Thursday, November 29, 2007

It pays to advertise. It costs to ignore Tribal Artery

By William Ernest Waites

We advertise in the Smithsonian Museum American Indian Magazine from time to time.

The most recent edition included our ad featuring the newly acquired Troy Sice Nativity set carved from antler. With six elegantly carved pieces it is a stunning creation by a very talented Zuni carver.

No sooner than the magazine showed up in subscriber mailboxes than we received an order for it. Whoosh! At the speed of zephyr, it was gone.

We have since received numerous inquiries from others who are interested in purchasing it or one like it. We are aggressively seeking another set or two. But this is not the kind of item that is hiding in some inventory somewhere.

So it is difficult to make the connection or even special order one or more.

Here's the irony.

If you scroll down in the Tribal Artery blog to the November 6 blog message, you will see that we announced the acquisition of the Troy Sice Nativity at that time. Had anyone seen and contacted us about it, they could have purchased it first.

So, if you are interested in Nativities, we encourage to view the other sets available on our web site at Native-PotteryLink. We have many that may be just what you are looking for.

Thank you.

Higher prices, poorer quality on tap for Santa Fe.

by William Ernest Waites

Stand by for prices to rise and service to deteriorate when buying Indian art in Santa Fe or from Santa Fe.

Why would we say such a thing?

First, a caveat. We love Santa Fe. We visit there every year. It clearly is the high-class capitol of Native American Indian art.

So it hurts us to be critical. It hurts even more when we consider what will cause the pain.

The City of Santa Fe just passed a regulation that will raise the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour, effective January 1. It also will now include all businesses that must have a city license, not just those with 25 or more employees.

How come higher prices? Someone has to cover the increase in wage costs. Since so many dealers in Native American art operate at very low and unreliable profitability to start with, they will not have the resources to pay the higher wage without raising their prices to customers who buy and collect art.

(It is uncertain what effect it will have on individual artists who would hire assistants or clerks in their studios.)

Nevertheless, Santa Fe, which, candidly, was never the least costly place to buy Indian art, will notch up to even higher prices.

Part two: why poorer service? Basically because, at $9.50 per hour regardless of experience or skill, one can reasonably anticipate that many small (less than 25 employees) retail galleries and stores will not be able to afford to hire the extra staff to serve the customer. Fewer people to serve customers usually means poorer in-store service.

For a link to an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican that discusses this story, click

Since we are not located in Santa Fe, we are able to continue to offer Native American art at low prices, made even lower by the lack of overhead with an online store. Yet we acquire work from the same artists as those Santa Fe dealers and galleries do.

We invite you to do your holiday shopping at ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLink, Native PotteryLink and our TribalWorks Navajo Gallery.

Have a happy, (low cost) holiday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Did You Miss "Black" Friday? You can still save at ZuniLink

'Tis the season and the stores are filling despite pressures from other expenses.

Retail sales were up 8%+ over last year's "Black" Friday.

Most experts believe that the deep price cuts that were offered by major merchandisers was responsible for prying cash out to of shoppers' budgets.

Ironically, a cross check of retail prices with prices for similar items offered on the web might indicate that the discounted prices in the stores is about equal to the regular prices on the Internet. (We know we were able to reduce our prices when we closed our physical gallery two years ago and chose to sell only on the Web.)

Then, an Internet marketer, such as us, will come along and cut prices too.

That's what has happened at ZuniLink. ZuniLink is one of the most extensively stocked, reputable and service-oriented marketers on the Web.

At last count, we offered more than 800 fetish carvings by top carvers from Zuni, Cochiti, San Felipe and the Navajo nation. Our carvers include names such as Dee Edaakie, Jeffrey Tsalabutie, Gibbs Othole, Brian Hattie and Alonzo Esalio on the high end and ever-popular carvers such as Emery Eriacho, the Gaspers and Lena Boone, to name a few.

We go out of our way to treat our loyal customers in a way that keeps them loyal. As a matter of routine, we offer a seven-day return privilege on any item that is purchased based on Internet photos and text only.

We also are offering 10 days after Christmas Day to return any carving purchased as a Christmas gift.

We now offer 25% off the regular prices of almost every fetish carving on our ZuniLink site.

That's 25% off the already low Internet prices we offer every day.

