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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-05-2007, 12:11 AM
I was just going through my AOLP membership package... Lots of offers and brochures from manufacturers.... and what is this I find?

A brochure for Lightcraft ( www.loelights.com ) I have never heard of this company so I open it up and take a look....

Wow.

Seems about 90% of their products are pretty much identical to the Unique fixture line.

Is this a sister organization with Unique? Does Unique manufacture fixtures for other companies? Does Unique not develop and enforce patents on their products? Is this a problem based in their offshore manufacturing? Does the real manufacturer 'moonlight' and offer the same product to others?

From the looks of things, these fixtures are pretty much identical right down to the finish. Thats gotta hurt.

pete scalia
12-05-2007, 12:17 AM
I was just going through my AOLP membership package... Lots of offers and brochures from manufacturers.... and what is this I find?

A brochure for Lightcraft ( www.loelights.com ) I have never heard of this company so I open it up and take a look....

Wow.

Seems about 90% of their products are pretty much identical to the Unique fixture line.

Is this a sister organization with Unique? Does Unique manufacture fixtures for other companies? Does Unique not develop and enforce patents on their products? Is this a problem based in their offshore manufacturing? Does the real manufacturer 'moonlight' and offer the same product to others?

From the looks of things, these fixtures are pretty much identical right down to the finish. Thats gotta hurt.

Old news, search the archives Joey has addressed this already. Last time I looked it hasn't hurt market share much since Unique is still beating the pants off Nightscaping. Did your Nightscaping buddies put you up to this post? Remove 8 screws lately to change a bulb?

pete scalia
12-05-2007, 12:23 AM
I think your outta your mind. I just clicked on the link and I don't see anything like the 90% that you described. Just a handful of similarities. Why don't you take your beef straight to nate and work it out with him instead of taking cheap shots at him here.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-05-2007, 12:31 AM
I think your outta your mind. I just clicked on the link and I don't see anything like the 90% that you described. Just a handful of similarities. Why don't you take your beef straight to nate and work it out with him instead of taking cheap shots at him here.

I have no 'beef' with Nate. I don't even know the guy... I just want some clarification as to what is going on with the fixture lines.

My post was not a cheap shot by any means... you should know this as you are the Professor when it comes to cheap shots.

JoeyD
12-05-2007, 02:32 AM
James sorry but No, NO, No, and No....................

Except we do enforce patents, but patents can only be enforced when infringed upon. Lightcraft makes some decent lights but they are not Unique they only have similarities as do about 10 other lines being sold incase you have not noticed. We have no Partnerships with Lightcraft nor any other manufacturer of outdoor lighting products in the USA or CHINA. Lightcraft has been around a long time and stems from a comany called Rockscapes.

Have a GREAT Day!!
:usflag:

Lite4
12-05-2007, 05:31 AM
James, obviously you have never wandered out of the nightscape corral to use the Unique products. If you had you would realize that those lights are almost a match to someone more like SPJ and definitely not Unique....not even close my friend. And yeah, it was a cheap shot.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-05-2007, 09:35 AM
Tim, come on, give me a break.... I have been around the block more then a few times, and have used many many manufacturers product lines. Have I seen them all? No, of course not. Am I loyal to only one manufacturer? Absolutely not. The day one manufacturer can make 100% of the best product available is the day I will be 100% loyal. It isnt going to happen.

I was simply amazed at the number of similarities between Unique and Lightcraft....a line I had never seen before. There was nothing cheap about my inquiry.

JoeyD
12-05-2007, 10:04 AM
I just find it hard to believe James that out of that whole AOLP packet that this is the one thing you felt you needed to start a thread on. I mean was there nothing else in that packet you question or would like clarification on? I have no problem with it, I have nothing to hide. To each his own but I think you could have gone about this question in a completely diferent way.
There is not one light in their line that infringes on our patents.

Joey D.

pete scalia
12-05-2007, 10:19 AM
I just find it hard to believe James that out of that whole AOLP packet that this is the one thing you felt you needed to start a thread on. I mean was there nothing else in that packet you question or would like clarification on? I have no problem with it, I have nothing to hide. To each his own but I think you could have gone about this question in a completely diferent way.

