I've recently made a very important decision about my business. I make important decisions everyday, but this one is BIG! I am no longer going to run sales, coupons and discounts for the open market. Phew, a big decision.
Occasionally I will make pieces that have been here too long and need new homes and sometimes I will buy a job lot of jewellery/coins/banknotes etc. to get one or two pieces and have a surplus of what I don't need. This surplus can be pieces that are too modern for my secondhand stock, not of a high enough quality, a little more worn than I would like or even an "awaiting preparation" piece that I might not have the time to invest in restoring at the moment. Occasionally there are pieces that don't fit with what I do. These all need to be moved on. Traditionally I have offered these in sales or promotions to the general public or dealt them on through the trade. These will now be offered to my email subscribers only (subscribe here) through a special section of my site. These items will be offered until sold and offered at greatly reduced prices compared to the usual.
So why the change? Most of these pieces get snapped up by one time buyers swooping in. The coupon codes get used on the pieces with the least profit (which makes paying the mortgage tricky) and it creates a general expectation of discounts. This is a bad thing. I remember many years ago seeing one large high street retailer panicking before Christmas and putting on a sale, the other large retailers followed suit. Now we have pre-Christmas sales every year on our high streets and I don't know about you, but I've noticed the products on offer and the prices aren't as good as they once were.
I've also made another important decision about marketing. I am a small business and, like many others, every single penny counts. I've found that online marketing produces more "I see you advertise online and we can sell you a better online marketing product" calls than the people I would like to be calling. I must admit that, on occasion, I do enjoy teasing them and asking what they would like to buy from me.
The profit from most small businesses such as craftsmen (or women) and artists doesn't go toward funding second homes, yachts or expensive hobbies like collecting super-cars, it goes towards normal things such as food on the table, mortgage payments, school uniforms and the usual kinds of bill.
I would like to ask that you think about this when you are shopping. Small businesses need your business. Think about what you buy and where you but it from. I am writing this as my business is getting a little easier, it's still nerve wracking sometimes, but it's getting much better. There are many small makers and artists out there that can provide you with something special rather than a mass produced, faceless object. Every discount, promotion, coupon etc.eats away at the potential revenue of these businesses and they cannot survive without your support.
I will be featuring a few of my favourite artists and makers soon as there are some that I am continually impressed by.