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What I've Learned: Consignment and Wholesale

July 27, 2011

I’m a life-long learner. I’ll say that first and foremost. You learn that when you’re in the Ed school getting your Master’s degree and paying out the yin-yang to be taught how to play four-square and break up teenage fights (I’m only partially kidding). But it’s true. We all should be life-long learners, and I want preface each and every one of my ‘What I’ve Learned’ series with that caveat right there: I’m a life-long learner, and with every day I learn more with the experiences I am blessed with.

Wonderland Gallery | Los Angeles, CA

Now then onto the show: selling on consignment and wholesale to brick and mortar stores.

  • Don’t be afraid.
  • If an owner of a brick and mortar approaches you via Etsy or Facebook or simply through your email, don’t pass it off as a scam immediately. Do your homework. Look up the business online, call them, ask around. It MIGHT be scam, but it also might be the next best thing to happen to you. (ie- Kat Von D convo’d me on Etsy and asked if I’d be up for selling my work wholesale to have in her Gallery in LA- it took me two weeks for my mouth to come up off the floor, but eventually I recovered, but not without a few skeptics. Is this really Kat Von D? Does she really have her own Etsy account? Is she serious? Is it a scam? I had a few friends who thought so outright- but it turns out, it wasn’t, and look, my books are right there in LA next to Kevin Llewellyn’s paintings!
  • Stay organized!! When it comes to consignment the only real answer is to stay organized and know your stuff. Want some help? Try out this great spreadsheet by Sunday Afternoon Housewife.
  • Keep up on your inventory! This goes along with the above, but seriously, you can’t sell anything unless they have STOCK!
  • Send work your proud of, otherwise, why send it.

    homespun: modern handmade | Indianapolis, IN

  • Don’t be afraid to ship your work across the country. You can’t be EVERYWHERE and you can’t visit EVERY shop, but you can virtually and phones lines do the traveling for us.
  • For Wholesale orders- create and design a well thought-out and organized line sheet for your work to send to buyers. Make sure it spells out your minimum purchase order, your minimum re-purchase, and a detail of all of your products and their wholesale prices. This is a good start, but if you run a creative business, it might look a little different. Spice it up, make it your own, and include everything YOU think/find important.
  • Remember the holidays and ship your wares AHEAD OF TIME! Do not count on the postal service to get your products to your store anywhere near time, so send your items early or drive them there yourself if you’re close. Either way, be prepared.

    Lala Gallery | Lafayette, IN

  • On the same note- keep track of your consignment inventory so you can do this, but for wholesale, it’s like interviewing for a job and calling fifteen times to see if you’ve gotten the job. Ok, well, that’s what I do. If you’ve sold wholesale to them before, you likely will again. So CALL THEM! Don’t expect them to contact you. They might, and that’s great, but remind them you exist! Then they’ll order before the holiday rush comes in.

Ok folks, that’s all I have for you now. You can see a list of all of the brick and mortar shops I personally sell at here and I’m always looking for new outlets! Where do you sell your work? Let me know what you think? Do you have anything to add? Any tricks of the trade for selling wholesale and on consignment? Do you prefer one or the other? Let me know, I’d Love to hear;)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. quiltytherapy permalink
    July 29, 2011 5:01 pm

    Great insight and tips. I have had a previous bad experience but willing to try again.

  2. August 1, 2011 7:19 am

    I am just starting to wholesale to retal stores .
    your information was very nice.I am putting together a couple of new products to my line .Im finding that sending a sample or photos of your product and a nice brochure has been working for me. i also look for tourist towns on line “Yellow Pages” for gift shops the yellow Pages will give you there web site phone number,and how long they have been in business .i find by just calling them first doesnt work for me .They hang up sometimes. so… I send a sample with price sheet and then call a week later .
    thanks

    • August 1, 2011 7:21 am

      PS
      I love the LALA gallery !!!

    • admin permalink*
      August 2, 2011 11:23 pm

      great ideas;) I’ve never really gone out to really search out venues, but this is definitely a great idea.

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