”Slow made, hand made sustainable products are expensive, we only sell our products in our own stores and our own website to avoid retail mark ups, we also let you pay in installments.”
says Sweden based multidisciplinary company Kovac Family on their website.
This has been an issue for craftspeople for a long time, but it is one that have been very hard to approach by the craftsociety. For a long time we were told that the prices were not too high, that slow made, hand made sustainable products had to cost. It was the customers who had to learn. The makers were educated in pricing their products and encouraged to raise their prices to levels where almost every potential customer was lost.
When I started selling my products without mark up, all on my own, I was surprised how my customers suddenly actually had used my spoons and kitchen utensils and came back to buy more. They were overwhelmed how they had never used a really good wooden spoon until they tried a carved one.
When I have adressed this problem with different people one thing I have often heard is that the mark up is what it costs to sell a product, and without retailers you still have to have the mark up on your price because you have to do the selling yourself. My answer to this has been that you have to put a lot of time on logistics and administration with retailers too. Almost more I would say than just having a customer buy your things face to face or on a webpage. Because of that, it is very interesting to hear an established design company argue for keeping your costs down by avoiding retail.
This summer me and Daniel Lundberg/Storslöjd will sell our craft in physical stores in Östersund, Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö. We think that the craftsociety need to try new ways, rethink and take new perspectives on this matter. It will be really exciting. The project has been granted financial support from parliamentary committee Nämnden för hemslöjdsfrågor.