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Allbrands/Crafty Stitcher--Inquiring ...

D_Hall's picture

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What's the deal with these two sewing machine sources? How do these
guys:

1. get brand name machines

-AND-

2. sell 'em sew much cheaper?

barb_c's picture

(post #27246, reply #1 of 33)

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Well Darlette I think one of the downsides is you haven't got the dealer back up. This might seem a small thing but many will swear it isn't always the machine but the dealer you need to consider when buying a new machine.

To be honest I kind of side with Robbie Flanning who encourages people to buy a machine locally. If you notice she never has ads for the crafty stitcher on her mail list. I think the dealer support is a priceless extra. (and this from someone who doesn't use her dealer all that much ---but when I want them it is well worth it)

Rosemarie's picture

(post #27246, reply #2 of 33)

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Hi Darlette!

Thanks for reminding me about All Brands (www.allbrands.com). I've just checked their site for cutting tables, and they are sending me some brochures. They have tables that are 40" wide, and cheaper than the Koala -- even though it is on sale at Nancy's Notions!

D_Hall's picture

(post #27246, reply #3 of 33)

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Thanks for your feedback, Barb C. I'll be in the market
for a sewing machine later this year/early next, so I'm
doing my homework now.

Never really had dealer support before sewing on a Kenmore
that was a HS graduation present. I even own a Kenmore serger.
Learned to use/thread it using the book & the video.

But I wanna make sure those guys aren't selling stolen, used or
remanufactured machines at a cheaper-than-new price.

D_Hall's picture

(post #27246, reply #4 of 33)

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Hey Rosemarie!

Let me know about your experience with Allbrands, OK.
Use the back-channel (that's private e-mail) if you'd like.

Like I advise folks who ask what kind of computer to buy---
there's an inverse relationship between user knowledge & price.
If you KNOW what you're doing, you can choose solely on price.
When you DON'T KNOW what you're doing or will need help, you gotta
pay EXTRA for the service. That's only fair!

Karla_Kizer's picture

(post #27246, reply #5 of 33)

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Darlette - I have purchased machines and parts from AllBrands, and had the same concerns - stolen by the truckload? knock-offs? But the machines arrived in factory cartons, with apparently authentic registration paperwork. And John, the owner, has been very helpful on the phone. I would not hesitate to buy from them again, although, out of loyalty to a very good local dealer (Louise), I will buy my Viking products from her. -Karla, who delivered her daughter into the Jaws of Hell this weekend; she is now my Baby Gator.

Martha_McKeon's picture

(post #27246, reply #6 of 33)

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It's possible that these discounted machines are "overstocks"; and AllBrands picks them up from the companies for retail sale. Kind of like Marshall's and TJMaxx does for RTW clothing etc. The textile industry does that also for overruns on stock - that's why I can get good deals on fabric in the Northeast.

Living out in the boondocks, my only choice of dealers are Singer and Kenmore. It's been my experience, however, with other top names, that a letter to corporate headquarters when you encounter a problem, goes a long way.

Still stiching along on my old Singer,

Martha

D_Hall's picture

(post #27246, reply #7 of 33)

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After reading all that stuff in the Viking folder of
SW before the crash, I *DON'T* think I'll ever buy a
Viking... Sue Hausmann or not!

Embroidery isn't a big deal to me since I can have things
done fairly reasonably at one of the local malls. So I
see no need to invest in the equipment, threads, etc. just
for that feature. I have a list of features that are
important to me & I'll be taking MY OWN fabric samples
of the stuff I do sew. I would even like to look at an industrial machine...

Ann_Chafin's picture

(post #27246, reply #8 of 33)

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Darlette,

Fancy seeing you here! A word about Allbrands.com - this is where I purchased my Elna 925 serger. My nearest Elna dealer (that I would purchase from) was about 125 miles away, so having a local dealer was not an option for me. In looking at the difference between what I would pay at the dealer 125 miles away and what I would pay at Allbrands, it was no contest. I purchased from Allbrands and have not been sorry at all. I figure I will send it back to them from time to time for service when needed. I do have local dealers in the area for Janome, Viking, Singer and Pfaff, but I specifically wanted the Elna after reading all the posts about the Elna and the special features it has.

I can only say nice things about my experience with Allbrands. They were very helpful and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

heather_blair's picture

(post #27246, reply #9 of 33)

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Hi Darlette,
I think you should contact the owner of Allbrands, John, I think his name is. He also wrote an article in Creative Newsletter (I think it was)on how he bases his prices and provide customers and potential customers with ALL the information they need to help them make their decisions. I heard he is quite helpful. I am in Europe so I have never used them, but I wouldn't hesitate to. He even provides info on machines he doesn't sell.

