Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Business Chat - Your Value

People, the holiday shopping season is almost here!!! Are you ready? We’ve been talking over the past 5 weeks about getting your booth, your website and everything else ready. We haven’t talked yet about the most important part of your business – you. Are you ready? Really ready?

Are you ready to stand before the general public with your work on display and proudly tell the world how great it is? Can you sell a customer on the benefits of your handmade lovelies? Can you list everything online confidently? Are you ready to explain to people why your work is better than the crap in the mall? Can you see the value in what you make?

On Wednesday Jen brought up a very interesting question and today I want to continue this discussion. Jen asked, “how do we get people to value our work?”

The value in your work begins with you. If you don’t value it, why would anyone else? Do you truly believe in what you make? When someone stands in front of you and asks, “why is this so expensive?” are you prepared to answer that question.

It’s very easy to spot the sellers at a show who aren’t comfortable with putting a monetary value on their work. They squirm, look at their feet, cross their arms and never look a customer in the eye. Body language is the customers’ first clue as to your worth. If you believe in your work, stand tall. Shoulders back and make eye contact. Look at the world straight on and use a clear voice to tell your story.

Remember, your work is more than just the actual piece. What you have done is create a business not just a piece. A bracelet is more than a bunch of beads. It is time and energy. It is the sourcing of good quality wholesale materials, it is the design time and the labour to make it. It is the business of booking a booth, designing a booth space or a website, creating packaging and it is all the other bits of running a small business. But most of all it is magic. Just because you can wire-wrap and string well doesn't mean that a customer can. What seems simple to you is a complicated and foreign process to a customer. What you see is a pile of raw materials, what they see is a story, a piece of your soul, a piece of magic. Your magic is worth the price you set.

Speaking of prices, the best way to convey your faith in your work is to remain firm on your pricing. It is an unfortunate fact of life that people will try to bargain you down. You cannot please everyone and trying to do so will kill you. Sometimes customers need to be sent away.

Pricing a piece of your work properly (and sticking to the price) guarantees that not only are you covering the cost of making a piece, you are paying the cost of labour, your overhead and making a small profit. This is called running a business. Constantly devaluing your work by thinking "I can't charge that much" is a defeatist attitude guaranteed to kill your business.
Get over it.
See the value in your work and stand tall.

Every time you allow yourself to be beaten down you are telling your customer your work isn’t worth more. You are also training that customer into thinking that all makers are willing to bargain. If you can’t stand up for your own work then think of your fellow makers and do them a favour by standing firm on the price.

Let’s picture this. You walk into your office job and sit down at your desk. Your boss walks up to you and says “love your work, but how about I give you 60% of your pay today?” Or, “great job! If I pay you for 2 hours will you work for a 3rd hour for free?”

No one in their right mind would squirm and say “Uh, ok.” When a customer approaches a maker and asks for a discount this is exactly the same. The customer is asking the maker to take less money for their work, to be paid less. Put yourself in this position, if you wouldn’t take less money in an office job for your time, why would you allow yourself to take less in your craft job?

Before you go to a show, or sell a piece online, know in advance what the price is. Know why it is that price. Tell yourself the story behind your work so that you can tell your customers. Most importantly, stand firm. You and your work are worth it.

Stand up for yourself as a maker. See the value in your work. If you don’t no one else will either.

No comments: