Just MY Opinion On-The Ethical Re-Selling of Rubber Stamps
Is there a right and wrong for those who purchase rubber stamps with the intention of selling them?
(by: Julie Pialet, owner "My Heart Stamps For You" and PrairiePeddlers ebay store)
Ebay has become a great place to buy almost anything, AND...turn around and sell it at a profit. Most items listed for sale will have a brand name, and some brand names will help the item sell faster and for more money. Buyers many times will search for items by brand name, wanting the brand they associate with quality or best value.
However, as I searched for rubber stamps, I noticed a disturbing practice in the selling of unmounted rubber stamps. There are lots of sellers who list rubber stamps for sale with NO credit whatsoever being given to the manufacturer, or even list them as 'manufacturer unknown.' Most wood mounted rubber stamps do have the manufacturer stamped on one of the sides of the stamp, but those of us who sell our line of stamps UNmounted also, (just the rubber die) face a dilemma about how to make sure our name goes with the product. Do we stamp the back side of every unmounted stamp we sell? Should we package each unmounted stamp that we sell with our business information? What about our full sheets of stamps...when we sell them wholesale and those businesses cut them up to sell as individual stamps...the manufacturer of each stamp (us!) can easily be lost and unknown to their buyers forever. Should that really matter to those who re-sell them anyway? Should they feel an obligation to list them in their auctions as "manufactured by My Heart Stamps For You?"
My feeling is that they DO have an obligation to list the manufacturer when known and if asked to do so- (like we do with our wholesale customers.) But, I also think that sellers will sometimes avoid listing the name of the company or manufacturer...thinking that maybe their customers would then go straight to the source. Just this past week, I found that one of our past buyers sells our rubber stamps in their (ebay) store, and lists the manufacturer as "USA, Unknown." They are new, recently purchased stamps, and the manufacturer (us) is very well known to this buyer turned seller of our stamps. I respectfully asked that they give us credit as the manufacturer of the stamps, but to no avail. There is nothing I can really do to police this, nor do I have the time or desire. It is more than a little unsettling to me though, as well as to others in this business who manufacture a quality product.
This problem has been a subject of much discussion and debate between many of us in the rubber stamp manufacturing business. There are still many rubber stamp companies who will not sell their stamps as unmounted rubber dies, because the stamps can so easily become an 'unknown' out there. I know it sounds like a small thing, but it is our business. It is how many of us make a living, and we feel very strongly that our product be associated with our name.
There really is no sure way to make sure that those who re-sell the stamps will be ethical enough to market them as "made by company ABC." Sellers can throw grab bags together that may be from several manufacturers, and the buyer will never know who made the stamp that they fall in love with. Some sellers will even mount them on wood mounts themselves and sell them as mounted rubber stamps, with or without permission from the manufacturer. (few of whom will grant that permission because we can't control the quality)
As a manufacturer of rubber stamps, we are proud of our line of stamps, and the quality we provide, and we WANT our name to follow our rubber stamps. Many stampers who buy unmounted stamps also WANT to know who made it. It is a really bad feeling for a manufacturer to see a rubber stamp of theirs used in a published card or project, and the stamp manufacturer is listed as 'unknown.' That wouldn't happen with a wood mounted rubber stamp. The stamper need only look at the side of the mount. Not so easy when purchasing unmounted stamps, whether on the internet or in stamp stores, especially when it is listed for sale as manufacturer unknown.
If you are a BUYER of unmounted rubber stamps, you should always ask who the manufacturer is if it is being sold by someone other than the company who makes it. There are ways you can keep track of who made what in your collection, and you should. It may be useful to you someday if you want to sell it, or you may use that stamp in a published item. If you like the stamp enough, you may want to find the company's website to look for more. You may have a friend who would like to have that same stamp. ASK the seller who the stamp company is if it is not listed.
If you are a SELLER of unmounted rubber stamps, you should always give proper manufacturer credit when you know it. It is what is right and fair. It is what we ask for when we sell a huge grab bag of unmounted rubber stamps at a price low enough to allow the buyer to re-sell many of them. We specifically ask in those auctions that if they will be resold, they should be sold as "My Heart Stamps For You" rubber stamps. That is really all we can do...ASK, and then hope that sellers will be ethical enough to sell them with our name attached. Those who do, we thank you. Those who know the stamp company, but choose to market them as "unknown" for whatever reason, shame on you.
We love to sell rubber stamps, and we love to see others be able to sell them. What disturbs us though is to see our rubber stamps listed in auctions and ebay stores with absolutely no way for the buyer to connect that stamp to us, now or in the future. We feel that the ethical seller will list that information if he or she knows it. A brand name can even bring more money for a rubber stamp, depending on who the manufacturer is. If you purchase our rubber stamps for the purpose of resale, please do what is right. All we can do is ask.
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