The Birth of a New Direction?

Sometimes I get a little concerned about myself.  I get a quirky interest and have no idea why.  The most recent being a ‘junk bag.’

I used to collect oddball stuff like little crafty junk that I got really cheap at the craft store, or garage sales.  The kind of stuff that could go well in a shadow box.  Or old buttons from grandma, some odd seed beads and sequins from a boyfriend’s mother, etc.  Stuff I’d never really use but you never do know!  I’ve been very good, in the last 10 years at least, in getting rid of all of that stuff and not buying more.

But lately I fear, it’s started again.  It started out as a little pile on my counter of odds and ends stuff.  Stuff that should be thrown into the garbage but you know, it could be useful some day for a mixed media piece of art.  And with mixed media and recycled art becoming all the rage, I need to be prepared for when that bug bites!

Today I started a ‘junk bag.’  It’s just a shopping bag that can hold all the stuff until I’m ready for it.  So far I have a broken pair of ipod earphones, an empty film canister, a part of a plastic broken tiara, used guitar strings, two small but sturdy cardboard boxes that held candles, a tiny glitter gift bag Christmas decoration and I’m sure a few other odd things.

What I really want to do with all of that is, when I get enough variety to choose from, is to make masks.  Or faces.  Or creatures.  Can you feel it?  Of course, there will be some glass hidden in there somewhere.

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.