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Crystal Clear: Answers to your glass and crystal business questions

Not sure where to start when selling glass and crystal products? Interested in learning more about the various techniques to decorate these substrates? We can help! A&E spoke with industry experts about glass and crystal products and got information about the latest in the glass and crystal industry. With this insight, you can make sure your glass and crystal business shines brightly for your customers.

 

Question: Why should retailers sell glass and crystal awards?

“There’s no other material that can replicate the prestige and elegance that glass and crystal exudes. They are also versatile in that they can be decorated in a lot of different ways to create different effects. It used to be that glass and crystal were only for those who had a higher budget for their awards programs, but nowadays there are a lot of economical options out there as well.”

—Jean Chen, Crystal by Design

“Glass and crystal products have always had both a high value and high-perceived value. This attracts customers and is a true recognition of the recipient’s accomplishments.”

—Scott Erickson, GlassWorks by GW Crystal

“In general, all businesses need awards. It means a lot to employees to know what they do matters. When you add some gold or silver to a glass award, it looks classy and expensive. Glass is special; it reflects light and looks beautiful. It also appeals to both men and women so serves as a good recognition piece for everyone.”

—Lori Mitchell, Glastar

“Retailers should sell glass and crystal awards because they are timeless and long-lasting. There is elegance in crystal and glass awards that you just cannot get from a metal trophy or wooden plaque. Versatility in corporate awards is also a huge plus. Vases, bar ware and desktop accessories are becoming more popular because they serve a functional purpose, and that is appealing to the end user.”

—Mayra Barboza, Topmost

“Crystals have a high perceived value that people see and associate with.  It’s good thing to be associated with. Depending on the pieces you choose, you don’t have to be in a price war unlike some other items.  Crystals are good product and have wide price range so perhaps that will bring wider range of customers.  Maybe retailers’ don’t have to sell 100 pieces of trophy parts but sell 10 crystal awards.”

—Chung-In Park, CIP Creation Corp.

 

Question: What are some unique glass and crystal items that retailers can offer their customers?

“I do a lot of work with large associations that want things other than awards: card holders, goblets, wine bottles in different sizes, butter and cheese trays, etc. Etching on all of these is all food safe and they can go through the dishwasher. Crystal paperweights of any shape make great gifts. One cool thing you can do is smash thick pieces of glass then grind and polish them. You can make mosaics with the pieces or paperweights. Use several different colors.”

—Lori Mitchell, Glastar

“By incorporating unique engraving technology along with a secondary usage such as flash drives, business card holders, letter openers and drink coasters, we find that retailers can attract more clientele and increase sales over traditional sandcarved items.”

—Scott Erickson, GlassWorks by GW Crystal

“When it comes to unique glass items, art glass has risen in popularity. It is contemporary art that offers a fresh new look that is both whimsical and classy. In addition, they are made even more unique due to hand-made production, resulting in no two pieces being exactly alike. For end users looking for something different, it is art glass they are turning to.”

—Mayra Barboza, Topmost

“Even though the material is relatively fragile, it can still be used to make functional items, such as vases, candle holders, candy jars, dishes, desktop accessories, bookends, keychains, clocks, etc. Crystal and glass lend an elegant and high-end feel that cannot be replicated with any other material.”

—Jean Chen, Crystal by Design

 

Question: What are the various decoration methods that can be used for glass and crystal awards?

“(Most) items can be personalized by laser engraving or sandcarving. While sandcarving has a more time consuming process, it is what we recommend you use on our products for a long lasting, high-quality look that has deep cuts and sharp edges. It makes a logo stand out in a clear and recognizable way that a laser can’t quite match, making the timely process well worth it.”

—Mayra Barboza, Topmost

“The main decoration methods that our customers use… are laser engraving, (sandcarving), screen printing and dye sublimation. What type of decoration to use depends highly on what effect the client is going for and also what their budget is. We only offer (sandcarving). Even though the process is labor intensive, we believe that the end result is worth the extra work.”

—Jean Chen, Crystal by Design

“Although we only offer sandcarving, crystal (items) can be laser engraved and/or UV printed if the surface is flat. UV printing is an easy way to add full-color on flat surface.”

—Chung-In Park, CIP Creation Corp.

“You can use gold-leaf on glass for a really rich, shiny effect. (You need to be familiar with the process.)”

—Lori Mitchell, Glastar

 

Question: What kind of perceived value do glass and crystal products present?

“The perceived value of crystal or glass is incredible. They are long lasting and will stay in pristine condition. The confidence and self-esteem boost that comes with being honored with a crystal or glass award that is of a high-end appeal is wonderful.”

—Jessica Nieto, CIP Creation Corp.

“Crystal products are timeless and their perceived value is greater than the actual cost. The beveled cuts and light refraction on optic crystal awards especially are just beautiful and make the recipient feel like a million bucks.  Personalization is key to making the recipient feel unique and important because their perceived value of the crystal award is directly associated with the dedication and hard work it took for them to receive that recognition, and you can’t put a price on that.”

—Mayra Barboza, Topmost

“How you present your glass and crystal products to your customer is important. You can price these items higher because they can be perceived as higher value. They last forever; glass and crystal are high-quality products. If you have a quality item, you have to price it to that perceived value.”

—Lori Mitchell, Glastar

“In our experience, glass and crystal products present a very high perceived value… Our 15+ years of manufacturing success tells us glass and crystal continue to have a very high perceived value, and by adding unique sub-surface and our new surface technology it adds to the value even more.”

—Scott Erickson, GlassWorks by GW Crystal

 

Question: How can an awards retailer incorporate glass and crystal into their sales presentation?

“My biggest thing with selling is it’s an art—it’s difficult. On one side you have to put in money to make money—you have to advertise. But if you spend too much money on your advertising, you won’t make a profit. There are all sorts of ways to advertise (your glass and crystal products), but you must stay on top of what your ROI is. Target a specific audience.”

—Lori Mitchell, Glastar

“Glass and crystal can be incorporated into a sales presentation in several different ways because it is versatile. Aside from the standard corporate awards route, there is also a market for sport awards, promotional gifts, and contemporary art glass.”

—Mayra Barboza, Topmost

“We believe that it is important to offer a variety of different materials when it comes to awards and gifts, but glass and crystal should be presented in a way that conveys how beautiful and high-end they are, so that the value of them comes across. Even though they are on the higher cost side as far as awards go, a lot of people want to give the best when it comes to recognizing an incredible achievement or showing gratitude. As long as customers see value in it, glass and crystal will sell well.”

—Jean Chen, Crystal by Design

“If prices are an issue, there are ways to make (glass and) crystal affordable. There are many offerings from low to high. Understanding exactly what the end user needs is the key. There are many creative design awards that look like a million bucks. Creative artwork also helps. Give them examples.”

—Chung-In Park, CIP Creation Corp. 

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