Ladies, let me ask you something: How much are you worth? You, not your products. You may be tempted to look at only your products or services when answering that question, but aren’t the two inextricably linked? Your products represent your values, your skills, your personality, your time, your money and your energy. That said, aren’t you leaving something out when you ask yourself what your products are worth?
A couple months ago, while vending at a gift show, two women approached my booth. One stopped to look at the items, but the other pulled her away and said (loudly enough for me to hear), “Burt’s Bees is the best if you want natural products.” I didn’t feel bad or ashamed – on the contrary, I was a bit sad for that woman. Why? She’s been bamboozled by marketing. Burt’s Bees is a huge company – it’s everywhere, lending it an air of authenticity and quality. Further, their clever marketing techniques have us believing it’s still being run by a sweet old dude out in the Northeast, with goats and beehives in his backyard. Well, honey, Burt is gone. You know who owns Burt’s Bees now? Fortune 500 company Clorox. Yeah, as in bleach.
So yes, I felt sorry for her. She thinks Burt’s Bees is better – a company owned by Clorox, mass-produced, non-organic, not actually natural (check out the parfum/fragrance in many of the products, among other sketchy chemicals), most of it packaged in plastic. Compare that to a delightful little bath and body business owned by one woman, who thoughtfully creates each and every product by hand, using 100% all natural, organic, fair trade ingredients (which are super expensive, I might add), designs each label by herself, goes to great lengths to use eco-friendly packaging, photographs each product, writes all her own copy, and delivers orders to the post office on her bicycle. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but if it was my choice, I’d choose me over Burt’s Bees any day!
But here’s the deal. My products are comparable in price to Burt’s Bees products. I’ve tried to remain competitive, but when prices for my organic ingredients keep going up, should I even be worrying about that? I believe the traditional notions of pricing and competition are outdated. (Although, that’s another post for another time.) So when we get right down to it, how much should we small business owners be charging for our goods?
Next Monday, I’ll be featuring several of my favorite small businesses, highlighting favorite products of mine. I’ll include the price as well as the “unseen value.” That’s where you come in – I can’t wait to hear your opinions. Are the prices too high? Too low? You tell us!