"Collectors' Discount" - WarmGlass.com

"Collectors' Discount"

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Marty
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"Collectors' Discount"

Postby Marty » Wed Apr 07, 2004 10:05 pm

I just started coming up against this recently: at retail shows buyers are asking for The Discount, not just "can you do any better?" but "can I have a collectors' discount?

First they tell me about their Chihuly, their Moje, their John Kuhn, and then we discuss the work in front of them, and then they ask.

At the galleries, they've become accustomed to getting 10-15% or even more just for asking, and they're carrying it over to direct purchases from the artists.

The obvious answer is to inflate prices at the shows by 15% and just give everyone the discount. That doesn't deal with the problem. If I sell to a gallery, my price is set (it's a wholesale deal and I get paid) and the markup (and subsequent discount) is out of my control. Consigning to a gallery, however, is problematic; I set the retail price and we're back where we started, except now I have a partner in the deal. 5% off my share, 5% off the gallery's? Or should the gallery take the entire hit?
Or should I just go back to the obvious and raise prices, possibly pushing my prices just a little higher than I want them to be?

The few galleries I complained to also bemoaned the situation but seem helpless to do anything about it.

Any thoughts?

Brock
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Re: "Collectors' Discount"

Postby Brock » Wed Apr 07, 2004 10:14 pm

I've come up against this. The gallery wanted to give a discount, and have me eat half of it. Didn't happen. If the gallery wants to reward THEIR clients with an incentive, it's up to them to do so. It has nothing to do, IMO, with the artist, who probably will never meet these clients. Brock
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watershed
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Postby watershed » Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:23 am

If this person is a collector of MY WORK, then I'd cut them some slack. You know, kind of like the lunch cards, buy 10, get one free..... But you have to buy those first 10.... AT RETAIL

If the person is known to you, then feel free. If they are off the street, don't mention seeing your work at X gallery, etc, then they are just cheap. Make them regret it when your work is 10X the price, and they were scrimping and scamming for $10.

And be careful of your gallery contracts. Some of them stipulate NO Discounts in a geographic area. And that's a graceful out, if you need one. (My local galleries require that I give no discounts...)(if you would like to make a private sale of, say $10,000, I can talk to the gallery......)

Greg

Jackie Beckman
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Postby Jackie Beckman » Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:38 am

Marty,

From what I understand, Brock is totally right about this. The common 10% collectors discount is to come out of the gallery's share. Your contract should state that you get 50% (or whatever you've agreed on) of the retail price. If they choose to give a collector's discount, or any discount for that matter, it comes from their share of the retail price. I suspect that "the collector" doesn't just collect your work from the gallery in question, but the work of various artists. Potentially this may amount to several substantial sales for the gallery. It behooves them to give that discount and nurture the gallery/collector relationship.

In a retail situation maybe you can state that your policy is to grant a far more substantial "collector's discount" (perhaps 25%) but only on their third and subsequent purchases from you. That would make them a collector of Marty Kramer's work, affording them a collector's discount. How would you benefit in giving them a discount for collecting William Morris' work, or Klaus'?

Terry Ow-Wing
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Postby Terry Ow-Wing » Thu Apr 08, 2004 1:34 am

:evil: grrr this seems to be just another version of I've got the money and you don't - so if you even want a little of my "vast wealth" I'll make you (artist) pay for it....Althought I have not had the cry of the "collector's discount - when I get rubbed the wrong way (especially for my higher end items)I don't budge at all - and have had the satisfaction of the person always coming back.....and as soon as they leave my booth I usually go ballistic! Look at it this way if a gallery wants to discount - it's just plain businesss but if you discount you are only devaluating your own work - not a happy feeling.
:(

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Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Thu Apr 08, 2004 2:01 am

Hey Marty may I have a fellow artist discount? I'd like to start collecting your work! No, no, no--why does having a Chihuly mean that they should pay less? It should mean that they pay more!! :wink: Your work is too good to be discounted and if they can afford to collect big name glass then they can afford to pay full price. After all why should some rich collector pay less than someone who has less money and saves up to be able to own a piece? I do agree if they collect your work and buy several pieces that a courtesy discount is a nice thing to do. I had someone buy three pieces at once one time and I gave them a good deal on the third piece. I think the "my gallery will not allow me to do that" excuse is a good one. Not that I condone lying or anything :^o
My two cents...
Amy

Marty
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Postby Marty » Thu Apr 08, 2004 8:40 am

Amy- selling to another artist is an entirely different transaction.
And most of those Chihuly buyers did indeed get a discount from the galleries, which is the root of the problem. Are his prices inflated? Most likely, and part of the equation is the discount.

