Re: Henna, rather, Mehndi, on/for/by Indian women

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Posted by Maureen on October 25, 2002 at 10:42:25:

In reply to: Henna, rather, Mehndi, on/for/by Indian women posted by Lauren on October 24, 2002 at 15:21:44:

Seems to me, when you are on the outside of a
this...and looking in, you can't really predict what will happen.
You can hope and work towards specifics happening, however. You can
work towards getting your foot in the door and learning...having the
opportunity to ask questions and observe. It seems reasonable to
alter your prices to get your foot into a door you want your foot
in. If it were a door that absolutely NEEDED your services and could
not get the service from anywhere else, the door would be more opened
and you could pretty much set your price. But when entering a market
within a community where there are other alternatives for your
service and there is reason that you may be held "suspect" because
you are "different", charging way more than everyone else is charging
is not a good strategy. Getting some reals sense of what is normally
charged may only be possible after you get your foot in the door. If
you can find out now, that would be good. If you find out later that
you waaaay undercharged, you can alway raise your prices gradually.

So what if someone says, "Look at what this stupid white girl did for
$10.00." What you want to be able to say is, "Look at what I learned
and got paid $10.00 to boot while learning." If you have nothing to
learn from the experience then what you are getting paid is more
important. But if you have got stuff to learn that will help you to
negotiate your way around that particular community and to learn
stuff you can use generally in your work...Well, lots of time folks
actually pay to learn rather than get paid when learning. In this
regard, I would just keep my eye on the prize. If there is something
valuable you want to learn and you can do so by lowering your price
to gain access, that is a legitimate strategy and approach.

It is also fair and legitimate to let folks know that you charge X
amount of dollars usually, but are doing something for them for x
minus some amount in exchange for "whatever." And let "whatever" be
what you are looking to gain. It could be in exchange for being able
to ask that person and their friends endless questions and get some
answers without feeling intrusive. It could be in exchange for
spreading the word about your work. Could be for giving you
some "inside" view of the challenges and barriers to you getting
really connected and accepted to do what you want to do within the
community you wish to access.

Knowing precisely what you are after and negotiating for that keeps
the transaction clean. Someone comes to you wanting quality mehndi
at the most reasonable price...You want to get information about and
gain access into the community in which they belong. That is a
perfectly matched opportunity to negotiate and put on the table what
you would like to do. They accept it or reject it. They pay the
higher price...the reduced price...or walk away. That is not the
same as being all over the map with your prices because you don't
know what to charge...or charging one group more while charging one
group less. Though the disperity in prices things happens all of the
time. You might lower your price for an all children affair compared
to what you might charge otherwise. Discounts are allowable and are
usually in exchange for something. You just want to be sure that you
are phrasing it as your discounted price in exchange for...rather
than your price.



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