A Loss Leader is defined by an article sold at cost that leads the customer to other more profitable purchases (r1). For instance; XBox consoles are sold below cost (materials and labor) but is made up in the very profitable, high selling, video games. In the handmade market, it can be priced high or low; it doesn't have to be cheap, it just has to be popular with your buyer. A sculpture that sells well at a trade show priced at $100 is positioned strategically in the sellers booth to catch the attention of their buyer and move them forward onto sculptures that have a much greater profit margin.
Let's translate this to our niche of handmade jewelry. As a jewelry designer you may have one of a kind pieces. They took for-ev-er to design and even longer to assemble, their worth and their cost is and should be pretty high. But a booth full of high end designer jewelry is only going to attract one type of buyer. There are only so many collectors of high end artisan jewelry and unless you want to keep going home with containers full of gorgeous jewelry, you will need to work for a variety of buyers.
That brings us back to your loss leaders. An item that is popular, can be created quickly and priced effectively, therein catching the eye of a broad range of buyers. One of my past loss leaders were pendants. I could create nearly 10 to 12 an hour and their low cost in materials made for an attractive low price. I used them in booths and online. There were a lot of them and their bright colors and bold graphics were eye-catching to a lot of people. They led the buyer in to more elaborate pieces that sold for higher profit, not as often, but they still sold.
Think about your skills, what you enjoy doing, what simple jewelry item can be created in large production and offered at an attractive price to a variety of buyers; simple charm bracelets, briolettes on lever backs, pendants with add on chains. My plan for my own loss leaders this year is to utilize all the fantastic talents being offered in the art bead community which will serve a duel purpose of supporting other artists while still appealing to a broad range of buyers.
|Bronze Clay Worry Bead by Jennifer Tough|
Hours later as we pass this glass artists booth while leaving, I see they have sold out of tiny bowls and their baskets of mini glass ornaments have dwindled considerably. I look in the booth and see 5 empty places where huge art glass bowls had hung. Without knowing exactly what they brought in money wise, I knew they had a good show. This is a perfect example of the loss leader pricing strategy working for the artist.
I hope this article helps you consider a way to become more profitable at your next show while still staying true to your authentic self.
Much Love & Respect,