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Posts I've Made
Posted 25 May 2013This specific topic has been brought up before on the forum, I will state my position again too. It all depends on the type of work and the nature of one's business, but there are plenty of scenarios where offering discounts for volume purchases, and repeat purchases, is sensible and good business.
First of all, I don't think discounts are appropriate for one of a kind art pieces. Where sales are pricey, and seldom, and offering a discount on one sale has a wide ripple effect on the value of your other pieces.
But not all of us are making that type of work. I am making everyday ware, and hoping to sell them in multiples. I price a lot of work to sell them in pairs. i.e. $40/each or 2/$75. It's clearly marked for customers to see the value of buying two. I have thoroughly examined the time/expense factor, and know that I am satisfied with the trade off. It works for me, and I will continue to do it. This does not make me Walmart, not even close! At most of my shows, I am still competing with potters who are offering similar items for half the price.
As for repeat customers, these people are extremely valuable to a pottery business! It really pays to notice who they are, and to show them some gratitude somehow. There are many ways to do this, but I don't think a discount is out of the question. For me, there is no practical difference between this and a small freebie, in terms of setting the value of my time, and managing my customers expectations. Again, I am making everyday ware. For other types of pottery businesses, this might be different. One rule does not fit all.
I am currently compiling a short list of customers who have been unbelievably supportive of my business for years. They have always been willing to pay full price, and treated me and my work with complete respect. When I have my open house at the end of this year, I am going to write a personal note to each of them offering a juicy discount at my open house. I have no fear that they will respect me less, or expect discounts in the future. My plan is to offer this "excellent customer" discount every five years or so.
Yes I think there are wrong ways to do it too, such as a person who is so anxious to make one sale, they start offering bargains to anyone who shows a little interest. I've seen people do this, it's painful to watch. But I also remember how terrifying those early days are, and I don't condemn those who lose their cool. It takes time to learn. Also, I know someone who has a "sale" with substantial discounts on the same day every year, and now unfortunately it seems all his customers have learned to wait for the sale.
If you offer discounts too broadly, and to any customer, then you are devaluaing your work. But if you do it with a lot of thought and selectiveness, it can be very beneficial.
Posted 22 May 2013Thank you- lots of good suggestions! Are thrown players somehow "better" or more desirable than hand built ones?
Nope. Good craftsmanship and design can be had both ways. In the examples below, the rice bowls are wheel-thrown, but the dinner and salad plates are handbuilt. No foot rings on any of these pieces. I use templates and molds so the production is very consistent.
Number of downloads: 113
Posted 22 May 2013
Posted 22 May 2013The good news, when it comes to pottery, it's really hard for somebody else to make your work. People can steal ideas, but to make exact copies that would be mistaken for yours is not likely. Besides, anyone who doesn't have their own ideas is not going to get very far. Don't worry about them. If your business is going to last for the long term, you should be introducing new ideas every year. If one of your designs is being ripped off too much, just stop making it and move on to better things.
As for your branding materials, in the US everything you create is automatically protected by the Copyright Law. This doesn't mean people won't try, but you have the right to make them stop. Although, in my career I've seen a few cases where I thought someone was copying me. It wasn't worth the time or expense to fight them, because it was so lame. Again, if a person doesn't have their own ideas, you don't need to worry about them. In one case I thought someone was trying to copy the look/layout of my website, so I just redesigned my website.
Posted 22 May 2013I don't personally own any of these, but Bruce Baker and his salesmanship and merchandising CDs have a lot of fans. http://www.bbakerinc.com/
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