opinion: the sgo chronicles

   

dialog about my opinion of sgo (stained glass overlay) and
other's aversion to said opinion.

updated: 08.04.15
share your sgo story/griperead what others have said
(my comments follow)
   what is 'sgo'? sgo, an abbreviation for "stained glass overlay", is a product that incorporates a procedure for applying a plastic film in various colors and textures to plate glass, in an attempt to simulate the look of real stained glass. an adhesive backed lead is then applied on the plastic film seams to emulate lead caming.
   sgo's advantages over stained glass are few. one being strength, as the base glass is usually 3/16" or 1/4" tempered plate glass. it's strong stuff and it can take a hit better than real stained glass. if however, the base glass is broken, there is zero chance on getting it repaired. it's a total loss. another advantage may be the ability to install sgo in areas where real stained glass is not feasible. shower doors and sliding doors are a few examples. finally, it's less expensive. just how much depends on what you want and where you look to compare.
   quality varies with any craft and real stained glass is no exception. shop and compare. the cost differences may be less than you imagine. the durability of sgo varies. depending on location, sgo can deteriorate in direct sunlight, as the thermal expansion of the glass and the plastic appliqué differ and stresses on the adhesives can cause eventual failure. repairs are improbable and a complete rebuild is usually the only option. children have been known to easily peel away the plastic and pull off the lead tape, which is an obvious health hazard.
 
 
   some time in the year 2000, i had listed 'sgo' on my massive art glass link list in a less than favorable light. most art glass artisans i have talked to about it, see 'sgo' as the red-headed step-child of art glass crafts. it never fits in with real art glass on any level. sure, it may look ok from the street as you drive by, but it lacks the authentic look and feel you get from a quality art glass product. it didn't take all that long for someone in the sgo camp to get their panties wadded:

07.17.00 i receive:
business name:  Stianed Glass Overlay
business location:  Orange California USA
name:  Michael Cassidy
since:  1980
description:  Stained Glass Overlay is a decorative glass product that brings the warmth and beauty of stained glass into your hime. Please visit our website
comments:  The current 2 line description for Stained Glass Overlay was clearly not submitted by anyone from our organization. Perhaps it came from a disgruntled competitor. I have written a more apporpriate introduction above. Thank you for making the change. If you are unwilling to accomodate this request, please simply delete SGO from your list altogether. Thank you, Michael Cassidy, President, Stained Glass Overlay Inc.

07.17.00 i respond:
hello michael cassidy,
the art glass link page i created and maintain, strives to aid those in the need for quality art glass information. being as i do not consider "stained glass" overlay 'art glass' in even the remote meaning of the term, i added the link to sgo and the accompanying description as the joke i consider sgo to be. i am familiar with your product and don't consider it worth the materials it takes to create it. "stained glass" overlay is no more stained glass than a photo is an oil painting. a plastic cup may hold your beer, but it is not a glass. sgo lacks that intrinsic quality a finely hand crafted stained glass panel has. i venture to guess that many older sgo projects have seen better days, especially ones installed in direct sun. i also suspect your adhesives fail after some time as well. good luck in foisting your product on what i assume is often an uninformed consumer. 

09.16.00 i receive:
business name:  Designer Glass Studios by SGO
business location:  Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
name:  Kirby Larsen
since:  2000
description:  Specializing in beautiful stained glass overlay. SGO provides a subtle & timeless elegance for residential and commerical windows, doors, sky lights, shower enclosures, etc.
 
09.16.00 i respond:
hello kirby,
sgo is no more stained glass than a stuffed animal is a real one. there will be no sgo links other then the one i listed, describing sgo as the crap i feel it is.
thank you, mike

09.16.00 i receive:
Mike, I'm just wondering why you think so badly of SGO...many of our studios offer both SGO and traditional stained glass to customers and I do not feel like I'm competing against traditional glass, nor taking any work away from them. In fact, our traditional glass artists have been very friendly and receptive to our new business, offering their help if needed. Didn't mean to bother you...just was curious.
-Kay-
P. S. I never claim to be traditional glass...I always explain that it is an overlay process.

