Folksy Ltd

Discount at fairs

I had a good day at a fair I sold at recently.
But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t complain about something.
My prices were already rock bottom to tempt more customers, Im barely making pennies profit if theres any profit at all.
2 customers asked for discount.
In 1 case it was clear that the items had already had the equivalent of 20% off, the other sale had 50% off which I pointed out to the customers, they still asked for discount.
1 customer was complimentary about my work, took a card etc but now I realise they were just buttering up.
Being put on the spot is not a comfortable feeling so reluctantly I gave them more money off.
Do you give discount?
If so how much?
Do you only give discount at the end of a fair and possibly lose out on an earlier sale?
If you don’t want to give discount how do you tactfully say that to the potential customer?

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I haven’t done a craft fair for years- lots of reasons, one of which is having to put up with people like that! I’m afraid I’d say ‘no’ and let them take their custom elsewhere. I can’t deal with the feeling I’m being taken advantage of :angry:

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When I set my prices I’m certain in my own mind that the price set is the best I can do, so I’m quite happy to politely say no, and then go on to point out that it’s handmade and hall-mark quality silver… whilst I don’t want to turn away trade I think there’s a bit of a mindset from people wanting something for nothing. Please don’t be persuaded or cajoled into giving a discount that causes you to be disappointed later.
Good luck
Xx

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I tend not to discount when at fairs or markets. If I have to there could be a flash sale at the end of an event but not on anything I consider a main product.

OP, you say it is clear that your prices were already cheap. You should be more positive about your position! If you put something up for 50p but it should be £1 the customer doesn’t know or care.

And using that example, if it cost 25p to make your £1 is a better position to bargain with than a price close to cost.

Be proud of your items!

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I have found this can be a problem depending on the fairs - if they are fairs where there is bought in cheaper items then people will treat it akin to a jumble sale and ask for money off, or try to bargain with you. Those sort of fairs are to be avoided IMHO!

I have had people pull faces at my prices or comment on how expensive they are, but I explain they are individually made and therefore unique. I’m confident in my items and people either “get” handmade OOAK items or they don’t. I know how much they cost to make including my time, and I think my items are worth the money I charge. I try not to take these people’s comments personally, they are just not my target customer.

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Yes!!!

The type of event often dictates the type of customer. Not necessarily a bad thing but OP may find more mileage in looking for stalls that target a specific segment or have a more varied footfall.

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I sometimes think that we put too much pressure on ourselves to do fairs in desparation to achieve sales and end up doing any fair rather than those that are suitable for our product. That was certainly true for me when I started out and I got many people pulling faces at my prices (but not asking for discounts) but now I am much more picky about which I do and as a result people don’t question my prices as they understand the nature of handmade.
I’ve been asked for a discount twice - on both occasions the people were buying multiples (3+) of an item and they were items that I had sold wholesale so I knew I had a chunky profit margin to play with. I offered a discount equivalent to the commission I pay here and they were happy with that. If it had been any other item or they had just been buying a single one I would have politely said sorry I don’t do discounts.

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I’ve had more people asking about discounts this year than in the past, even though I’m very picky about which events I do. It’s a question that always makes me really really uncomfortable, I haven’t found a good way to say no yet and I always end up apologising and then feeling that I shouldn’t have apologised…

I do have a wholesale-retail price structure so I have a decent profit margin built in to my pricing. But that part of the price is what is paying me to stand there all day and covering my table fee etc etc so it’s not really ‘spare money’ anyway, I don’t want to work for nothing. Especially as it can be really hard work and long days at this time of year.

I think I need to sit down and come up with a good reply and then practice it on friends and relations!!!

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I’ve only ever been asked once about giving a discount. My reply was something like “If you plan to spend over £100 we might be able to offer a small discount” (said with a smile). They didn’t.

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No one has ever asked for a discount at a fair, but have recently been asked if a folksy sale code could be applied to a private commission (no!!). I think it’s so cheeky people have asked!

If someone spends a lot on my stall I’ll sometimes knock any 50p or pound off but I don’t tell them that until they come to pay. I already gave a sale box so if someone doesn’t want to pay the full price they have options.

