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How do I order samples?

We are choosing to show virtually the entire catalogs from our suppliers, a vast array, to be sure. We keep many physical samples in the showroom, enough to get the conversation started regarding a particular project, but it would be impossible to have all of these options on hand. We should engage and qualify certain materials in terms of suitability, cost and lead time, and then discuss samples. Some samples are in abundance, while others would need to be made on a one-off basis, which can be costly and takes some time. We charge for samples and any necessary air freight. Let’s talk about your particular project and be strategic about sampling, we want you to have what you need to make things happen. Sometimes all we need is your FedEx number.

If you are local, we can usually arrange to sign out samples and display pieces with a refundable deposit for you to have for meetings and presentations, with you arranging the courier.

Regarding your firm’s product library, this is best handled over time as we engage on projects and determine which types attract you the most and are likely to use again. Let’s talk about some of the more readily available pieces to start.

Does Alchemy make any tile?

No. We merely represent these select tilemakers, whose output is the result of decades, and even generations, of work. We are not business partners or affiliated in any way. We enthusiastically promote these craftspeople from whom we have purchased wholesale for years.

We consider ourselves to be advocates for both parties. We translate your vision into working terms for the makers and convey technical and logistical information back to you. This is a tricky corner of the business, more than with normal tile. And we have handled tricky aesthetics and logistics for over 25 years.

Do you have a pricelist?

Alchemy has a wider cost range than many regular showrooms. As you might guess, we skew toward the upper ranges, what with semi-precious metals, handpainted art tile and exacting mosaic. We do not shy way from authentic and expensive materials, but we actually have a broad range of price points.

Since we are dealing in varying degrees of material complexity and also varied destinations around the world, we issue price quotations per case based on the particulars. We can give a pretty good idea early on as material is being considered, but we will need quantities to issue an actual quotation.

What are your lead times?

Unfortunately, lead times can be a bigger hindrance than cost to people getting what they really want. Of course, we encourage people to consider their tile choices at an earlier stage of their project, as well as conveying these realities to any purchasing contractors.

Some of our lines are stocked, as we try to note on the relevant pages of this site. Please mention this early on if that is a concern so we can focus our search. By stocked, we mean usually in stock, always to be verified at the time of order.

All of this risks oversimplification, but many Made-to-Order orders, where there are a series of established options that are selected, will take about 6 weeks in production, whether it is made in Italy, Japan or the U.S. From there, the difference is in freight. This could mean about a week for overland truck or overseas air, or perhaps five weeks by ocean freight.

Custom orders, where we have developed new colors and changed formats, can of course take longer, we always have to check.

All of our vendors are interested in getting you what you want, and we can always inquire to expedite if at all possible. These are demanding manufacturing processes that we try to show with the factory images on this site, and to which any visitor to the factories can attest.

Do you have any dealers?

For now, Alchemy is a single location, and we do not have dealers. We work with designers around the country and the world, and can drop-ship anywhere using our top-shelf freight forwarders.

If you are a tile showroom with a customer interested in the products we represent, let’s talk. We are not interested in competing with you, and have specific experience dealing with these products, trust us on that. Let’s make it work.

Can I order online?

We will not sell a tile from our site without you seeing a physical piece of it. What we all do with photography is amazing, and is instrumental in describing and narrowing down options. But take a look between the actual color you’re shooting and then your phone screen – it probably doesn’t look the same, at all. Furthermore, it will look different on your laptop and our desktop.

We are, however, planning a feature that would allow collecting particular images into a cart to save and share with us for discussion.

Do you have a catalog?

This site is our catalog, now showing nearly all of the images from our suppliers. Many of the bigger showrooms will select just a few items from a manufacturer as a private label offering, but we choose to make people aware of what else is out there, and are very transparent about where it is from. This includes materials that may or may not currently be fashionable, we don’t care about that. How would you know you need it if you don’t know it exists?

What information do you need to start?

Hands down, the most useful information early on is the rough quantity. Especially when we are talking about having something manufactured for you, the scope is really important in determining preliminary pricing and even viability. We don’t want to overestimate cost when economies of scale may come into play, and we don’t want to underestimate the logistical cost of a smaller feature. Scale can affect technique as well, where a process may need to be modified for larger production, and this can affect how it is to be sampled. Also, there are minimum order quantities for some items.

Later on, accurate quantities become important, as we do not provide takeoffs for ordering. Ideally, this is done with the actual installer, to determine proper waste margins so that you have enough left for potential future repairs but not too much leftover non-returnable material. This is particularly important with what we do because art tile usually varies somewhat between production runs, so add-ons are to be avoided.

Where's the porcelain and cement tile section?

We are fans of some parts of these popular trends, but they are so well covered that it doesn’t really make sense for us. Plus, what really gets our heart pumping is glazed tile, terra cotta, and some special glass.

By all means, show us what else is going into your space so we can offer thoughts on putting it all together. We know that in many cases we are there for the wow factor, and are not trying to talk you out of anything else.

Do you sell directly to homeowners?

Yes, sure. Just be aware that we are in a workshop environment that is geared to the trade, and we work by appointment. That works best for retail clients that have a clear vision for their project, enough to design their own space. In many cases, we definitely recommend working with a designer to pull together a space where tile is just one element, and perhaps benefiting from their trade discount.

How has COVID affected your business?

First off, the sanitary and virtually permanent qualities of tile make it a natural choice for interior and exterior architectural surfaces, now more than ever. (Did you know that subway tile became such a big thing after the 1918 pandemic?) And now, people spending more time in their personal spaces inspires them to think about what they really want, even if it costs a little more.

It also has affected global logistics, with higher chances of unforeseen delays and transport cost increases. We advise ordering sooner rather than later and storing material, if you know you want it.

We are following best practices in the showroom during this time for people that choose to visit. It is in a low-contact, well-maintained building, with a stairway available to the fourth floor for those wishing to avoid the elevator. As an appointment based business, we ensure that you are the only guests during your appointment. There will only be one Alchemy person in the room, with maximum three guests, and the space lends itself to social distancing. It is well-ventilated with air exchange combined with open door and windows. We are currently following full mask-on policy, checking temperatures at the door, and making hand sanitizer readily available. The communal restrooms are well-maintained by the building. If you are agreeable to these measures, we are happy to book your appointment. We have also been doing consultations and presentations by Zoom and Facetime, see the Contact page to arrange.

And lastly, the good people that provide us with all this beauty are working in regions that are affected as well, whether in Italy, Japan or California. In many cases they are working under the pressure of lower staffing, staggered shifts and challenging family care situations. Everyone wants to keep doing their craft as allowed, and Alchemy will accommodate by helping to manage expectations.  

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