Frequent visitors to our store know that we very rarely offer discounts. Today, on Cyber Monday, the annual day of online discounts, might be a good time to explain why. We’d love to hear your thoughts at the end of this post.
Generally, I understand why discounts sound great (You: more products; us: more sales), but I don’t feel it’s the best solution for either of us in the long run. First, being against discounts doesn’t mean we’re against low prices. We regularly turn products down because we feel they’re too expensive. And we offer many items below the suggested retail price.
But discounts are different. Many of them are foolish because items are marked up, just to be marked down again. Other discounts force somebody to eat the margin. Often the quality suffers. Other times it’s a compromise in the way things are made, one that affects both humans and environment. (e.g. by producing in countries where standards for both of these are low)
Looking at the bigger picture makes it also hard for me to understand how constantly lowering margins through discounts can be good. I want to be able to pay the people that are working for me, as well as my vendors, at a fair rate. If everyone earns less, how are people going to pay for the products companies want them to buy?
Vendors sometimes apologize to us when they partake in flash sale sites or similar promotions. I’d feel horrible if someone would have to apologize for the products I buy or sell.
We want to support makers and value their effort of making products on a high quality level. Quality is what’s most important to us. Handmade manufacturing steps increase costs. But they add a personal touch and important human element to a product. Paying full price gives appreciation to this process. And through enjoyment of a good product this price pays back multiple times.
Don’t think we’re naive. We know the production and shipping of our products consumes energy and produces waste. Many of our US made products contain imported materials. But we believe that art and craftsmanship can prosper while environmental and ethical standards for production improve. We take many efforts to have our vendors improve quality, source locally and better the environmental friendliness of their products and packaging.
We’re far from perfect, but we’re in motion. And with our small size we’re only at the beginning of what we hope to accomplish as we grow. We’re on the quest to offer and discuss the very best products we can find.
We welcome you all to come along for the ride. But we hope you understand that we won’t be doing it at a discount.
Sebastian & the KM Team
The lens through which every product is examined before entering our store is
The idea for Kaufmann Mercantile was sparked when a plastic stapler appeared on my desk