KLeSueur on tue 12 may 98
As tempting as it often is, it never pays to insult potential customers. While
you may not care about that person standing in front of you, you may also
offend someone else who overhears the conversation. Often times people are
naive as to the "ground rules" at shows. They may view an art fair as
comparable to a flea market where bargaining is just part of the process.
When someone asks for a discount I explain that my prices are carefully set to
allow me to make a living and yet allow the average person to purchase a piece
of my work. Giving them a discount would mean that I would have to cheat
someone else by charging a higher price to make up the difference.
When someone is particularily agressive I ask what kind of work they do.
Usually I've used the services of someone in the same profession and they've
never seen fit to give me a discount. Or if they insist that they give
discounts in their business, I point out that they obviously include this in
their pricing structure so that they can still make a profit. I don't.
I refuse to engage in extended debate about a discount. If necessary I just
firmly restate that I do not give discounts and then walk away, hopefully to
serve some other customer who's walked into the booth.
I must say that I agree with Wendy that many people do not have any idea of
what they should be charging based on their costs. If they make lamps they
don't include the time to wire them as a part of the cost because, "I do it
while I'm watching tv." Yet, how much would it cost if they got very busy and
had to pay someone to do that simple job? Others have their kids helping them.
But when the kids get bigger they don't want to, and often can't, spend their
time helping. So production goes down, costs rise, and so do prices.
This is a problem in many industries where it takes little capital to get
started. In another life I was working in the wholesale plant business.
Growers were constantly complaining about someone starting up and screwing up
the market. The new guys knew what the pot, soil, and plant liner cost but
that was about it. They had no idea about what their losses were costing them.
They were just thrilled to be selling. Later as they realized they were
working for pennies ( and were tired of it) they raised their prices. But they
had trained their customers to expect to get their product for less than all
of the other producers had been charging. While they were learning this hard
lesson the whole industry suffered. It still goes on today which is why the
same 10" plant that you bought for $10.99 in 1982 is now going for $9.99 in
the spring. There's always someone who believes that their costs are lower
than they really are and are so eager to sell their product that they'll
charge a lower price.
Ann Arbor, MI
Cwolo on thu 14 may 98
Think what Kathi has to say about new people coming in and under pricing
because of inexperience occurs in every business. All you can do is keep your
end up and ride out the underpricing. Unless you don't want to stay in
business! Even if you don't make your living at it, your time and expenses
are worth something.
Diane Florida Bird Lady
Wendy Rosen on sat 16 may 98
You're right! But it doesn't just happen to artists... the competition
that heats up in every sector can bring down a whole industry. Why are
there no small appliance stores? ...Because the margins were small and
small business owners didn't understand that the discounting fever was
cutting their own throats as well as their competition!
>Think what Kathi has to say about new people coming in and under pricing
>because of inexperience occurs in every business. All you can do is keep your
>end up and ride out the underpricing. Unless you don't want to stay in
>business! Even if you don't make your living at it, your time and expenses
>are worth something.
>Diane Florida Bird Lady
The Rosen Group
Niche & AmericanStyle Magazines
The Buyers Markets of American Craft
The Business of Craft
3000 Chestnut Ave #304 Baltimore, MD 21211
Voice: 410/889-3093 Fax: 410/243-7089