Juliana Mary

Pride and Purchasing: What Stationers Can Learn from the $1500 Paper Clip and $1100 Tiffany Tin Can

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You’ve likely heard about the now infamous $1500 Tiffany Paper Clip…but have you heard about the $1100 Tiffany Tin Can? or how about the $1550 Coffee Can? the $1275 Tape Measure? They’re all part of the Tiffany & Co. “Everyday Objects” line which is pretty much exactly what you’d image… everyday items that are being sold at incredibly high prices. (Don’t even get me started on the $10,000 Chess and Checkers Set that is sold out online).

There’s an obvious lesson to learn here, which is that people are willing to pay premium prices for things that they could get (much) cheaper…but if you’re wanting to attract clients with big budgets who won’t bat an eye at a $10,000, $20,000, or heck $100,000 quote for invitations there’s more here than meets the eye.

Attracting luxury clients to your stationery business is one part art and one part science, and it starts with a beautiful product and experience.

The Art: Offer a Truly Luxury Product (and Experience)

Luxury clients don’t just want to pay more, they also want more. If working with high-end, luxury clients is really on your wish list, make sure your products are the cream of the crop. Gorgeously thick papers, impeccable print processes, and attention to detail that is second to none need to be your top priority. You will need to familiarize yourself with out-of-the-box processes like holograms and invisible ink (seriously! Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas required guests to present their wedding invitations, which used these techniques, to keep wedding crashers away for admittance to the nuptials) and be ready to make wedding invitation magic happen no matter how extraordinary the request.

Providing a luxury experience will also need to be at the top of your to-do. This means making sure your client feels important with a customized quote, seamless processes, exceptionally quick reply times, and easy everything. The last thing you want is for your client to feel like they are not a priority or that working with you is a hassle. If you’re working with a celebrity or multi-millionaire, there’s a good chance you won’t speak with them, but be working with their wedding planner. In this case, the wedding planner is your client and should receive the same high-level experience as if you were working with the couple directly.

The Science: Pride & Purchasing

Now here comes the science – when you think about that $1100 tin can from Tiffany, it might seem like only someone who wants to brag about owning it would buy it….but as it turns out, that’s not the case. There are two types of pride: hubristic and authentic. Hubristic pride is the type we usually think of: arrogant and smug. Authentic pride, on the other hand, is what makes us feel confident and fulfilled.

A study from The University of British Columbia found that people buy luxury products out of an authentic sense of inner pride – not because they want to show it off. Basically, it means being able to spend a crazy amount of money on a tin can feels good. Showing it off later is a perk, but isn’t the primary motivator at the time of sale.

For a stationer, this means that if you have the product and the experience perfected, raising your prices to a luxury tier is a matter of marketing. Your website, imagery, copy, and brand needs to be elevated to the point where a client would feel proud to spend their money with you.

Action Steps:

If you’re ready to break into a higher-tiered market, your primary goal needs to be creating a sense of pride and accomplishment associated with hiring you. This can be done by raising your prices, creating a sense of exclusivity, marking your clients feel like the most important person in the room, or simply adding “congratulations!” in your reply to their inquiry.

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