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C&T Q&A – Wholesale? Consignment? Help! {VIDEO}

should you sell your craft via wholesale or consignment - and how do you go about it

Hey there Thrivers!

I’ve got a video for you today, answering a lovely reader’s question about wholesale versus consignment.

Have you ever wondered if you should be selling your work on consignment, or only via wholesale?

Or do you wonder just how on earth you go about getting your stuff in shops at all?

In this video, I give you the 6 steps to follow in order to get your work in the right shops – whether via wholesale OR consignment.

I also explain when you should go with consignment – or when you should stick to wholesale.

If you’ve gotten your work into shops, I’d LOVE to hear your tips below in the comments!

I’d also love to hear if consignment has worked well for your business – and if so, why?


 

Want to sell to retail shops, boutiques, and gallery shops, but don’t know where to start? Join us for Wholesale Know-How. This eCourse will take you – step-by-step – through everything you need to know and do to get your work into retail spaces.

Jess

Van Den has written 350 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at Epheriell.com. You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.

Comments

Nikki
Reply

so beautiful to have been inspired by, and witness your growth over the years, Jess. More beautiful than that: to see you ‘in the flesh’, talking. Love it πŸ™‚

Jess
Reply

Nikki!!! I feel like it’s been forever since we chatted. So lovely to have you here, and thank you so much xx

Vicky
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Jess this video came at just the right time for me! Thanks so much for sharing your tips – I now feel much more confident about the approach I need to take to (try to) get my products into shops.

Jess
Reply

Oh fantastic, you’re so welcome, Vicky!

Ruchi
Reply

Hi Jess, for the past few weeks I’ve been asking these questions myself as to how to get the stuff to sell in the shops, since I’m a shy person sending email to shops just suits me fine πŸ™‚ Any more ideas about getting products out there would be wonderful and thankyou so much xx

Jess
Reply

Ruchi, I hate – HATE – talking on the phone, so email is my preferred method of contact. I have so far never had to contact a shop by phone, but I don’t do a lot of wholesale… and what I do do, I now do through my wholesale agent – so she deals with the stuff like that so I don’t have to πŸ™‚

Julie
Reply

I started out doing consignment only. It’s how the galleries that I want my work represented in operate. It’s definitely an excellent option for “getting your work out there”. I’ve now started my own website and Etsy shop, and am finding that customers who have bought my work from these shops are now starting to buy my work online. Return customers! It’s a great feeling that they are happy to buy my work again. And it’s great to have a variety of ways for people to buy my work (gallery/online). I have found that once you get your work in the “right” places, other galleries/shops will approach you too. This has happened several times for me. So, definitely approach your number 1 pick first! Aim high!

Jess
Reply

Julie – indeed, ‘galleries’ rather than shops, usually work on consignment – that’s a great point I forgot to mention. I love your point about the ‘right’ places, too – yes, aim high to start with!

Allison Dey
Reply

I was a retail gift buyer in California in the 90s and would say that I don’t think walk-ins is a terrible way to meet buyers. Before email was popular, mailing a catalogue or walking in to make an appointment was the only way to see a buyer. Yes, I email with pics now, but if I find a shop I love, I have materials (at least a business card) with me to leave for the buyer. Let the salesperson know you would like to leave your card for the buyer/owner. If they are in the shop, they might meet with you (at least briefly) but more likely, will want to make an appointment for another day (or just accept your materials and say they will let you know). If you have stopped in on your ‘day off’, make sure that you look neat and orderly even if in comfy jeans and a tshirt. AND if you happen to find an incredible neighborhood with amazing shops, you can pitch to many, but only sell to one. They don’t feel special if you piss all over their neighborhood. I sell dolls in two shops and online. One shop called me and the other I approached. The first bought at wholesale and the other just takes a 10% commission from product sold. If you have press, make color copies and send them with your product shipment. Shops love to highlight work that has been featured. Why? They know the next time you are written about, you will note what shops carry your product.

Jess
Reply

Allison, you make a great point! I guess I was trying to discourage people from walking in with a box of stock/samples and saying cold ‘hey there, can I sell my stuff here?”. Your approach is definitely a viable option – the business-card/make an appointment thing πŸ™‚

And GREAT point about exclusivity, too – it’s a big deal to retailers, and most who buy from you will expect that you do not sell the same stock to any other shop in the same postcode (here in Australia).

Allison Dey
Reply

Yes, the in-person cold call is delicate. The way you describe it is clumsy and intrusive and EXACTLY what some people do. Not cool. Most of the time the buyer is too busy to see you anyway. But it is a possibility if done nicely. Just wanted to throw it back in the mix. Great article!

Kasia
Reply

Jess again, thank you so much for this very thorough video.. . While I waited for your response to my question, I went ahead and contacted a few shops… Intuitively via email. I never heard back from any of them. This made me question whether contact via email was the right way to go about it, till your video confirmed I’ve made the right move. So how come I haven’t heard back even a ‘no thanks! Not interested.’ email? Is that just standard practice if they’re not interested, do you think? I never called them to follow up as I don’t want to be pushy.
Many thanks again Jess!

Kasia
She’s GUtSSY

Jess
Reply

Hey Kasia – oh, so many reasons! First – don’t take it personally. We all get a LOT of email, and honestly, some of them may have just missed it, or seen it and meant to reply… but time got away. Also, by this time of year they’ve already probably done all their Christmas shopping. Also, they may have seen your email and thought your stuff wasn’t for them, but alas you won’t always get the courtesy of a reply. I say give it 2-3 weeks after you send, then try a quick follow-up email (short and polite). If that doesn’t work, you can always try a phone call, at least then you’ll get a definite response!

Link Hype 9-27-13
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[…] Ever wondered which is better for your business where it is now: consignment or wholesale?Β  Jess Van Den expressed her ideas on this question in her video Q & A – Wholesale? Consignment? Help! […]

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