09.17.00 i respond:
kay,
i have no problem with you doing sgo. my problem comes when purveyors of sgo mislead people, decorators, and builders into thinking sgo is a viable stained glass product. i know for a fact, many in your field do just that. no matter what you try to believe, those misconceptions about sgo lead many to purchase sgo when a real stained glass project would have been a wiser investment. i have on 2 occasions posed as a potential sgo customer in 2 separate sgo stores, just to see how they sold the "craft". each time i was told how "much stronger sgo is than stained glass", how "much safer" it is, how it's done "in your home", and even "it adds value to your home". i was told how "traditional stained glass breaks easily" and "is very hard to repair". as i sat there, i could only imagine the minds of clients being swayed by the b.s. being thrown upon them. i can further imagine the anger and depression many sgo clients have when they realize the "art glass" project they paid so dearly for is maybe worth the plate glass it was applied to. it has absolutely no heirloom value. i thought sgo would have gone away long ago. my only hope is that the product dies the death i feel it so deserves. mike

09.17.00 i receive:
Mike,
Thanks for your honest reply. And, I have to agree that, yes, some in my field do. However, while I truly respect and understand  your view, there were a few things I must admit I am guilty of and still stand by. Because SGO goes onto one solid piece of tempered glass, this does make it stronger than most traditional glass pieces. There are some situations where strength is necessary and safer. And, yes, I feel it adds value to a home -- just like any piece of art that stays with the house when it is sold. I consider most of the work I do as "art" glass. However, I do concede that traditional glass has, and will always have, heirloom value while SGO does not and will not (unless it is of sentimental value). There are always those out there in any field that will mislead the consumer. Maybe they are the ones feeling threatened...all I can say is honesty is the best policy. Again, thanks for your honest reply. You have a great listing there...keep up the good work. (Website listings take so much work and time!) -Kay-

02.03.01 i receive:
FERRANTE & ASSOCIATES ATTORNEYS AT LAW
126 Prospect Street - Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Telephone 617-868-5000    Fax 617-868-2519

February 2, 2001
Attn: Mike
ambient stained glass 
P.O. Box 1662
Largo, FL 33779-1662
Re: Stained Glass Overlay, Inc.
Dear Sir,
   This office represents Stained Glass Overlay, Inc., in connection with its claim of defamation and interference with contractual relationships against you personally, Ambient Stained Glass and Heyou Web Design for the intentional defamatory and unlawful statements published on your Ambient Stained Glass website.
   Specifically, it has come to the attention of Stained Glass Overlay, Inc., that you have published the following defamatory, unlawful statements on your website:
   Stained Glass Overlay, Inc.: makers of a plastic decal applique process that turns ordinary glass into, in my opinion, a work of crap. i further believe they should be forced to remove the words "stained glass" from their name. "plastic applique overlay, inc." would be more truthful. in my opinion, this product is not worth the effort it takes to click the link and i list it here only so i can bash it in such a manner. please move along to the real thing. 
   Please be advised that such statements clearly and unconditionally constitute defamatory and unlawful statements particularly when, by your own admission, such statements are being published only so [you] can bash Stained Glass Overlay, Inc. and its product.  Further, these defamatory, unlawful statements have resulted, and continue to result, in substantial damage to Stained Glass Overlay, Inc. s name, reputation and business relationships.  Furthermore, Stained Glass Overlay, Inc., intends to fully pursue each and every avenue of recourse available, including but not limited to, initiating legal proceedings in order to obtain a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction and a permanent injunction, as well as seeking monetary damages, plus costs and attorney's fees.
   Moreover, Stained Glass Overlay, Inc., demands that you immediately cease and desist from publishing the above-referenced statements on your website or any other such defamatory and/or unlawful statements, and further, that you publish a retraction of the statements above, effective immediately. 
   Thank you for your attention and cooperation with this very important matter.
Very truly yours,
John DiPietrantonio
(a certified letter stating the same, was sent to my post office box. there has been no further contact since.)

02.03.01 i respond:
To: "John DiPietrantonio"
Subject: Re: Stained Glass Overlay, Inc.

hello john,
as much as i feel the right to bash any product i do not like in a review/opinion like manner, i have removed the word 'bash' from my review/opinion of your sgo product and i have also removed the link to sgo from my art glass listing. 
i did not, however, remove my review/opinion of sgo and i have stated my review/opinion very clearly. please be advised that such statements clearly and unconditionally constitute my opinion and is simply a review of the sgo product in my opinion. i see no reason to retract any statement i make so clearly as personal opinion. am i to believe that a movie reviewer, giving less than a 'thumbs up' review/opinion about a new movie, be sued because his review/opinion "clearly and unconditionally constitute defamatory and unlawful statements" about this new movie product? clearly, fewer people will see this new movie because of a negative review/opinion, resulting in less money made by the movie producers. yet bad reviews/opinions continue to be published and broadcast as they have for decades that "have resulted, and continue to result, in substantial damage" to said movies. will you sue "consumer reports" if they give the same less than glowing review/opinion of sgo that i do? i doubt it. opinion is opinion and not blatant fact. my review/opinion contains zero stated facts i can not substantiate. i further contend that no unlawful statements are knowingly published on my web site. thank you, mike

