An honest letter about sales.
It has always been my desire to run this business ethically and transparently. Commerce is not a very ethical place. It's actually a pretty scary place full of dangerous (but fascinating) concepts like 'consumer psychology.' I've read a lot about that in the last couple of years and I still routinely fall prey to good deals and time-limited offers. Even though I know what's happening I am still not immune!
I’ve spent a whole lot of time (probably too much) wondering about sales and discounts. For ease of reading, for the rest of this letter I'm going to use the term 'sale' in the sense of 'discount.' How many sales is enough? How many is too many? How do I price my products so that I don’t lose money when they go on sale? How do I keep my art affordable for the many, many customers who would like to buy some (or add to their collections.) When I started out in this business, I thought sales were kind of a mandatory part of doing business – a necessary evil. So, I ran them. Customers loved them. They were wildly busy weeks with my phone screeching *ka-ching!* so often that I had to turn it off because the dopamine highs and lows of the intensity of the sales was overwhelming. The time packing and posting on those hectic weeks overwhelmed our family and took time from our priorities - spending precious time together. See, we’ve had some pretty big health scares in the last couple of years and we know (in a very keen, real, smack you in the face kind of way) how short and precious life is and how every day we have together as a family (with no one missing) is a precious one.
I paid business strategists to help me craft those sales that were simply irresistible. It worked. Over and over and over again. But it cost us all the things I’m no longer willing to pay: peace of mind, time together, focus on my family, worry of finances and worry for my customers.
At the end of it all I wondered if the joy my customers felt was temporary or if they might ever regret buying due to fomo instead of because they really loved an artwork and knew it would dwell with them, in their home, with joy, for many years to come. I don’t ever want people to buy my art at the wrong time for them and then regret it. Regret looks really bad on the wall.
It is always the right art at the right time. So, if it isn’t the right time? Then that art must not be for you. Your art just hasn’t been painted yet! I’m working on it.
When I announced I wasn’t going to do print sales any more the backlash was wild from some people. I understand that. I LOVE a good sale myself and our family budget often means we have to wait until a sale or simply miss out on ‘want’ items. I acknowledge the lack of sale times will mean that my art becomes out of the range of affordability for some and that’s sad. Although, saving for things feels great and great art? It's definitely worth the wait (and the careful budgeting!) On the plus side, I want to limit the impact of rising production and freight costs though so by not having sales I can stretch out the time between price increases.
Then we come to original artworks and I acknowledge that I'm in the most fortunate position where most of my pieces sell on the day they are released, from time to time pieces don’t sell straight away and that’s ok, too... but eventually I need to clear space in my studio. We can’t keep all the art (Seamus says 'no!') and for a small business, cash flow is always important. Having lots of originals sitting in a store room isn’t ideal. What I’m intending to do is to offer these pieces for sale once per year only. This year, that was 16-18 September. Next year, it will be in August (in case you are saving up!)
I’ve debated this over and over and tossed it around and around in my head because frankly, sales give me the yucks. I think this is a really great middle ground though because it still means there is one opportunity for bargains in the year (fun!) but it means that the rest of the time you know exactly where you stand and you’ll not be buying a piece the day before a sale and then being cross that you didn’t wait one more day for the discount! I don’t want you to ever feel tricked or manipulated into buying art. That’s not my jam at all.
In TOTAL transparency…We will also continue to offer the following discounts:
- 10% off for leaving a review on our website (because reviews are SO SO SO important for helping other collectors to select artworks for their own homes and we are genuinely, immensely grateful to beautiful humans who take the time to leave them.
- 15% off for your first order. This is because we just KNOW that once you see the quality of our prints and originals in real life you’ll understand why they have been so wildly popular and why we have sold thousands and thousands in just a couple of short years.
- There will be some Christmas gift voucher for the Deviners on my email list each year as a Christmas ‘thank you’ from us.
Having said all of that, I reserve the right to run a panic sale if someone in my family becomes unwell and we end up with massive medical bills as we have in the past and suddenly need some more funds. I am the only provider for my family of 5 and that’s a really big fear I live with, you know? I really hope that never happens but if it does, I pray you’ll extend me grace and understanding.
A big thank you to my beautiful collectors who have been with me through my first 5 years of business and struggling to find the balance between 'feeding my family' and the most ethical business practice I can think of.