Pay What Thou Wilt

When I re-launched this web site last week, I had a hard time deciding how to set the prices. The shirts, particularly the new ladies’ shirts, are expensive and time-consuming to produce. Many of them take well over an hour to create. So it’s a tough call. I have already heard from people who say the prices were too high, and others telling me I should be charging more. I was thinking about this the other night when I thought: Hmmm. Why have any prices at all?

Of course, I’m not talking about giving away my shirts, though certainly if I were a billionaire I probably would consider something of the sort. I’m talking about you, the customer, telling me how much you’re willing to pay for them. In short, pay what thou wilt.

This, as some of you probably know, is not an entirely new idea: Radiohead did it last year with their “In Rainbows” album, allowing people to pay what they wanted for it. But what I have set up is not quite the same: I’m not letting my shirts go for a song. I want you to write to me and tell me how much you’re willing to pay for the shirt you want, and then I will decide whether or not to sell it to you for that price. If not, I will write you back, and you can make a counter offer if you like. If I do decide it’s a fair offer, I will send you payment instructions and the shirt is yours.

You may be thinking that you’ll probably just get outbid. Well, that may be the case, but not neccesarily. I’m willing to consider barter. I’m willing to trade services or artwork for shirts. And I’m even willing to sell you that shirt for less than someone else’s bid if you can make a compelling enough argument about why you need it. In short, consider Zero Boutique a kind of online Middle Eastern bazaar. Haggling is not only permitted, it’s encouraged.

I’m not sure how long this experiment will last. If it’s a success, I will keep it like this. If not, I’ll go back to setting prices on things. But I am willing to give it a try. So I’m hoping you are too.

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