No matter what you might be shopping for – car, hotel room, flight, sweater, pizza, bedspread, book, shoes, watch or to be specific to our subject matter…flowers, lighting, linen, chairs, food or staff , you will always be able to find it cheaper.
Unfortunately our economy has given energy to the idea that “in times like these, cheaper is better.” But will it be what you want?
We create a lot of nice events…not necessarily always over the top, but certainly nice parties. We create events for clients who have a particular vision of how they want them to be. We spend a lot of time listening to all the comments and details about what’s important to them. Our proposals incorporate all of the “must haves” and as many of the “nice to haves” as possible.
So I feel like a nail has been driven straight through the middle of my head when someone asks me how they can lower the price on a proposal we’ve just spent hours on in order to give them what they want. And if we start cutting, we know they’re not going to get the party they want, they’re just going to get a price they like. There is definitely a connection between COST and VALUE. The higher priced “whatever” may be the better value if it’s high quality and what you want.
To illustrate my point let’s take something simple like cheese. At Perfect Taste, we LOVE cheese. We spend time researching, studying and tasting in order to make the best recommendations to our clients. Our favorite vendor, Cowgirl Creamery, (www.cowgirlcreamery.com) is well known for producing high quality artisan cheeses. Mt. Tam, Devil’s Gulch, Pierce Point are just a few that retail for about $22 for an 8 ounce wheel or roughly $40 per pound. Just last month I spoke with a bride and groom about their upcoming wedding. They told me they love cheese, are cheese experts who can spend hours at the Ferry Building in the Cowgirl Creamery store. This means they already know how much good cheese costs. But after pricing out the menu, I got the dreaded question … where can we cut? “Maybe we don’t need such a great cheese presentation.” But they told me how much they loved cheese and how important it was to them to have exceptional quality.
So when we’re asked how we can reduce the price of our cheese display or “what can we do that’s cheaper?,” the first thing we do is change our recommendations. We take off the artisan cheeses and replace them with more common varieties. We use crackers instead of Acme baguettes and walnut bread.
And then there’s always this option. It illustrates the point.
Are all photos of cheese platters? Absolutely. Were all of the platters created for cheese connoisseurs? Hardly. Are the cheese cubes cheaper than the Mt. Tam? Yes. Will the cheese cubes please the client who appreciates fine cheese? No way. This is how it works. If you want Mt. Tam and other artisan cheeses, as well as the look that goes with them, then you must pay for it.
This is very important when budgeting for a party. And it’s really important when you’re shopping for a caterer. If you’re trying to compare proposals and one caterer is giving you something for a lot less than another one, make sure you are comparing the exact same thing. Cheese is not cheese is not cheese is not cheese.
Another great example is table linen. We have dozens of linen samples…rich, voluptuous, gorgeous linen that could drape a model’s body on a Paris runway. And then there is standard table linen. Nothing wrong with it at all. Here’s an example of standard white linen used on a dessert table.
Looked pretty and fit the budget.
Here’s a table linen that costs three times as much. Is it pretty? Wow, I think so! Does it make a statement? You better believe it. We actually had a guest ask if the fabric could be purchased to make a dress!
We can always offer the standard linen as an alternative. Is it the same? No. But it’s cheaper. Only a client can make the decision regarding the importance of the linen or cheese or flowers or food.
Think about what’s important to you. Is it really the lowest price?