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pete scalia
12-20-2007, 11:03 PM
I just read a post on another board by Mike M about keeping things simple and having 1 type of fixture that you use all the time for 1 type of effect. This is what I've always done. I probably use only 7 types of fixtures to achieve every conceivable effect.
It makes sense since you'll always have replacement parts on board. You'll have consistency and continuity throughout your designs. I do not in any way believe this will limit one as a designer. There is so much unnecesary product in most manufaturers catalogue that it's rediculous. Unique used to be quite simple and they are falling into the same trap with all of these repetitive fixtures. Trying to be everything to everybody. cast seems to be staying simple and effective.
My feeling is that you should master 1 type of fixture for 1 type of effect (or more) and use that fixture the same way everytime. Lamps I try to limit as well. Maybe 10 types at most. I don't want to have trouble sourcing a lamp during maintenance . I can't go back because I didn't have 1 lamp. that would be a losing proposition.:cool2:

Chris J
12-20-2007, 11:11 PM
I would agree that there are very few fixture housings needed to complete a lighting package. I only need a few simple fixtures: an MR uplight, downlight, wall wash, mini flood, standard flood and a path light. Given the fact that there are multiple choices in path lights, and hundreds of choices in lamps, this combination is enough for me to complete any job no matter the size.
Now I just need to find a manufacturer who is willing to make just that without getting all complicated and expensive!

pete scalia
12-20-2007, 11:14 PM
I would agree that there are very few fixture housings needed to complete a lighting package. I only need a few simple fixtures: an MR uplight, downlight, wall wash, mini flood, standard flood and a path light. Given the fact that there are multiple choices in path lights, and hundreds of choices in lamps, this combination is enough for me to complete any job no matter the size.
Now I just need to find a manufacturer who is willing to make just that without getting all complicated and expensive!

Chris are you sure you want to agree with me? I think this is the first time. We are having a great breakthrough. I'm going to sit by my computer and keep refreshing this page for the next ten minutes to see if you come to your senses and change your post.

Chris J
12-20-2007, 11:22 PM
Not even the biggest ****heads can be wrong 100% of the time. Just by the process of percentages, you are bound to get something right sooner or later.

pete scalia
12-20-2007, 11:26 PM
Not even the biggest ****heads can be wrong 100% of the time. Just by the process of percentages, you are bound to get something right sooner or later.

Thanks for the compliment. That's better than your usual threat to beat me like a dog. I think your getting softened by the holiday season.

Chris J
12-20-2007, 11:49 PM
Thanks for the compliment. That's better than your usual threat to beat me like a dog. I think your getting softened by the holiday season.

:rolleyes: Could be.

Mike M
12-21-2007, 12:02 AM
From my point of view, I've been trying to figure out which is better...

Cast keeps R&D and manufacturing costs down with less choices, allowing me to purchase bronze really cheap.

Unique has more installer features and products.

They both have strong marketing support and great products, and both are landscape lighting specialist (not like Kichler, etc.), and both shun aluminum.
They both have programs to discount for exclusive use of their products (I believe Cast still has this).

So if I was to pick just one, could I keep it just to the Cast line? I love their business model, and I don't mind the simplicity. But do you know what I'm thinking?

Cast focuses on landscapers and irrigation distributors and tries to keep it nice and simple and reliable for them. That's their gamble, so why should they make more installer features for "specialists" if landscapers are their primary target?

Unique offers more selections and concerns themselves with landscape lighting niche specialists.

Now, here's where it's gets interesting. The other day I met with an English guy to do a demo. I tell him I have brass and bronze. I show him the Cast bullet. He says, "That's red brass." I say, like an idiot, "No, that's bronze." He says, (and he's at a huge home on a deep water lot with his boat behind him) I'm in metals, it's what I do, we call that red brass, it has tin in it." Then he asks if I can salvage the pre-existing aluminum bullets, since they only seem to have surface corrosion. I picked up a fixture and showed him the water inside.

