So I recently had another artist ask me why print artists discount multiple quantities. In years of doing this, all the print artists I knew did some sort of discount. The most common one I see and that I myself use is
- 1 for $10
- 2 for $15
- (3 or) 4 for $20
Now the question wasn’t about the profit margin. Clearly when selling in multiples, these items are taking a pretty tremendous cut in profit. That shouldn’t be too big of a deal, assuming you aren’t overpaying for your prints. I pay .50 per 12x18 through my local printer, and I know some who pay even less because they order larger runs. If you’re getting your prints through a chain like Fedex or Staples for $2-3 per piece, it might be tougher to convince you to sacrifice your smaller margin.
By the way, anyone reading this and thinking, “Well why am I paying $10 if it only costs you .50?” It’s because you’re not paying for the paper or the ink. You’re paying for the 20 hours of work. Blah.
So they asked, why not just price all your prints at $5? You’d be making the same as if you sold 4 for $20.
Truth is, most of us don’t have enough prints for people to even find 4 they want. Right now I only have 36 prints and many are original. Seldom I get someone who can find 4 they want, or a group of friends who want to split 4. For the most part, people will find 1 or maybe 2. This is good, sort of. If 90% of your customers are only buying 1, you’re still making $10 per print. If you just dropped your price to $5 each with no discount, you’d only make half that. Just business.
Not to mention people LOVE deals. It’s a good marketing incentive to spend a little more. I do quantity discounts for most items, but I try to keep the numbers rounded to fives. It’s easier to keep track of and you don’t handle as many ones. It’s also easier for someone to hand you a $5 bill than four ones or a five and a one. My current setup:
11x14 prints: (stated above)
Buttons: $1 or 6 for $5
Bookmarks: $2 or 3 for $5
Notebooks and Necklaces: $5
Earrings: 1 for $10, 2 for $18, 3 for $25
Another trick, my earrings use to be $8, no discount. I upped the base price to $10 to make up for the loss when people buy more than 1 pair. While I sell more 3-pairs at a time, it doesn’t cut too much into my profits because enough people will still just pay $10 for one.
What about Sunday discounts? Half off everything that didn’t sell!
My opinion about Sunday sales are to avoid them unless you’re not going to have another show in the foreseeable future. Sure it’s nice to walk off with that $50 extra dollars at the end of the weekend, but it will loom over you that you could’ve sold it for more later. You still put work into it, you still deserve to be paid.
These last minute discounts, for some, are just for fun. They do this as a hobby and would rather get their stuff out there and appreciated than miser over the nickels and dimes. That’s cool too. Just not for me, or recommended for anyone actually trying to maintain multiple conventions as a source of income.
I do feel that a lot of convention attendees (only applies at anime cons) wait until Sunday to buy things because they hope you’ll be slashing prices. That pretty much means the first half of your weekend trying to sell at a normal price was wasted on quite a few people. In order to keep the value of the artist alley as a whole, I feel that no one should do such a predictable discount. Plus even if people intend to come back on Sunday to “check it out”, a lot of them forget. There are a gazillion other things going on for them to be occupied with and maybe their friends don’t feel like walking across the hotel to visit the AA again. Rely on selling your items throughout the weekend, not just at the last minute bash you’re wanting to throw. Desperation makes for later regrets.
Anything not sold this weekend is stock for the next weekend.