Friday, May 17, 2013

Time to Prune?

You may remember my way-too-angsty decision back in November to raise my prices for the New Year? This has so far been a fine, fine thing, as I've met no real resistance - I'm still selling everything I can make (current work - I haves tons of old inventory), although I make somewhat less stuff. Though I was never aware of hurrying before, I do take more time with each piece now. The higher price point has sort of given me permission to do so, and it seems like, if someone is paying $95 (or more) for a serving bowl, it ought to be a damn fine serving bowl in every detail.

The change has been hard in one way, though: I am only now, as our season here in Maine gears up, realizing that I will have to say goodbye to some old consignment accounts, due to making fewer pots. These are folks I've done business with for awhile; they are friends, and I feel like a jerk saying, Sorry! Demand exceeds supply! On the other hand, consignment requires a ton of ware to be made and sitting on shelves out in the world, while I wait for checks to come in; and it requires a fair amount of maintenance in the form of record-keeping and the switching out of work. If I'm spread too thin, it makes sense for the outlets returning the smallest or rarest checks to get cut.

I'm already getting practiced at the art of saying no to new consignment outlets which contact me, but Good Business demands that I prune existing accounts, too, if they underperform. In my head I know it's better for the stores as well: surely they'd rather use their limted shelf space for work that would fly off, right?

Maybe I won't do it right away. It's May, in Maine; pulling work now gives them a scant couple f weeks before the tourist season begins in earnest on Memorial Day to replace me. That seems like a shitty thing to do. And who knows? Maybe this will be the year that one or more of them really takes off.


Chris said...

So Lori, what do you intend to do with the tons of old inventory? Sell it from home? Sell it from your consignment shops? Take it to the dump? Seems a pity to abandon all that work you've already done because you can't raise the prices on it...serious questions we all face.

June Perry said...

Lori, with you're selling everything you make, one or two of you consignment people might entertain the idea of buying wholesale from you. You can offer to take back work that didn't sell for a period of time and replace it with new pieces. That might make them open to switching from consignment to outright purchase of your work.