Hunts and Such - A Followup

So MUCH conversation about an earlier post at I have several comments still in the queue there but wanted to do a new post anyway -- a designer's view of my blog thoughts of last eve. Here's the backstory.

When I logged in this morning I found two very nice IMs from different designers thanking me for posting my thoughts in the Hunts and Such -- Are We Simply Tired. There were some negative comments to my post by one person and some positive ones from others (thanks) and by the time I get this up there could be much more showing up as who knows what might be awaiting publication?

Anyway in my comments on that post I mentioned talking to designers but not giving names or their comments. Just after sending that comment in, one of the designers, Eolande Elvehjem (Ohana Isle) wrote back. We had a very lengthy conversation and she gave me permission to print her words here. All in all I have three designer's take on this. They all seem to mirror Eolande's so I will just quote her. This is a VERY SMALL sampling of opinion on this subject and any and all designers are VERY welcome to comment on this post and give YOUR ideas.

Excerpts from our conversation of the morning (some lines repositioned for clarity):

Eolande Elvehjem: I just read your post about treasure hunts, and thank you for writing it. It's been something on my mind for a while now, and a discussion we've been having at Ohana Isle lately.

Chic Aeon: Ah. You are very welcome. And thanks so much for writing. I have been to your hunts of course and posted before and enjoy them but wondering if "the market" is becoming saturated -- if that applies.

Eolande Elvehjem: Yes I think it's a real problem - the economy has really slowed and everyone's sales are down. I notice myself that I rarely *need* to buy anything because someone is always giving it out for free.

(Edited by Chic re Eolande at 2:12)
At Ohana we always put quality stuff (well at least we think so) in our hunts, but we don’t give away the farm and we try to inspire customers to buy based on what they’ve picked up for free.

Nonetheless, can’t change what everyone else is doing. We’re cooking up new ways to give people a reason to buy….

Chic Aeon: That is exactly my point and there is a LOT going on with my blog post right now :) I did NOT mention your name.
Eolande Elvehjem: Oh it's fine if you do.
Yeah and I'd like to see it opened up for comments. This is a healthy discussion.

Chic Aeon: I guess my point (and people on the blog asked for more info). Is that we are being given SO much that we don't have a reason to shop.
Eolande Elvehjem: EXACTLY
Chic Aeon: Glad you think so. I feel guilty sometimes.

Chic Aeon: Everyone is giving more and better -- like a competition. I can't see how that is really benefiting the designers -- just the recipients.
Eolande Elvehjem: Well it benefits us designers to give a very good sample of our work because then if it's liked the idea is people will come back for more.

Chic Aeon: Yes, agreed.
Eolande Elvehjem: You don't get a half assed freebie and then say to yourself "hmmm wonder if their stuff in their shop is better lets go find out".
Chic Aeon: True and my point which I have taken a LOT of abuse on the blog for :D

Eolande Elvehjem: We're shooting ourselves in the foot

Chic Aeon: Yes, but some designers (big name ones) have (or had a couple months ago anyway) HORRIBLE freebies with seams that didn't match at all. It seems like there needs to be a middle ground somewhere.

Eolande Elvehjem: Right. My middle ground - and the middle ground we do here on Ohana - is we release something that is a version of our current offerings for sale --but it is limited in itself. So we give our best work, but you'll want more to get the full use of the thing. So for instance, i made some lovely Celtic trinity jewelry in a variety of metals all with color change gems. For the hunt, i tinted the metal green and left the stones as diamonds w/out color change. People were in love with the stuff, and returned for more colors.

Chic Aeon: Yes, that is a good way. Does that seem to work for you?
Eolande Elvehjem: Ooh yes we do quite well. Over all people are buying less, but the hunts are our bread and butter

Chic Aeon: So if it is working for you what in my post "rang true" for you?

Eolande Elvehjem: Yes it very much did - and i think the overload of freebies has in the long run started to hurt us, and it will continue to do so -- unless people wise up about the way they address the freebie thing.

Chic Aeon: OK. That was my take on it from THIS side of the gifting.
Eolande Elvehjem: Don't give out your crap. Do give out your best - just a *version* of your best.

Chic Aeon: Thanks for the chat. I guess each designer will have to figure out a plan for themselves. If they follow the herd, they do.
Eolande Elvehjem: Right, and each designer will do what best works for them - who am i to say that they're doing it wrong? Ultimately it amounts to an overabundance of freebies. But each designer needs to do for themselves what they think is best.

Chic Aeon: Agreed. Back to my posting. Thanks so much. Good luck with your hunt.
Eolande Elvehjem: You're welcome, feel free to quote me on anything I've said.