We've all been spoiled. We've been spoiled by discounts of 25%-50%-and up to 75% off by huge bigbox retailers. But, do you know something? These items have a huge markup. They are made to be discounted. These stores buy thousands of items and receive huge discounts in return.
My mom once owned a retail store. We didn't receive those kinds of discounts because we were a small fish. And that store doesn't exist anymore because we couldn't provide 75% off. It's the same with handmade. Except that we have to buy the materials and also spend our time making the items. We don't have the 'luxury' of sending our designs off to a country where their cost of living is so low that they can work for pennies. Or sending our designs off to sweatshops that in our civilized societies of 2012 still get busted.
The other day I received an e-mail from someone asking for a discount on one of my least expensive items. They wanted the 'starving student' discount. I offered them free shipping since my promotion had just ended that morning. And that wasn't good enough and they still continued to ask for more of a discount. And why? Because you're there? Because for some reason I've never met you-you've never bought from me-but I should make an item for you-but I don't deserve to make a profit whatsoever? I have more self-worth than that and so should more people in the handmade community. I see items on Etsy so often that are so low I wonder how they even pay for their supplies. Much less their time.
Well, I'm a 'starving artist' working 2 jobs, as many people are that create. And I don't feel that I should make less than anyone else at their job. Would it be okay if your employer asked you for a discount on your salary for the day? I like making jewelry, but I don't want to do it for free. If I did, I wouldn't spend the time taking photographs and listing items. I think some don't realize the work that goes into that as well.
Sales are great. But, there's a limit. There's only so much of a discount any of us can provide. All I'm asking is for you to think about asking for extreme discounts from handmade sellers, particularly on Etsy-especially when you've never even purchased from this person before. If you must have a sale to buy an item then like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, etc. to find out when they'll be having a sale.
I've always tried to keep my prices reasonable, I don't want to gouge anyone. But, this week had made me feel that I should act like any other retail outlet, markup really high and then discount huge. But, that doesn't seem fair to me. It seems like a lie. I want to continue running an honest business and treating each customer fairly-not giving one 'special' person a discount, but not another.
I'm not Claire's, I'm not Forever 21 and I don't want to compete with them. I make my items, I don't source them from third world countries. Each items is made one at a time. And I deserve to be able to pay my rent. And so do thousands of other handmade sellers.