04.20.01 i receive:
   One of the reasons we sell Stained Glass Overlay is because that is what our customers want.  Many of our franchises sell both SGO and traditional stained glass but we chose to only sell SGO because that is what our market demands. There are five traditional stained glass studios in our town who do beautiful work but apparently our product is in demand because we have been in business for 15 years and 45% of our business is repeat business and approximately another 45% is customer referral. That tells me we have a lot of very satisfied customers who refer their friends and families. Several of the top Interior Designers in Indiana are now using SGO in their projects and many of the premier builders in our area refer their clients to us for their designer art glass needs.  As for our materials peeling or fading we have a ten year limited warranty against such failures and we stand behind our product.  I personally would be interested in meeting the children or pets you referred to that easily removed SGO materials from the glass as it takes a razor blade or other really sharp object to do so after it has cured.  If those same children or pets had damaged one of your traditional stained glass panels would you repair it for free?  As for the "heirloom value" of traditional stained glass I have replaced some traditional stained glass panels with SGO because they were tired of the color or design.  The couple who invented SGO were enchanted by the beauty of traditional stained glass but knew not everyone could afford "the real thing" so they set out to develop a product that the average person could afford and enjoy as well.  Over the years our materials have evolved and I am proud to make and sell SGO because it is better than ever.  The real beauty is even the customers who can afford traditional stained glass in our area are choosing SGO because it is "Simply Beautiful".  A bonus for us is because our product is in such demand customers are willing to pay more for SGO than ever before.  Maybe that is because in our area the quality of our work and service sets us apart.
   As for your "opinion" we are all entitled to one.  Last year I attended the Art Glass Suppliers show in Chicago.  The last two days of the show we were invited to set up a booth with other stained glass artisans to show our wares.  I was apprehensive because I know there are narrow-minded people out there like you who bash our product without really knowing much about it.  But alas, I was impressed by the warm welcome we received.   It seems that after they actually saw our product they were very impressed and realized this IS just another medium with which beautiful art glass can be made.  Just  as one painter might paint with oil and one with watercolor they are still both beautiful paintings.  One traditional stained glass maker told me she was VERY impressed with our product and could see why it was making such a splash in the market.  She, also, told me she was very impressed with our professionalism and that SGO IS an asset to the art glass trade.  She said she felt we were helping to make a resurgence of art glass in new homes and businesses  and she was very pleased to see us represented at the show.  So you see, you are not the only traditional stained glass artist with an opinion on SGO and just for the record; she wasn't the only positive response I encountered.  In fact no one came to my booth and told me our product was crap. All the feed back I received while at this show was positive.
   From time to time I will have a customer who wants "the real thing" and I am happy to refer them to one of the traditional stained glass shops in our town.  I, also send them a lot of people who want to buy stained glass supplies.  And you may be surprised to learn that those same traditional stained glass shops refer their customers to us when they cannot meet their needs. I do not bash traditional stained glass and I sell our product for what it is, Stained Glass Overlay.  Did you know we are the largest decorative art glass company in the world? I can see why you must feel threatened. Now I wonder if you are big enough to post my message on your site.
Respectfully, Suzan Z.

