Monday, 14 September 2009

Our Swan House Miniatures Saga


I have a problem with Mr Greg Madl from Swanhouse Miniatures...AGAIN.

Here are the plain and simple facts, we have all documents to back them up.
  • Between June 2005 and January 2006, Mr Madl purchased a few items from us through Ebay. We didn't know who he was. He offered to retail our work. We declined as we prefer to look after it ourselves.

  • Soon after, we were informed by a head writer for numerous important miniatures magazines that Mr Madl was selling our work on his site under the generic name "French Banquet" knowing full well that this was against our will.

  • We asked Mr Madl to stop this immediately. He replied that he would. However this took several months.

  • We met Mr Madl at the 2007 SIMP miniatures show in Paris. Mr Madl came to see us, apologised for his 'misunderstanding' (his words) and shook our hands saying that it wouldn't happen again.

  • A few months passed. A new buyer on Ebay using the name "snookiewon" won a batch of our items. Using a simple address check (which revealed that the contact details provided to Ebay by the seller were false), we discovered that this was Mr Madl who was using the name "George Model". This was confirmed when "George Model" replied to us denying our claim, signing his email....Greg! We said we'd prefer to keep the items and leave it there.

  • The items were relisted and many of them were purchased by someone using the Ebay ID "miniaturemaker". This was in July 2008.

  • Yesterday, alerted by a friend, I discovered these very items (from 2005 and July 2008) are currently for sale on Mr Madl's website.

  • I would have most certainly approached Mr Madl to settle this, but not only does he continue to not respect my choice as an artisan, he doesn't respect the miniatures themselves and I want people to know about it:

    HE IS TRYING TO SELL MY MINIATURES BROKEN!

  • Here are the pictures of my work that Mr Madl currently has on his site. Remember this is someone claiming to "represent" miniature artisans from around the world.
Swan House Miniatures

Swan House Miniatures

Swan House Miniatures

  • To be clear - there is no way whatsoever that you should buy our miniatures through anybody other than us - Emma and Neil. Any other method exposes you to second hand items, possibly damaged and likely overpriced.
Thank you for reading this. Please be careful with your purchases and don't hesitate to leave your opinion (which can be anonymous!) and let's hope this sorry affair with Mr Madl is over.


29 comments:

  1. wow! you'd think that this kind of petty behavior would stay out of such a wonderfully innocent world of dollhouses and miniatures!

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  2. Cannot believe my eyes while reading.Can you sue him or likely legally stop his vile behaviour? you have all my understanding Rosanna

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  3. Very distressing for you and us. I have seen this man in action, how he goes about buying things at fairs....only to be seen later on his web-site for huge prices!!

    Thank you for bringing this out in the open!

    I shall not sign my name to this, but please trust that it is true.

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  4. Oh my, this is not good, how can I help?
    I don't usually get upset, because I know it is hard to stop people from copying, but this is ridiculous!!!!
    Hugs,
    Margaret B

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  5. Swanhouse Miniatures are, quite rightly, a respected showcase for many miniature artisans & having dealt with Greg for over 4 years now, both through eBay sales to snookiewon & by direct order I have never had a single problem with him. He represents a wealth of respected miniaturists worldwide & in many cases allows their work to be accessed to a much wider market. OK, so his prices may be higher than the source price from any given miniaturist....he is running a BUSINESS &, as such, has overheads to take into account & I, for one, hope he carries on doing the good job for miniature artists worldwide that he is doing now!

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  6. I have also delt with Mr.Madl for the kat 2 years.I have never had a problem he is always curtious and pays immediatly.At the last Paris show if it wasn;t for his purchasrs I would have lost money.Instead of trying to hurt him we as miniature artists should try to promote him.He has helped so many arists all over the world.

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  7. Neil-I'm surprised and disapointed with you.I have bought 100's of your piece on Ebay and I also buy from Swan House you both are very easy to deal wit.I know some of his prices are higher then if I bought directly from the artist but its easier then trying to contact each artist directly expessially the European artists.You are an exeption becouse you take Paypal and answer emails but many artists don't.So I don't mind paying a little extra to get pieces for my collection.Collecting miniatures is a fun thing for me and an escape from lifes problems.You must have had a bad day becouse I don't think your a negative person.Negatvity should not be part of the miniatures world.

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  9. when Neil and Emma I am sorry that this had happened to you! You have the right to refuse consignments and wholesale if you do not want to and clearly in this case you do not want to. Are they also claiming credit too or no?

    For all those people who complained that this person is doing a service to spread their name out to the miniature world well maybe he is but at the expense of the wishes of the artisans. There are artists that posted here that are very happy with this arrangement and let other people buy and sell their work but Nils and Emma did not wish to be part of this. Besides, what kind of service does this person do to the miniature world if the pieces they are selling are broken? That definitely will not help out Emma and Nils' reputation out there to sell broken items that they have made!

