No one loves creating more than I do, and I have enjoyed doing all sorts of crafts and selling them in a variety of ways – see my work at Carolyn’s Canvas. But now I am 75 years old, and have grown weary of packing up, hauling, unpacking, displaying or wrapping and trudging to the post office, which makes working with consignment shops an appealing option.
My experience with consignment shops began when my husband and I moved from the Cincinnati area to Indiana near the little town of Vevay after he retired. Vevay’s Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the visitors’ bureau, refurbished historical buildings that were opened as consignment shops for artisans and collectors – so I had an outlet for all that craftiness and my penchant for auctions and yard sales.
I was one of the first in the door with my things – no more craft fairs. The Mercantile, with its coffered ceilings, vintage wooden floors, woodwork and floor-to-ceiling display windows, was the perfect scenario for the craft work of us locals.
But time goes by and things change. My husband passed away. I sold my home in the country and moved back to Cincinnati. The thing that hasn’t changed is my urge to keep busy, to create, to design and a few months after moving here, and soon I discovered a new consignment shop.
The Colorful Cupboard consignment shop in Cinncinatti was being transformed into the vision its owner, Kim Zeigler Orlemann. She wanted it to be an eclectic collection from many different designers. The Grand Opening for The Colorful Cupboard in the spring of 2014 launched with over 30 artisans. Now there are over 100 and growing. As Kim and I were chatting the other day, another crafter came in to inquire about displaying her things in The Colorful Cupboard. She had been seeing the signs and meaning to stop in and it was the time.
The Colorful Cupboard owner-Kim Zeigler Orlemann
If you are thinking of or need to change directions, a consignment shop that handles and displays your creations may be the answer. One where sales are handled, sales taxes paid along with all other over head expenses and all the grunt work, whilst you get to enjoy what you love best-creating.
Advice for Working With Consignment Shops
1. Expect reasonable fees.
Giving up the grunt work of selling when you consign your crafts comes at a cost, which is usually a percentage of each sale-30% -50%. But by the time all your own costs are factored in for travel, booth fees, online fees, book-keeping, etc. I think you will find the fees are completely reasonable and justified.
2. If you have the means, start your own shop.
Do you have the vision for a consignment shop who can give the opportunity for others by marketing their handcrafted items? If the idea of having your own craft shop is enticing but intimidating, maybe the extra income from consignments will make it a feasible undertaking.
3. Location is important.
Whether consignee [seller, shop owner] or consignor [item owner], as with every other business and real estate decision-location, location, location – is the most important factor. The traffic count in front of The Colorful Cupboard is almost 40,000 per day.
4. Find a shop that will help promote your work.
As a consignor consider how progressive and aggressive promotions for the shop are. Is social media like Facebook being used to its fullest? The Indiana shops and The Colorful Cupboard participate in community events with artists in attendance and demonstrating their art, teas held, workshops and book signings.
May the power of crafting be upon you,
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