general design discussion • Re: Where to sell high end furniture?

iab wrote:
In a previous life, long before etsy, I sold studio furniture through galleries and art shows. I would never go back to a gallery (I had a bad experience), but I really enjoyed the shows. I still have my 10×10 white tent (I think pretty much still required today). The people watching is almost worth the price of admission.

What I found to be the best strategy to to offer goods at three general price points. This was a while ago, so maybe adjust for inflation, but the ranges were $50-$100, $400-$500 and $800-$1000. I’d have 20-30 pieces at the low end, 10-20 at the mid range and maybe 5-7 at the high end. And of course I would give quotes on the fly for anything and I did receive a $5K commision once.

Once, I did a show in quite a wealthy area, so I came in with almost exclusively in the high range. Didn’t sell a single one. While at other “lower income” shows, I would always sell at least one and typically 2 or 3. The next year I tried the usual mix, and wouldn’t you know it, I sold a lot at the high end.

I really believe if you offer them something low and compare what you get when you spend more, and the difference is significant, it generates business. I look at your site and see an extra $200 will get me longer legs. Where’s the value? I know we can get into a pissing match about “value”, but when you offer a singular style or function, it is easy to call you on petty things. Consider adding clocks, coat racks, beds, mirrors, shelves and even tiny things like bookends and candle holders. Expand the empire, a “single” offering will get passed by quickly.

Great stuff, thanks for the information.

I had honestly hoped that the nightstand would be my “cheaper” stuff, but the cost ended up being higher than I had hoped and then the costs for the other pieces weren’t dramatically higher, even though they’re much larger. I guess this makes sense when I consider labor costs a lot more than material and they’re all pretty similar build, just longer cuts.

But either way, what you’re saying about offering something else makes a lot of sense. Even if my nightstand came in where I wanted it to be cost wise, it would be good to have something different, style wise.

Unfortunately I don’t have the time/equipment to make them myself and can’t afford at this point to make the furniture before its bought, so doing different things is difficult. I’ll take a deeper look into it.


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