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DMC EXPERTS
  The Price Is Right
INCREASE PROFIT MARGINS WITH FINDS THAT HAVE HIGHER MARKUP POTENTIAL
BY RAWLINS GILLILAND
 PHOTO COURTESY OF CAN TURKYILMAZ
O ne of the people on my recent DMC Discovery Tours, where LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
I showcase products I’ve independently chosen to spotlight, was surprised at some of my tips regarding pricing. Speci cally, there was a ring I found on the World Trade
Center 7th  oor in one of the mass sellers of primarily Indian jewelry.
The ring was sterling with a huge hunk of varied semi-precious rocks priced at $7. At that unbelievably low price, it could almost be used as a favor to toss o  Mardi Gras parade  oats. But, assuming we were going to retail this, I cautioned against the conventional keystone wisdom that would have you pricing this at $14. I contended that you would sell far fewer of these rings at $14 than you would if you priced the ring at $34-$42-$58—a 400% to 800% markup. I was as excited about  nding that tray of rings as a teenage boy would be at an all- you-can-eat hamburger bu et.
CHEAP THRILLS
Several things give me the con dence to suggest that type of a pricing leap. For one, I can spot things that have  nish, quality and the right proportions—the “edge” as I see it—independent of its wholesale
price. I credit this skill to my retail career at Neiman Marcus, where exclusivity and the detail of perceived luxury became my native tongue.
One of the women on the tour commented that she didn’t “like big rings,” which reminded me of something I preach over and over. I had to learn this in my earliest days as a commissioned salesperson—it
is not about your likes and dislikes. It’s about your customer. Some customers might love a big ring.
As part of our pricing conversation, the topic of price tolerance in di erent markets became a focal point as well. In a smaller Kansas college town, I might price the ring at $34, whereas in suburban Chicago, that same ring might retail for $64. This di erence isn’t simply based on “what the market might bear” greed. It has more to do with the perceived value in the customers’ eyes. It also speaks to an inherent insecurity that some customers unconsciously carry. Some would see this ring, if priced at $14, as a throwaway cheap bauble, while the same ring at $34 or $64 would be considered an attractive fashion bargain they’d be shrewd to acquire.
HOME IS WHERE THE SMART IS
This exact mindset also applies to the Home market, where trends and impulse purchases are equally indigenous. I showed a large crystal obelisk that wholesaled for $28. It had enough of an “edge” that I suggested it would retail well at $56—yes, keystone—in rural America. In a more urban environment, however, the same obelisk might command $128. In that upscale urban environment, it would languish with a $56 price tag. On the  ip side, in small town USA, it might  op at $128. The key on certain products is to not just double the wholesale price, but to understand your customer and how they shop.
In the early 2000s, I sold home decorative accessories and vintage apparel on eBay. Sometimes, I would list something and it wouldn’t sell. Rather than marking it down, I’d  rst mark it up, and often, that would result in the sale. It helped me learn when gambling on new products, the stakes are sometimes better when you roll the dice with higher prices.
Please check your Total Home & Gift Buyer’s Directory for Rawlins tour dates and times.
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