    This is a complicated problem for all artisans. There are always going to be a second handed market (intentional or not) for artisan goods. Some one could be cleaning their collections out for resale to buy something else or someone deliberately buying up work to resell later. One cannot stop the first really but at least in the second case permission should be sought out first before commencing.

    Anyway I think you guys are doing a wonderful job with your miniatures and I hope you can resolve this problem. I would sue them if I have to. Maybe then he would take your requests more seriously.

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  10. Grrr... blogspot is acting funny. I meant to type Wow but it did not work. Sorry guys for the repeated posts!

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  11. I have read the comments on this post with interest.
    Far from being 'negative', Emma and Neil are quite legitimately pointing out a blatant case of unprofessional business practice, which they have every right to do.
    No matter how respected and well-established a business might be, that does not excuse it riding roughshod over artisans (on which that business depends!) and ignoring their wishes.
    Sadly, this goes on in the miniatures world just the same as everywhere else.

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  12. I also have seen him buy up whole tables at miniature shows.I heard his business partner is Debbie Simon her daddy is a billionare in the U.S..So thats probaly where he gets all his money.She also is a huge collector so it makes sense

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  13. I agree with the first post such pettiness should stay out of the miniature world.I don't understand how an artist can control there work once is sold.Once an artists sells a piece the buyer has the right to display it,pack it away,sell it or give it away.Our world does not run on commusism princables

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  14. Your propaly right that Debbie Simon is his backer.She is one of the wealthiest women in the states.She also doesn't care how much she spends on miniatures I heard a couple years ago she paid 1500.00 for a miniature salad that in a miniature shop would sell for 20.00.If he does get his money from her she than gets first chose on his purchases.No wonder he buys so much at shows.

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  15. Why all the posts that are positive with Mr Madl and his kind of business are written by an anonymous? Who are you all?
    I like Emma and Neil's miniatures, I respect their work. It's very hard and sad to see own miniatures broken and sold by another without permission. Artisans put love and passion in their works, it's sad not consider this aspect of the creative works. I hope Mr Madl and all those "anonymous" can understand. Good luck Emma and Neil!

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  16. I just read the above comment and I'm happy to post my name.I have done business with Swan House for the last 4 years.He is the easist dealer to deal with.He is always curtious and gracious.He always pays me immedialty on delivery.He has promoted my miniatures in ads in Miniature Collector,something I could never afford to do.He has done more to promote miniatures and there artists than anyone else.
    I also agree with an earlier post about what happens after an item sells.We as artists have NO control over what happens after we sell.The purchaser has every right to do what they please with an item after they buy it.
    I personaly think a lot of the negative remarks about Greg has to do with jelously

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  17. A couple of things we'd like to comment on...

    At no point have we criticised any Artisans who wish to work with Mr Madl if that is their choice.

    We only spoke of money in the context of Mr Madl selling a BROKEN item. Had it been $5 instead of $75 we would have still been unhappy, because it's our name and reputation!

    We're sincerely sorry that some artisans depend on one buyer to make doing a show worthwhile.

    We'd like to thank you all for your kind comments, including the numerous, very interesting messages from people who chose to email us directly. Please continue to leave your comments which we read with fascination!

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  18. I have never heard of Swan house until now.I just went on there web sight WOW I have never seen so many wonderful miniatures.I would think miniature artists would feel honored to be represented on there site

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  19. I have to say that I do agree that Emma & Neil should be quite rightly upset about the sale of damaged work, as this will surely reflect negatively on their work. However, I still,however, maintain a stance that supports Greg & Swanhouse, as for 4 years now I have had a very pleasant & friendly business arrangement with him, both through eBay & direct. He is very easy to deal with & pays his invoices on time & without qualm, which is more than many others do! Swanhouse DOES promote the work of miniature artists by very nature of the fact that it carries such a huge selection, from affordable to hugely expensive...something for everyone, of miniature work & reaches a far bigger market than a single artist could ever hope to.
    Whenever I sell a piece, I always run the risk that it will be put up for re-sale....that is a fact of life. Once a piece has left me, it becomes the property of the buyer....to do with whatever they want! I hope that my work will always stay in a collection because it's loved but also recognise that it may well appear for re-sale. As long as I, as the artist, am given the recognition for the piece, I am happy with that.
    As far as I'm concerned the more our miniature artistry is promoted & accessible, the better! I am dedicated to persuading as many people as I can that miniatures, in whatever scale, are "works of art" & the more people we can get involved in this fascinating medium, the better. Keep up the good work Greg!
    I would say Emma & Neil that you have inadvertently given some free publicity to Swanhouse, for which I'm sure Greg is grateful! Maybe try again with him & persuade him to take off the damaged pieces as I fully understand your problem with that aspect of it...but at some stage there will be re-sale of your work as "second-hand" & there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop that...we live in a free society!
    Linda