04.22.01 i respond: 
hello suzan,
   i am very convinced there are limitless patrons for stained glass overlay. i have been doing stained glass since 1976 and know very well the lack of education some people have when it comes to sgo and real stained/art glass. i tell most all my customers that what i do isn't even stained glass, as i don't actually 'stain' any glass. what i do is really 'art glass'. i'd like to offer "stained glass", but my lack of painting skills and equipment inhibit me. people think i somehow color plate glass, use plastic, melt glass to achieve textures, and all sorts of odd things to manipulate glass that i merely purchase from a supplier. it's for that reason, as well as a few others, that i don't doubt for a minute that purveyors of sgo have a large customer base. i have done many 'craft' shows and can tell you first hand that there is a fine line between a 'craft' show and a 'crap' show. many people are taste impaired. quality levels vary from person to person and cheap crap can be very beautiful to some, but abhorrent to others. i am sure you have and will continue to have, a large demand for sgo. different tastes. different quality expectations. different economic status. that is why we have wal-mart. something for everyone.
   i have done business with designers and builders too. their wanting of sgo in their projects doesn't tell me much about them other than they are looking for a cheaper way. builders especially, are on the bottom of the customer totem pole if you ask a lot of art glass artists. they are generally bottom feeders that go cheap at every turn and will jump ship if someone cheaper comes along. it doesn't surprise me at all that builders flock to sgo. sgo is cheaper. no arguments there. years ago, i lost a front door project because a builder saved $20 by going with sgo instead of the real thing. the customer was extremely dissatisfied with the result. i am willing to bet the better designers in the million dollar and up home decorating business generally will not go sgo. not all, but most.
   some time ago, i had a customer of sgo call me to "repair my stained glass window". as it turned out, it was a sgo panel that was peeling away. she told me her grandson was discovered sitting on the floor, pulling away the plastic sgo film. now maybe this was an old window, i don't know, but he was pulling off the film. i have a sgo panel from a recent replacement project. the client wanted no part of the sgo panels installed into a home he purchased. it is in my backyard now. i tried to peel it apart and yes, you are correct that it is very hard to do. i will try in a year or two to peel it again. only time will tell. i guarantee all my work with an unlimited lifetime guarantee against failure. this lifetime guarantee, of course, expires when i do. your 10 year warrantee seems long, but is it really? i failed to see where i would expect you or myself to repair any damage caused by children or pets. i had a client shut his door with his butt and he broke his art glass. he paid. i assume both our warrantees cover only our workmanship and materials, not damage done by beast, angry nature, or man's butt.
   sgo is the stepping stone from those squeeze-bottle-liquid-in-the-metal-shapes things to real art glass. i have made those squeeze bottle things with the kids. they like it. it's fun. they hang in the window. "look what i made! so pretty, daddy!". all three have their market and all three have their value to those that like it. my main problem with sgo, really, is the name. stained glass overlay. see it? stained glass overlay. pick it up yet? it's that 'stained glass' part that bothers me, as well as most artists of the real thing. this is not arguable. i too have talked to many and have yet to find one that isn't bothered by the blatant abuse of the term, "stained glass". i try to educate my clients about why i don't do "stained glass", as i explained above. do most purveyors of sgo do likewise? beats me, but i have my opinion on it, as narrow minded as i may be. there is no doubt that sgo is another form of decorative glass and thousands of people like and love it. just change the name.
   i am sure you did encounter a positive response at the trade show and i believe you when you said "no one came to my booth and told me our product was crap". however, i am also very sure many said so amongst themselves and to each other. i have visited sgo at trade shows and would never stand there and bash the product. it would cause a scene and be very embarrassing to me, as well as the booth members. we saved the bashing for later.
   being as most art glass artists are small mom and pop shops, it is no surprise that a franchise such as sgo can be considered "the largest decorative art glass company in the world" do i feel threatened? not for a minute. anyone that wants sgo in their home is more than free to do so. i too have even referred clients to sgo that wanted something cheaper or wanted something real art glass just couldn't handle. one was a shower door.
   in closing, suzan, i wish you much luck and wealth in your sgo ventures and i truly thank you for taking the time defending your livelihood. perhaps sgo will be around long after my lifetime guarantee expires.
   and yes, i am big enough to print your letter as well as any others that respond. it's the ones that bash me personally that i decline to publish. i'm sure you understand that. mike (within a few days of sending this reply, i succeeded in pulling the lead and colored plastic film overlay off my sgo panel with little effort. this was done after the panel was placed in direct sun.)

04.21.01 i receive:
John W., Tucson, AZ., This SGO bashing is revealing a degree of snobbery and elitism which is uncharacteristic of our great, democratic, and egalitarian nation. 
Imagine for a moment that you could travel back in time to the early Bronze Age.  Palaeolithic craftsmen form an SIG (Stone-Age Information Group) to bemoan the arrival of the new generation of bronze tools. This innovative material threatens their monopoly in expensive knives, needles, axe and arrow heads.  These bitter, Stone Age Luddites complain that bronze allows much more design freedom, it is softer, easier to work and, above all, more affordable than traditional, expensive and brittle flint implements.
God forbid that ordinary people should be able to afford beautiful art glass windows.
(ps.  you really have an obligation to post all submissions if you believe in freedom of speech)

