The bottom line is you need to sell your work.
There are 3 ways you can sell your work.
- retail your products directly to the public
- wholesale to stores/galleries
- in stores on consignment
Retailing to the public.Let’s start with retailing your products directly to the public.
- You receive 100% of the final selling price and you receive this immediately. Cash is good.
- You control the sales environment. You design your own display or store
- You meet the buying public and conduct on the spot market research
- Time spent selling is time away from the studio
- You have to deal with the buying public. You are the salesperson
- Craft shows cost money. Opening your own store or studio costs money. Selling online costs money
- You have to start up and maintain your own display or store, or website
- from your own studio/shop
- craft shows
- home parties/office parties
Wholesaling to stores
Wholesaling is when a store buys your jewellery outright. They order from your catalogue, you produce the work and they give you money.
- you don’t produce the work until you receive an order so you don’t have to invest as much in inventory
- you spend more time in the studio, less time selling
- unlike retail where you make a lot of small sales, in a wholesale model you set a minimum order and make fewer, but more lucrative sales
- stores expect a discount from your retail price, usually at least 50%
- you need a catalogue or line sheets
- you must have work that is consistently repeatable, wholesale does not work for one of a kind work
- you still have to sell the work, to the store buyers
With consignment, the store doesn’t actually purchase your work. They agree to display it and sell it for you. When it sells, they send you money. This is advantageous to the store as they do not have to spend money on inventory. While most of us would prefer to sell only wholesale, most stores deal on consignment. In the beginning of your crafty career, you will find that you are obliged to deal with stores on consignment.
- your work is continually on display somewhere unlike a craft show which is a few days here and there
- unlike wholesale, you set the selling price
- you usually receive a larger percentage of the price than you do with wholesale
- consignment works will with one of a kind work or with large expensive pieces
- more time in the studio, less time selling.
- As the store has not invested any money in your work, they may not be as motivated to sell it as you would like
- You must keep meticulous records of what pieces are in what stores
- Your inventory may be tied up for a long time without bringing you any return for it
- Stores aren’t always prompt in paying, it is up to you to be a collection officer
Sometimes it’s a loathing of selling that stops many crafters from moving forward with their busines. Think of it not as selling, but as an exchange between friends. You are gifting them with your work, and they are gifting you with money. And you have made their world a more beautiful place, that’s fair.