We’ve all been there. You’ve got 2 more hours in your market day shift and it’s hitting the midday lull. Then it happens. Someone asks you the most asinine question and you just stop dead in your tracks. “How the eff do I answer that?”. Don’t worry, you are not alone. Let’s go over the usual crappy comments and how to deal with them.
“Is that the best price? Or – Is that the price?”
I can promise that if I taken the time to write the price by hand on each little tag that yes that is the price. The farthest thing I want to do is rip people off and I’m assuming the same is for you. As artists we usually want to do what we love, and if we are lucky, make some money on top of it.
You’re answer: “Hi, you are correct! They are X dollars and that is the best price I can offer. Feel free to try it on, have a sample etc.” Look them in the eye and say this with as much confidence as you can. If you don’t waver – they can’t. You do NOT need to explain your material costs, time per hour etc. That is none of their business. You do not have to explain your prices.
2. “Do you have a friends and family discount?”
If someone is a family member or friend that is asking this question, then you need to re-evaluate that relationship. Usually in the first year (and most financially hard!) the people supporting and buying our products are just that – “Friends and family”. I like to think that if they are a really good friend that they would want to pay full price… since they would know how much I’ve worked for it and that I am totally worth it! If you want to give friends and family discounts – that is your own prerogative.
You’re answer: ” Hi. I’m sorry but I do not give out friends and family discounts. I don’t think I would make any money if I did – I treat everyone like family and friends.”
3. “If I get 2, do I get a deal?”
Giiiiiirl. Unless there is some sign on my table or I have verbally announced that I have a special on, the answer is “H-E double L hockey sticks noooooooooo”. Like many larger businesses, most artisans have what is called “wholesale selling”. This is where the buyer must buy a large quantity or minimum number to be able to get a percentage off. These numbers are not usually under 10, so unless they’re up to asking for above that – it’s suggested to not ask at all.
You’re answer: “Hi, thanks so much for asking and liking my product so much that you would would like to get more than one. I do have discounted rates for bulk orders, but the minimum spend to receive X percent off is: X amount of dollars, or X number of products.”
4. “How long did it actually take you to make this?”
This comment is nice and can be taken as a compliment if it comes from a sincere place. Sadly most of the time that is not the situation. Usually it’s to mentally calculate our hourly wage. What they aren’t taking into account is the time we put into designing, marketing, refining our skills, getting and sourcing our materials etc. It’s extremely degrading when you take a step back and think about it. Most crafters have honed their craft – so being asked this can be like asking them to give up their trade secrets.
You’re answer: “Hi, it actually depends on the item. Some take way longer than others. Just depends which one it is.” or “Actually multiple years. It took me X amount of time to nail down just that one stitch/technique etc.”
5. “Oh… I could totally make this myself.” OR ” Name – Can you make this for me?”
Awesome. That’s totally great. This world needs more crazy talented artsy people. Only issue is that if you could make it – why aren’t you doing it already and why haven’t you done it? Usually the answer is because it takes up time and people don’t want to invest in that. Not to mention if they do… that is straight up copying.
You’re answer #1: “Congrats, that’s awesome. Have you ever come to X,Y,Z night? The community of X here is awesome. You should join in the next event etc.” Move the conversation to a positive one and maybe make a new friend. I do this with Knitatude knit nights all the time. Just because I can’t sell to them now doesn’t mean I can’t half shame them about it later when we are friends.
You’re answer #2: “Hey! Thanks for loving my stuff. Hopefully your friend doesn’t make it identical to mine otherwise it would be copying and that’s embarrassing! Glad I could inspire you guys.”
6. “Whoah, that’s way too expensive for this.”
Hand made does not equal cheap – I don’t know where people got this idea. Hand made means hand picking materials and making items by hand and not a machine. This means more time, which means more money, which means a higher price point. But that’s the best part! You aren’t paying for something made in a sweatshop by kids who can’t breathe.
You’re answer: “I’m sorry that you feel that way. Sometimes we all don’t fit into each others target market.” Funny enough most people hate being told that they aren’t your customer, so use reverse psychology and you may just get a sale.
7. I’m actually thinking about making my own business like this, where do you get *insert blank*? Who is your supplier for *blank*?
That’s totally awesome, but sometimes we have to keep our suppliers hidden for particular reasons. You do not need to give this info out it that supplier helps makes your item unique. That is business intel that you have done research to find.
You’re answer: “Oh I get my items from all over the place!” or “I actually have a private supplier” or jokingly reply “If I told you – I’d have to kill you!”
I know it’s hard to get these questions, and a lot of them take us off guard but they do come with the territory of doing craft markets. If you can make your answers short and sweet hopefully they won’t ask anymore. Again, you are welcome to add and detract as much sass as you want in these answer suggestions. Just try and make them bubbly and essentially kill them with kindness. Otherwise you can always go out like a bat outta hell and they really won’t come near you next time!
What crazy questions have you ever gotten? How did you respond?
16 thoughts on “7 Awkward Market Questions and How to Answer Them”
Getting ready to go to my first makers market in October (once it gets cold enough for people to crave warm knitted things again). This post made me laugh…and is great advice!
Thank you! It’s actually insane how many times I get these questions. Have the answers in your back pocket. You’ll need them – even though that’s awful to say!
Great post! I sent to a friend who is also a maker. I know she’ll get a kick out of this. Keep up the good work!
Awe thank you! I’m so glad you loved it so much to share it!
Thank you so much for this! I hear these questions all the time. It can be tough not to snap back and call someone stupid for asking/saying something so rude.
Yes! Especially when your business reputation is at stake. People will always remember a bitchy artisan over a positive. I like to kill em’ with kindness.
I had a lady stalk my table and the next day she messaged me on my fb business page just to say “I seen you at *expo* I just added you so i could get ideas for my business”. Girl i hit that petty button quick!!!!
My favorite line of all time though is “I can take a picture so my friend can make me this i refuse this price”
Oh my god. There is one word for that and it’s “Block!”. Also that’s insane. I would have told her to sod off and that “No, she may not take a photo. That’s stealing.”
This was awesome as I often become speechless in awkward situations!
People love to come tell me how their daughter, sister or themselves have knit 20 hats for charity. Or how they got a hat for 5$ at a church sale – so…my price is ‘wow’! The weirdest was a lady who wanted to pass on her knitting knowledge to me (at a market and never having met me!) and gave me an un solicited lesson in mitten construction complete with a demo mitten :-p
Keep on making!
Which can be frustrating because those are the people who are making our craft viewed as a poor mans sport. I honestly love teaching learn to knit classes because people start to realize that knitting is not easy and takes a lot of time to complete.
My favourite – “Is it hard to make this? I was thinking of starting crocheting again” My answer was “I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out”
Good answer! It’s like people don’t realize that most of us come up with our own patterns and designs. It’s infuriating.
Great responses to all these crazy questions!! It does get a little old when you hear the nay sayer’s, but it is so nice to hear the really truly genuine compliments that come through as well!! The craziest thing I think I heard, was a customer wanted my friend who was sharing my booth to make her dog a tutu, her dog was a Great Dane!!
People really will buy anything for their pets hey?! I do love the genuine comments too, and luckily they usually happen a lot more.
Ugh, reading this article gave me heartburn! I’ve been asked or overheard all of these questions at events and it’s so tough to move on and mot dwell on it. Days later, I’m usually still coming my up with clever replies to put them in their place! You nailed it with your responses! Some people!