|Hannah Zakari Edinburgh - super awesome shop to stock|
Having your work in a shop is super rewarding. Once I went into Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge and felt like a celebrity! But putting your work in the wrong hands can leave you out-of-pocket or with your reputation in ruins...
Here's my advice on what to consider when stocking a shop:
♥ Terms: Wholesale Vs Sale-Or-Return (a.k.a "consignment") Vs Rent-A-Shelf
My preference would go in the order above.
Wholesale: Per piece, I get a smaller fee, yet I have a higher minimum order value and get paid upfront. Cash in my pocket, jobs a good 'un. It also says that the retailer is confident they can sell your work and have a turnover that allows them to buy in bulk. Because they have bought the pieces, it's their job to shift em, and they can put them in the sale and even sell at a much higher price than you would do. They may also choose not to use your packaging and use their own, so you may not get credit for your work, but these are things you can iron out when you schmooze with your stockist person.
Sale Or Return: Per piece you get a better fee (they will take 30-50%), but you only get paid if it sells. That's cool by me, my work sells, it seems win/win for the stockist and the designer, and it also means that the stockist has to put in some welly if they want to make ends meet. The only problem is keeping track of who has what stock if you have a lot of stockists on this basis! Time to exercise your spreasheet skillz.
Rent a shelf: Just say no! I can see how a rent-a-shelf basis might appeal to a new maker as their first stockist experience. It might be just the kudos you need to get yourself another stockist on better terms (a bit like your Saturday fast-food job experience helping getting a full-time job, but you wouldn't want to work there longer than three months!). On these terms the proprietor doesn't really need to put in the legwork to sell stock because they make ends meet with the rent you pay. Because established makers wouldn't usually entertain these terms it also means the standard of work in the shop might not be up to scratch, and priced badly (which will affect the perception of your own work).
♥ Word of mouth recommendation
If you have a network of maker friends or are a member of a forum, why not ask if anyone else knows of the stockist? Do they pay on time?
♥ Pop in t'shop - be private investigator!
Is it clean and tidy? Does the assistant say hello? Is there a clear price point, theme and standard of work being sold? Would you be proud to see your work in there? Are people looking around? Are they genuine buyers buying things? It might be worth popping in at different times of day to get a good idea.
♥ Do they have a website?
Is it well designed? Is the photography any good? Again, would you be proud to see your work on there?
♥ The Spiel: Go with your gut
You might get given a sales pitch. Should you really need it?!
My decisions are based on different values and opinions to what other designer's might be. For a start, I don't rely on the money from my designs to live, which allows me to be a little... snobby! It's not all about the money! I'm always a great believer in quality, not quantity, and I won't get walked over. If a stockist doesn't pay up, I get out. If I have had a bad experience with a stockist I might also tip off my networks - share the wealth (absolutely not the correct phrase to use here).
Hope this has helped! Remember, if you have a biz-related question that you think I might be able to help with, just ask, and I'll see what I can do...
Anything I missed off? What tips do you have to share for stocking shops?
♥ Colourful ♥ Kitschy ♥ Funky ♥ Fun...
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