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Why aren't your Friendship Lamps cheaper?

Why aren't your Friendship Lamps cheaper?

We aim to create a quality item that will connect you with the people you love. We price them at a point where we can afford to maintain that quality and also stay in business. While we would like to do everything we can to help everyone be connected, we understand that our lamps won’t be the best choice for everyone. A set of two classic or modern Friendship Lamps is $170. A set of Mid-Century Friendship Lamps or our new Friendship Frames is $198, only at UncommonGoods.

I know what you're thinking. "That's a lot of money!" And you’re right, it is, especially if you want to add more than a few people to your group. Let’s look at the reasons behind the price.

Why are they so expensive?

The majority of our costs are labor. There are of course the typical business costs of buying the parts, packaging, printed materials, renting our building,and maintaining our website, but most of the money goes to our employees.

We assemble all of our Friendship Lamps by hand in Wichita, Kansas. It takes time to put together a Friendship Lamp, and we time ourselves occasionally. It takes 6-10 minutes to create just one shade. Each step of the process is done with care and each lamp completed is a work of art. We want to make creating the lamps just as beautiful as the connections they represent. That's one of the many reasons we sign every lamp we make.

If you want to learn more about how exactly we make them, you can check out this article! It even has a video of us making them.

After we make them, we set them up to test overnight. Pankaja created a program to monitor their behavior, to make sure they don't change colors unless someone touches them. In the morning, we test them again. We go through and test each one to make sure it responds to touch well. If a lamp fails any of these tests, it goes back to be redone. Once we’re certain they work correctly, we then give them a really good once-over. When we get them ready to ship, we look at them one last time to make sure there are no scratches or blemishes. We wrap them in two layers of bubble-wrap to safeguard against shipping bumps and bruises and load them into boxes for their journey to their forever homes.

We then have the costs of selling a Friendship Lamp. Whether it’s through Amazon, Shopify, UncommonGoods, Walmart, or a mom and pop shop, retailers don’t sell our product for free. Most places take a small cut of the sale. Other places buy them wholesale, so we sell to them at a discounted rate. This helps places like Lucinda's (a local store in Wichita) who don't buy that many.

Advertising (hey, that's me!) is another company cost. We need to tell people about our lamps! I spend almost all of my time on this. I truly believe Friendship Lamps are a beautiful thing, and I want to share that with people. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on advertising, you can check out this article.

So most of the money is profit?

No, that's not what I mean. When I say "the money goes to the employees", that isn't profit. That’s food for employees’ families. It’s student loan payments, electricity bills, house payments. Tiffany just bought a new house for her family. Hayley recently got married. John's dog Lucky pretends it only has three legs, and goes to a specialty vet in Kansas city. From operating the laser cutters to boxing up the lamps, every step of the process is done by hand. We value each of our employees and it’s important that we take care of them.

The money also goes into our community. We do our best to buy local, and that's not just as a business; we all do our best to buy from farmers’ markets and local businesses. We want to really be involved in our community.

What about a discount?

In an effort to honor our military and first responders, we use GovX to provide a 10% discount. To apply the discount, go to your cart and search for the GovX option.

We don't typically have any other discounts available. If you are local to Wichita, KS, you can purchase Friendship Lamps with minor blemishes and manufacturing defects from The Wichita Women's Initiative Network. These lamps work just fine, but they failed our quality standards and may have some scratching. We provide these to WIN as a donation, which they sell for half price.

You can also check out our Facebook page, where we sometimes run giveaways or other promotions.

Do they ever go on sale?

If you are worried about buying a set of Friendship Lamps only to have them go on sale a week later, no need to wait. We typically do not run sales, even for holidays like Mother's Day or Black Friday.

We do our best to create a quality item. We price them at a point where we can afford to keep making them and keep in business. While we would like to do everything we can to help everyone be connected, we don't believe sales are the best way to do this.

Personal stories and recommendations from people who have purchased our lamps and feel that their value outweighs their cost have proven more effective in spreading the word than any sale ever could, and those same stories encourage us to keep doing what we do.

Comment 1

Lesli on

I’ve wanted to buy these for so long, waiting patiently for the day the price goes down because I can’t afford them. So here you are whining about your labor costs first thing and gouging your customers so you can garner sympathy for when you mechanize: and replace the people with robots in order to pull in even more profits? Or have you done that already? You dont really care about your people, right? C’mon. Youre just tolerating them until you can give them all pink slips and let AI run the show. Are you even really paying them living wages? Tiffany didn’t really buy a house on judt her wages, did she? Unless she’s your CEO, or I’m guessing there’s a spouse there at least. Wouldn’t you fire the first worker who breathes the word “union”? Isn’t that the “American Way”? Because I’ve never seen any different, anywhere.
And ONLY first responders and vets have important enough jobs to deserve discounts? So… you bring politics into the workplace, too?

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