How do I set up lay-away?
It’s kind of embarrassing, how unbusiness-like my business is.
However, since I am a one person operation, I can do as I please. If
someone wants one of my pieces and can’t buy it out-right, I ask for
a good faith deposit. The larger the better, of course, but I’ve
bent over backwards at times to make a sale happen, if I feel good
about the person’s responsible attitude. VERY IMPORTANT: I keep the
piece until it’s paid for! Always! That way I don’t have to worry
about chasing someone down to get payment or the piece back. I can
use the piece for exhibitions or wear it myself. I set this up
upfront. I give only credit refunds towards another piece and only if
there is a good reason for it. No, I don’t charge interest.
Some people pay the same amount monthly; some are sporadic. Some pay
in just a few payments over a few months. I just took a down payment
on a piece that is budgeted for a 3 year payout. Ridiculous? Maybe.
This is her 3rd piece from me and we have 2 commissions to come down
the road. Why do I do it? Bottom line, it makes me feel good. It
allows me to be brave with my work, which isn’t a casual purchase
for most people. I only sell retail and at only a handful of shows
per year. I have to generate sales to keep myself relaxed and happy
at the show and to have income all year round. It makes me feel good
to see the surprise and pleasure on a customers face that they can
really have the piece they want. They often return for another, too.
Again, this isn’t a business model you’d take to a bank…but I
answer to no one on this and it’s working out okay for me. Perhaps I
should run it a little tighter. I actually made up my own layaway
agreement form with carbons, I usually send it out when I get home.
The work excites, me; having a great show excites me, taking care of
business is a necessary evil.