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If you were my 'manager' : Part One

Posted by Dave Bull at 2:04 PM, December 18, 2009 [Permalink]

Yesterday saw the end of work on the little new year greeting print; 195 copies are now pressed under the drying boards. In the spare time over the next week, I'll get the envelopes addressed and then truck them all down to the post office. On time again this year!

With that job out of the way, I can get back to normal work, so I have now begun the second run of Forest in Winter - another 100+ sheets. With no decisions to be made, it won't take so long, so by about the 22nd or 23rd I'll be done.

The next job up will be the final print in the Solitudes series - Seacoast in Spring - but I think I'll save work on that one until after the turn of the year. I have the basic 'idea' already in mind, and although it's not going to be an easy one to get down on paper, at least I won't be struggling to think about where to start ...

And ... with just one print now left in the series, it's time to start seriously thinking about what will come next. As usual, there are a lot of ideas jostling for attention, and many paths I could take. As I sit here printing, the 'discussions' inside my head go back and forth, back and forth. 'Carver Dave' has lots of ideas about what he wants to make. 'Printer Dave' looks at some of those ideas and shakes his head ... And of course 'Manager Dave' stands over the both of them, shaking his head even more vigorously!

And that gives me an idea. I have no 'manager' of course; I work completely independently. Because of this though, my decisions sometimes turn out to be somewhat on the impractical side of things. The scroll project a few years back is a perfect example of this - 'Carver Dave' was given his head, and the result was near bankrupcy!

Would you like to sit in the manager's chair for a while? If I offer some of my thoughts on my business policies, and on possible projects for next year's work, would you be willing to proffer some feedback, guidance, and 'advice'? I have to tell you right up front that this will be a purely 'honorary' position ... no 15% cut of my profits for you, I'm afraid! (Although I suppose that doesn't matter anyway - 15% of nothing is ... ) Let's give this a try! Please feel free to put your 'manager' hat on, and put any suggestions into the Discussion form below!

OK, rather than try and decide my entire future all at once here, let's start with a relatively easy point for discussion. Because I live and work in Japan, and because I first started selling prints here, only later extending my reach overseas, I have always priced my subscription prints in Japanese Yen. I never specifically made this a policy, it is just 'the way it is'. Over on the information page for my Treasure Chest, for example, the price is listed as '2,000 yen + 330 postage = 2,330 per print'.

Now because I myself am dealing with other countries all the time, seeing a price in a 'strange' currency doesn't really bother me; if I don't know the approximate value, I just look it up. But when I think back to when I lived in North America, and hadn't yet had many dealings overseas, foreign currencies were just gibberish. Especially ones that had lots of digits. "Look at all those zeros; that looks expensive!"

Off the top of your head - without checking - do you know how much those prints cost?

For making the actual payment transactions it doesn't actually matter much to the collectors, as the credit card processor charges each person in their home currency anyway. It does matter to me, as I would prefer to have payment in my own home currency, but I would be willing to inconvenience myself, if it turned out to be something that would help to increase sales.

So what do you think, Mr. Manager? Should I price my prints in $? In Euros? Pounds? All of the above? Specifically I'm thinking, would it increase orders? But as the currencies are always changing, and I would thus have to adjust those prices all the time, might it be more confusing?

The series continues in If you were my manager : Part Two ...


Following comment posted by: Michael Kohne on December 18, 2009 10:34 PM

Trying to price in multiple currencies is going to be hard because you'll have to adjust a lot or it will cost you money.

Instead, I'd suggest continuing to price in Yen, but include an automatic currency converter on your page, so that the pages can say '2330 Yen (which is approximately 25.82 US Dollars)'. I've never done such a thing before, and the only stumbling block I can see is where to get the currency data.

I note that it's possible to do currency conversions through Google search, and they have a widget for doing them (http://desktop.google.com/plugins/i/universalcurrencycon.html?hl=en), so I'm thinking they could be your data source.

Following comment posted by: Mark Mason on December 18, 2009 10:50 PM

I would agree with Michael.
Keep your prices in your home currency, but add a currency converter, or a link to one.
The best and most accurate, which I use to check the exchange rates on all my foreign transactions is on the Reuters News Agency's Currency page: http://uk.reuters.com/business/currencies
I sell my humble little prints through Etsy at the moment which only uses US Dollars. I'm in the UK, so quite often have to check and adjust my Dollar prices depending on currency fluctuations, which can be a bit of a pain in the neck.

Following comment posted by: Jan Kellett on December 18, 2009 11:44 PM

I also have this issue, living in Canada and selling internationally, and before that, living in UK, and agree with the previous comments. On the occasions I have priced in US$ I have always lost out. It is an unnecessary risk, and I now include a currency converter on the Order page of my site. However I should say that my website is not my main source of sales, and I don't sell directly off the site.

Following comment posted by: Julio Rodriguez on December 19, 2009 3:04 AM

I agree with the others, make it easier for the interested buyer by adding a currency converter.

When I was collecting your series these past few years the price from print to print did not change...at the start of the project I knew the price per print and except for minor fluctuations in currency value I knew the price was going to be within a certain range. Now with your expanding publishing venture and the large assortment of items to purchase it is more difficult to translate yen to dollars unless I use a converter.

Following comment posted by: Dave on December 19, 2009 1:33 PM

Thanks for the input, people ... using a currency converter on the sales pages is something that I used to do, but gave up when the small popup one I had been using became unavailable. And when I searched again a while back, all the online currency converters I found were all full of ads and/or are designed to take you out to another page off the site.

But after reading your messages last night, I did a bit of exploring, found some public domain online currency data (Hint: try Googling for 'currency rates rss feed'), and programmed my own version, based on data scraped from one of those sources. It's now up and running on the same page I linked earlier, from the Treasure Chest series. You'll see a link part-way down the page for the 'popup currencies'. Give it a try!

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