Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gold - Silver - Bronze

Every two years, we gather around our TVs to watch athletes compete in the Olympics. I'm always awed by the dedication and effort it takes to be the best in the world. 

I know you are dedicated and work hard to give your customers the best, too.   Like an athlete, you prepare for the "race" by understanding your client's needs and budget.  What do you do when a customer loves your gold medal design but the price tag is too high?  Do you immediately lower your mark-up or reduce the number of design hours hoping the customer goes for the lower price? 

Rather than cutting your profit, consider offering a silver or bronze option.  Fabric and trim are often the first place to start.  Look for fabrics with a different fiber content.  Here are three similar looking fabrics with very different prices.   
Drapery hardware is also available in a wide range of price points.  I carry hardware lines that offer hand carved finials with custom finishes and lines that are very reasonable with limited finial and finish options.  Switching from a lining/interlining combination to a napped sateen lining is another way to go from gold to silver.  And of course scaling back the complexity of the design will reduce the labor cost.  Below is an example of gold, silver, and bronze designs.


Most athletes want to compete in the Olympics even if they don't win.  Likewise, it is better to offer your customer a silver or bronze option than to have them quit the team (and shop at JC Penney).  Sometimes after seeing all three options, the customer will choose the gold medal option at the gold medal price. 

If you offer your customer a gold medal design at a bronze medal price, you may make the sale but it will be at the expense of your own profit AND set a precedent for future projects.   Today's athletes are tweeting even before getting out of the pool.  You can be sure your customers are talking about you, too.  You don't want your customer (and all her friends) to expect the same discount on the next project.

If you're looking for a workroom that can help you with your gold, silver, and bronze designs, contact me at and let's stand on that podium together!