Karla_Kizer's picture

(post #27246, reply #10 of 33)

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Darlette - Yes, there are a bunch of people mad at Viking, and if I had had their experiences, I guess I would, too. BUT - there are also people mad at other manufacturers, too. I bought my Viking 550 a few years ago when I got tired of spending $130 every few years to replace the foot pedal on my Bernina 830. The local dealer seemed to feel that this expenditure was just a natural part of being a Bernina owner - no price break, no sympathy, no apology. And when I took the 830 in for tune-ups, it was not unusual for it to be there for weeks and weeks; I even bought a small Riccar (from Allbrands) so that I had something to use while the Bernina was in the shop. I finally decided that I couldn't afford to have the Bernina as my primary machine - too much down time. My Viking has been purring along for 2 years without incident. My point - don't write off a particular brand because the unhappiest customers are the most vocal. The best money I spent when I was comparison shopping was The Creative Machine Survey, in which machine owners respond with what they like/don't like about the machines they own. The survey is extremely thorough, telling you how many owners have responded about each model, and indicating when positive/negatives were mentioned by more than 1 person. I will never buy another machine without studying that survey! OK - rambling is over.....

D_Hall's picture

(post #27246, reply #11 of 33)

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I'm really shocked to learn that the Creative Machine newsletter would feature an article from one of the discounters. I was hesitant to raise this question on their e-list. I've been to the Allbrands site & the comments here certainly make me more comfortable. But what about this Crafty Stitcher? Is the guy a crook? I have a buddy who lives in the California desert. Maybe I'll send him to scope out this CS guy's shop & make sure it's for real. For any interested, contact me back channel & I'll send you one of his e-ads. 60% Off... no tax, no shipping... Just sounds TOO darned good to be true!

Debbie_Michels's picture

(post #27246, reply #12 of 33)

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Karla - I feel for you and the apparent bad taste in your mouth for Bernina. My little 801 is in great shape, without having to replace anything in 20 years (and it is the source of my income through custom work). Which means that it has well paid for itself several times over.
I have to say, however, that the support here in a community of over 150,000 for Bernina is wonderful. Service is prompt and excellent. I hope you will find greater satisfaction in the use of your Viking.

Karla_Kizer's picture

(post #27246, reply #13 of 33)

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Debbie - I should not have made it sound as if I hated my Bernina 830; on the contrary, I love the stitch quality, the sturdiness and effectiveness of the Bernina feet and it served me well for many years. I have refused to consider selling it, because I think it is worth far more than I could get for it. There is a reason this machine is considered one of the "workhorses". But when I wanted some of the features that can be found only on newer machines (the ability to create narrower buttonholes, needle up/needle down, reverse stitches, etc.), I had to consider the cost of paying for and maintaining the machine; I simply felt that I could get the features I wanted in another brand for less money. To compare: my friends love their Volvos ("they hold their value", etc.); my 10-yr-old Sable gets me where I want to go, is in the shop for maintenance less than my frinds' cars and costs FAR less to maintain. I would not claim that Volvo isn't a good car to own, just that, for me, it is not the best value. I felt the same way about a new Bernina: I would have had to spend too much to get the features I wanted, and I was not thrilled with the local dealer. Owning a Viking gives me a good reson to have to go to Louise Cutting's store, too, - a bonus!

Terri_Kennedy's picture

(post #27246, reply #14 of 33)

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Darlette & all - a word of caution about the Crafty Stitcher in Las Vegas. I ordered a Euro Pro Press after seeing their sponsor message on the Sewcouture site. I called & was transferred to "George" the expert on all these items. I really wanted an Elna Press & asked him if he carried those - they posted that they were an Elna dealer. He said he sold a great Euro Pro Press and that they were better than Elna, that he used it exclusively, yada, yada, yada. He told me that they had just done a show there in Las Vegas and had sold a lot of them at a show price. Then he checked in the "back" to see if there were any left. To make a long story short, the press I ordered came from upper New York state and the receipt from Las Vegas was marked "ALL SALES FINAL - NO RETURNS - and specifically,
"don't contact us or send units back to us if you have problems, we will not accept them and they will be returned
- contact the manufacturer." Seriously!!! I was really incensed and e-mailed the moderator of the Sewcouture. She
said to contact the operators of Quiltropolis but I quit when they started charging. I don't think the "boards" bother to check out all the advertisers. I think I got a good price but their advertisement said that they had years of servicing what they sell - maybe they service the local sales but not the mail/internet sales. The implication of my conversation re the Euro Press was that if I didn't like it or it didn't perform as I thought it should that I could return it. Also, I noticed that the wording in the ads don't change. A lot of what is posted in terms of prices cannot be linked to a specific mfgr's model number - so the bottom line is buyer beware.