Joey D.

Joey, the post was made for one reason and one reason only. To try and embarass Unique lighting and hurt their market share. The guy bleeds Nightscaping rust. He was looking to "take the company down a few notches". I form an opinion of a guy by what product he/she uses. I don't care how talented he/she is if they are using inferior materials then that reflects poorly upon them as a professional. My perception is as well that when one comes in here and boasts of many accomplishments it's either cause they have low self esteem or they are over compensating for something that's lacking. I can tell you with 90-95% accuracy who in here are doing it (busy with lighting work) and who here that are dreaming about it.:waving:

irrig8r
12-05-2007, 10:39 AM
I guess I don't know Lightcraft. I thought it was SPJ and RSL who were former partners and whose lines are so similar.

JoeyD
12-05-2007, 10:56 AM
I dont know SPJ's history but I do not think they have affiliation past or present with RS or Lightcraft.

Lite4
12-05-2007, 11:24 AM
Have you ever wondered if any Chicoms that do lighting ever say, "I'll never use any of those cheap American import fixtures, only China built for me." Don't ask me why I thought about this, just one of my 4 am random thoughts.

JoeyD
12-05-2007, 11:41 AM
I dont think anyone will ever say that. They will only defend the cheap products they are using by saying "I never have a problem with what I install". The reality is it is price drivin. If my lights were $40 a piece (my brass) I think way more people would use them, but reality is I would have to have the lights fully assembled and packaged in China and I would have to eliminate the good wire, sockets, lamps, and other components I use. In other words I would not be Unique I would be........well you get the point. We refuse to sacrafice quality for quantity and I think our custoemrs appreciate that. Does the market really need another cheap knockoff line anyway?

Joey D.

The Lighting Geek
12-05-2007, 11:47 AM
I believe that anyone who visits Unique's factory will leave with a sound appreciation of their dedication to lighting. I am not making a comment on other manufacturers here. There is a lot of mis information floating around. You really have to visit if you get the chance, no matter who's line you use.

irrig8r
12-05-2007, 12:06 PM
I dont know SPJ's history but I do not think they have affiliation past or present with RS or Lightcraft.

Well, I heard it from my distributor. And she (at the time she was the owner, since passed on, sadly) showed me the catalogs and I think they both carried Justin transformers at the time.

Must be six or more years ago...

irrig8r
12-05-2007, 12:12 PM
James,
Whether or not you agree with the Unique method of installing lighting, you have to hand it to them for making waves (initially) and raising the bar (more recently) as far as what they offer in the way of both product and support (including warranties, but much more.)

I've personally experienced a level of service from both Joey and Unique's local rep Zach that has gone way beyond what I expected from a company I'm not even doing business with yet.





Jeez... listen to me.... you'd think I'd been drinking the kool-aid... :dizzy:
But ya know what? I'm serious.

ChampionLS
12-05-2007, 05:42 PM
Just thought I'd step in here a bit...

Has anyone attended LIGHTFAIR? I'm sure some of you have. Basically, there are hundreds of fixtures available from over seas suppliers for landscape lighting use. There are many of these in circulation today, right now in the USA and available from various distributors. (Do I need to mention names?...they are lurking here too) Everyone seems to have their own "private labeling" Nothing wrong with that, but eventually it catches on and nobody has anything unique.

Unless, of course.. Your Unique Lighting. (haha) What I'm trying to say is go for the manufacturers that produce lights by their own designers. Products that are designed here, tested here and have listings and ratings of their proven reliability. Anyone can put together a sexy advertisement in a trade publication, but the real truth lies in the product. I agree with Joey on the patent issue. Products that are patented, and Trade Marked have less of a chance of being reproduced or copied and marketed back as cheap imitations. :usflag:

~Anthony

Mike M
12-05-2007, 07:51 PM
I am an impressionable rookie, but I've purchased fixtures by Vista, Cast, Kichler, Nightscaping, Evening Lights, and Unique. I have also recently purchased the Unique demo kit.

I have no idea why anyone would bash Unique, or try to kick them down a notch. It's obvious that their products are made by low-voltage landscape lighting people, for low-voltage lighting specialists. Made with USA quality, great designs and aesthetics, and installer friendly.

