Sunday, June 15, 2008

Consignment Series Continued!

Thanks again, to everyone who has contacted me with such positive feedback on my consignment series. I appreciate that input, and would love to hear how this information may have assisted you, or if there are other questions or concerns that you may have about consigning your jewelry or art.

I have added a SAMPLE SALE and DESTASH items to my Etsy shop. Please stop by to check out some incredible pieces at fantastic prices! Tourmalines, garnets, lots of handmade treasures abound! Just click here: K. A. Mace Jewelry Etsy

The next questions are intended to help you understand how they are going to prioritize and merchandise your product to their customers. This are important questions, as product placement and merchandising is they key to solid sales. Think about how grocery stores put impulse goods at the checkout lanes, or how department stores create displays of the newest trends and designer labels. You, too, need to concern yourself with the visibility of your work so that you can maximize sales and turnover. That is how you will build a long-term relationship with a boutique or gallery!

Does this boutique/gallery/retailer also buy goods at wholesale? If so, what is their wholesale vs. consignment percentage? Many boutiques and galleries do some combination of both.

Why is this important? Simple: If the owner has bought wholesale goods, these items are in their inventory and they OWN them. They have to turn those goods quickly to ensure that they can pay for the goods in the terms that they have negotiated (for example, some retailers get 30 day terms, so they will do everything in their power to sell those goods so they can freely and easily pay that invoice when it comes due in 30 days!) So, they may display the wholesale goods at the front of the store, in the window, in the display areas around the registers, etc.

Does this mean that you are stuck in a back corner? Of course not, and you definitely will not be if you show an interest in merchandising and demonstrate to the owner/manager that you are a savvy artist who deserves and warrants great product placement! After all, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and there are professional and impressive ways to ensure that you do get a great display area!

Ask them how they determine what they buy at wholesale and what they consign. Most likely, they will tell you that they consign new artists (unproven in sales and turnover!) and they buy wholesale from artists that they either have an ongoing relationship with, or an artist that is branded and known in that category (proven in sales and turnover!). If you want to have a long=term wholesale relationship with this boutique or gallery, you know that you have to prove that your product will sell!

So, know you know what their wholesale/consignment percentage is, here are some additional follow up questions that will assist you in proving to them that you are a savvy businessperson and ensure that you do maximize sales:

Where do they envision merchandising your product? Maybe they will offer a great space to you, regardless of what their wholesale/consignment mix may be. Sometimes boutiques will showcase new designers or new collections as it helps them stay fresh and current for returning customers. If you are in the boutique or gallery, ask to see the display area or display case that they are proposing. Are you happy with that site in the store?

Do you have to use their displays? Can you use your own “props” to enhance the displays? I was once featured in a boutique where they would simply lay my necklaces down in black velvet-lined cases. While that sounds fancy, the presenation was really lacking, and I was not selling well. I asked if I could bring in some of my black displayers (purchased from Fetpak), she approved them, we remerchandised my jewelry and within two weeks my collection was SOLD.

I also had some of my shell and beach glass jewelry in a boutique in Orange County. The owner scattered small shells and a bit of sand at the bottom of the display case and my entire collection sold through. That visual image is important. While your work on its own can be gorgeous, little details like that help the customer connect to your work and the message of your work.

Do they have any kind of calendar or other way to rotate artists into their main display spots, and can you be included in that rotation? To be in the front window of a boutique on a main shopping street can be great for sales. The displays around the registers are a hot spot, displays close to mirrors are also prime. Those kinds of locations can be prime real estate in the retail world, and you should not be shy to ask for placement in those locations.

Do they allow you to come in and help merchandise your goods? If you offer your help to merchandise the goods, they save labor and they may just give you some hot space in return for your commitment to assist them! Trust me, in today's retail world, labor is one hot commodity. If you offer to assist a boutique owner or manager, they will deeply appreciate it. I have often assisted with merchandising, and it does pay off in where you are located in the store, how much attention they give to your product and how you are able to connect to that owner/manager.

More consignment questions to come! Thanks, and as always, your comments are welcome! Feel free to email me at with any questions as well!

1 comment:

HA! Designs said...

Love your blog! You are so generous with info and help! Thanks for the sweet comments about mine in the etsy forum! You are fab! Your jewelry is gorgeous...very elegant. Have a wonderful weekend!!