After 42 years working in clay and 35 years here in our gallery and on the road, we’ve learned so much about ourselves and people in general. This is one topic that comes up more often than we like, and I wanted to share our thoughts on it:
A touchy subject for all artists/craftspeople can start like this: a customer might say, “If I buy 4 mugs do I get a discount for volume?” and then says with a wink, “It doesn’t hurt to ask.”
Yes, actually, it kinda does hurt. It hurts us.
I wonder when was the last time you asked your plumber, “Hey, this is the third faucet you put in for me. Can I get a discount for frequency? It doesn’t hurt to ask.” Would you ask your doctor or lawyer?
Unfortunately, this practice is fostered by the people/vendors at art and craft shows who will put up sale signs on the second day of the show saying they’d rather sell it at any price rather than pack it up again. And people have used that as an excuse to apply pressure to us to lower our prices, both in our gallery and at art shows.
Please understand, we look for the best price on everything we buy, too. But I would never never never ask an artist or crafts person, who made something by hand, to lower their price. In many cases they are asking less what it’s worth already. In many cases it is as low as it can go. We cut our costs to the bone so we can offer what we think are reasonable prices. When a potential customer asks for a discount I always say NO, and then point out we are not a discount box store, and that each one took the same amount of time to make. This is art, people.
Customers try to talk us into ‘doing better’ on the price, believing it is acceptable to ask an artist to take a cut in wages/pay, thinking an artist will do anything for a sale, that we are desperate for the sale. When we as artists then do it, we perpetuate that impression.
Please stop it. Take your work seriously. Honor your artistic committment.
A little story: A customer once asked John if $400 that was the best price we could do for a painting. John said, ‘For you, $800.” The man laughed and bought the painting for the asking price. Which was too low in my opinion, but what the artist asked for. Humor works in diffusing a tricky situation.
Have an opinion on this subject? Want to share your story or a different point of view? Please do.