Consignment and Wholesale: Which Is Better? Cont’d

This is part of a series of posts featuring advice and best practices for artists.

On Friday we talked about what to look for when selling wholesale. Today is all about consignment. Another basic definition from Megan Auman:

Consignment: “you loan your pieces to a store, and if something sells, they send you a percentage of the sales price.”

What to expect when selling consignment:
Consignment requires the artist to loan out pieces to galleries or stores, and the artist receives a percentage of the sale once it happens. If an artist has a small business and can only produce a limited inventory, consignment requires the artist to produce a number of pieces, and, potentially, it can be months until a piece is sold and the artist receives revenue.  Also, consignment requires the artist to be an attentive record keeper, tracking pieces, dates, and prices. It is a good idea when selling consignment to have a contract that includes terms for payment, insurance, and shipping fees.

Benefits:
Consignment can stimulate a relationship between retailers and artists as they start a mutually beneficial discussion of how to improve the sales.  Can the artist package the materials differently, change the display, or experiment with different designs?  This combined interest can promote improvement on both ends.

Vintage dollar, via aiBOB

I want to note that pieces priced over $250 are usually sold through consignment sales (depending on medium and type of store), and that you can mix consignment and wholesale.  If a store consigns some of your pieces, you can ask them to purchase a specific amount as well.

The benefit of selling through retailers is that you are passing some costs on to the them: time and money spent on advertising, sales, and time spent forming a customer base. If you are interested in getting your products into galleries, stores, or on online platforms like The Makery, it’s important that you calculate your pricing correctly, taking into consideration the long-term life of your business.

Look for best practices on pricing in our next post!

2 thoughts on “Consignment and Wholesale: Which Is Better? Cont’d

  1. Having been a retail store who often took items on consignment I can tell you some more benefits to this. We would often take items from new and up and coming fashion and jewelry designers. Taking things on consignment was at no risk to the retail store so I was much more open to trying new items out, and taking a larger assortment of goods from my designers. Having a large assortment gave their merchandise the best possible chances of selling in my store. Some stuff didn’t work out but many did. We had designers that had never been in a retail store suddenly finding themselves rushing to keep up with demand. I had designers that were making things at home for fun grow to full fledged business moving on to sell to stores like anthropology and Barneys. We worked with all of our desingers and gave them feedback to help them improve thier designs and their business. My advice for people considering cinsignment is to make sure that they feel like they could have a good working relationship with the store and to give it a shot.

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