View Full Version : Selling to shops

17-06-2008, 01:12 PM
Hey there, I am new to the forum - although I have been visiting regularly over the past couple of months.

I popped into a local shop today to see if they would sell some of my bead jewellery. I am going back next week with some examples etc and try and sell to them.

My question is what is the best way of approaching it. my preference is that they take a percentage - but what percentage, I have no idea?

Anyone got any experience in doing this?


17-06-2008, 01:53 PM
Hi AmyE. I'm also new. I don't have any experience in selling to shops but am planning to in the near future. So I will be watching this thread with interest.

I have been given a really good formula for working out wholesale & retail prices. My perfect scenario would be to sell wholesale (just make sure your wholesale price still makes you a profit). I'm more than happy to share this with you if you like. Perhaps PM me and I'll send you my template.

I am also in the process of making a 'look book' which I will be taking with me when I meet the managers. In a book I once read (sorry can't remember who by off the top of my head) they mention that it's always better to make an appointment with the person who does the buying or with the manager, rather than just popping in. However, saying that, I went into a boutique once and asked if I could make an appointment and they told me to just come in any Friday and bring some examples. I suppose different shops have different preferences, but I would personally always try to be as professional as possible, even if they are a bit more relaxed.

Sorry for waffling :o Hope this helps a bit.

17-06-2008, 02:08 PM
Hi. I agree with Babushka about making an appointment. I have many years sales experience and I know that finding out who the buyer is and making an appointment is the best way of ensuring that time is set aside for you and you and the retailer will not waste your time. Taking along some samples as well as a selection of finished articles is a very good idea.

17-06-2008, 02:15 PM
I sell my cards via sale or return with my local farm craft shop. They add about a 1 on to what they give me for each card to sell them. They don't sell loads but now and again I get a cheque. I took my cards with me in a display box when I went in to ask them about stocking them.

I tried in some small local gift shops in town a while back but at the time they had too much stock but said they usually buy them and mark them up by quite a lot to cover their costs. They were a bit vague about the actual markup/selling price.

17-06-2008, 03:24 PM
Hi! I sell some cards at a Craft shop and they take 50%. It seems a lot yo me but it is better than the cards piling up at home. I get a cheque each month for what they sell. I am not cheeky enough to haggle so I suppose it is my own fault in a way that they take so much!!!!! Sue.xx:D

18-06-2008, 11:31 AM
Thanks for all the tips! My meeting next week is with the owner so this advice is useful as I want to sound like I know what I am talking about - even if the reality is I have no clue!

18-06-2008, 11:41 AM
Hi Babushka :)

I am interested too to know your formula for retail and wholesale price.
Would you please share it with us ? Thanks.

18-06-2008, 12:32 PM
I think it varies from place to place, the shop where I sell my bath bombs takes 45% of the selling price, so she just asks everyone to include that amount when they price their items.

20-06-2008, 05:38 AM
I am interested too to know your formula for retail and wholesale price.
Would you please share it with us ?

20-06-2008, 08:58 AM
I have my stock in shops and galleries where the commission ranges from 15% to 40% and I had one shop which actually bought stock, rather than Sale or Return and I gave her 25% discount. It is hard work, in that you need to be going in at least once a month to check that it's all clean and at its best and to change over the display , so best to have outlets that are quite close to home. And of course when your stuff sells at 40% more than you would charge you have to ask yourself have I got my pricing right? It seems many people want to say that they paid 50 for a necklace, rather than 30 . I know this is a whole new topic but the more I do this the more I realise how much time it takes to keep a business running- I reckon I spend 5% of my time creating and 95% of my time doing other business related stuff

20-06-2008, 10:39 AM
Due to popular demand, here's my formula for working out wholesale & retail price.

But before I start, please just bear in mind that different formulas work for different people. And someone else might have a much better way for working it out. If so, please share :) There are lots of other websites & blogs where other designers share their own formulas, so it's always worth looking it up and finding one that works for you.

Here goes:

Cost of materials (don't forget to include any postage you paid when you ordered your materials) - This literally includes absolutely everything to the last headpin or jump ring.
Cost of labour (For instance 5/hr - so if a bracelet takes 1/2 hr, I get 2.50)
Anything else you may have paid for to make the piece, such as hallmarking, getting something specially made from someone else like a pendant, etc.)

= Total of above x 1.4 (wholesale price) - This will cover any overhead costs like your web fees, advertising, time spent doing cost comparisons online, networking, etc. etc.
= Total of above x 2.5-2.8 (retail price) - when I sell to family, I times it by 2.5 but on my site and when selling at jewellery parties & craft fairs, I times it by 2.8.

