Do I Offer Discounts? What About Wholesale?

Offering discounts is the topic to blog today at Flaming Hot.

A common question I get at shows is “what is your wholesale?”  Many times this is people’s way of asking, “How can I get a discount?”

How do I know this?  Because it has been my experience that if a shop owner or designer is buying, as they ask that, they are usually already picking up pieces to add to their order.  They just want to know what minimum they need to get to.  Also, shop owners who want to buy usually ask “DO you wholesale?”

I can’t tell you how many people ask that and then when you give them your minimum, they don’t buy anything.  One would think that my minimum order for ‘wholesale’ is daunting or maybe even a little confusing.  It’s 30% off at $500.  I have found though, that if you get someone who knows what they’re looking at and knows the market’s pricing, it makes perfect sense to them.

If you get up to $500 and minus 30%, you’re spending $350.  If you’re a serious buyer, whether it be a store owner or designer, $350 isn’t that much.  Wholesale is meant for serious buyers…not customers just looking for a discount.

For handmade glass artist beads, if you want a lower minimum, say, $100, that would be maybe 2-3 focal beads or one set of 10 beads (at my prices)…enough for a few pendants or two bracelets.  That, to me, is a retail sale…what the average retail customer buys.

But, talking about pricing…on top of that, if I do get a customer who thinks the minimum is too high, I sometimes explain to them that my prices are already reasonable so that designers can buy one or two pieces at retail and still be able to put it into a piece, mark it up, sell it and make a profit.  That is why my ‘wholesale’ is 30% and not 50%.  If it was 50% I’d have to mark my prices up 20%.

I try to keep everyone happy, and that’s no easy feat.  Some people think they should get a discount no matter what and I just can’t go there.  Before I know it, I’d be working for free.

An etiquette I learned somewhere early on is, you don’t ask an artist for a discount.  That is like asking someone to put a price on their child and while you’re at it, don’t you think they’re really worth a little less?  Most times, artists don’t price their work high enough.  When they are priced high, they’ve usually earned the price over time and experience or some other special talent that deserves the price.

But that’s just my two cents.

5 thoughts on “Do I Offer Discounts? What About Wholesale?

  1. Lori, this was a most excellent article. I’ve had many wholesale requests and, after I tell them my minimum order, never hear from them again. I use about the same guidelines as you. I want them to spend at least $350. Knocking off 30% would just about kill me, profit-wise, but I’d do it for a large order. I agree with everything you said in this and I love your blog! Thank you.

  2. Thanks for the comment and compliment Daria! I was a little concerned about writing it because it might hurt those people’s feelings that do ask for discounts. But the truth is the truth and I’ve gotten other good feedback on this one particular post. I guess I’m not alone.

    I do go one further to make it affordable on my web site since that makes money while I sleep…kind of. The more beads you buy in a set, the lower per bead the price is. So that’s even an added savings.

    Good luck!

  3. Lori, this post was great- clear and well explained! This: “That is like asking someone to put a price on their child and while you’re at it, don’t you think they’re really worth a little less?” is what I wanted to convey in my post, but I just didn’t get there- I’m so glad you said it the way you did!

  4. Thanks Kandice.

    Yes, it’s especially hard when you first start drawing that line. But artists soon find out that if they want to keep doing what they’re doing and make a living at it that it has to happen that way.

    Our art is strange…tiny little things that take time and resources to make. People perceive little things as easy and quick to make, I think.

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