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.

Tucson 2008 Show Thoughts – Part 3

Ahhh. Part three. Time to get down and dirty with the honest truth about my part in my success (or lack of) at the Best Bead Show in Tucson this year. Here I go…

When you’re having a slow show (and all of them will have down time) you have time to think about what you can do better for the next one. Whether it be display, advertising, type of inventory, location, or a different venue, there is always something you can do better to be more on top of your game and to reach people.

One thing I did differently this year, from last year, is that I didn’t advertise myself as well. I had my regular ads in the bead magazines but I didn’t promote myself through my newsletter, on my web site, or on my blogs as much. I just didn’t have the time and energy. That is what happens when you’ve been successful in your efforts in the past and your business starts taking off. But that’s a whole other post for a whole other time. Remind me.

The Best Bead Show does great advertising. They have full page ads everywhere you look leading up to the show. My one complaint would be that the ad is dated and I feel it could be more effective with better pictures that represent better what the show is about, better color and in a more simplistic design with less words. But that’s just me.

Back to me. I fell down on the advertising ball.  I also didn’t focus as much on my inventory.  I had plenty of inventory but I don’t feel like I had killer designs.  While I like what I’ve been working on, there is a little more tweaking to be done before they have that quality that screams at people to pick them up.  I wasn’t as cohesive in my line of beads.

Those are the two main areas where I feel that I could have done better.  I will continue to mull this over and share with you other observations that I have regarding the outcome of the show for me this year.

What about you?  What could you have done differently?  It’s good to be honest with ourselves because that is how we get better.  We can say it’s the economy but if we’re not doing our full best (and we know it) we have to take responsibility too.  Whew.  I’m getting preachy here, but I’m in the front pew taking it too!

What about you as a show visitor or buyer?  What turns you on?  What turns you off?  What says “professionalism” and makes you feel secure in buying from someone?

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Six Reasons to Prepare Early for a Big Show

1.  Your kid will inevitably strep throat along with vomiting three weeks before you’re scheduled to leave, resulting in three days home from school.

2.  Your other kid will get strep throat two weeks before you have to leave, resulting in three days home from school.

3.  You will get strep throat the week before you have to leave.  But at least the kids will be back in school and you can make yourself work…somewhat.

4.  You’ll decide a month before the show that you just have to start that new blog you’ve been kicking around.  And while you’re at it, why not re-design your web site too?

5.  You will get three huge wholesale orders right when you kick into production mode.

6.  You will probably get inspired by some new, great idea, when you should be making inventory for the show.