My realization? If he thinks 5 year aluminum is okay, then 15 year copper should be awesome, for him, and for lots of others.

I don't know, I still have a lot of respect for both companies. The challenge is picking one company. If you had to pick just one?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-21-2007, 12:41 AM
Mike...

Why on earth do you want to pick only one company to supply the products with which you expect to create only the finest work with?

Do you really expect that one company is going to get everything right?

There are a plethora of manufacturers out there. Some are admittedly selling off shore junk, many many others are designing and manufacturing some spectacular product. Product that deserves to be installed because it is so darned good.

Specialty installations do require specialty fixtures and components. This is why I don't think that I will ever be aligning my business with only one manufacturer. This past year alone I have installed product from: Nightscaping, CAST, Hunza, Lumiere, Vista, Hadco, Intense, BK, and have spec'd product from Vision3 and Lumascape for early 2008. I am just forming a relationship with Auroralight and will probably use some new Coppermoon soon too. Why so many different products? Because I believe and live and die by CUSTOM Lighting installations. My clients get the best components available to solve each and every application.

Also, I am a rugged individualist... always have been. From day one, my clients have been buying "Integra Lighting". They are not presented with any reference to the manufacturer of the components that make up the system unless they specifically ask. Most dont. It doesn't really matter either, because in the long run, the client will never remember who the manufacturer is of any one given component in their system, they will only remember it by who designed, installed and maintains it.

Do not bow to manufacturers efforts to sign you up to loyalty programs and co-opt you onto their marketing bandwagon. Believe me, it is clearly in their interest to do this. Build you own name, your own brand. Stand tall and strong and do it right. Stand behind your work and serve your clients the best you can find.

Have a great day.

pete scalia
12-21-2007, 12:55 AM
Have fun running all over creation trying to source parts for all those manufacturers. All of my service calls are handled on the first call cause i have every conceivable part. Good luck trying to keep all those parts stocked. All you need is 7 lights or less to do it all. Don't be a fool and try and be cool. It's the effect your after and not a fancy brand name. There is alot to be said for loyalty. Limiting yourself to a few companies has some real advantages.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-21-2007, 01:11 AM
Have fun running all over creation trying to source parts for all those manufacturers. All of my service calls are handled on the first call cause i have every conceivable part. Good luck trying to keep all those parts stocked. All you need is 7 lights or less to do it all. Don't be a fool and try and be cool. It's the effect your after and not a fancy brand name. There is alot to be said for loyalty. Limiting yourself to a few companies has some real advantages.

Parts? Why do you need any specialty parts? Other then simple and ubiquitous things like sockets and mounting hardware I have no need to stock parts to do maintenance.

Sourcing? find yourself a quality distributor who is committed to their job. Mine carries or is willing to bring in 90% of what I need. The other 10% I get at one of two other distributors, both dedicated to lighting.

By Installing top quality product only, I have very few repairs required. If something does break, then switch out the fixture and return it for warranty replacement. I dont waste time on site rebuilding a fixture because a mounting screw stripped or a socket fails... The client gets a new fixture.

As for "fancy brand names" well I already covered that... my clients don't hear or know of the manufacturers... they are buying INTEGRA Lighting from me. What they are getting is "fancy CUSTOM installations." It is the small niches, the nooks and the crannies that call for the specialty fixtures. Places where the source can be seen and you want to have a really nice fixture visible.

pete scalia
12-21-2007, 08:13 AM
Parts? Why do you need any specialty parts? Other then simple and ubiquitous things like sockets and mounting hardware I have no need to stock parts to do maintenance.

Sourcing? find yourself a quality distributor who is committed to their job. Mine carries or is willing to bring in 90% of what I need. The other 10% I get at one of two other distributors, both dedicated to lighting.

By Installing top quality product only, I have very few repairs required. If something does break, then switch out the fixture and return it for warranty replacement. I dont waste time on site rebuilding a fixture because a mounting screw stripped or a socket fails... The client gets a new fixture.

