Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dilemmas of the Business Kind

Holiday shopping season hits me every year, just like I suspect it does so many of you, as a crazy time.  There are all of these blaring ads on tv and the radio announcing BIG DEALS and HUGE DISCOUNTS.  I read and hear COME IN NOW or COME IN DURING THESE HOURS to get a special deal.  We all love a deal.  And the people who create these ads and deals know that all too well.

My current dilemma has to do with the fact that I do not feel compelled to offer a drastic discount during the holiday shopping time.  I buy my supplies and put hours into designing and physically crafting them.  I am the secretary, custodian, accountant, marketer, and whatever-needs-done person running this whole show.  (I love being the one doing these things as I like to know what is going on where and when but there are times when I could really use a clone!)  If I create too big of a discount I could quite possibly put myself out of business.  Plus I feel like I would have to inflate my prices just to cut them down to make it seem like people were getting a huge deal. 

So with that being said, I wonder how people who do not know me or do not understand the nature of hand-crafted items and art view my sales tactics during the holiday season.  They don't change one bit from during the rest of the year.  I am not flashy and I am not screaming that you need to come get some ridiculously crazy deal from me.  Do they think that I do not have what they might want for themselves or to give to someone else? (Just one wonder among many in this category.....)

Good thing I don't think about it too long. One could go crazy doing that!  (I have been informed by my teenaged daughters that I am already crazy enough. LOL)  I do think, though, that I should explain myself a bit better and have set a goal to do that more often throughout the year so people will understand how I think about deals and pricing.

I set my prices taking into account the price of the materials, the time I have spent working on the idea and the actual physical time creating, and the price it might cost to ship the item.  I shop wisely  when I can and buy things at great prices.  Some things are just more costly than others and that comes with the territory.  I also ask myself, "How much would I pay for something like this?"  I don't comparison shop to set prices in an active way.  I just pay attention to what I have seen and make mental (or paper) notes about that.

I offer Buy One, Get 1/2 Off all year long because I think people like to be able to get a good deal all year long.  It is terribly difficult for me to choose just one beautiful or interesting hand-crafted item so being able to get more than one at a great price is always a draw for me.  I love to bundle prices when I can - more sparklies for a good price - so I price my earrings 1 pair for $12, 2 pairs for $20, and 3 pairs for $25.  I give repeat customers a special price break to thank them for returning to shop with me.  There are so many custom orders that come out of that first sale of a necklace or bracelet.  Thanking people for that is important to me!

I sometimes offer specials at the shops that carry my work to help business grow in those places.  It is nice to be able to do that.  If they have events, I always give a door prize or create a special deal for just that event.  Supporting small business is very, very, very important to me!  Without these small businesses, I would not be as successful as I have been.  Their support of my small business is priceless!!!  You can find me at Main Street Market in Knoxville, IA; Treasures and More in Polk City, IA; Fusion in Clive, IA and Finders Keepers in Urbandale, IA.

I participate in vendor/craft shows when it works out for me to do so.  The Buy One, Get 1/2 Off always is appreciated at those events.  I may price things a bit lower at those shows so that I can make room for new creations.  My goal really is for my creations to find new, loving homes so I price things to hopefully help them move.  I love the look on people's faces when they find just the right thing and the price is just right too!

So back to my dilemma - to have Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday specials or not....  I do not think they fit with what I currently do.  I aim to be authentic in my business and if the choice is to have higher prices with deep discounts at one time of the year or to have great prices and a regular discount all year long, I will take the latter option.

I would love to hear your opinion on this!  Comment on this post and give me your thoughts.  And to thank you for your thoughts, I will give anyone who comments on this post 15% off any item.  I have a huge amount of photos to look through at http://www.facebook.com/JKLARTJewelry and http://jklartjewelry.webs.com/.

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