04.22.01 i respond:
hello john,
   imagine for a moment you travel back in time to any age. craftsmen bemoan the arrival of the new generation of cheaper tools. these cheaper tools seem as good as the more expensive tools, yet somehow they just don't hold up to the real thing. not to worry, the purveyors of these cheaper tools insist they are just as good or better suited because now more people can afford them. still, the purveyors of the better tools understand that the cheaper tools will be recognized as the cheap substitutes they are and in the end, will have no real effect on them. they will be seen as being cheaper and inferior tools by most of the better educated users of the better tools. it just causes them some concern when the cheaper tools are described as better than or equal with the better tools. god forbid that ordinary people should be able to afford cheaper tools.
   as for freedom of speech, i am all for it and will defend your freedom as well. it has nothing to do with what i will or will not put on my web site. that's called freedom of mike. got to love that. mike

04.23.01 i receive:
Two drawbacks of the internet are pornography and emotional, unsubstantiated rants that spew bile, hatred and libel. With so many problems in the world today, I think it is sad some individuals abuse the power of the internet to launch liebelous attacks against others who are just trying to earn a living in the best way that they can. Quite simply, your broad based, unproven attack against SGO and all SGO franchisees is something I take personally. It is a premeditated attempt to ruin my livelihood. My lawyer tells me that sprinkling the phrase "in my opinion" in a rant doesn't give you any protection once you have made a concentrated effort to broadcast unproven, damging charges. (He also had a good laugh over your "movie critic" and "Consumer Reports" justification.) Well, I don't think it is a laughing matter. I think it is very serious. If I encounter one perosn in my SGO teritory who states that they were a potential customer until they read what you published, I will take legal action. John C.

05.03.01 i respond:
john, you declare i am attempting to ruin your livelihood, yet in your opening sentence, you call pornography a drawback. am i to assume you want the thousands in the porn industry to be out of work? should they lose their livelihood, simply because you find it a drawback? i'm sure there are a few more people enjoying porn, than your sgo drawback. no statement made on my site contains "unsubstantiated rants that spew bile, hatred and libel" nor does it contain "a concentrated effort to broadcast unproven, damging charges". all my statements can be backed up with fact or are my opinion and stated as such. i challenge you to find one phrase i wrote that can't be substantiated as such. my opinions seem to hit home with you sgoites. there must be something to them, don't you think? or don't you? since i am done playing word games with the likes of you, i recommend you cut the blather and do something about my site. get your laughing lawyer's head out from wherever he stores it and take your legal action. do it now or shut your hole. mike

05.04.01 i receive:
Mike --you miss the point completely. Whatever the subject - porn, schools, race relations, the cost of gas, anything -- there is too much hatred and libel being spewed out in this country. And the Net is the biggest carrier of it all. If progress is to be made in this country, people have to learn to chill their jets a bit. When you stick your finger is somebody's eye -- particularly when that individual is not bothering you -- don't expect them to say "Thank you". Now as far as SGO goes, I've been in it for a year. I have yet to see any of the problems you bring up. There was an SGO here about 10 years ago. I have seen some of their work and it looks like new. So, what conclusion do you think I would come up with? When people come in our showroom or trade show booth and ask what is the difference between traditional and SGO or they're aware of the difference and want to ask other questions -- I never knock traditional stained glass. And, if they truly want stained glass or want to match an existing window, I send them over to two different traditional glass people in town who have been around for 20 years. I don't knock traditional because I like it. Sure, I'm aware of the problems with traditional. I see it almost every week, -- often when people bring in a sidelight or window that has been wrecked by vandals or accident. If a person came in who wanted traditional glass, I'm confident that I could talk them out of it -- without lying about it. I don't. I show them what we can do. I make it clear that this is not traditional glass. Then I leave it up to them. I don't feel it is in my best interest to knock traditional. I was in advertising for 30 years and one thing we never did in ads, TV or brochures was to knock the client's competition. Inevitably, you wind up looking foolish, out of control and you generate sympathy for the competition. It doesn't work in the long run. You'll note how our sleazy politicians are beginning to understand that negative campaigns against their opponents do not work. As to your question, do I want to put all the people in the porn industry out of work. I think that would be good thing. Particularly, on the Net where it is available to children. Similarly, all the hate sites. Do the pro-Nazi or radical Black Power sites do us any good? I don't think so. I am often puzzled by people who have a "cause" or a "mission". Perhaps I am just more secure than they are. John

05.04.01 i reply:  john, i'm sure you are a honest and secure man and you stand behind your convictions. all i can say is there are those out there that portray sgo in a less honest light. just change the name. it is not stained glass overlay, it is plastic overlay. call it "simulated stained glass plastic overlay". as for the use of the internet to broadcast less then desirable web sites, it is something we as a free people must accept. in order to allow the freedoms we have, the freedom to spew vile and hate must be allowed. it is our duty as a free society to teach our children the good and show them the bad, in order to help them choose the right paths. hiding anything from children will only peak their interest and their desire to seek it out on their own. pointing out the evils in the world, together, will enlighten them to understand the evil and choose for themselves, a better route in life. we need to teach our children about sex and show them the evil vs. good in the world. it's knowledge, john, knowledge used to make better choices in life.