D_Hall's picture

(post #27246, reply #15 of 33)

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Aaaah, NOW we get to the dirt...

I was wondering why he calls himself "Crafty?" To me, that conjures up images of *beady* eyes & the like.

And I really don't like it when I call for Product A, & the salesperson tries to sell
me Product B 'cuz that's all he's got in his inventory.
If you can't *justify* WHY B is better, then you may as well just shut up,
and I'd have no qualms telling Mr. Crafty that!

D_Hall's picture

(post #27246, reply #16 of 33)

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Whew! Forgive that l'il outburst. Perhaps it's time
to start thinkin' 'bout adding a l'il soy to my diet...

Jan_Kerr's picture

(post #27246, reply #17 of 33)

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Darlette....I got a grant for 6 sergers for my sewing class, which I ordered from AllBrands. John and Annette couldn't have been more helpful. Stuff showed up on time, factory fresh...They sent me some extra videos on how to run the machines, free***(my kind of deal!),and were right there with an answer when I needed one. If I ever need another machine, I'd do business with them in a heartbeat! NAYY...just a happy camper! :^)

Sandra_Carden's picture

(post #27246, reply #18 of 33)

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This is a very interesting topic. Thanks Darlette for getting it started. I too have scrolled through the Crafty Stitcher ads on several of the Quiltropolis lists. And wondered the same things as other people have expressed here. I definitely do not like the Bait and Switch tactics and for that reason alone would not buy from him. I have heard other stories over the past few years, very similar to what Terri has written. And another one - How George "the expert" usually says, "That's the last one!" How many last ones can there be??? LOL

But hearing such nice things about allbrands, I will definitely check them out. There's a sewing chair at the local Bernina store, retails for just over $200 (for a chair!), and it seems overpriced to me. And it's not like you'd need tech support - for a chair! So I think I'll find out the make and model and then look at allbrands.

Oh, and Darlette, I include soy in my diet every day. I haven't exactly noticed it alleviating any menopause symptoms! Maybe I need more of those soy foods!

Sandra

judi_dean's picture

(post #27246, reply #19 of 33)

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This has been an interesting discussion. As someone who lives even beyond the boondocks (no kenmore, no singer, no dealers period), I recommend that you seek out some opinions on how well written the manuals are. I bought a viking long distance, the dealer's price was better than all brands at the time, and although I like the product the manual is just this side of useless. I know this machine can do a lot of things that I'm not aware of, and that's such a waste of money. Dealer has been helpful by email, but a decent manual would have been so much better.

Paula_-_WI_aka_"chirping_Pa's picture

(post #27246, reply #20 of 33)

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This topic will always be discussed. Without mentioning companies or brands, here is what does happen.

Many on-line sources for sewing machines and serges find a dealer that is willing to sell to them at a cut-rate discounted price, so they in turn can sell over the net in volume. So actually, you are buying a second-hand machine. Companies do not stand by warranties made under these sales. It really undercuts your local dealer and their expertise.

I had a dealer who matched an interned price on a new machine. I was thrilled. Use the prices on line to help you in wheeling and dealing with your dealer--I did (twice) and can't be happier! I got the machine AND service! IMHO Paula - WI

BTW I would not buy this way unless my local dealer was on line and would give me the service.

Terri_Kennedy's picture

(post #27246, reply #21 of 33)

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Following up on my press story, I had been shopping around prior to my call to Las Vegas. I stopped by one of the local MD/DC area dealers & asked about the Elna Press. The owner offered to sell me the Elna Press floor model that somebody had wiped snot (oh yeah) on the press plate for only $399. I was told that price was only good for one day. What a deal! NOT! The lowest price I found here in the DC area for the Elna Press was $329 for one shipped from the distributor new - not from Mr "one day only deal" - He wanted $599 for a new one and we are comparing apples to apples. The Euro Pro Press model 5100 that I received from the distributor was indeed new & I paid $256, no tax and no shipping charges. This was last September/October timeperiod. Was that a reasonable price for that model?

Rosemarie's picture

(post #27246, reply #22 of 33)

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Thanks for this discussion! Since I've decided to do my back a favor and look for cutting tables (inspired by the sale at Nancy's Notions) I have found a discrepency between Allbrands and the manufacturer.

I has looking at the Horn of America cutting table #4072: at Allbrands it says a shipping weight of 221# and on the Horn of America site is says a weight of 125#! That's a 96# difference! Maybe one is just the weight of the table and the other weight includes the table and shipping carton -- but a 96# carton??!!

