted me to! I began to realize that although I knew NOTHING about importing product, MORE designers would benefit from these tools than just me and a mere 24 others! (my original sample order arrived right before Bead Expo Portland in March). So within a few short weeks through my Japanese friend we were able to negotiate the exclusive US distribution. I still had NO idea what I was getting myself into. I had to forecast possible future sales. This is why I decided to take pre-orders at the recent bead shows, beginning at Bead Expo Portland. I needed to gauge how popular these would be by just demoing the pliers and letting people feel them.

Once you feel these pliers in your hands you will instantly realize why they are indeed special. Once you see them in person, you will note the ultra fine jaws that are not available in any other pliers in the market today. So, the orders came from these show demos with NO real notification to the industry and half of the first shipment has sold. I still have a nice quantity for Bead and Button orders and forecasting for the next 6 months will happen very soon. So, this is how fast everything happened and why you did not read about these tools in my book, Bead Romantique. Now the real work begins.

In future months, you will start seeing product features on these innovative tools in key magazines. The first feature will appear in the August issue of Step by Step Wire. I will post the feature on the blog later as this is SO EXCITING. My first official ad for the PPT will also appear in this issue. The Interweave team has been playing with the tools for the last few weeks and I'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to read what they think!

With this feature and ad, I hope more will come to know how special indeed these tools are and how hard I've worked to bring them to the U.S. Having NEVER imported anything until now and because of my recent experiences, I appreciate all those Suppliers whom I know import more products than I. Wowza! So here's to these tools and let's see them ROCK the wire artist community. Don't forget to think about these tools for gifts to anyone who loves to use fine tools as they are not limited to jewelry designers only! Xmas is going to be here faster than you know.

I only sell these in kit form but will be offering the pliers to bead stores soon, who will offer them individually. If you can't find these tools at your local beadstore (have them contact me to bring them there!) and don't need the whole set, you can find them at the San Gabriel Bead Company who can ship them to you. You really CAN use every single one of these tools, so if you are a completist like me, then you'll want them ALL eventually. The introductory price ($125) may not last after the first shipment sells out. I will have to gauge the exchange rate situation and make a judgment how long the promotional price can last. I believe in bringing a great value to everyone and do not promote any product I don't believe in or use personally. So you know I will try my best to keep prices reasonable. And, even at the retail price of $150, you will find that these five tools are a bargain in this quality which can't be beat. If you can find similar ultra fine tools for lower prices - SHOW ME! I do not know of ANY pliers like these, available in the US, which are made with Japanese cutlery grade Stainless Steel.

In the next few days, my family (THANK GOODNESS, I need all the help I can get!) will help pack ALL the pre-orders to ship out by this Saturday. Then I am off to the Bead and Button Show to demo these in person! I won't have computer access all next week but I'll be armed with my Powershot G9, so I'll report on all my adventures when I return through my camera! It's a crazy time here, as you can well imagine.

In Anticipation and Relief
The Shipment is Finally
Here at last! Here at last!
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