Squawking about squirrel hair!

Squawking about squirrel hair!

I was in London, and my blusher brush had finally died a death after 25 years or so, so I decided to pop over to Selfridges on Oxford Street and grab a new one.

(Guys, stick with me here – I’m not asking you for makeup tips!)

Now, the last time I bought a brush I think it cost me about £10, but I was fairly sure I’d struggle to get one for that price in 2016!

My first port of call was the Clarins desk, where I was told that although they did sell a brush for £36, they didn’t have any stock, so that was a ‘no go’.

They suggested I try the MAC counter, and they had a brush for £42.  However, it was extremely busy and pretty much impossible for me to get the attention of anyone who might help me, so I swiftly moved on from there.

I headed over to a much quieter – and sophisticated looking – spot where there weren’t many people around.  I spotted a lovely looking brush that was exactly what I was looking for.  There was no price shown, but I guessed it’d be in the £30-£50 range, just like the other two brushes.

I was wrong.

The salesperson came over to me to let me know that if I spent £180 I’d be ‘eligible’ for a free eyeshadow.

Once I’d got over my laughing fit I informed her that I wasn’t intending on spending that much – I was just after the blusher brush.

Her response?

“Madam, that brush is £162.  You only need to spend another £18 to qualify for the free eyeshadow”

Turns out this brush was a little different to the Clarins and MAC offerings.  It had been made from “baby squirrel hair” (her words, not mine) and was consequently much more expensive than other brushes out there.

Now, whether you agree with killing baby squirrels for their hair, there’s an important point here:

Within one shop, and within ten metres of each other were three identical products going for different prices; one price astronomically larger than the other two.

As business owners we can fall into the trap of thinking that our prospects “won’t” pay the price we want to sell our product at.

But they will.  As long as we get our market right, and we can adequately justify its value.

I was never going to get that brush – I’m not the right prospect for them – but other people are clearly happy to spend that money, and see the value in the squirrel hair.

I guess there are two big takeaways here:

  • If you want to charge premium prices, ensure that you’re targeting the right market with your marketing
  • Ensure you can justify the value of your proposition, not monetarily but experientially or emotionally.

Have a great day,


P.S. I went for the MAC/Clarins one in the end!

P.P.S. Honestly, squirrel hair?!

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