I really feel for you having been put in that situation, your goods are lovely quality and your prices are already fair, and would still be fair at a higher price! What cheeky folk!

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When I done fairs I only ever gave discounts on multiple items but only if it wasn’t asked for. If ever I was asked for a discount (which wasn’t very often) I would just say ‘sorry but my prices are as low as I can go’ x
Don’t feel bad about not giving in to someone trying to guilt you xx

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Oh that’s perfect Christine, I might have to steal it :smile:

I spoke to someone a little while ago who sells online only and often does sales- she said it’s gotten to the point where she can’t actually sell anything when she doesn’t have a sale anymore because of her online social media presence, people simply wait expecting her to have a sale. She said nowadays she never sells anything for the full price anymore. So she literally finds herself having a sale once a month almost for a few days just to sell something. So maybe it’s just a careful balance?
But no, I don’t bother. Never have. And since I’m no longer able to sell on Folksy, I only sell through galleries in the UK. So they add a commission- usually 35%. So that will get added on to how much I want for each print. So a £50 print for example will sell for say £80 in the gallery. The only way I do any sort of discount is if a friend buys some work from me and then I’ll sell it to them for the £50.
I find as a one-man show so to speak, if I want to make money and take what I do seriously so that I can have it as a full time job, I’m unable to sell at a discount. I’ve also never been asked for a discount at a fair/market. And personally, I’d only ask for that if it was something like a car boot sale- where to me, the norm is definitely to barter! Haha

It’s really interesting to read other people’s approaches and how they manage things, possibly something for me to think about in the future if I’m making enough to live off. I do wonder though whether sometimes people feel forced into offering sales because it’s normal for shops to, so customers sort of expect it. I know I did genuinely think about it once but my husband (who also makes things so knows the time and effort that goes into it) convinced me not to.

Anyway- sorry for waffling! I can’t get on here much these days! Haha

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I had to discount by a little yesterday as a £13 price ticket had fallen onto the £16 cross my customer was buying and she genuinely thought that was what it was. As she bought another small piece as well I sold it her for £14 but normally I see no reason at all to discount.
My prices are what they are, I have no reason to reduce them.

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Thanks for the replies. I clearly need to practice tactfully saying no.

I wish id said to one customer ‘well you could pay the usual full price of £38, or the £19 that Im selling them for today’. Too rude?

Do any of you put notices on your stall? Ive heard of a notice that says something like ’ please do not ask for discount as refusal often offends’. Or, ‘prices vary depending on the attitude of the customer’.

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I had someone looking at my scarves on Friday evening - not a potential customer as at the outset they said they were too expensive - and then started asking about how they were made and how long they took. When I explained they then said they thought that actually they were very reasonably priced! I think a lot of people are so used to seeing cheap mass produced goods that they don’t realise how much time and effort goes into hand made goods - offering discounts doesn’t help in my opinion as it makes it appear you have a large profit margin to work with (unless of course you do!)

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I’ve never been asked for a discount but I’m regularly handed a note that will not cover what they are hoping to buy. It happened yesterday - twice, despite a clear price list that everyone could easily see

I don’t think that’s too rude, no more than asking for the discount in the first place! Or you could phrase it as ‘I’ll give you a 50% discount on the normal price of £38’ and let them do the maths :wink:

But I don’t think I’d ever offer that sort of discount, it would mean I was standing there for free instead of being at home in the warm…

I sometimes give my first customer of the day a little bit of discount also if for example someone buys a large amount of decorations and the total is a really weird amount I’ll take off the odd few pennies.
I had a fair yesterday and wasn’t having a good day, it started at 11am and was due to finish at 7pm. It was freezing cold and sales were slow, but about an hour before it was all due to finish this women with her baby, her husband and her mother came to my stall to look at my Tree Skirts. She was wanting it as a cape for her baby. I said she could have it for £12 instead of £15, she just kept haggling anyway in the end she offered me £10, I was so fed up how the day had turned out I just gave in to her and let it go for £10. I did regret once they’d left my stall, but at the end of the day it was a sale which may not have happened if I hadn’t given in.

Personally I wouldn’t as I think that gives a defensive air and you don’t need to be defensive over your prices.