Thursday, June 11, 2009
Yart Sale Schmart Sale!
Yard + Art = Yart sale, which is pretty cute, I must admit. Etsy artists are having a site wide Yart sale through June 14th. My 2 bowls, pictured above, are in my Yart sale, at a very tempting reduced price, because they are experimental shapes and not available to choose in large sets.
I'm sort of watching the threads in Etsy's forum with horror, though, as posts abound with cries of not making any sales after marking pieces below cost, or making sales on nonperishable goods and being elated just to have made a teeny tiny profit margin. YOWZA!!!
The big problem there is that most new artists or handmade makers have no established set value for their work to begin with. We are not Corning Ware; we do not have a generally known retail price, from which a discount can be taken. And so here is the market maxim:
Your work is worth what the last person paid for it. Period.
So, if you mark down a $20 necklace to $10, you just devalued every other $20 necklace in your shop. And perhaps the entire inventory by 50%.
If you are an artist without a well established set retail price for your work, and you have a 15% off sale, you are going to have a rough time convincing those same buyers and lookers that your work is worth 15% more just because it's now June 15th, and the Yart sale is over. In fact, you are probably training your buyers to withhold purchasing until the next sale.
Sales in art are not equivelant to sales in a retail chain store, because art is bought and sold with the potential to hold or go up in value. Putting your artwork and handmade goods on sale says to an investment buyer that you are not a good investment.
SO, if you are yart selling, which I am, make a clear distinction between what is available in your yart sale from your other pieces. I recommend against a "storewide sale", or moving pieces into some sort of clearance bin. It's a marketing strategy for art where you are hurting yourself in the long run.
Pieces in my yart sale section are priced lower because they are seconds, samples, or experiments. They were not a regularly priced piece yesterday and a sample today. If I discontinue a line, the very last pieces will be discounted, but that is my only exception.
As handmade makers, we can't price the way that indutry does, our markup is not as high as industrial goods and so we can't discount and market as if we are Macys or Target. The one advantage we have is the investment value of our work, and I will protect that value- for myself, and my customers, too.