If anyone thinks they can compare Unique with another line, let me ask you this... How many Nightscaping, Vista, or Kichler full-time installers are there who loyally and faithfully only install just Nightscaping, or Vista, or Kichler?

I'm not saying I should only use one manufacturer, I'm just saying that the number of people that do makes a profound statement.

irrig8r
12-05-2007, 08:44 PM
I am an impressionable rookie, but I've purchased fixtures by Vista, Cast, Kichler, Nightscaping, Evening Lights, and Unique. I have also recently purchased the Unique demo kit.

I have no idea why anyone would bash Unique, or try to kick them down a notch. It's obvious that their products are made by low-voltage landscape lighting people, for low-voltage lighting specialists. Made with USA quality, great designs and aesthetics, and installer friendly.

If anyone thinks they can compare Unique with another line, let me ask you this... How many Nightscaping, Vista, or Kichler full-time installers are there who loyally and faithfully only install just Nightscaping, or Vista, or Kichler?

I'm not saying I should only use one manufacturer, I'm just saying that the number of people that do makes a profound statement.


Mike, I've always been doing some lighting since 1989. I've done a lot more lighting in the last 10 years or so...

Dozens of contractors and designers that I know of personally (some I talk to on Nichtchat, other in "real life") are loyal to Nightscaping. It's such a big product line, and the with the customizations they offer, it's all some contractors need or want to know.

Some folks get used to doing things one way and don't need to keep looking for new solutions to problems they think they have solved. There are landscape contractors for whom lighting is just a part of what they do, and a few of them that I know are very happy with Nightscaping.

I also know a few contractors who are really sold on FX. And through this forum I've met a few who are really sold on Unique.

I've switched back and forth between a handful of brands over the years. Never have used Kichler or Kim, have used Nightscaping, FX, Vista and a little BK and RSL. Haven't used Cast or Unique to date, but I try to stay open-minded.

These days I'm still using mostly Nightscaping, and probably no more than a dozen of their styles, almost all either copper and brass or stainlss steel...

Personally I prefer the look of naturally aging copper and brass to all those other metallic finishes I see from Unique, RSL, SPJ and others. I like the way it visually disappears into the landscape.

I still try to educate my customers (when they're receptive to the idea) to "see the light, not the source" whenever possible.

And as far as anyone bashing Unique, I think some of it goes both ways. It goes back to the whole UL 1838 argument. Nightscapinng and FX take one side, Unique and Cast (as far as I know) take another. Vista tries to play both sides of the fence.

Who is taking more market share? I have no idea. But in the case of lighting, my theory is the pie is getting bigger, and so some companies might not notice so much if their share of the pie is getting smaller, as long as their overall sales continue to show growth.

Lite4
12-05-2007, 09:00 PM
"Personally I prefer the look of naturally aging copper and brass to all those other metallic finishes I see from Unique, RSL, SPJ and others. I like the way it visually disappears into the landscape."

Perhaps you havn't seen the Unique line in a while. It is pretty much all brass or copper. I know they will sell powder coated if you want, but that is not their main push.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-05-2007, 09:19 PM
I really wasn't bashing Unique with the start of this thread. I haven't used any of their products to date, but have seen them, touched them, and taken them apart. They make some very nice product. Am I going to start installing Unique product as part of my mix? Perhaps in a limited basis, where an application would be best suited to one of the 'specialty' products.

The main reason I will probably not become a large consumer of Unique product is convenience. I am a small operation and VERY busy. To adopt Unique's products into my systems will require the use of a different distributor. (I purchase 90% of my outdoor lighting product from one source). That means separate accounts, separate purchase orders, different (and more costly) shipping arrangements, more receiving and inventory effort, separate payables, another sales relationship, etc. etc. This just isn't efficient for me... and lets face it, the top manufactures all make excellent bullet uplights, floods, path lights, etc etc. So, why go to all the hassle to replace or augment my fixture line up when what I have found, and am using, works really well.

