The morning that I was supposed to fly to Vegas, my babysitter calls me and relates enough medical symptoms to qualify her for intensive care.
No babysitter, nobody to call, and a plane to catch for the MAGIC/Accessories Show. I have to go - I'm showing my latest jewelry designs at a booth, and I've been working for months to get ready.
In desperation, I call the airline. They say "yes," they'll let me take Tommy, my one-year-old, with me. I call my hotel in Vegas; "yes," they can provide a highly-recommended babysitter. Wow, this is going to work out!
The first day of the show is great! The babysitter is a lovely lady, and my customers absolutely love the new designs. Then, the babysitter calls and says she has to leave just after lunch the next day. This won't work at all!
This is how Tommy ended up going to his first jewelry show. He's a good baby, but between crawling and walking, he was everywhere - and I was totally frazzled.
Three hours later, I'm feeling worse. I'm at that stage between screaming and crying - I know you have all been there.
Just then, two young women walk up to the booth with big smiles on their faces, and their hands extended. "Hi," one of them says. "We are Jessica and Robyn, from Fire Mountain Gems. We know you are a good customer, and we wanted to meet you."
I snapped around and shouted in their faces, "You're too expensive!"
Their smiles and their hands slowly drooped. Robyn said, "Really? Everyone we've talked to at the show has been telling us we have the best prices." Jessica asked, "Are you talking about certain products, or everything?"
I told them about the gem briolettes that I use. "When I buy these stones, I only need 6-8 strands at a time. I can't buy 15 strands at a time, much less 50 or 200 strands to get the manufacturer's discount. This is your most expensive price--the first price on the far left. Frankly, I'd like to buy everything from you, but I can get them cheaper."
"But Tammy," (not my real name) "you buy hundreds of items with each order," said Robyn. "You don't get charged the first price--you probably pay the fourth price."
"Here, let me show you," Jessica told me. She pulled a small laptop out of her roller bag, and said she would pull up my account. This took some extra time, because my son, Tommy, smashed his hand down on the keyboard.
Jessica showed me my last order on the screen. "Look, you've actually been paying the lowest price - the fourth price - for everything you buy. You buy over 100 items with every order, so you pay the 100+ price for everything."
My head was pounding worse. "You mean the discounts are based on the total number of items I buy, not the quantity of each item?"
"Right on!" said Robyn, as she pulled out a Fire Mountain catalog. She flipped to a page called "Assortability" that talked about "mix and match." The page was full of charts of numbers and explanations. I never read pages like that - I'm too busy making jewelry.
We're back home now. The show was great, and Tommy loved Las Vegas. I promised myself I'd write this letter. Sorry it is so long, but I thought it was important. Thank you, Jessica and Robyn. I'm embarrassed to use my real name.
Best of luck,
|We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, "You're Too Expensive!" featured in a newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.|
"Hi! I really loved reading this letter.... I'm sure just having the circumstances explained to her (Tammy) helped make her day go a little better....
I love FMG, but I do have one small gripe... as far as the "you're too expensive" thing goes... I'm a hobbyist jewelry maker, and don't always order large quantities of things. Sometimes I just need a strand of something, or some clasps, or maybe a small assortment of Swarovski. Yet, I still have to pay $5-7 shipping even for these very small orders. It isn't cost efficient for me. I can appreciate the flat rate shipping and what it does for customers that order a bunch, but us small time folks need a break on shipping for smaller orders. It drives me into going to other sites that offer less or free shipping.
Again, I love your site... and this letter! Thanks, "
"I was under the same mistaken impression regarding pricing that this writer was. It's the reason I've held off of ordering from you! Now I am far more likely to order from Fire Mountain--and enjoy the luxury and affordability of larger orders!
Thank you for sharing the clarification. :)"
"Tell "Tammy" she's not the ONLY one who didn't understand the pricing structure. Excellent article and cleared up a lot of "grumbles" and questions from me as well."
"I thought the story about assortability pricing was excellent. I didn't know that and I appreciate the clarification!"
"Super idea! Helpful to those of us who want a few of many different items!!"
"Dear Tammy(Tennessee), folks at Fire Mountain and Fire Mountain customers,
I have a small jewelry business, only doing about 10 Fall shows in the Detroit Metro area. I have a wonderful, loyal client base which is getting bigger through word of mouth. My sales are certainly not limited to just those shows.I have been in love with the Fire Mountain catalogs and the website for quite a while now. I love the All-Assortable pricing on each and every item. I usually order in the 15 - 50 item range. Getting to the 100+ category requires foresight and planning, deciding which items you can afford to stock up on, the 'necessities' you'll always need.
Just recently I decided to stock up on items in preparation for my late summer beading frenzy and was surprised that I had over 100 items. Another 100 items for the top discount seemed too far away. Just for the heck of it I put in 100 items of a $1 product. WOW.....really WOW. My savings was over 50% of the total $$ amount. I did not continue to purchase the 100 items @ $1, but hunkered down, did my math and ordered everything I could possibly need, and then some (of course), from pricing tags to a brass earring 'carousel', from wonder beads to fine quality gemstone beads. My savings was still at 50%!! Yes, the order exceeded $500, but I received over $1,000 worth of merchandise.
Now I keep a running list of items that will fill my next shopping cart. It won't be every time that I make it to ordering 100 items, but I know that I am paying less than the local bead shops charge and am getting quality merchandise. $5 flat rate shipping is not a bad deal either!
Fire Mountain staff, my hats off to you. I can tell you love what you do........and I bet it's fun getting your picture taken wearing an exquisite piece of jewelry for us to admire in the catalog. A Fire Mountain Bead-aholic,"
"No, not a question. You requested feedback and this is it. The letter "You're Too Expensive!" was excellent. I'd probably never have realized about your pricing structure if I hadn't been hooked by the letter's title, and read it. :)"
"I am SO happy to see this article. I too have always thought that Fire Mountain was too expensive so I buy from other wholesalers that I deal with at the gem shows or go to my local bead shops around the Phoenix area. I'm sorry to say that I even discourage new beaders from ordering from Fire Mountain because I have always thought the prices were too high"
"I liked the article because I was unaware of the way you price things, too, just like the lady in the story."
"Great article! I LOVE your mix and match assortability pricing! It makes a huge difference and allows me to keep my prices lower. Other bead retailers only give a discount if you buy several of the same item or don't offer a bulk discount at all. Thank you Fire Mountain!"
"Fabulous letter--we've all been there. After my first order, I figured out how the pricing works. Amazing--and I love your products. Some things I can get here for less, but for the most part you have the best pricing."
"This was great. And quite humorous. I already knew about the way the quantities add up because my boss got me hooked on Fire Mountain. Thanks for the great article."
"I did not know this either--very good info. I also thought you had to buy so many of the same item for the discount! Thanks for clearing it up!!"
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