About final control of the retail price: I sold small glass boxes to a shop long ago for $25. He marked them up SIX TIMES to $150!!!! When a customer came into the shop he would tell them about the day's unannounced sale- 50% off- which still left him with a 3x markup. It worked for enough of his merchandise (but not my stuff- I'd warned him it wouldn't work) and enough of his customers.

A few of my galleries are adamant about fixed prices- the work is unique, the artists' output small, if you want this piece then this is the price- but not enough places do that. Taking 10 or 15% off a $2000 piece makes business sense, unfortunately, but does nothing for credibility.

So I guess the answer (thanks Brock, Jackie, and Doug) is to write the discount policy into the contract and let the gallery do what it has to do (and the discount comes out of their pocket).

ellen abbott
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Postby ellen abbott » Thu Apr 08, 2004 9:50 am

I just had an experience with this. I have been picked up by a new gallery for me. I am told that it is a very good contact to have so I am happy about it. I seem to be in good company. I got an e-mail from the owner the other day saying there had been some real interest in one of my high end pieces and would I consider sharing a discount. It's the most recent 'significant' piece I've done, completed in January and was a lot of work. I told her no. I might have been more open to it if it had been hanging around for a couple of years.

On another note, there is going to be a glass show at a gallery here that usually shows paintings and sculpture (not glass). The show is work from a gallery in Chicago that they haven't been able to sell. Dante Marioni, Stephen Powell, Paul Satnkard, Steven Weinberg, Bertil Vallien to name a few. Anyway, this gallery (the one here) doesn't give collector's discounts. The question was brought up in a conversation I was having with some art collector (and glass blower) friends of mine about the work selling here. His comment was...why should collectors buy a piece here for full price and have to pay sales tax when they can patronize an out of state gallery, get the discount, and avoid sales tax.

E
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Kelly Burke Makuch
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Postby Kelly Burke Makuch » Thu Apr 08, 2004 10:56 am

The discount should be a cost of doing business for the gallery owner. I feel deep discounts discredit the gallery as well as the artist. Small discounts 5-10 % should be written into your contract as to be bourne by gallery, unless you agree to split the cost of "doing business" . I feel that splitting costs would be more of an option for someone like me--not established...a gallery you have done business with is just that - a place you've done business with.. I would think at this point in your career you would have more right to say no thanks...
I would ask the gallery if the 15% is total discount they are speaking of. Believe it or not Marty I've been here.....they might be in financial trouble and intending on discounting your work at 30%..Steer clear of this ...Contract Contract Contract....total discount no higher than...blah blah....this way no misunderstanding.......between you and the gallery. They, like you are in the business of making money...of course they're going to ask...
Life---just a game...play well...play often...Kelly Ann : :wink:

Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:39 pm

Marty wrote:Amy- selling to another artist is an entirely different transaction.
And most of those Chihuly buyers did indeed get a discount from the galleries, which is the root of the problem. Are his prices inflated? Most likely, and part of the equation is the discount.

About final control of the retail price: I sold small glass boxes to a shop long ago for $25. He marked them up SIX TIMES to $150!!!! When a customer came into the shop he would tell them about the day's unannounced sale- 50% off- which still left him with a 3x markup. It worked for enough of his merchandise (but not my stuff- I'd warned him it wouldn't work) and enough of his customers.

A few of my galleries are adamant about fixed prices- the work is unique, the artists' output small, if you want this piece then this is the price- but not enough places do that. Taking 10 or 15% off a $2000 piece makes business sense, unfortunately, but does nothing for credibility.

So I guess the answer (thanks Brock, Jackie, and Doug) is to write the discount policy into the contract and let the gallery do what it has to do (and the discount comes out of their pocket).


Marty I was just teasing about the fellow artist discount! I thought you were asking about people who were buying directly from you asking for a discount!! Sorry I must have been confused. The gallery discounts should be in the contract you sign--I've only had one gallery that did that, for interior designers, but it was in the contract right from the get go that they gave them a discount.
-A

charlie holden
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Postby charlie holden » Thu Apr 08, 2004 2:10 pm

On the flip side, do you have a section of your cv that has a Collections heading? They use you, you use them. There is a certain rock and roll star that has an apartment in my city who collects glass and photography. There are at least a couple of articles a year, in the regional papers and magazines, about his collections or his apartment. It would mean nothing in NY if he had one of my pieces, but it would make me a hot item here.