Finally, and we will mention it again, we can ship for pre-holiday delivery if we receive your order by December 15.

But why wait for the last minute? With the response we are having to our sale, the carving you want may be gone by the time you get around to ordering it.

You can order from ZuniLink by visiting our Web site. Orders may be placed securely through our secure, encrypted order form or by calling our toll-free line at 800-305-0185.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Let the Post office buy the gas.

Whoosh! There goes the price of gas. It's now northwards of $3.15 a gallon around here. We hear folks in California are paying $4 to $5 a gallon.

Why would anyone do that to go "shopping"?

Buying online is like getting a huge discount on the gas you didn't have to use to get to the mall.

For instance, if you shop at an online gallery such as Native-JewelryLink, you can save the gas you would use to go from store to store. You can choose from more than a thousand items of Native American Indian jewelry, all authentic, guaranteed and returnable. If you buy from out of state, you can save the local tax on your purchase (although your state may expect you to file a return on your own.) If you (or your gift recipient) is unhappy with the item after it is received, you can return it to Native-JewelryLink within 10 days for a full refund.

What a deal! And we have added a sweetener. If your Native-JewelryLink order totals $100 or more, Susanne and William Waites will pay for domestic USPS Priority shipping to you.

What are you waiting for? Let the Postal Service use their gas to deliver your purchases.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

ZuniLink offering Zuni fetish carvings at 25% off for Holiday shoppers.

That's right. We are now offering all of our Zuni, Navajo, Cochiti and San Felipe fetish carvings with a 25% discount. The special sale will last for a limited time, may be withdrawn at any time, and may not be combined with any other discounts.

Nevertheless, if you have had your eye on a fetish carving at ZuniLink, now is the time to order it, and save 25%.

Start with a visit to ZuniLink.

We invite and welcome your visit.

Dee Edaakie Zuni carvings have been added to Zuni LInk

As we catch up with posting of new carvings acquired during our last trip, we have added an entire page for Dee Edaakie's carvings. You'll find them on this page.

Dee is one of the group of what we consider to be young "master carvers" at Zuni. And they all are friends. The group includes Dee Edaakie, Jeff Tsalabutie, Gibbs Othole and Brian Hattie.

It is a highlight of our visits to Zuni Pueblo when we can see them all.

We think you will enjoy looking at Dee's work all on one page.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nativities and Native American culture in Native Peoples

The November/December issue of Native Peoples magazine has a special editorial feature concerning Nativities (or as they are sometimes known, "Nascimientos"). It starts on page 36 and covers not only a number of examples by Native American Indian carvers and potters but also an historic discussion of the culture that spawned them.

We at Aboriginals have maintained a vibrant collection of Native American nativity sets. For the most part they are pottery. But some are carved works. For example, Wilson Romero of Cochiti carves sets from sandstone and natural stones found around the Cochiti Pueblo. One of his sets is pictured on page 38. Another carver who is doing nativity sets is Troy Sice of Zuni. Troy works in antler with inlaid turquoise and shell, plus sterling silver crowns adorning the three kings. An example of his technique is portrayed on page 37 of the article.

If you can't find a copy to buy, you can see an abstract of the publication online here. The November/December issue has not been posted to the web site yet but should be shortly.

If you are interested in seeing other examples of nativity sets, ones that actually can be purchased and added to your collection, visit the nativities page at
You will find examples of works by
Wilson Romero and
Troy Sice
also by clicking on the appropriate preceding link.

While we are on the subject of Native Peoples magazine, one of our favorites, you will find a link to them on our web sites and you will also find an advertisement from Aboriginals on page 50. With so many beautiful Calvin Begay bracelets to show, we couldn't choose one. So we showed a lot of them. You can see each up close at this web address.

There's also an ad for Aboriginals in Smithsonian Magazine, featuring the Troy Sice Nativity Set, if you happen ot pick up a copy of that fine magazine.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

108-year-old blogger

We just learned about a 108-year-old woman - one of the oldest people still alive - who has a blog.

So if you think blogging is only for youngsters, ask Olive Riley. Perhaps she stays young by staying on line.

What does she blog about?

Well, she's looking for lost relatives.

We'll bet she has a lot of them.

You go, Olive!

Now, what is keeping you from blogging and from subscribing to this blog?