#IndieBusiness Social Network

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I'd love some feedback on offering a friends/family rate, and insight into WHO constitutes "friends".
I have 8 siblings, (plus my biz partner has 6), I spent quite some time as a verrrry poor single mom of 4 kids under 4 yrs old, and I volunteer a lot. As a result, I know A LOT of folks with very little money who (I feel) deserve the kind of pampering a delicious bar of handmade heaven -er soap- can give. (Note: I'm exceptionally altruistic by nature). However, I'm not sure what kind of discounted price I should offer, and which folks should reasonably fall within the category of "friends and family" without creating a slippery slope that fuels a monster (ie: a giant group of customers who will only pay a discounted rate.) I'd really appreciate thoughts on this ...

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Comment by Jennifer Hardaway on May 4, 2010 at 2:10pm
Great question, Liberty!
I have a Friends & Family for regular customers and friends who are not close friends...and that is 20% off.
Then I have a discount for closer friends and will do a 50% off thing.
THEN I will give away product to mom, dad, sis, etc...
Probably very liberal discounts that many, but I usually do a 20% off for most.
Also, for the gals that work for me I give them 50% off.
I want people to use the product and it is beneficial for me to be freer with discounts. I have gotten many return customers.
Comment by Liberty Mason on May 4, 2010 at 1:58pm
Good idea with the mailing list and "throw ins" with full price purchases Samantha. Thank you!
Comment by IBN Member Samantha Moore - samantharoma.com on May 4, 2010 at 1:44pm
Hi Liberty, we don't offer a friends and family discount either. I suggest that they join my mailing list - all of those customers receive periodic discounts/free shipping etc. Some of my friends have insisted that they pay full price - even when I have offered a discount! I do also barter, throw in free product, give them testers, give product or gift certificates as gifts. If any of my friends has a problem with this, they certainly keep it well covered! in fact I'd go as far to say that most (if not all) of them are very proud and happy to support our growing business. Spoil your friends well in other ways - testing new product, sharing exciting developments, custom making product or gifts. Imagine if you had a friend with her own small business - wouldn't you want to support her? I doubt you'd be thinking "ooh, how much discount will I get?" My advice: don't dwell on it, charge full price - your products are worth it, right?
samantha
www.samantharoma.com
Comment by Liberty Mason on May 1, 2010 at 11:54am
Thanks Charlene - Setting boundaries in general is a tough one for me - I appreciate your reminder that it's about a lot more than soap ... from BOTH sides of the relationships. Also -duh- it never occurred to me to just direct them to my website or one of the stores that sells it ... that takes ME completely out of it on a personal level! (brilliant - just brilliant!) :)
Comment by IBN Member Charlene Sevier on April 30, 2010 at 8:33pm
My feeling is that relationships are better off when clear boundaries are defined. All of your friends and family may love the discounts but if it breeds resentment in you, then it is not such a good deal.

When it comes to acquaintances who ask about my jewelry, I direct them to my website or to a store that sells my work. Most of my friends are willing to pay the price I ask. If I can, I give them something extra or a discount if the purchase is large, but it is my gift, never their request.

You could consider giving your family members soap for their birthdays and then expect full payment any other time. Or give friends cards where if they buy x number of bars, they get one free. Or barter for something of equal value to you. Just a few thoughts.

I guess the bottom line is that unless you even the playing field in a way that feels fair and right to you, the resentment will create problems far larger than any bar of soap.

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