As for "fancy brand names" well I already covered that... my clients don't hear or know of the manufacturers... they are buying INTEGRA Lighting from me. What they are getting is "fancy CUSTOM installations." It is the small niches, the nooks and the crannies that call for the specialty fixtures. Places where the source can be seen and you want to have a really nice fixture visible.

Replace a fixture over a stripped or missing screw? :hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-21-2007, 08:47 AM
Pete: How do you deal with component issues when the failed component is under warranty by a manufacturer?

If a fixture or component fails, and it is under warranty, then yes I would replace that entire fixture and return the failed part for warranty replacement. That is what a warranty is for. If that same fixture or component is beyond its manu. warranty, then of course I would repair it before replacing it. Sockets, O-rings, and such are pretty easy parts to keep in the trailer.

I can count the number of fixtures I have returned for warranty replacement on my hands and feet after 9 years in the biz. It all comes down to picking the best quality stuff, the stuff that doesnt fail.

For Nightscaping components we have a first aid kit called the Jay-Kit. It is an awesome, compact tool box filled with the parts that us conractors deemed most appropriate. I bought one 3 or 4 years ago for $75 and by the looks of it might need to replenish it in a few years. For CAST components I have assembled my own kit. Pretty simple really... 50 thumb screws and 50 O-rings, so far so good.

JoeyD
12-21-2007, 09:08 AM
What an awesome topic. Pete I got to say I agree with the philosophy that you only need a few diffferent lights to create your designs, you then add niche fixtures for certain applications. For me i know exactly when I want to use a Stellar, Starburst, Pulsar, Big Bang, Apollo Star, and Centaurus 6. The rest from here on out is specialty.

You made a comment that Unqiue is falling into the same trap as others by coming out with a ton of lights. In one respect you are correct that we are expanding our line, the difference is we are being creative with what we design. See you have to look at our line as 3 different lines. We have our Solid Brass Odyssey Line, our Copper Knights Line, and our NEW Spun Brass Brass Knights line. Each line needs addition, our most complete line is the Odyssey line. We have 3 bullets, Pulsar MR16, smaller Probe MR16, and the smallest Polaris MR11. We have 2 wall washers Small Stellar, Big Starburst. We have 5 downlights Lunar 9inch shroud, Quasar1 7in Shroud, Probe Orbital SIde Mount 3in shroud, Quasar2 square niche d-light, and the Comet which can be hung with a chain, flush mounted, or mounted with a knuckle. we obviously have a few different area lights but if you look at how we expanded our line this year we released a new Putting Green light called the Augusta whuich is a replacement to your putting green cup, it has a light at the bottom. We added the Polaris and Northstar MR11 fixtures, and we released our Spun Brass line. So really we are expanding but we are not going crazy, we still want a somewhat condensed line but we keep finding cool little niche lights to create.

Joey D.

NightScenes
12-27-2007, 11:37 AM
Mike, Pete and James all make good points. I use about 7 fixtures all of the time but I also do not shy away from specialty fixtures where needed. There is not one single manufacturer that makes everything needed to do every project so one of my criteria is that they be a member of the AOLP. This shows me that they are committed to the industry as a whole, since they are supporting a national association dedicated to the promotion of professionalism in the industry.

pete scalia
12-30-2007, 01:48 PM
Mike, Pete and James all make good points. I use about 7 fixtures all of the time but I also do not shy away from specialty fixtures where needed. There is not one single manufacturer that makes everything needed to do every project Your opinion? so one of my criteria is that they be a member of the AOLP. This shows me that they are committed to the industry as a whole, since they are supporting a national association dedicated to the promotion of professionalism in the industry.This to me Sounds like extortion. Simply by paying your organization even if they do not lift a finger to do anything active in your organization? Boycott a manu because they don't belong to your assoc? And you are bringing value to your customer how with your personal biases? Who is your mentor Jimmy Hoffa? Sounds like a throw back to the 60's

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