JoeyD
12-05-2007, 09:33 PM
Well all I can say is 10 years ago we were the only company with a multi tap that went to 22v. Now look around and see all the manufacturers who now have them, on top of that look and see how many manufacturers have created brass or bronze fixtures. We werent the first but we were the first to really push them and make them our primary line. We once were the outcasts of the industry now we for the most part are completely accepted and respected.

Nightscaping and FX still hold the same feelings in regards to UL 1838 as they did in the 80's and 90's. And as far as I know they hold the same feelings towards Unique. I have no problem with that. We credit a lot of our success to them being so stubborn. If they would have believed Nate's theory back then and created their own line of multi tap units to 22v or atleast beyond 15v they probably could have forced him out of buisness. Instead they allowed us a niche, and now the industry has found value in what we have brought to the table.

Now we are a powerhouse and have capatilized and gained a huge chunk of market share that we once did not have. I have said it before and I will say it again, there is plenty of buisness out there for all manufacturers. On top of that one customer may like my products while one my hate them. I am fine with that and it is part of buisness. My job is to make sure I feed accurate and beneficial information and products to you guys and maybe you will dig it and give us a try.

Unique is "unique", we have always thought outside of the box. We choose to take the hard path and do things that some might consider crazy, too expensive, dangerous, un neccesary, and so on and so forth. Today a customer of ours made a comment to Nate and I in a meeting. They said "Unique is not a fixture manufacturer, you guys are a system manufacturer." That stuck with me. He was right, we do not make 500 different lights and we dont do a ton of custom stuff. We accomodate a customers ideas and needs when we can but for the most part we are a TF manufacturer who offers fixtures and a system that will ensure proper voltage, and longevity. People that abide by our rules do and will succeed.

Well here I went again rambling on. I could defend our way of thinking for days and I apologize to those who hate me for it and to those who love me for it and hate reading long posts.

Gregg, fyi...you can order our brass products in Natural Brass it has always been an option, most just dont like shiney lights in the yard.

Joey D.

JoeyD
12-05-2007, 09:34 PM
I really wasn't bashing Unique with the start of this thread. I haven't used any of their products to date, but have seen them, touched them, and taken them apart. They make some very nice product. Am I going to start installing Unique product as part of my mix? Perhaps in a limited basis, where an application would be best suited to one of the 'specialty' products.

The main reason I will probably not become a large consumer of Unique product is convenience. I am a small operation and VERY busy. To adopt Unique's products into my systems will require the use of a different distributor. (I purchase 90% of my outdoor lighting product from one source). That means separate accounts, separate purchase orders, different (and more costly) shipping arrangements, more receiving and inventory effort, separate payables, another sales relationship, etc. etc. This just isn't efficient for me... and lets face it, the top manufactures all make excellent bullet uplights, floods, path lights, etc etc. So, why go to all the hassle to replace or augment my fixture line up when what I have found, and am using, works really well.

Thanks James.

Let me know who this distributor is and maybe we can open them up?? PM me if you like.

Joey D.

pete scalia
12-05-2007, 10:27 PM
Thanks James.

Let me know who this distributor is and maybe we can open them up?? PM me if you like.

Joey D.

Joey as you know in sales some are just not worth selling to. Putting yourself through all this nonsense will clearly not be worth $2,000 worth of downlight sales per year. That $2,000 worth of material will then be returned sometime throughout the yr for one nonsense reason or another. Trust me don't bother barking up that tree and steer clear of unqualified tire kickers.

irrig8r
12-06-2007, 01:23 AM
So Pete, please explain.... are you saying that a successful business shouldn't look for additional markets? What kind of "nonsense" is involved in talking to a potential distributor?

Canada could become a booming market, especially with the dollar worth less there now.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-06-2007, 01:31 AM
So Pete, please explain.... are you saying that a successful business shouldn't look for additional markets? What kind of "nonsense" is involved in talking to a potential distributor?

Canada could become a booming market, especially with the dollar worth less there now.

Here is a HOT TIP for anyone looking to get into a new market... Check out Calgary Alberta. As far as I know there are no stand alone lighting companies there.... and as far as booming...well, I'm sure you are all aware that Canada is the #1 exporter of oil to the USA...Calgary is exploding with investment and wealth.

irrig8r
12-06-2007, 01:32 AM
"Personally I prefer the look of naturally aging copper and brass to all those other metallic finishes I see from Unique, RSL, SPJ and others. I like the way it visually disappears into the landscape."

