I have a gallery story not related to jewelry, although it could be.
I love western wood carvings but never could afford one many years
ago. There was a Gallery in Scottsdale that represented an extremely
talented wood carver named Cecile Wakefield. He carved cartoon
western characters and fantastic realistic western characters. There
was a gunfighter he had carved that was about 24 inches tall. It was
so real that if you looked the carving in the eye you had the feeling
Cecile has shrunk a real person down to 24 inches.
About once every four months I would be in Scottsdale and made it a
point to visit the Gallery and take in his work. I would stand there
and dream of being able to own one of his great wood carvings.
One of the clerks would read the look in my eye and strike up a
conversation thinking she would sell me a piece. As time went on she
became more desperate to make a sale. The conversations always ended
up with her telling me about Cecile’s health disasters
One time he had fallen off a roof and cut his thumb so bad he would
never carve again. Another time he was in an auto accident and would
never carve again. Another time he sliced his hand so bad he would
never carve again. And so it went for several years. Each time I
visited the Gallery I would learn of another disaster that had
happened to Cecile.
Several years later I sat down in a small shop Cecile had opened. I
complimented him on how well he recovered from all his disasters. He
wondered what I was talking about as he didn’t have any disasters.
I recounted all the disasters the clerk told me about.
It was then we realized the Gallery had an interesting selling
technique. It was used as the last resort. When all else fails tell
the potential customer the artist has been hurt and may never create
a new piece of art.
That technique probably worked well in Scottsdale where most
customers are winter visitors from out of state.
Whenever we meet at a show Cecile and I always get a big laugh out
of the Gallery’s selling technique.