Thursday, May 1, 2008

More About Consignment!

First of all, sorry for neglecting this series regarding consignment. I have received really positive emails from fellow jewelry designers and other artists stating that this series has really helped them to learn a great deal about consigment and how it "really" works!

I have been just a wee bit busy with a new (non-jewelry!) project,! is an innovative directory of caterers, personal chefs, florists, and other vendors who can provide inflight catering and services to private jet owners and jet charter industry! Go to the Jet-Chef blog to check out more information!

Furthermore, I want to take a moment to brag a bit...

One of my blog posts is featured in the Summer 2008 issue of Artful Blogging! Yup! On the "Buzz" page, page 3 in the issue. I am so proud! This publication is so amazing and so inspiring (and not just because one of my posts is featured!). This is a magazine that reads like a highend, ultra expensive coffee table books! Go to for more info on ordering Artful Blogging!

Enough about me...Moving on to Consignment, and the Big Questions!

First Big Question: Does this boutique/retailer have a consignment contract?

I typically ask this before the first meeting, and if they have one, I ask if they can scan or fax a copy of it to me prior to our meeting. Sometimes, they will say it is proprietary and they only share that with the artists that they consign with. That is fine. Just remember, the more details that they are willing to share up front with you, the more likely it is a professional retailer with whom you want to do business.

If they provide a copy to you at the meeting, ask to read through it with the owner/manager. This is pretty standard practice, and hopefully you have set up enough appointment time to do this. If not, let them know that you will need to review it when you get home before you make any decisions. If any retailer is troubled by this request, that can be a question mark. Having the chance to read it quickly through with the owner/manager gives you both the opportunity to clear up any questions or concerns on the spot.

Remember, this is your opportunity to make sure that their terms meet your expectations. Yes, you want to sell your product, yes it feels amazing to be recognized and have your work validated in this manner. But, you have to make sure that it is a solid business, that they are flexible and understanding of your desire to get all of the facts. Truly, top notch retailers will respect you MORE for asking these questions and being involved, they will recognize you as not only an artist, but also a business person.

Not all terms may be negotiable. They may tell you the contract is the contract, period. Does that fit your goals and needs? Again, the sense of urgency to get your product and artwork into the retail marketplace is only known truly by you. You may feel that your desire to get your "foot in the door" outweighs your desire to be flexible. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to their terms, as long as you truly do understand them and are willing to live up to those terms!

So, what do you do if they do not have a contract? You can bring a copy of a contract that you have created, and discuss those terms with them. Feel free to contact me at if you have any questions or would like to see a sample contract. You should have a contract, or this series of questions and suggestions with you for your meeting, as a back up plan.

This is always a great reason to have a laptop or mobile device upon which you could have a copy of a contract that you would like to propose to them to use for your consignment arrangement. That could be immediately emailed to them, and even printed during the meeting for review.

You can always create after the meeting your own "working contract". Throughout the meeting you should have been taking notes and keeping track of what you and the owner/manager agreed upon. After you get home, you can recap what has been discussed. Tell the owner/manager that you would like to send them an email or snail mail copy of your notes for their review. Request that they initial or sign the notes, as this will be your "working contract". Type it up with two initial fields at the lead of each bulletpoint. Initial one set, and they will see that as a good faith effort on your behalf to also commit to what they had told you were their expectation!

Bottom line, if the boutique does not have a contract, you do not have a contract, and they do not want to sign any kind of recap...then what???
I would suggest that you continue on your search for another boutique/retailer. That is solely my suggestion, but one that I know would have been a handly concept for people that I know that entered into consigment agreements with just a friendly handshake. Obviously if you know the owner/manager well, he/she is a neighbor, in your carpool, go to your church, or is your brother or sister-in-law...that is one thing! But the bottom line is that you need to protect your brand, the investment in your inventory and your sanity with some form of written agreement.

Next question in the series...How about some references???

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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