Perhaps you havn't seen the Unique line in a while. It is pretty much all brass or copper. I know they will sell powder coated if you want, but that is not their main push.

Oh I have! It's not powder coating that I'm talking about, but that "antiqued" metal look.

Joey, is it like some kind of hard anodizing? Heat or chemical treatments? Do you do that part here or overseas (cuz if you do it here it would be cool to watch)? Or is it truly bronze and not brass?

I guess I haven't seen how it ages, and wonder what it will look like in five or 10 years. Whereas I know what unfinished natural brass will look like, dull with maybe a touch of green.

pete scalia
12-06-2007, 01:54 AM
So Pete, please explain.... are you saying that a successful business shouldn't look for additional markets? What kind of "nonsense" is involved in talking to a potential distributor?

Canada could become a booming market, especially with the dollar worth less there now.

The nonsense is dealing with a non buyer who will waste your time and sap you of your energy.

Pro-Scapes
12-06-2007, 09:25 AM
I guess I don't know Lightcraft. I thought it was SPJ and RSL who were former partners and whose lines are so similar.

I have not been impressed with either thats for sure. I used an SPJ downlight in a pinch and here I am 15mo later replacing it with a cast tree light or a quasar 1.

The leads on the SPJ are about as bad as they come.

pete scalia
12-06-2007, 10:00 AM
I have not been impressed with either thats for sure. I used an SPJ downlight in a pinch and here I am 15mo later replacing it with a cast tree light or a quasar 1.

The leads on the SPJ are about as bad as they come.

what's up with the leads?

JoeyD
12-06-2007, 10:18 AM
Oh I have! It's not powder coating that I'm talking about, but that "antiqued" metal look.

Joey, is it like some kind of hard anodizing? Heat or chemical treatments? Do you do that part here or overseas (cuz if you do it here it would be cool to watch)? Or is it truly bronze and not brass?

I guess I haven't seen how it ages, and wonder what it will look like in five or 10 years. Whereas I know what unfinished natural brass will look like, dull with maybe a touch of green.

The weathered brass finish is a hand applied chemical application that speeds up the weathering process. We used to do all that finishing here in house but then the EPA came-a-knockin. Apparently the regulations on using the chemicals you need to do this were tremendous. So we decided to just have the application done overseas along with the molds. That process is done in the same factory we have our molds and stamped copper products made.

We do however have a solution based off of the same chemicals that allows us to weather brass just about anything. Its a mixture of a few different acids that will change just about any metal except for Stainless Steel to a rich brown "weathered brass/bronze" look. We use this for our one off custom brackets and for a few other things such as nuts and bolts.

As far as how long the finish lasts. It lasts a long time! Now it is a hand applied finish so some will weaher slightly different then others, it really comes down to environment. But at some point it will too go green/patina and change just like a raw brass. Advantage is you dont have to start with a bright shiney brass fixture.

Hope this helps.

Joey D.

irrig8r
12-06-2007, 11:59 AM
Thanks Joey.

My experience with copper and brass is that they age differently in different environments. I've seen some copper with black spots after the first rain that later developed more pinks and yellows... and some that go more green... frequency of overhead irrigation as well as sun/ shade exposure and general humidity/ aridity seem to make a difference.

So, your move towards a more uniform look is probably something that will be widely accepted.

To tell you the truth, if I can judge by this Polaris in my hand, the finish looks shinier in your glossy brochures and website pictures than it does in person.

In reality, it's kind of like an old penny.

As far as longevity, what I was sort of getting at was how deep does this artificially aged finish go? Will it scratch off?

And the warning against using acids to clean with... what do suggest then for hard water deposits on lenses?

I usually use either a little white vinegar or CLR (for tougher deposits) on a rag and quickly flush with a squirt of water.

JoeyD
12-06-2007, 12:55 PM
You can feel free to use CLR on your lenses as this has not and should not effect your WB finish.

