Discounting Surplus Cookies

I recently hosted my first vendor booth at a farmer's market, and had quite a few cookies left over afterwards. So I put them up on my site a couple days later at discounted prices. But I know that some of the people who bought cookies from me at the market follow my page and — though no one mentioned it — I couldn't help but wonder if it's fair to them that the cookie they bought a few days ago for $3 is now being sold for $2.

I guess my questions are: At what point are leftover cookies old enough to discount them? And how much of a discount do you think is appropriate? Also, if you don't sell your leftovers, what DO you do with them? Just eat them?

Original Post

I don't know how decorated your cookies are, but it sounds like everyone got a steal regardless of when they bought the cookies. $2-$3 per decorated cookie is not very much. I would think if you post them as "X-day old cookies at a discount", people shouldn't get bent out of shape about it. If they do, then they have issues, in my opinion! 

Julia M. Usher posted:

I don't know how decorated your cookies are, but it sounds like everyone got a steal regardless of when they bought the cookies. $2-$3 per decorated cookie is not very much. I would think if you post them as "X-day old cookies at a discount", people shouldn't get bent out of shape about it. If they do, then they have issues, in my opinion! 

Yes, I realize my prices are low.  I started out selling cookies just to give me an excuse to keep making them, and I'm gradually raising my prices but I'm just so afraid of scaring off buyers!
I like the idea of specifying the cookie age, that's very helpful.  If I just keep everyone informed of the facts, then no one can complain!

Hi Woodsy Wife.

I too started selling my cookies at our local farmers market. I would love to  share with you what I learned this year.

I too was concerned about scaring people off with the price for the cookie. So I started with smaller cookies. Very small cookies, sample size,  and an average small fancier cookie for 2.00 just to get people to try my cookie.

The first two weeks (and for only the first two weeks) any left overs I had, I gave them away as advertising to the other vendors after the market. I also shared them with people at the local businesses around the courthouse lawn, the location of our farmers market. 

By week three, I was selling out! And I was selling out of small 3.00 cookies, to more elaborate 5.00 cookies. I also learned that at our farmers market, the products that flew off the table where whimsical cookies, and themed cookies that corresponded to events taking place locally or in the state, and cookies little girls go nuts for like unicorns and kittens   I also announced my attendance at the market every week on FB, and different local FB groups. I found that word of mouth advertising thru my left overs, and FB was my best ally.

Another tool at my disposal came later and was amazingly affective for selling out of my product. Our local radio station. I learned through the market manager that the radio station was advertising the market as a community event and that they wanted to interview each vendor to promote community awareness of the market. The week I was interviewed, I sold out of my product in the first half hour! That was a mixed blessing, to say the least! Perhaps your local station is, or will do the same for your farmers market.

I've only been up and running my business from my home for one full year come September 29th. And I was like you. I am from a small town of less than 4000 people, and I too, didn't want to scare off customers. I too doubted what Julia and other long time cookie sellers have said here about cookie prices, thinking what they can do in major cities, just won't translate to rural communities. I was wrong. I have gradually increased my prices as time has gone by, and I am still having to turn people down because I am so fully booked. If you have a crazy yummy cookie, and it is beautifully decorated, people will buy it from you for special occasions because it is SPECIAL! I have seen your cookies, they are fantastic! Please don't sell yourself short!

 

SusieQCookies posted:

Hi Woodsy Wife.

I too started selling my cookies at our local farmers market. I would love to  share with you what I learned this year.

I too was concerned about scaring people off with the price for the cookie. So I started with smaller cookies. Very small cookies, sample size,  and an average small fancier cookie for 2.00 just to get people to try my cookie.

The first two weeks (and for only the first two weeks) any left overs I had, I gave them away as advertising to the other vendors after the market. I also shared them with people at the local businesses around the courthouse lawn, the location of our farmers market. 

By week three, I was selling out! And I was selling out of small 3.00 cookies, to more elaborate 5.00 cookies. I also learned that at our farmers market, the products that flew off the table where whimsical cookies, and themed cookies that corresponded to events taking place locally or in the state, and cookies little girls go nuts for like unicorns and kittens   I also announced my attendance at the market every week on FB, and different local FB groups. I found that word of mouth advertising thru my left overs, and FB was my best ally.

Another tool at my disposal came later and was amazingly affective for selling out of my product. Our local radio station. I learned through the market manager that the radio station was advertising the market as a community event and that they wanted to interview each vendor to promote community awareness of the market. The week I was interviewed, I sold out of my product in the first half hour! That was a mixed blessing, to say the least! Perhaps your local station is, or will do the same for your farmers market.

I've only been up and running my business from my home for one full year come September 29th. And I was like you. I am from a small town of less than 4000 people, and I too, didn't want to scare off customers. I too doubted what Julia and other long time cookie sellers have said here about cookie prices, thinking what they can do in major cities, just won't translate to rural communities. I was wrong. I have gradually increased my prices as time has gone by, and I am still having to turn people down because I am so fully booked. If you have a crazy yummy cookie, and it is beautifully decorated, people will buy it from you for special occasions because it is SPECIAL! I have seen your cookies, they are fantastic! Please don't sell yourself short!