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  22. About the above post,How do you stop someone from buying at your table and if the person pays why would you try to stop them from buying.Isn't that the reason we exhibit at shows.I could understand if they don't pay or bounce a check but I don't see that as the problem in the above post

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  23. I never have bought from you,your pieces look really nice.It sounds like you market your pieces as art work not as dollhouse miniatures.It seams this is over broken pieces.It also sounds like these are older pieces so is the problem that they don't hold up with age.I would think if they were made of high quality matrials they wouldn't be so fragile and fall apart.With you being the artist have you asked Mr.Madl if you could repair the items.

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  24. The two posts above (from September 16, 2009 at 3:50pm and 4:37pm CET) have been removed at the request of AIM (Artists In Miniature) forum moderators.

    We have been informed that under current AIM terms and conditions, the contents of the AIM forum are private and must not be re-posted in whole or in part to external sites/blogs etc.

    Please respect the AIM rules by not reposting any further AIM forum posts here. Any such posts will be removed (whether content of post is supportive or critical).

    If you have any questions or comments about this policy please direct them to the AIM forum.

    Thank you.

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  25. I would like to say that I have dealt with Swan House on several occasions and am very pleased with their service. But as far as not respecting the wishes of the artisan, I would say that they have crossed the line to a certain degree. This situation explains a lot to me, too, while I bid on items on ebay. There are pieces by Emmaflamminiman, Lori Potts and also Susan Harmon that I would LOVE to have in my collection and now I wonder if I am being outbid by someone who is going to turn around and resell the items. I have seen several of Lori Potts items on Swan House that I watched on ebay, hoping to win. I don't wish to pay so much more for an item than what the artisan is asking to begin with. This is frustrating for me as I have no mini shops nearby, no mini fairs or shows to visit. I am not poor but neither do I have "unlimited" funds to pour into my hobby. I enjoy my hobby to the point of obsession but I do draw the line at spending way too much on a particular item that is very simple to create and especially one that is broken, no matter who the artisan is. I craft a large number of my minis because I do like to have a certain look or one of a kind item that is not seen everywhere. Thank you for your great minis!

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  26. Vous avez bien sûr mon soutien, au nom de votre travail excellent. D'ailleurs, vos gâteaux en ce moment en vente sur ebay sont magnifiques encore et encore...

    Charlotte

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  27. 1. It is disrespectful not to honour the wishes of an artist, so in that respect Emmaflam is absolutely right!
    2. Swan House Miniatures however has its function and serves many people all over the world not able to attend fairs.
    3. Prices of Swan House Miniatures are not excessive and after all, it is a business he's running! I have bought a very nice miniature with Greg that saved me the trip to Paris and was much cheaper than when I actually had to travel to Paris myself! (he did the traveling, for which I gladly pay him)
    4. As far as respect is concerned, I have contacted Emmaflamminiman some time ago with a request by email and I never gotten an answer back.

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  28. I really don't understand your concerns...once we sell, we can't follow what happens next with our minis. When you sell at a show, who knows if you sell to a collector or a resseller..If someone thinks he can still make profit on the prices you put, it's his problem, and his risk too. I also remember months ago when some of your minis reached incredible amounts on ebay (hundred of dollars for a potatoe salad, or a dish of lasagnas..) did you refuse to sell in this case, knowing that this price was really out of proportion with the value of a miniature, even if they were nice? ressellers run a business, sometimes risky as they have to bid on what customers may like , and invest money to buy stuff...they don't cheat you, they pay the price you want for your items, so what?

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  29. Minibaker, our concerns are very clear!

    Greg asked if we wanted to supply him. We said "NO". That should have been the end of the story.

    Instead of respecting our decision, Greg then used devious means to obtain our work, has obviously broken some of the pieces, tried to repair them himself, failed, so decided to sell them anyway, broken, with our name next to it. That's not good for our reputation.

    We can't understand how any artist would be happy with that situation.

    You are incorrect to make any comparison between our problem with Swanhouse and our previous eBay auctions. The bids of which you speak were made by private collectors who chose their own spending limit based on their own desires and appreciation of our work.

    It is not for you or us to say whether the prices were "out of proportion" - that's rather insulting for the people who won those pieces, and who continue to cherish them (and read this blog!).

    We are aware that resellers run businesses. We have no problem if the artist and the reseller have an agreement and it works for both of them. We do not have such an agreement.

    This is a problem of lack of respect and honesty.

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