May I suggest that the next time someone says that to you, ask them
what price will suit them, then design to that range.
Thanks Marrianne. That is very sound advice, and fundamental to the
whole process. I’ve just looked at my emails, and of all the many
questions I asked her, budget was not one of them. I should have
known better, as I used to do garden design, for which there were
also many questions to ask, to ascertain exactly what the client was
after, and of course budget was a very important one. I’ll hopefully
remember to ask that next time.
Good luck with the pendent re-design....
It’s not being redesigned Thomas. It’s exactly what she asked for and
is a very popular pendant I make on a regular basis. It was just an
issue of size. She agreed to a price but then tried to say that she
thought it was roughly half of that price, ie the price of the much
smaller one she had initially chosen. She was basically trying it on.
I’m just so glad my husband didn’t actually let her have it for that.
I’m going away to a convention for the weekend and it is going with
me, where I will hopefully sell it.
Jo Haemer said
I'm afraid it all went wrong from the first when you sold your old
stuff off at a heavily discounted price to folks who wanted more of
your lovely work.
So true Jo. I hadn’t thought of that, but I know in hindsight that
you are spot on. Fortunately, there are a few people at Darren’s
work who do value my work, and another lady would have bought it on
the spot had she had the cash on her - she looked in her purse
apparently and was gutted she didn’t have enough. She was also
disgusted that the other woman couldn’t see the value of the piece.
I’ve offered to make her one if it sells this weekend.
Now I have to call a "friend" and tell her I can no longer do
business with her because she's bounced a second check on me...
That’s a very uncomfortable position to be in, and one reason I
really don’t like doing business with friends and family too. I’m
afraid I’m far too soft on people who are close to me. Darren’s
colleagues fortunately don’t count as close people, as apart from
one, I’ve never met any of them, so they are simply customers.
However, one of my problems, is that I don’t actually get to speak to
them - a situation which frustrates and infuriates me to put it
mildly. They are my customers, but for some reason, my husband has
not up to now, given me people’s email addresses (apart from the
pearl necklace lady). So, I make things for them, and Darren
delivers messages both ways, often getting things very wrong, or
forgetting to pass either way. It’s a disaster! I’ve told
him that I NEED to speak to them about their orders, but he won’t
oblige. He doesn’t want to get into trouble for doing business on
the side - he’s a police officer. So when all this kicked off the
other day, I asked repeatedly for her email address, and I would have
politely and professionally explained things to her from a different
perspective. It would have helped the situation, even if she had not
changed her mind. But he wouldn’t let me contact her. I’ve told him
that I am not prepared to do business this way and that I MUST have
their contact details if anybody is interested in purchasing my
Hear, hear! I learned that lesson last year while making my
mother-in-law's custom necklace. :(
Glad it’s not just me Lorraine! I’m going to have to be very tough
when I quote my relatives for their wedding rings in the next month.
I will quote realistic prices for what I am capable of achieving and
send them elsewhere if they want anything different. I’m no longer
prepared to compromise my prices or what I will do, just for the
sake of a sale. It’s a recipe for worry, misery and sleepless
personally i would give her all her money back for everything put
them back to stock at their proper price, ill bet u will sell them
(karma) dont let it put u off helrn just be aware of those sharks
outthere and dont be afraid to lose an order"
Hi Ray. She’d already paid for her earrings and was extremely happy
with them. Apparently she spent all morning going round the room
singing my praises, telling everyone how much she loved her earrings
- after she had had such a argument with my husband about the agreed
price of the pendant!!! I was not going to let ten hours worth of
work go for UKP 20 and know that I will sell it for its proper price
to someone who appreciates it. I don’t mind losing a sale now. As I
said above, I won’t compromise anymore, as I know it’s worth more
than I’m asking for it anyway, so I certainly won’t be accepting
anything less. The special introductory prices have ceased to exist.
Good to hear from you Ray.
After awhile I got to where I would then ask them what they did for a
living, and respond such as ‘Well, then, would you come over and
paint my house for free?’. That stopped it.
Touche Michael! Sadly, we’re talking about police officers, whose
services are offered free of charge to the public! Some of them
understand the concept of handmade, but others clearly don’t. If
they don’t, they can go to the cheapy places to buy their jewellery.
sometimes, if I sense that a customer is not serious, then I will
actually needle them slightly, and try to end the conversation
within 60 seconds. if it is going to be a waste of time, seriously,
i would rather sit around and do nothing, than waste my time. it
sounds callous to articulate it as such, but after going through
various stories such as yours, then the doing nothing is better
than wasting your time. it also conserves your mental energy for
when the right customer comes along.
Hi Mark, no I don’t think it sounds callous at all, I think if you
know the transaction is going to fail down the line, then it makes
sense to cut it short very quickly. Unfortunately, as explained
above, I didn’t actually get to communicate with her myself. I have
refused to do business that way from now on.
it wasn't too long ago you were faced with the same beginners'
frustrations that many here voice. Now you're being burned by the
customer. Hey Congratulations, that's a rite of passage! You're
officially a jeweler!
Yay, thanks Neil!
if the inventory is very special the perceived value of custom goes
way up. But ya gotta come thru. Presentation and delivery.
The pendant she ordered and the larger one I subsequently made for
her, were in a different league quality wise, as my work has come a
long way since I made the early pieces. Not only did the larger one
have approximately twice (probably more) the amount of solid silver
in it, but it was clearly a far more professional piece, as were the
earrings I’d made her - which she also loved. How she could possibly
think the new pendant should be the same price as the smaller, more
"rustic" looking one, I can’t imagine. But suffice to say, there
were other people in the room drooling over it, saying it was worth
at least what I was asking for it, so there are folks who can
perceive the value of what I’m making, and those folks have been
buying pieces too fortunately.
Why would they pay UKP 800 to buy a ring from me, if they can pay
UKP 200 and get it from Argos or a TV shopping channel?
You’re so right Lilia. Some folks just don’t get it, and will never
get it, no matter how much you try and explain it to them.
Fortunately for them, there are outlets who cater to their needs,
but I would rather they didn’t waste our time with their
unreasonable demands. My hubby says that she knew full well the price
and he made sure of that a few times. She was just trying it on,
hoping that I was soft enough and desperate enough for a sale, that
she could pretend she thought it was less, and that I’d go for it. I
guess it was more the fact that I’d put everything (including working
on other orders) on hold and spent ten hours making it for her. One
of my children had to cook the family’s evening meal (which they do
regularly anyway, but I was going to cook that night) and I couldn’t
spend the evening with my husband and children, because she wanted
this pendant the next morning. Guess I was just feeling sorry for
myself. But I wouldn’t have minded my ruined day in the slightest,
had I been paid for the work I’d done. C’est la vie.
Thanks to all for your support on this and every other issue. It’s
much appreciated. Some valuable lessons learned for next time.
Hopefully I’ll have some more successful custom experiences soon - I
hope so, as I have a number of them in the pipeline!