search  current discussion  categories  business - pricing 

should i cut my prices???:

updated wed 25 jan 06


Joseph Herbert on thu 23 feb 06

Probably be better to raise them.

I went into Wal-Mart in Espanola, NM and saw a 4 place setting dish set with
glasses and flatware . . . . . for $7.00 Away from home and wanting some
extra dishes for my "furnished" apartment, I purchased the set. Upon
examination, the 4 plated, bowls, cups, and salad plates are hand decorated
in China. Probably by children in prison and "just" banding but still hand
decorated. We are surrounded by a deluge of low priced ceramic production
from all over the world. If we are making things that are infinitely
substitutable for those things, we cannot possibly survive, much less make a
decent living. So, the challenge is to not be making that substitutable
thing. If it is painting sea oats on a mug in South Carolina or Blue
Bonnets in Texas, there is a local difference. A lady seen at Chad's Ford
fair sold small crocks with the names of local towns stamped on them. Not
substitutable from afar.

The easiest thing to have be your local gimmick is yourself. You have to
sell the ware but you have to sell some of your self as well. The
utilitarian bowl that the buyer connects to you may serve the same function
as the Wal-Mart plastic bowl but, with the buyer's connection to you
included, becomes something more. If it is something more for the inclusion
of your smile, conversation, reputation, or curmudgeonlyness, it can (and
should) be sold at a higher price.

It really seems that there is no possibility of competing with foreign
sources of pottery on the basis of price. If price is not something we can
use to separate ourselves from that flood, perhaps our selves are the

Joseph Herbert