Thursday, April 3, 2008
Taking it retail
Anne of Anz Art is a plethora of information on this. She also will graciously offer up answers to more questions you have on this topic. Doesn't she rock?
Several people have been inquiring in the forums about approaching retailers with their wares to sell.
Since I have a B&M gallery where I sell local and regional art and fine crafts, I thought I'd help those fine folks out by giving my views and ideas.
1 - Cold calling is not a good plan, meaning, don't call or show up to someone's business and expect them to look at your stuff. People are often busy and if they try to accommodate you without an appointment, they may rush through your presentation or portfolio, or may resent your imposition.
2 - Research the businesses before you act. Believe it or not, I've had people call or come into my gallery on a whim, not knowing what I carry or the personality of my business, expecting me to waste my time looking at stuff that I know doesn't fit in. I don't carry traditional work or tourist art, but people will bring it in anyway. Know your retailer.
3 - Some people operate on consignment - others will buy wholesale. Call and find out particulars. You don't want to assume one thing and find out another. It wastes your time and the owner's.
4 - Make sure you know who the owner is and when they are available. You can do this by snagging a business card. Most everyone has email. Set up an appointment to meet with the owner - include samples of your work or a link to a site where they can see it.
5 - If you get an appointment face to face - get your work together in a professional and easy to navigate format. Make sure you have samples of your tags, displays, or anything that will accompany the work. Be prepared to answer questions about materials, manufacturing, or anything pertinent to what you're offering. Have a resume or bio on hand - something that tells the shop owner what you've been up to, including shows, events, awards - anything that makes you appear marketable and important ;) Make a package you can leave with the owner, including brochures, business cards, bios.
5 - Send postcards to perspective businesses, once you've done your research, that showcase what you do, list wholesale price range, and if you're open to consignment or only deal wholesale.
6 - IF YOU ARE WILLING TO DO CONSIGNMENT - make sure you get a contract, ask questions about how the business promotes, how much coverage you have under their insurance, when payments are made. Also - make sure you have a concise inventory list of your work with RETAIL PRICES(discuss with the owner at great length - they will know if your prices are reasonable or not). You need to know what your work is being sold for, so you know that you are getting the cut you agreed upon. You also need to keep up your inventory so let the owner know that you are more than happy to check inventory every few weeks.