If you've been with Danforth Pewter for some time, you might have noticed something recently: our discounts are fewer and farther between.
Even our selection of Retired Products, which are often available for a lower price than normal, is smaller than it's ever been. Given that we used to run specials throughout the year, this may come as a surprise.
Naturally, you might wonder: why?
This is a great question, and you deserve to know!
We’ve cut back on discounting for three reasons:
- A rural, artisanal company where each piece is made by hand has, by its nature, a lot of cost. Yet there’s only so much we can charge for an ornament or a pair of earrings, no matter how much work went into them. We’re a little stuck between our own high costs and offering prices that make sense to our customers. As a result, we as a company are not hugely profitable (which is fine). But at the level of discounting we were doing last year, we risked not being profitable at all.
- Second, as with all businesses, our raw materials, labor costs, health insurance, and pretty much everything else has gotten more expensive in the last few years. To stay in business, we had a choice: raise prices a lot, and keep discounting as much as we used to. Or, raise prices a little and reduce our discounting.
We decided to raise prices as little as possible and cut back on discounting.
- Third, the 20+ talented artisans in our workshop who handcraft every Danforth item work hard to make each piece perfect. (You can stop in and see some of them at work in our flagship Middlebury store.) When we run sales, in some sense we’re devaluing the skill and effort that goes into their work. Our hope is that the quality of each piece carries its own value, not only because of its longevity, but also because of the story behind it: that it was made in New England by a tight-knit team of talented human beings.
It's also worth noting that while we do sell high-end products over the $200 mark, we also have lots of fun pieces under $10, and hundreds of ornaments under $30. And everything we sell is made to last for generations: one of our lamps may cost $175, but it will last 400 years.
In today's culture of cheap imports and mass production, it's easy to find inexpensive yet low-quality products. But most of those products won't last long, and they'll end up in landfills. We're proud to be one of the few companies who makes everything we sell by hand, in the U.S.—quality products that will last for generations.
GIVING BACK TO OUR COMMUNITIES
For many years, Danforth ran a sale during the week between Christmas and New Years. It wasn't leftover inventory, or seasonal items that had gone out of style. Our skilled artisans worked hard to make brand new product for this sale. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, and many of our loyal customers have contacted us and let us know they are disappointed that we aren't doing this thing for our commnunities any more.
This year, though, we flipped that sale model on end. Rather than giving 20% to our customers through discounts, we donated 20% of sales during the last week of 2022 to organizations in our communities—in Middlebury, around New England, and in Williamsburg, VA—that work to provide food and shelter to those in need.
Organizations such as those are overwhelmed. The weather events increase need. Communities have to stick together; businesses need to be a force for change. Danforth is a small business that has to be thoughtful about the ways in which we give, and since supporting our local communities is a core value, this is one way that we can serve the communities that we call home.
All that said, it's worth noting that it's still possible to find discounted Danforth products. Our nine retail stores occasionally run sales that aren't available anywhere else, so you can always stop in and see what's there. For instance, our flagship store in Middlebury, Vermont (52 Seymour Street) has a selection of retired Studio Line jewelry that you can't get anywhere else, and it's available for about 30% off.
We know that cost is an important factor when you shop. As shoppers and humans ourselves, we feel the effects of the economy too (and we also love a good deal when we see one). For all these reasons, we hope you understand our thinking, and we are incredibly grateful for your continued support. Patronizing small, local businesses (whether that's us, your local farmer's market, family-run restaurant, locally owned bookstore, etc) truly makes a difference in all of our communities. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your lives.