Reminds me of the old saying: Buyer Beware!

Karla_Kizer's picture

(post #27246, reply #23 of 33)

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Darlette - I think soy is vastly over-rated. I recommend chocolate.

D_Hall's picture

(post #27246, reply #24 of 33)

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THAT'll work! Gotta tell you this: I was purchasing some chocolate once when this guy says to me, "You shouldn't have that. It's bad for your figure." I told him it wasn't for me, it was for my coworkers. Cuz' if I didn't eat it, THEY would have no peace! Grrrr! Then I gave him that look that read... "Back Off! or else..."

Chris_B's picture

(post #27246, reply #25 of 33)

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I bought my Elna 945 & my floor OTT light from the Crafty Stitcher.Both arrived in perfect condition.As far as the all sales final,he will replace defective merchandise,but you have to call and he will send for the product.The big thing is,he warrants the stuff himself as does Allbrands,neither are authorized dealers.For the $1188 ($2499MSRP) I paid for the Elna,I figured I could afford any fixing it might need.I'd buy it again,I can't afford the $2499 from a dealer!BTW,his price for the Ott floorlamp is $119 no tax or shipping outside of NV.One of the email lists I'm on,a lady said she actually visited his store so maybe it really does exist??

Diane_E's picture

(post #27246, reply #26 of 33)

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Well, I bought the Elna 945 from Crafty Stitcher, too. I have been very loyal to my local Pfaff dealer (to the tune of about $9K worth of machines and sundries - yikes......). So when I was considering an upgrade to a coverstitch machine I trotted faithfully to my dealer. The mechanical serger that was The Thing the previous year warranted barely a sneer and a $200 trade-in toward the $2400 coverstitch serger. No willingness to deal, either. I left a bit peeved and disappointed, to say the least. I then called Crafty Stitcher, got the Elna and kept my Pfaff mechanical. Now all I need is a new house for all these machines!

I agree, in theory, with the idea of supporting the local dealer. However, loyalty and support goes both ways.

Noreen_Huber's picture

(post #27246, reply #27 of 33)

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I recently visited my local Elna dealer for an Elna Press. She told me she could no longer get them as Elna had changed their manufacturing sites and they would be available in about 6 months from Taiwan or some other place in the Far East. I then contacted All Brands and they pretty much confirmed this story. I started to look at Euro Press and bought one from All Brands. They were very helpful on the phone. I forget what model I bought but it was about $350 with shipping included. It most definitely was a new one with a warranty included. The problem with the warranty is that you have to return the product to Euro Press whereby with a local dealer I'm sure you could return it to them. By the way, I'm very happy with this press.

Nancy_W's picture

(post #27246, reply #28 of 33)

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Well, I'm all for supporting my local dealer too, and I have - to the tune of a Bernina 1630, Dec 600, and Bernina 2500 DCET serge, plus several friends I brought in who also bought machines. So I went in and asked about the Magic Box - her price was $399. Now that's list, and nobody sells anything for list these days. When I mentioned that, she said it 'might' go on sale in the fall. Would she give me this sale price now? - nope. So I called Crafty George, and got the Amazing Box (same thing, different label on it). Price - $268.88 - no tax, no shipping. I think my local dealer should think about 'supporting' me, too.

OK, down off my soap box, now!

BTW, the Amazing Box is really great for anyone who doesn't have software and wants to be able to download stuff from the net.

Nancy

D_Hall's picture

(post #27246, reply #29 of 33)

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Nancy--- Guess girlie didn't want to sell at what she considered a loss.

I saw a little reminder on the Creative Machine newsletter not to mention
online sources for sewing machines & sergers. Why is that? Is the CM
newsletter comprised of sewing machine dealers or something?

Of course, I could find Robbie's e-mail & just ask her...

Glad to see I wasn't the ONLY one with these questions.

Vera_Sokolow's picture

(post #27246, reply #30 of 33)

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I, for one, am delighted that Robbie doesn't want plugs for online sources for machines. There's nothing that can fill up a list with posts like these ads (unsolicited and repeated, ad nauseum) and the anti/pro debates they produce. Maybe someone new to the lists appreciates the info, but the rest of us very quickly tire of it and wish we could have more useful and interesting topics filling our e-mail boxes. Creative Machine, IMO - not humble on this one - is about the best list for solid sewing stuff and great responses from folks who do know what they're writing about.

However, this discussion list is a wonderful venue for sharing opinions and experiences about online sources. I, too, was happy to have the question asked here.