Our finish pictures in the catalog are not always exact for obvious reasons. I once had a friend who selected a sherbert orange paint for his car off of a paint chip in a catalog. Once painted and in the light the car looked PINK. So you cant always go by what is in the catalog although our pictures are close they will never be exactly liek what it is in person. On top of that our finish will vary between lights due to the hand applied process. They will alwys be close but not always exact.

The finish is bassicly on the surface. You could scratch that light and expose the raw brass for sure. But, and again I am not a metelurgist but I think you could even scratch a naturally aged/patina'd brass light and expose fresh raw brass.

What do you think of that Polaris? For those of you not familiar with the polaris it is our brass MR11 light.

Joey D.

Lite4
12-06-2007, 02:41 PM
Joey, what is the difference between the North Star and the Polaris other than the mounting bracket?

Pro-Scapes
12-06-2007, 02:50 PM
The weathered brass finish is a hand applied chemical application that speeds up the weathering process. We used to do all that finishing here in house but then the EPA came-a-knockin. Apparently the regulations on using the chemicals you need to do this were tremendous. So we decided to just have the application done overseas along with the molds. That process is done in the same factory we have our molds and stamped copper products made.

We do however have a solution based off of the same chemicals that allows us to weather brass just about anything. Its a mixture of a few different acids that will change just about any metal except for Stainless Steel to a rich brown "weathered brass/bronze" look. We use this for our one off custom brackets and for a few other things such as nuts and bolts.

As far as how long the finish lasts. It lasts a long time! Now it is a hand applied finish so some will weaher slightly different then others, it really comes down to environment. But at some point it will too go green/patina and change just like a raw brass. Advantage is you dont have to start with a bright shiney brass fixture.

Hope this helps.

Joey D.

personally i think a raw brass fixture thats shiny and new looks like someone spray painted it in gold and chessy. Im about to install some and will be spraying them with saltwater/vinegar solution to darken them up prior to installations.

Lite4
12-06-2007, 02:54 PM
I think the finish on the Odyssey line is the best I have seen for out of the box new fixtures. I agree with you on the shiny brass Billy, it just doesn't blend in with the landscape. The weathered bronze just looks classy. All of the fixtures have very good 'heft' appeal when they are in your hand.

irrig8r
12-06-2007, 03:21 PM
Joey, what is the difference between the North Star and the Polaris other than the mounting bracket?

I was wondering that too.... of course astronomically speaking, the North Star is Polaris... so I think it was a clever variation on the name if it's just the downlight version vs. the uplight version.

JoeyD
12-06-2007, 03:39 PM
The difference between the Northstar and the Polaris is just the mounting bracket. Polaris has a stake, Northstar has the Spherebase for downlighting applications. We are currently working on a sidemount version like the quasar 1 or Probe-OSM that will be similar to our downlights. It will be awesome.

pete scalia
12-09-2007, 09:45 AM
would like to start building a library of resources and an understanding of water feature construction. My only experience so far as been what Aquascapes has sent me through my affiliation with Landscape Ontario.

Please tell me in your opinion, who the best manufacturers are and what specific components they build that are the best.

I have been an outdoor lighting contractor for the past decade and serve a high end market here. I have a preference for only the best components available.

Thanks for your help.
__________________

Lite4
12-09-2007, 07:36 PM
Pete, I have been building water features for the past 15 years in landscaping. I have built small ones; about 1.2-2 gallons per minute, to very large ones that are pumping around 15,000 gallons per minute. For the small back yard pond the Aquascape is the way to go. The Bio falls and Skimmer are second to none. However I custom build a lot of my own stuff on large projects or on vanishing stream type of features. If you want the skinny on any particular type of waterfeature and how to build it PM me and I can send you CAD drawings and specs and help you out if you are planning on building some.

pete scalia
12-09-2007, 08:58 PM
Hi Tim,

Thanks for the response. The message regarding ponds that I posted wasn't mine and my comments about it which would have explained my reason for posting it here were deleted by the administrator leaving this post to be totally out of context. I apologize for wasting your time but I do appreciate your time and expertise in answering it. You are a tremendous asset to this board.

Lite4
12-10-2007, 12:50 AM
Pete,
Im sorry to hear you post was deleted. They probably wanted it over in the waterfeature pages. No need to apologize Pete and Thank You for the nice comments.