I don't think I would give a discount to an anonymous buyer who claimed to have a Moje. Anybody can claim that. It makes sense that a (trusted) gallery would keep up with which collectors have a name worth listing, and therefore worth the discount.

ch

Dennis Brady
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Postby Dennis Brady » Fri Apr 09, 2004 12:22 pm

You will always be faced with individuals using any excuse they can to "negotiate" a discount. It's always a difficult decision whether to enter into this negotiation or to refuse outright. I recommend refusal.

I believe you will never satisfy those that request a discount by providing one. If you agree to 10 or 15% off, they'll wonder if it might not have been possible to "negotiate" a 20% discount. Instead hold fast with the original price and reply, "I try always to provide the fairest and lowest price to anyone that buys my work. This is it". The prospective buyer then knows they got the lowest possible price. That's what they wanted. Now they're satisfied.
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Jerry Cave
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Postby Jerry Cave » Fri Apr 09, 2004 4:06 pm

I'll give repeat customers a discount. They qualify for the discount after purchasing three pieces. When approached for a discount by a completely unknown they get a story. The story goes:


You ask me for a discount. Do you work for a company? If so, you demand a certain hourly wage or salary comensurate with your position.
How would you feel if one day your boss approached you suggesting that because of the great treatment you received from the company, that you work for free today or possibly the entire week? Thereby giving the company a discount on your work. Would you do it? By asking me to give you a discount, you're asking me to take the same type of paycut.


I've ended several heated discussions over discounts with this. Most times sold the piece in question at full asking price. Truth is, heck no, they wouldn't take a paycut.

Geri Comstock
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Postby Geri Comstock » Fri Apr 09, 2004 9:01 pm

Marty -

Some people will say anything to get a discount and apparently you met someone who's an example of this.

Some artists offer some kind of collector's discount to people who collect that particular artist's work, not just work in that medium. If it's a customer who's bought a number of my pieces, I'd give them a discount if they asked for it (10%). Why not? It makes them feel special and keeps them coming back for more.

Several times I've had people tell me that I shouldn't charge them sales tax (8.25-8.5% in CA) because none of the other artists at that show are. Yeah, right. I haven't backed down about charging sales tax (whether or not I collect it, I have to pay it) and they've always bought anyway. It's just another way of asking for a discount.

People are funny. Laugh.

Geri

Dennis Brady
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Postby Dennis Brady » Fri Apr 09, 2004 9:48 pm

How is a buyer asking one of us for a discount any different than one of us asking our glass supplier for one?
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Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Fri Apr 09, 2004 10:17 pm

This brings up my pet peeve about some galleries. You establish your wholesale price and it is 50% of what you expect retail to be.

Some galleries mark up times three or more and to make it worse, they sell your piece and pay your money to another artist for their work and float it, using your money to fund their business.

Working with pre worked out practices is the only honest way to go. You can agree on the artist's price (wholesale), the retail price and how discounts are paid for. Once that is established, there is no more gray area.

The other side of this is artists selling work on Ebay at wholesale in order to survive a slump. Tough situation.
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Geri Comstock
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Postby Geri Comstock » Fri Apr 09, 2004 10:20 pm

The difference is in the quantity of purchase over a long period of time from business to business. If I just walk into any old glass supplier and ask for a discount without the proof of being in business that they require, I won't get one.

I'm also required to purchase certain amounts to get discounts. At once supplier, I get case prices and a better price if I buy 2 cases, etc., etc. This is a discount on thousands of dollars of inventory, rather than 1 $450 platter or 1 $150 pendant. Very different indeed.

Geri

watershed
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Postby watershed » Sat Apr 10, 2004 1:02 am

But Geri and Dennis, I think this is exactly the same discount. If I buy $1000s of stuff from a supplier, or a client buys $1000s of stuff from me. I think both is fair for an asked discount. Now if you buy $1000s from "Fred's" and $10s from me, there's quite a difference.

My last word

Greg

Terry Ow-Wing
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Postby Terry Ow-Wing » Sat Apr 10, 2004 3:02 am

Got one for laughs. Met a client that bought some of my nicer pieces. The couple asked what kind of glass I used - I said primarily Bullseye. Oh we just had dinner with the owners - we know Lani! .....and Lani said we could have a 50% discount! ....hmmmmI had to think quick - I said as soon as Lani gives me a 50% discount they will get their's - we all had a chuckle!

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jim simmons
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Postby jim simmons » Sat Apr 10, 2004 11:04 am

A local gallerie just phoned me and said that she had a customer that wanted to know if he could get a discount.
I told the gallerie that it was OK with me, but the discount would have to come out of their commission. She said that she couldn't do that, and so I told her "that goes for me to"

The client would up buying the piece at the asking price.
Jim


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