April 14, 2010
hello dear ones! since our last shop help column was on wholesale, today we’re going to talk about consignment. you may say, what’s the difference? simply put, when you wholesale your items, you sell them at a discounted price. when you consign your items, you supply (usually a shop) with a product for free, and get paid a percentage of the sale when your item sells. there are benefits and negatives to both, and we’ll cover all of them pertaining to consignment today.
generally, any exposure is good exposure, right? one of the bigger positives to consigning your work is that you get to build relationships with retailers and get your work into new places around the globe. it’s beneficial for the retailer to do consignment, because it’s basically ‘risk free’. they don’t have to pay you until your items sells. but what’s in it for you? consigning (especially when you’re new) is a great learning experience. usually, you’ll be able to receive feedback about what’s selling and what’s not and begin to understand what your consumers like the most. you may even be able to go in and rearrange your display or at least ‘change things up’ frequently. by replacing stagnant items with new creations, you can really test your market, a bit of knowledge that i find invaluable!
now let’s touch on the negatives to consigning. first and foremost, you create items, send them into the world, and have to wait to see if they’ll sell. there’s no real security in the amount of income you’ll receive. you’ll also have to keep up with what you have and where it’s at. keeping detailed inventory sheets of what items you have that are waiting to be sold is a must. you’ll most likely have (or should have) a contract with any retailer you consign with. make sure to read it thoroughly and pay attention to the liability section. who’s responsible if the store burns down or get’s broken in to? what if the items are lost in the mail? it’s best to discuss these kinds of questions well before you have to deal with them. finally, you’ll be putting a certain amount of trust in you retailer. it’s their responsibility to sell your items, keep track of them, and pay you in a timely manner.
so now you have it, the down side and the upside to consignment. if you’ve decided it might be something for you, here’s some more info you should consider. do some research and figure out just how much profit you’ll need to make off of each product. most stores have a percentage they keep, so you’ll need to find out what it is and get to calculating. one important thing to remember is that if you have identical items in your etsy shop and in your consignment shops, they’ll need to be priced the same.
make sure that your items not only look professional, but that they are tagged professionally as well. having a way for the buyers to find you is essential and will do wonders in promoting your work. try to be as involved as possible with your shop. keep up good communication and if you’re local, make sure to stop in frequently to check your display and freshen things up. as mentioned earlier, make sure you have a contract and read it thoroughly. if you find anything you don’t like or don’t understand, make sure to discuss it.
with home to roost, i have a few consignment accounts as well as a few wholesale accounts. i like each of them very much for different reasons, and have built amazing relationships with both types of clients. consigning is fun and educational, but can take up bit of time, so be careful not to get in over your head. and even though you don’t get one lump some of money for an order, it’s kinda fun to get surprised by a few checks at the end of the month!
do you have any experience you’d like to share? i’ll meet you in the comment section!