07.02.01 i receive:
Marta K. Corte Madera, Ca., Der Mike:  I have read all the posts on the SGO issue on your site. I am looking for some decorative glass and, although heirloom value would, of course, be nice, I need safety, flexibility and affordability so I'm curiuos about this SGO stuff.  The fact that, despite your request for posts from conusmers, no one who seems to have purchased the product has posted here makes me more curious. Marta

07.02.01 i respond: 
hello marta, i have not received a single positive comment from an actual customer of sgo. (i promise to post each and every one. that is, until i get so many it becomes pointless) this doesn't mean there are none, just that none have replied. the decision to use sgo will, of course, be your choice. as stated on my web page, there are benefits to using sgo instead of the real thing, cost being a factor, as well as several others. real art glass can easily be made safe. without knowing your application, i would recommend visiting at least 2 or 3 or more real art glass establishments found in the yellow pages under: 'glass, stained and leaded'. ask each questions about real art glass, costs, quality, guarantees, safety, flexibility, affordability, etc. be sure to look closely at the workmanship. do the lead lines look right? is the soldering good? compare. if you are going to spend your money on the stuff, get your money's worth. towards the end of the conversation, mention sgo and their opinions on it. in many cases, telling them you heard about sgo and don't know what it is, will keep them from thinking you are considering it, as many real art glass artists hate sgo with a passion and are not too keen on those that would buy it. perhaps they are sgo friendly and can offer good advice. finally, visit a sgo store and ask questions and get written guarantees. i have a sgo panel and like i said, i can easily pull it apart, so beware. sgo has it's place, just understand what it is you are buying before you buy it. it is plastic film fake stained glass, nothing more. good luck, mike

i conclude:
hello everyone in the sgo business. i feel i have made my points clearly and repeatedly. i see no reason to continue posting same old same old, ad nausium, any longer. i will continue to post comments, opinions, and other assorted verbiage, as long as it's something new and different. i think we can all agree to disagree. if you are prone to worship sgo and all it represents, feel free to make a web site dedicated to this sgo deity. send me the url so i can visit. if you don't see your words posted here, please don't scream "freedom of speech!". just assume that i think your words are simply more of the same and move on. you made your points and somewhere on this page, you can read my probable response to them. that being said, let's kiss and make up. 
   if you are involved in sgo monetarily (i.e. it's your job and/or you own a franchise), have purchased sgo, or know someone that has, let me know your opinions.

.
here are opinions of sgo from contributors to this forum: (latest opinions on top.)
01.21.05, Gina R., Ocean Springs Mississippi, I bought an SGO franchise because I believed their lies. I was lured into their trap. I feel compelled to tell the world that they are nothing more than rapists. That is how I feel, raped. They stole my dignity and credibility in my hometown community. Not to mention my life savings. (sorry to hear this happened to you. you need to get the word out as best you can. keeping others out of sgo harm's way will not only save them the grief you went through, but will deprive sgo of ill gotten gains to continue their, in my opinion, fraud. sad a company with this reputation can continue to foist their product on people as they apparently do. i believe they are equal to, if not worse then, a multi-level marketing scheme.) gina responds:
01.22.05, Thanks for your reply Mike. The problem was not the film, it is what it is and I never tried to sell it as anything else - just a different way to decorate your space - believe me, people in the Deep South know their heirlooms and antiques. The film product (anyone's) is an ok deal for some things, but a successful business must offer more than decorative film. They don't tell you that. In fact, they tell you the opposite. The fraud is their lack of truth in the beginning about the true number of successful SGO's vs the number who DON'T MAKE IT AND WHY THEY FAILED, the amount of TELEMARKETING that is required (yuk!) and most importantly, the TOTALLY UNATTAINABLE INCOME SCHEDULE they base their business model on. Knowledge of any one of those things would stop most people in their tracks. Thanks for the chance to let others know how important it is to ask these questions. (i hope you can get past this low point in your life and rebound quickly. i know nothing of the way sgo is run, but have heard of some of these points you mention. as with any franchise, one must involve much research in order to wisely invest their money. in my opinion, anyone that comes to this page and invests in sgo anyway, deserves to have their money hauled off as fast as sgo can take it.)