 

Great story!

SusieQCookies posted:

Hi Woodsy Wife.

I too started selling my cookies at our local farmers market. I would love to  share with you what I learned this year.

I too was concerned about scaring people off with the price for the cookie. So I started with smaller cookies. Very small cookies, sample size,  and an average small fancier cookie for 2.00 just to get people to try my cookie.

The first two weeks (and for only the first two weeks) any left overs I had, I gave them away as advertising to the other vendors after the market. I also shared them with people at the local businesses around the courthouse lawn, the location of our farmers market. 

By week three, I was selling out! And I was selling out of small 3.00 cookies, to more elaborate 5.00 cookies. I also learned that at our farmers market, the products that flew off the table where whimsical cookies, and themed cookies that corresponded to events taking place locally or in the state, and cookies little girls go nuts for like unicorns and kittens   I also announced my attendance at the market every week on FB, and different local FB groups. I found that word of mouth advertising thru my left overs, and FB was my best ally.

Another tool at my disposal came later and was amazingly affective for selling out of my product. Our local radio station. I learned through the market manager that the radio station was advertising the market as a community event and that they wanted to interview each vendor to promote community awareness of the market. The week I was interviewed, I sold out of my product in the first half hour! That was a mixed blessing, to say the least! Perhaps your local station is, or will do the same for your farmers market.

I've only been up and running my business from my home for one full year come September 29th. And I was like you. I am from a small town of less than 4000 people, and I too, didn't want to scare off customers. I too doubted what Julia and other long time cookie sellers have said here about cookie prices, thinking what they can do in major cities, just won't translate to rural communities. I was wrong. I have gradually increased my prices as time has gone by, and I am still having to turn people down because I am so fully booked. If you have a crazy yummy cookie, and it is beautifully decorated, people will buy it from you for special occasions because it is SPECIAL! I have seen your cookies, they are fantastic! Please don't sell yourself short!

 

GREAT information. Thanks for posting it SusieQ

SusieQCookies posted:

Hi Woodsy Wife.

I too started selling my cookies at our local farmers market. I would love to  share with you what I learned this year.

I too was concerned about scaring people off with the price for the cookie. So I started with smaller cookies. Very small cookies, sample size,  and an average small fancier cookie for 2.00 just to get people to try my cookie.

The first two weeks (and for only the first two weeks) any left overs I had, I gave them away as advertising to the other vendors after the market. I also shared them with people at the local businesses around the courthouse lawn, the location of our farmers market. 

By week three, I was selling out! And I was selling out of small 3.00 cookies, to more elaborate 5.00 cookies. I also learned that at our farmers market, the products that flew off the table where whimsical cookies, and themed cookies that corresponded to events taking place locally or in the state, and cookies little girls go nuts for like unicorns and kittens   I also announced my attendance at the market every week on FB, and different local FB groups. I found that word of mouth advertising thru my left overs, and FB was my best ally.

Another tool at my disposal came later and was amazingly affective for selling out of my product. Our local radio station. I learned through the market manager that the radio station was advertising the market as a community event and that they wanted to interview each vendor to promote community awareness of the market. The week I was interviewed, I sold out of my product in the first half hour! That was a mixed blessing, to say the least! Perhaps your local station is, or will do the same for your farmers market.

I've only been up and running my business from my home for one full year come September 29th. And I was like you. I am from a small town of less than 4000 people, and I too, didn't want to scare off customers. I too doubted what Julia and other long time cookie sellers have said here about cookie prices, thinking what they can do in major cities, just won't translate to rural communities. I was wrong. I have gradually increased my prices as time has gone by, and I am still having to turn people down because I am so fully booked. If you have a crazy yummy cookie, and it is beautifully decorated, people will buy it from you for special occasions because it is SPECIAL! I have seen your cookies, they are fantastic! Please don't sell yourself short!

 

Thank you for your experience! 
That really is quite encouraging.  I've been waffling about doing a booth again, but I think I'll stick it out through a few more, and just try to spread the word.

The Woodsy Wife posted:

I recently hosted my first vendor booth at a farmer's market, and had quite a few cookies left over afterwards. So I put them up on my site a couple days later at discounted prices. But I know that some of the people who bought cookies from me at the market follow my page and — though no one mentioned it — I couldn't help but wonder if it's fair to them that the cookie they bought a few days ago for $3 is now being sold for $2.

I guess my questions are: At what point are leftover cookies old enough to discount them? And how much of a discount do you think is appropriate? Also, if you don't sell your leftovers, what DO you do with them? Just eat them?

Have you thought of giving the cookies to your local soup kitchen.  Most churchs have lunches for the underpriveleged.  I donate to the homeless and homeless Veterans.  You should see their faces light up when they receive a beautifully decorated cookie.  Little Children also must take advantage of these free lunches and LOVE the cookies.  Sugar cookies freeze very well and stay tasting good for quite awhile, so cookies donated after being frozen are 'good as new'.  These people are deserving of your beautiful cookies.

 

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