Late January through February is a great time to get your work into craft galleries and boutiques. Shops are probably low on inventory after the holidays and the wholesale orders they place at winter trade shows probably won’t arrive for several weeks. Meanwhile, they have to get through Valentines Day, Presidents’ weekend and if they are in resort areas, winter break. In some parts of the country, spring break even starts in March so shops have to be prepared for visitors.
If you are willing to put your work in galleries or boutiques on consignment, it will be even more appealing to shop owners because they want available cash to spend at trade shows.
I recommend only consigning to shops that you are able to visit frequently. You want to make sure your work is displayed well and not hidden in a back room and it’s important to rotate the often.
When you approach shop owners, keep proper etiquette in mind. If you walk in with a box of your jewelry or craft, you may blow your chance of even getting them to look at it. Instead, call and ask the owner/buyer if you may make an appointment to bring your work by for them to view during her slowest time, before or after hours. A weekday morning is the best time to call. After introducing yourself, let the buyer know that you understand they are busy and customers are their first priority.
Arrive for your appointment prepared with a printed inventory of your work with a list showing retail prices. Ideally, number each piece on the tag and the line sheet so that you and the the shop owner both have a reference for what items they have. This will ensure they pay you correctly when pieces sell. If they don’t want to take all the pieces you have brought, edit the list and make sure you both have copies. Also, make sure you have a written agreement stating what percentage and when they will pay.
Stay alert to the flow of customers and be sure you respect the mission of the gallery to sell craft. You wouldn’t be happy if the shop personnel ignored customers while working with another artist. You’d want them to be selling your work, right? Keep that in mind while you are there.
You can find more detail on consigning to galleries and shops on CraftBizBlog. You’ll also find great tips on approaching galleries in the free report “13 Tips” on the right side of that same page.
Get out there, make connections and make some money so you can buy more supplies to make more crafts.
Have you ever sold to boutiques or galleries before?
Terri Belford has been self-employed for more than 30 years and been on all sides of the art and handmade craft business as an artist, gallery owner and consultant to artists and crafts people. You can follow her on Twitter@craftbizcoach and Facebook. And follow her blog for more craft business articles.