09.02.04, Dave B., Dana Point, CA., USA, Hi Mike: The SGO product talk, seems to have stopped. But I have just read it for the first time. I owned an SGO for 11 years until it was taken away for illegal reasons by the SGO Corp office ... SGO suffered many lawsuits, paid and buried ... not many people alive can talk about such horror. I lost $100,000. plus $200,000 in store investments ... and time ticks bye. I wish this kind of talk was more open to everyone, specially SGO franchises who may soon lose their franchise investments like I did; including a great marriage, suffering many hardships due to their SGO lawyer or legal lies. I have also built and designed traditional art glass for 20 years ... and there still is a great 'trickery' going on by the way SGO represent product to clients. My SGO windows, now 20 years old would have been a much better 'traditional glass' investment ... at least five times over. I tried to get other SGO's to start a class action suit ... but it's much harder than you would think. Dave B.   PS: Most the SGO's are the greatest people you would want to meet. The exception comes when their 'in-bed' with corporate office ... who buy's their opinion. Going broke while paying the royalties... changes all that. (your story is horrific. i'm sure you are not the only one that went or is going through the same fate. sgo is, in my opinion, a shame and a fraud and the people that invest in the system are not only screwing their customers, but in the long run, screwing themselves as well. good luck with your recovery.) 

04.10.04, Dear Sir: I was offered free advertisement in a national, well known publication. The article was of Stained glass studios in my area. When I inquired who else would be featured they said SGO amongst others. I have thirty years in stained glass, six artist with art degrees, how nice to be compared to plastic film lead tape overlay. We passed on the article. This reminds me of the person who called and said I have a real Tiffany lamp, when I touch it it lights up. (how about the ones that want stained glass, but wonder if  it's cheaper if we make it out of plastic?)

07.30.03, rob, vt., Hello, I was considering opening a SGO franchise for myself but I am now having second thoughts after reading the post from the man who purchased an existing franchise and it is still failing. I would love to hear from some of the former owners of these franchises and get there honest opinion (knowing they wont have to worry about corp. Flack. Thanks Rob (rob, i will pass your e-mail address to any that wish to correspond with you. best of luck in whatever venture you undertake.)

07.17.03, well, I do not know if you still are posting emails, but i use to own an sgo studio. after a couple of years i found myself, first unconsciouly and then consciously, selling real stained glass rather the the sgo product. there were multiple problems: fading, peeling, oxidation etc. i got to the point where i lost faith in the product. i never felt that it could be compared to stained glass as far as depth, beauty, and intrinsic value. we used a piece of clear tempered glass and our tools were exacto knives and squeegees. this is a craft, not an art. the sgo product i.e. film and strip lead, are not as strong as stained glass/lead channel/grout and solder. the tempered glass used for a base is not an sgo product (obviously). so when they say how strong the sgo panel is, they are really saying "tempered glass is strong" not really a news flash. also, when the sgo owners all brag about how they sell the "real stuff" as well, let me clue you in: after the 1st year of owning, i went to an sgo convention in california. i was still very optimistic and believed in the product. i never met more disgruntled shop owners in my life. besides all the problems with the product, they were not making money. the solution: sell other items as well; entryway doors, custom carved area rugs, window tinting for homes/business, etched glass, real stained glass gift items and yes, real stained, beveled, etched glass. in my area there were 3 franchises. 1 went out of business (i bought that one--not my wisest decision), 1 was not making it, so he took a regular job where he could make alot more money, the third sold out, his biggest year was around $90,000 and after paying his one employee, he was working for nothing. luckily his wife was making good money at her job. so here i am at an sgo convention being told by veteran sgo owners AND sgo corporate types, that i am not going to make it just being an sgo studio. i started to feel like i was sold a bill of goods. so when the sgo owners come across as taking the high road because they sell the real stuff as well, it is because they saw the writing on the wall. if truth be told, i really doubt you have any stained glass shops that bought an sgo franchise; but you have alot of sgo shops that eventually added stained glass to their product list. i am not bitter but wiser. i can not recommend spending more than a few dollars for this product, much as you would not spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for those decal hangings that are all over the place. if necessary, save up your money to buy the authentic item. i do not see mylar film and lead strips as an art form that will stand the test of time. (thank you for your honesty. as much as i dislike the whole sgo system, i hate to hear about your hardships with it. i hope things work out for you in the end. best of luck.)

