Let’s talk about PRICING.

Ahhhhhhhhhh . . pricing.  More like AAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHPRICING?!?!? Right???

EVERYONE I have ever known who does any kind of selling if vintage or hand crafts asks the same question.  HOW do you decide on a price????  A recent comment to one of my posts where I actually remembered to list a few prices brought this issue back to mind.  I get asked about it quite often, and honestly there is NO SINGLE best answer.  Sorry.  There just isn’t!

That being said, I will tell you HOW I price my items and WHY I do it the way I do.  Perhaps it will be of some help to some of you, someday.

OOPS, I lied!  Actually I am going to back track a little and go back to 2004 when we first opened out store and started buying more manufactured product and REALLY had some serious pricing to do.  BEFORE you lock yourself into a price, you really must decide HOW you are going to MARKET your wares.  What are you going to do to bring those shoppers in??  How are you going to advertise?  WHAT will bring a shopper to YOUR store as opposed to the many other options???

After thinking long and hard on that topic, I decided that I should ‘do what the BIG DOGS do’ to bring in business.  HAVE SALES!!  Now I couldn’t advertise my sales on TV or in the newspaper like they did, but I knew that, as a consumer, a good sale usually got me in a store and buying.

So, that was the basis for my pricing philosophy at first.  Price high enough to have room for some pretty good discount SALES. And at first it worked GREAT!  I could really count on a lot of business when I had a SALE.  Then, as gas prices went up and the recession got worse, increased sales from an ‘advertised sale’ dwindled.  Time to re-think.

Sometimes we have to adjust with the times.  Look at what JC Penney is doing right now.  A local business did similarly several years ago, lower prices all the time. And they shortened their hours and got rid of their ‘high end’ product lines.  They are STILL in business today.  I sure HOPE JCP figures out a better way to PROMOTE their new sales philosophy, because I really think they are ‘right on the money’ with it.  Their TV ads are just plain STUPID though, and simply do NOT convey the concept in a way that will appeal to today’s shopper.  (IMHO!)

MOST of my personal pricing formula involves TIME.  How much TIME I spend making or re-making something.  The time and gas money I spend hunting all over town for this stuff.  (Which has also changed with the times).  SO, I looked at how “I” like to shop and chose to use that as my pricing model.  I no longer enjoy ‘chasing all over town for special sales’.  I really can’t AFFORD to.  I do not have the TIME or GAS MONEY to waste.  I want what I want when I want it, and I want it at the best price.

THAT is how I price things in my booth at Stars.  I do not participate in the coupon program Stars offers, nor do I participate in their storewide sales.  I did for a while.  Until I realized it really WAS NOT helping my sales any!   It really ‘hit home’ with me one day when I was stocking my space and a customer asked me about a certain item, and if the price would go down.  I politely said no, BECAUSE I offer my lowest price ALL THE TIME.  She LOVED the idea.  Grabbed up the item and said she’d be back.

I think more and more ‘these days’ that people don’t really want to have to shop around or wait for a sale or go shopping JUST for a sale.  Good reasonable prices ALL the time seems to better appeal to today’s shopper.

So, I KNOW that was a ’roundabout’ way of answering anyone’s pricing questions.  But it really IS the best answer I have.

I also price my items according to what I paid for them, and NOT what they are worth.  If I find a vintage McCoy pitcher for a song,  I’ll sell it for a great price; and NOT the $39.00 some antique appraiser will tell you it’s WORTH.  I’m a ‘decorator/designer’, not an antique expert.  I buy the things that ‘catch my eye’, as opposed to looking for ‘investment antiques’.  Nothing wrong with knowing a lot about antiques etc.  I just prefer to spend my time DOING then researching the history/value of items.

The ‘antique market place’ itself has changed a lot in the last twenty years.  Where customers used to look for expensive pieces to ‘collect’ and display like trophies;  these days people are buying antiques to USE and to furnish their homes with.  AND there is a bigger emphasis on the ‘green’ aspect of vintage versus brand new.  AND fixing up old stuff and upcycling it into something useful.

Sure, I’ve probably lost some money because I didn’t know what somethings were worth over the years.  But I’ve also gained a lot of  loyal customers who KNOW they will find a good deal whenever they shop my booth!  That pricing philosophy works for me!

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I like your way of thinking. You not only look out for you, but your customer as well, when it comes to pricing. I never shop at a high end dealer…you are only paying for the name…and the products are usually not what they are cut out to be. Thank you for this blog post…it was a very informative read.

  2. I find it difficult to sell some things, simply due to not very nice customers vocalising, ‘I could get THAT cheaper elsewhere!’ I respond with; “Well, you could but you will have a hard time finding a one off elsewhere!” If I lower my prices then I am not making any profit. I keep my prices down to start with but am finding it harder and harder to sell as our area is becoming flooded with cheap import lookalikes. …sigh…..

  3. […]  That’s another ‘hot’ topic that I get frequent inquiries about.  There is a separate post  about that.  There are MANY who would entirely DIS agree with my pricing philosophy.  But, it […]

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