Selling handmade cards to high street shops and galleries - part 20
Posted on 21st November 2012 by Papermilldirect
Filed under How To Sell Handmade Cards
UK Handmade has a really useful directory of Handmade and Craft shops from around the UK
In the first part of "Selling handmade cards to high street shops and galleries" we discussed ways in which to approach shops and galleries and how to ensure your work was suitable.In this post we are going to focus on the actual deal! What payment can you expect and what sort of deals are available.
Selling Handmade Cards Wholesale
If a shop or gallery buys wholesale from you they will work out a price per item and buy a certain number from you. These items are then theirs to sell at whatever price they please.If you are serious about making a profit you need to think very carefully about pricing your handmade cards. You need to ensure that your profit when selling wholesale is enough to make it worthwhile - especially if you are making large batches of handmade cards. Consider the time, effort and stress and workout what your minimum price should be. This is your wholesale price. Having your work stocked in a bricks and mortar shop can be thrilling and a great boost for your business. Don't be blinded by the excitement, you must make sure it's profitable. Keep in touch with the shopkeeper or gallery owner and ask how your cards are selling, ensure they see any new ranges you have available and ask them if there is anything particular they'd like to see from your work which would best suit their clientèle.
Selling Handmade cards on a Sale or Return basis
As it sounds. You provide the shop with your handmade cards and agree on a percentage cut if the item sells. This works for shop owners who don't have funds to buy goods upfront, or want a quick turnover of stock. Unlike wholesale there are many more factors to consider than just the cost. You need to have a detailed, signed contract outlining details such as -
- Who covers postage costs?
- What happens if an item is damaged whilst in the shop?
- At what point will the shopkeeper transfer any funds owed?
A shop which is trustworthy will probably have all of these details ready prepared for you to sign, just be sure to check the contract carefully before you sign. It's also a good idea to have an itinerary / delivery note signed by the shop owner on arrival of your handmade cards.Having cards sat in a shop on 'sale or return' that aren't selling is a real waste of stock, so be sure to question the positioning of the cards and make sure that your work fits the shop or galleries clientèle. Ensure that a time frame is worked into the contract, 1 month or 3 months and if your work isn't selling well ask them why - you can still learn from what may seem like a failure. Ask them how often you will receive reports and make sure you keep in touch regularly for updates on sales.
Commission - how much?
This is going to vary enormously from shop to shop. The critical consideration must be "does this deal work for me?". Don't be afraid to haggle, but also respect that the shop keeper has to make profit to pay for all of their overheads. Using craft forums to find out what a typical commission rate for a certain area / type of shop will be useful.You'll also need to consider where else your work will be on sale, it's a good idea for your prices not to vary too much on or offline. If a gallery is charging £4.50 per card and you are selling online at £2.50 it's not good for either party. Be clear in the contract about where else you are selling your work on and offline, as with some online market places, bricks and mortar shops may have exclusivity clauses that you need to think carefully about before signing any agreement.
Keeping up with demand
This is something that you need to plan really carefully. The worst thing you could do is sign a contract with a shop or gallery and then be unable to produce enough stock of cards. So the (rather obvious) advice is to be 100% realistic about the time it takes for you to produce each card and agree a workable deadline that doesn't leave you frazzled!Factor in other commitments like craft fairs and your online outlets. Work out your priorities in terms of the profit you will receive per card. You may find that selling your work wholesale is a waste of your time once you start working out the maths. Focussing on promoting your online card shops may work out better for you as you will keep the majority of the profit. Let us know what you think - do you dream of having your work stocked in a bricks and mortar shop?