Everyone knows about Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Many an Indie crafter lives for these three days to make their numbers go into the black and sell out their fall and winter stock. We love any reason to be able to make more soap. Really. We are obsessed and unashamedly so. Still, there comes a time when the shelves are groaning, there’s a small narrow path from bed, to bath, to kitchen, to front door and room for little else because of all the inventory we’ve feverishly crafted for the past three months so we’ll be ready when the clock chimes midnight on the night after Thanksgiving. That’s when chaos rules. But we love it.
So you’ve spent a lot of money on ingredients, the best that money can buy, little extras you hope will make others squeal with unabashed glee when they open their boxes, made things at a frenzied pace for weeks in early fall or late summer, all with Christmas or wintry themes. Observers scratch their heads in confusion, glance at the calendar and walk away hoping you’ll come back to reality soon. But you know what you’re doing. You’ve planned great things for this holiday shopping season. Big plans and now the game is afoot. The calendar has now flipped over into November.
The turkey’s gone, the dressing is drying out on the table. Coffee mugs rest abandoned and cold. Football plays on the television in a room nearby but the cheers are overlaid by the distinctive sounds of snoring. You know what’s going on in there and it’s all about the tryptophan. Ah well. You’re ready to makes really right with your business world.
Time to set out the packing materials. Wait for midnight when you can begin lining up those emails from orders that begin pinging into your inbox. You’ve prepared for this. You made beautiful things that everyone loves and set up coupons for real deals on all those little lovelies that you hope they just have to have!
Let’s think about that for a bit. You’ve worked hard, created those items, building them from a tiny kernel of an idea that you stewed over, losing sleep, making notes late into the night. You’ve lost time with family, hubby, pooch, grandbabies too maybe (depending on your age) that you can never get back but you did so willingly because this is your career and you love your work. It’s your purpose and feeds that deep-seated need in your soul to provide something to others that they cannot find or have been searching for before stumbling across your website/Facebook page/YouTube channel/whatever. You bounce out of bed every morning to do this and yet you want to sell these things short? You decide to use a coupon code and be a part of the shoppers rush even though you know your products are worth every bit of time, effort, stock, labour, blood sweat and tears at their original price.
Hm, what is missing here? What am I not comprehending fully? Yes, a sale is a good thing and at this time of year, it’s a way of life now. If you don’t have a sale price, well, you will lose business. On Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday it’s all about the sales numbers. It isn’t about the product anymore. It’s about the price point. Somehow, though you know that consumers love a good deal. With luck, if they come to you now and like what they get, they’ll come back again throughout the rest of the year.
We as business owners & crafters are keenly aware of how much consumers love a bargain and we do as much as we can to give them one because we love what we do. This is the heart of our deal. They buy from us, at a slightly lower price for this one weekend out of the month of November and we will be happier for knowing we gave them more for their hard-earned money and they still have a wonderful gift for their giftee for all that work on both ends.
Using coupons and sale prices was a tough call for me this year. Frankly I can’t afford to offer coupons or reduced prices, but I also know there is a bit of room for compromise to be able to sell my products, still be compensated for all the superior quality ingredients I use in each of them, the time it took to craft them all from scratch and still be able to pay my electric bill at the end of the month. But some other deals had to fall by the wayside. Ideas were toyed with then scrapped for lack of funds. It’s been a long, hard, expensive drive to the end of this year and I still hope I can remain in this a good bit longer. As the others, I love what I do. I’m not ready to stop. There are too many really great ideas and new things I want to offer yet it was becoming clear that things must change or it will be lights out for my business that’s struggled for so long.
Using coupons or running sales, offering give-aways are good things, but they don’t have to happen all the time. Free shipping will have to be applied only to larger orders that will qualify for it. Keeping the sales to the holidays, offering free shipping for larger orders will be the new rule for Neecy’s Necessities if I want to stay in business at all. It’s a painful reality, but a very realistic one from a business standpoint. I know what my customers are getting when they order from me and I’m confident they’ll love it once they’ve discovered it, so my prices, while lower than some are still competitive, not too low, not too high and can withstand three days of sale price levels once a year. It’s a compromise I do for my customers and perhaps in the future I’ll offer something else instead, perhaps loyalty points or a buy this many, get that free.We
We’ll see what the future holds for Neecy’s Necessities and in the meantime I wish for you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.