Thursday, October 30, 2008

K. A. Mace Jewelry Consignment Series Continues!

For those of you who have been following my series on consignment, thank you for your wonderful input, experiences and feedback! And, yes, I am continuing on, for those of you out there who have emailed me asking for the series to continue!

Next up...How does the boutique/retailer market YOU and YOUR MERCHANDISE?

Yes, even on consignment, this is a great question to ask a boutique/retailer. And, of course, you have your side of the marketing equation to cover as well. Here are some great ideas that you can share with the buyer/owner to drive your sales, and truly the overall sales of that boutique!

Will they work with you on a trunk show, or special in-store event? Many boutiques LOVE trunk shows! YOU show up with inventory, THEY sell it, you BOTH profit. They do not take the risk on the inventory, and you get to sell your goods to their customer base, plus those you invite. The best way to do this is to ask the boutique if they have a mailing list or email list that you can communicate with.

You can very easily, and inexpensively, produce great postcards to announce your trunk show to their customers, and your own that may be in that city. Often, the boutique will even split the cost of the postcards, and/or the postage as they are driving traffic as well. I highly recommend Overnight Prints or Modern Postcard. They are both very, very easy to work with, you can easily upload graphics and information and design your own postcard, and they arrive in literally days!

You can also create a professional enewsletter or e-vite for their email list, combining it with your email list as well. Ensure that you are capturing all emails from your website, and you can easily create an opt-in box on your website or blog to ensure that anyone who visits gets the opportunity to join your email list. You can also use Constant Contact, iContact and other online services that help you create mailing lists and have wonderful templates to create e-newsletters.

Some boutiques will also enter into co-op advertising with their designers. In this case, you will pay a small amount to be included in a print or online ad with your business name, possibly even a piece of your jewelry, included in the ad. Please note, being that it is "co-op" you have to remember that other designers may also be involved in this advertising. I have found this to be really beneficial when it comes to the major jewelry-selling holidays only, however. Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, and the Holidays are perfect times to partner with a retailer on such an ad. I would steer clear of other times of the year, unless they are having a special Anniversary Sale or another type of meaningful sales event that is specific to that community. For example, is there a major local parade or holiday that brings a lot of traffic and tourists to the area?

Also, do they market and sale off of their website? This is a wonderful way to basically enter into not so much of a "consignment" relationship, but a "drop ship" arrangement. The difference? Well, with consignment, you do run the risk of jewelry being lost, stolen, broken, sold and accidently credited to another artist, etc. With a drop ship arrangement, they put images of your work on their website, item description, price and when they receive an order, the alert you and YOU actually fulfill that order. They may ask you to send to them, and they send out to the customer. They may require you to directly ship to the customer yourself. Either way, make sure that you understand their expectation for shipping methods, packing, invoicing, and insurance. All of that the customer will pay for, however, understanding those expectations is key to a successful drop ship relationship.

If you are going to be featured on their website, inquire about how they market the designers. Is there a "Designer of the Month", "Spotlight Designer"? Do they market special gemstones for special events, like "Gemstone of the Month" or "Birthstone Specials"? Bring some ideas to the table for the boutique, you just might find your jewelry, your art, on their homepage! Blog about your jewelry and products on their website, send the link to your email list, and make sure that the entire world knows that they can buy YOUR jewelry on THEIR website! The more traffic, the more sales!

One caveat: Ensure you understand their expectation of the artists they feature on their website. They will most likely ask you to not have those same items on your website or blog for sale, unless you are solely directing that traffic to them.

One key tip: Developing a relationship with the staff is truly key. They are selling your product day in and day out. Ask if you can have some time to meet with their sales staff to present the key selling points of your work. Drop in, introduce yourself, ask if they have any questions, and thank them for their hard work. Some boutiques will allow you to give small gifts to their associates; I often provided jewelry for them to wear. It became an inexpensive way to encourage that associate to sell even more of your jewelry! Just check first, they may have conflict of interest policies for their associates.

Love the rings featured? Go to K. A. Mace Jewelry to view more of the K. A. Mace Jewelry Ring Collection and many more designs!

1 comment:

blackfeatherfarm said...

Great post, but I was distracted by your gorgeous jewelry !!!