Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday's Tip ~ Selling your Art or Craft in the Retail World

If your handcrafted work is appropriate for the gift market, what better place to sell a portion of your inventory than through a local shop that already is established and has a customer base. It broadens exposure of your work and creates a sales opportunity. Here are a few suggestions when considering "getting out there".
  1. Visit the shop, meet the shop owner and view their merchandise. Is the shop a fit for your art/craft. Will your items compliment the inventory and grab the eye of their customer or are there many competitors with the same product? Seek out retail shops that cater to your specific niche.
  2. Ask the shop owner where your items will be displayed in the store? Will your work be given exposure at the entrance, in a space dedicated to other handcrafted items, or on a high shelf? It is really important to negotiate the placement of your artwork in the shop before you have committed to selling.
  3. Marketing your product by dressing it up with packaging or a creative display is an important consideration. Does the shop owner allow you to label your product and if so, will they also allow business cards or artist profiles, to accompany the display? This is a important opportunity for more exposure as an artist/craftsperson. If you have a website, it can lead to direct future sales from your website.
  4. The fourth thing to consider is the payment structure. There are many payment arrangements and each arrangement has advantages and disadvantages. What financial terms should you arrange with the shop? Should you sell wholesale, commission or is consignment the way to go?

  • Commission is a common payment arrangement with galleries. This is when the artist is paid a percentage of the overall sale - normally a 50/50 split.
  • Wholesale is a payment arrangement where the shop owner will buy your art/craft work at agreed upon wholesale price and pay within a certain time frame (usually 30 days). If you find the store owner is hesitant in buying your pieces up front wholesale, you may suggest a consignment agreement. This is a benefit for the shops as they will not loose any money should your pieces not sell.
  • Consignment is an agreed upon commission as well (usually 60% artist, 40% shop owner). It is important to have a contract with a time frame on this type of agreement, this way if your pieces do not sell within that time frame you have the right to pull your pieces from the store and place them somewhere else. You also want to make sure the contract outlines protection for theft or fire,etc. Generally in my experience the shop owner's insurance should cover such expenses.
5. The last thing to consider is record keeping. If you are selling your work, you are also a business person. Understanding all aspects of selling - tracking inventory, creating invoices, etc. are all aspects which will help you become a successful artisan/crafts person.

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Katie of Branded Butterfly said...

I always have to staycation. I want a vacation in Maine. lol Good post.

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

I found your tips very helpful...now I will try to gear up enough courage to approach a local store.

Town Blogger Team said...

Denise, I have your link added to Friday Shoot-outs. Just post your shoot-out post as close to Friday as possible. I'm looking forward to seeing Maine through your great photos.

Anonymous said...

Denise, this is really informative (and a process I've always wondered about); thanks!

Pat (from PatsPotpourri)

Southern Lady's Vintage said...

Great article!!

Mikiep said...

Great tips and thank you for the Info :)

Valerie said...

Perfect tips...I need to get out there and just get my stuff to the shops.

(LOVELY photo btw.)

Ted Hurlbut said...

As a retail consultant, let me assure you that any gift shop that's on their toes will want to carry well-developed, high-quality homecrafts. These are the kinds of items that sets a small retailer apart from the crowd, and enables them to captivate their customers in a way that keeps them coming in over and over to see what's new. Very valuable post.