As a jewelry designer for almost 15 years, I have my favorite suppliers and I have a mental list of those I steer clear of. Once in a while we try out a new one and then add it to either one of the aforementioned categories.
I'd like to give a shout-out to my favorite supplier of Bali silver components, Rishashay. They manufacture and sell beads and findings of all sorts and are members of the Fair Trade Federation. Sure, they're a little more expensive than some of the other companies out there, but I'm willing to pay a little extra for consistent products.
I recently purchased a large amount of ball head pins from another source, that shall remain nameless, because they were a little cheaper. When will I learn??? To be quite blunt, these headpins suck. The size of the ball is inconsistent, the wire does not always exit the ball in the center, and some of the headpins have random "shoots" of silver. I've never seen that before. Needless to say, I'm disappointed in myself for straying from my trusted supplier. I could probably return them, but I'm too lazy for that. I'll sort through them and recycle the useless ones.
So what did I do today? I got on the phone with Rishashay and ordered a new batch of headpins. I ordered 24 ga long and short and 26 ga long and short. One could order online, but I like talking to these nice people.
End of rant.