02.04.03, Joe B., Glendale, Az., Just wanted everyone to know that I have been very happy with SGO. First, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think it looks great, even when compared to old fashioned stained glass. Second, the product works as promised and was MUCH less expensive than the traditional stained glass I was quoted. (way to go, joe. to some, the 'poker playing dogs' rug looks great on the wall too or maybe a velvet elvis. it's all in one's taste or lack thereof.)

nectaria, athens Greece, hallo, I am a student ...of glass art. I am impressed of your work, designs, colours, and basicly of your courage to argue with the companies that "copy" your work.... Continue your good work. I would just  like to tell, that I am proud of you for your site and its contain, I would also like to say, that I am learning vitreaux art, and I think that its unfair for us  (artists-workers), the existance of such companies that copy our work and sell cheaper, in order all the people to have a "masterpiece" in their living room, cheap and actually not an original glass art. Thank you, nk (you are so very welcome and i wish you success in your art.)

08.21.01, Carol S., San Diego, I had stained glass overlay done on several mirrors and the glass near the front door about 15 years ago. We loved the results. I'm trying to locate someone who could do this in our new home now but can't seem to find anyone in the San Diego area. Does anyone have any contacts in Southern CA that would work in San Diego? Thanks very much. (hello carol, as much as i detest sgo, i found a web page listing all the sgo franchise shops in california. on it you will find a link to one in your area. best of luck, mike [page address sent in an e-mail])

08.21.01, wendy, I have a stained glass studio and I feel that stained glass overlay is a cheap and lazy way of trying to create the look of real stained glass. I also think that it is misleading and some people really think that stained glass overlay is real stained glass which is a slap in the face for stained glass craftsmen. I think the name should be changed because there is no stained glass in sgo. It's a bunch of crap and I feel sorry for people who actually buy it. (thank you, wendy, for your input. it appears there will always be those that get taken, when they fail to educate themselves on the purchases they make.)

Nuk, Cincinnati, Ohio, I have worked along booths at trade shows where they were selling this so-called "Stained Glass Overlay" product and I have seen it displayed in model homes. It is wrongfully misleading to be telling people this is a stained glass product of ANY kind. Is it made from glass at all? Other than the standard clear base glass, No. It is plastic. Does it contain any stained glass at all? No. Is it something made to be applied over top of real stained glass? No. This is a cheap substitute for real stained glass and would not add to the value of an outhouse, let alone, a real house. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and you did nothing unlawful by alerting people to this vastly inferior, and unlawfully advertised, product. This, of course, is only MY opinion. (i have seen sgo at trade shows as well and would stand around and marvel at the sales pitch. i can only imagine hapless patrons "learning" what sgo is all about and getting sucked into it. they are told such misleading crap.)

02.05.01, ted & debby h., gualala, california, we strongly agree with your opinions. it's obvious, regardless of what spin sgo would like to put on it, the title "stained glass overlay" is terribly misleading and untruthful. there is NO stained glass in their product- just a colored plastic overlay. we are surprised that their misleading company name "stained glass overlay" hasn't produced a lawsuit against THEM - maybe it will. we think you will get overwhelming support for your opinions. IN OUR OPINION, we believe a substantial amount of monetary damage has been suffered by many legitimate stained glass artists because of "sgo" and their continued use of the words "stained glass" in their advertising. this would cover all the years "sgo" has been in business, at least 20 years that we know of. when "sgo" first came on the market, we're certain we lost a few customers. the public simply wasn't aware of the differences between glass and plastic overlay construction techniques and values, therefore making it impossible to compete. the name "stained glass overlay" has always been offensive to serious glass artists. we all understand the economics involved and the right of the sgo artists to make a living, but the sgo title misleads the consumer. we think this could have been done intentionally to draw business away from traditional glass artists. we have thought for years sgo should be required to change their name. may we suggest something closer to the truth like Custom Real Artist's Plastic or C.R.A.P. for short. (thank you for your opinions. i too have lost a couple jobs to the confusion of clients about sgo and the real thing. i just hope the clients are still happy with their plastic projects.)
.
an example of sgo crap.

08.04.15: someone called me about repairing their "stained glass" door panel. she said, "some of the glass has come loose and has fallen out of my window". i had her send me a couple images of the damaged area to give me an idea of what was going on.
   as you can see, the stick-on lead tape holding the bevels to the base glass has failed, thus allowing the bevel pieces to fall off. looks like five bevels are missing and much of the fake lead came is now secured with duct tape.
   it did not please me to tell her that the door panel was probably a total loss, unless she could find a sgo franchise that may be able to repair it. i was unable to locate one locally, which on one hand, good, on the other hand, sad for her. 



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