Dealing with consignment shops!

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Forum topic by Bearpaw posted 07-22-2011 08:18 PM 1794 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Bearpaw's profile


255 posts in 3746 days

07-22-2011 08:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am retired and will be making more items from my shop. I do good work and most of my items sell, but I would like to make more and spend less time selling.

So I want to know LJ’s experience in dealing with consignment shops and is this a safe route to go. Not really interested in the craft fairs at this time.

So it is time for you to spill you guts both good and bad.


-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

7 replies so far

View Blakep's profile


232 posts in 2828 days

#1 posted 07-22-2011 09:29 PM

I will let you know next week haha. We move our stuff into our booth for the first time tomorrow. You really don’t have much to lose or I don’t anyway with the place I will have my booth in. Its only 60 dollars a month and I only have to sign a contract for three months so the most I can lose is $180. The other nice thing is all you really need is a business license, which is only $20 in my area. A tax ID number is also nice so your not being double taxed for sales tax but its not required as the vendors mall hold out sales tax. The only thing that I have found out by talking to the owners is it will probably be better to make simpler items that you can sell for a cheaper price because they said most of there customers are not looked for high priced items and the customer base that I have seen that they have wouldn’t know the difference in pine and birdseye maple. They are most likely buying it if they like the way it looks, without much attention to the actually detail on the construction. I have not seen anything in there that is anywhere close to the quality that I am going to attempt to sell so I am using mainly pine to keep my cost down and if someone wants something different they can custom order it.

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 2970 days

#2 posted 07-25-2011 07:50 PM

My experience with consignment shops was not pretty. What I learned was that at a consignment shop, the product just sits on the shelves like at Walmart. There is no attempt by the employees to sell, explain or comment on your products. What I have seen sell there was items that are small ready made signs and other handmade items that are similar to products at the big box retailers.

My products sell much better when someone can explain how I do it, why I do it and listen to what they are looking for. This is why I do shows and sell, sell and sell.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3334 days

#3 posted 07-25-2011 10:21 PM

Have you looked into any craft/art shops that operate on a co-op basis? I am a member of one that is a little over 60 miles from my house and have been a member for about a year now. The co-op members take turns working in the gallery..which is 2-3 days per month. We sell our work there and the gallery gets 25%.

I also have my work in another upscale gallery that charges $125 a month and gets 15% of sales. They have employees that do everything and all I do is bring my work there and put the prices I choose on eacch piece.

I did my first 2 day craft fest this past May and had a blast. I spent 2 days talking to alot of people…some were assholes but most were great. Made money, gave out alot of cards and have received a couple of nice commission pieces since the show. I have 2 more craft shows to do…one in October and another in November…both have a proven track record of success in the past.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3611 days

#4 posted 07-25-2011 10:36 PM

In reality you cannot sell items without investing time in that side of the business .I know you want to be in the shop more, then find someone you can trust to handle the sales for you.No-one else will be bothered to drive sales forward like yourself .As you say people like to be told whats going on with art work which is what your selling after all.Maybe the ideal situation ( which happens here all the time ) is to manufacture your work at the fairs events so you can have the potential customers watch you work.This works extremely well especially if you can make your items in front of them if not at least you can talk them through the process and then return imediately to work no time or little lost. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View chrisstef's profile


17426 posts in 3032 days

#5 posted 07-26-2011 12:41 AM

I dont know a lick about consigning but from what puzzleman had said about no one trying to sell your items makes sense to me. One way around that would be be is have a little write up next to your piece (maybe a hand made frame around it) stating the lumber species, how it was made, and even your telephone number should they need to inquire more. This way you wouldnt have to field all the questions from anyone who isnt serious about buying. At $20 a month or so i think it would be worth a shot. I would put a real eye catcher there even if you had no intention of ever selling it, youre gonna have to drag some people over to your work and away from the rest of the goods being sold.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 2970 days

#6 posted 07-27-2011 10:15 PM

Another solution is to find a store or someone to sell your products. Unfortunately for you, that takes salemanship as well. You have to sell the people or store that it is worth it to carry your products. No matter what you create, it will take sales people to sell them. And most of the time, it is you.

In your situation, you might want to see if you can get work from someone else. Let them take care of the sales and you just have to do the work. I utilize people like yourself who want to work in wood but don’t want to do sales or get tied down to a full time job. (Are you in the St Louis area?)

Another idea for you is to give your work away. If you are only worried about making things and not selling, then make your products and donate them to organizations. I am sure there will be several organizations that will like to raffle or sell your products to benefit them. However you are back to sales again, as you have to sell the organizations on your products.

As you can see, I know what I do in the shop is based upon the salesman’s skills in selling. If I don’t sell, then I don’t have anything to make. Sales is what makes the world go round. Everything you buy is there because of a salesperson doing their job. Think about it.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View Bearpaw's profile


255 posts in 3746 days

#7 posted 07-28-2011 12:34 AM

I have 40 years of sales experience, but to the meat industry. I think that I will try a marketing type sales approach. I make jewelry boxes, wine tilts and other items that would be good as door prizes for golf tournaments or other corporate events. Where I live we have many golf courses and car dealers. The palm box would make a good presentation box for a high end car at the point of delivery. I have an uncle who sales to car dealers, so I would have a good list of contacts.

So what I am saying is I will now draw off my many years of sales experience. I will let everyone know how this goes. You may want to look at my page for the tooth wine tilt. I gave 2 to my dentists and now I have some of the other students asking about them. I have access to a major dental school for potential customers.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

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