I really need (okay and want) new boots. Something comfortable, something classic that I can wear for years to come, something that looks great with dresses and jeans. It’s not too much to ask right? My old ones went to shoe heaven 12 months ago and I just haven’t gotten around to replacing them yet.
So, a couple of Saturday’s ago I decided to tackle the problem before ‘winter’ actually hits here in Brisbane. I committed a day to the local shopping centre, the kind of place where I knew more than 20 shops in that retail haven would stock some sort of footwear that would meet my needs. Four hours later, I walked out empty handed. I had found lots of boots, ones that would do the job just fine I am sure. I had tried on loads that were comfy but maybe not the quite the right colour, ones that had toes that were a little too pointy, ones that I knew I would probably hate this time next year even though I loved them now. And then I saw them… THE boots. I knew straight away that they were exactly what I had been searching for the entire day. Gorgeous tan, almost flat, ankle height. I was in love. And then? I came home without them.
Why? Because I turned those boots over and the price tag said $545 and I couldn’t commit to spending that much money without a little more consideration. The kind of consideration that involves leaving the store and if in 3 days time I still LOVED and wanted those boots, then I knew it would be the right decision and they would be mine. It’s my shopping tactic 101 for avoiding impulsive overspending.
Now it was time to consult my girl squad. The ladies in my world who could share their opinions on the boots and whether my feet (and my wardrobe) really needed them. The first friend I chatted to was instantly aghast. ‘Almost $600 on ONE pair of boots? That is ONE pair of shoes. You know I bought my boots from Kmart three years ago for $29 and they are still going strong. You could buy TWENTY pairs of Kmart boots for that price. TWENTY!’. I suddenly felt as if I had been a little ridiculous. Her reaction was pretty clear- the boots were too expensive.
Over coffee the next morning, I lamented to another friend that the boots I loved were too expensive. It was day two and I still loved them. Gosh darn it why did fashion come at such a price? My friend nodded in agreement as she sipped her vanilla latte. ‘Yeah they are beautiful… but it’s probably a little too much. I would draw the line at $300 for a pair of good quality boots, but that is stretching it in my opinion. Why not spend $200 or $300 on one of the other pairs of boots that you thought were okay?’. I proceeded to spend the afternoon searching online to see if anywhere had my dream boots on sale for half price… ever the optimist!
Day three I was still thinking about the boots. Hmmm. I met the school mums at drop off and chit chatted with some of them about their weekends. I relayed the story about my shopping experience and asked them what they thought about spending $545 dollars on boots. One of the mums nodded in agreement cheerfully. ‘Oh yes, that’s nothing at all. If you love them, buy them! My last pair of boots cost $695 and I would have spent more if I found something I loved that cost more. I don’t think that’s too expensive at all.’ Okay, so they maybe weren’t as pricey as I first thought?
My husband shared his words of wisdom over dinner that night. ‘If you love the boots and you think they are worth the money in terms of quality, then you go and get the boots. Simple as that. Other’s opinions on the cost don’t matter one bit- just don’t buy them if you think they are too expensive.’ And he was right.
And it suddenly made me think of the photography industry that I surround myself with. And the challenges photographers face every single day in trying to determine their prices. It’s a constant struggle, right? But at the core of it, ‘too expensive’ really is a relative term. All three of my friends are living in a similar income bracket. But they each have a completely different definition on what is great value and what is too expensive. And it is likely that every one of your potential clients does too. It’s not about what you charge really, it’s whether people who come to you think that your prices match the perceived value you give to them. And that is a really tricky thing to navigate.
For one person, a $300 package might be at the top of their limit and anything more is far too expensive. But for another, $3000 seems like a great price to pay for the memories you are creating. Does this mean that the focus needs to shift from what you are charging as a photographer to ensuring clients know the value you are providing them? And communicating why the amount you are charging (irrespective of what it is) is great value for money? It’s definitely food for thought and something that we are keen to explore more here at Style Pose Click. What do you think? Do you think $600 is too much to spend on a great pair of boots?
Personally, photographs are something I value. I invested in photography with the fabulous Jen Maunder about two years ago, and for me the images are now priceless. In fact, as my two boys have continued to grow, I look back on these images and love them more and more. And THAT is the true power of photography, no matter the price…
Ps. Want to know if I bought the boots? I didn’t! But only because in the meantime they sold out of my size. I am currently waiting for them to restock! If you happen to spot a pair of RM Williams Adelaide Boots in Light Tan in a size 8 anywhere… please let me know! I still need them in my life.