I do hope that makes sense. I have it all in a special spreadsheet (coz I'm a geek like that) so it works it all out for me. I also have a sheet where I make a list of how much things cost like beads or findings I use on a regular basis, so I can just quickly look it up without trying to dig out the invoice to see how much I paid.

Since doing this, I have been much more confident that I charge the right prices for my jewellery. So I am comfortable in the knowledge that I'm not selling myself short, and I'm not ripping anyone off either. So when I'm at a craft fair, and someone moans that it's too expensive, I don't get paranoid like I used to. Because I know that piece is worth what I'm asking for it. And they can go to a high street shop if they don't want to pay that.

Just expect for this to be quite time consuming though. But once you get into it, it gets much easier. I have a different tab on my sheet for each item, which has a ref number. And I include a picture of the item too to make it look fancy and easier to identify what it is.

Hope that helps.

21-06-2008, 02:42 PM
Wow, thank you for posting that, it was really useful. I'm undercharging very slightly (e.g. charging 15 for what should be closer to 18) on some of my items but I feel a lot better now about my pricing strategies! I had been told that I was undercharging, but didn't think the market would value the items enough to withstand higher prices as they are costume pieces, not particularly appealing to all (I've had people laugh at me for trying to "sell plastic" for 20) and not designed to be such a considered purchase as with fine silver and precious stones.

Thanks again!

21-06-2008, 06:31 PM
Babushka -thanks for that info - I may go a little lower than your calculations but it is a really useful system to follow.

KerryW - I just had a look at your jewellery and I love it! Some people are so cheeky!


21-06-2008, 07:59 PM
You're both very welcome. I'm glad you found it useful.

KerryW your jewellery is so funky. I love it!

People don't take into account just how much effort actually goes into making something.

One lady at a craft fair once picked up a bracelet which was made of onyx, bali & sterling silver for which I charged 16 (in hindsight, I actually think I massively undercharged for that particular item). She looked at it for a while and said it was really beautiful, then she just threw it back on the table and said "I aint paying 16 quid for a f*&$% bracelet" and walked off. That was just so unnecessary but still made me very paranoid about my pricing. Since then I've worked it all out properly.

24-06-2008, 01:16 PM
Just had to let you know the good news - the shop owner really liked my jewellery and has bought some of it.

I went in thinking sale or return would be what she wanted but she said that this was too complicated. She thought my prices were good - but when it came to her buying them she at first offered me a really low price (using her usual 2 1/2 x the wholesale price - working out what she could sell them for and the profit margin she would expect) which clearly was only just going to cover my costs.

But I managed to persuade her and I got the price I wanted for them - they will have their own shelf and we will see how they sell - if they do well she will buy more!

I'm going to get my mum to do some snooping and see how much she decides to retail them for!

So exciting! Fingers crossed they sell!:)

24-06-2008, 01:21 PM
That's great news, I hope you sell loads - keep us posted.:D

24-06-2008, 01:22 PM
Well done on a successful deal then!


Chris W
24-06-2008, 09:17 PM
I find it really difficult to put an accurate figure on the actual cost of an item so to make things simple I use averages. For instance the average beads strand costs me 5.00 and the average clasp 2.50. I then double the figure to get reach my average retail price then add a bit extra if the piece has the X Factor. Not very scientific but I get through an average 40 beads strands per month and just can't keep track of individual prices. I think my prices are probably too low but I would rather get a sale
than not and most of my customers are on low incomes.
I sometimes take in sale or return items and charge one third commission which everyone is happy with. I don't like doing this normally because of the complications that can arise. I just do it for friends where trust exists between us.
Good luck with your sales.

24-06-2008, 09:56 PM
Whenever I buy materials I always work out the cost immediately and my beads, findings, etc are stored with the cost price marked on them. When I make a piece up I work out the cost price of the materials I've used (right down to the last jump ring and crimp) then multiply by this by 3. I then add on the cost of my time working at 10 per hour. What I don't add on is the time I spend working out my design cos sometimes I can take a couple of hours of arranging and re-arranging beads before I'm happy with a design.

Reading other people's answers my costings sound a bit excessive but the minimum wage is almost 6 hour and lets face it, you can get that for cleaning so I think 10 hour seems reasonable for a skilled (or semi-skilled) art.

And my final point to justify my costings is that I'm constantly being told that my pieces are under-priced ..... although this is usually by the people that appreciate what exactly goes into "hand-made and/or one-off" pieces of work.

24-06-2008, 11:02 PM
Well done AmyE!! You must be really chuffed :)

It's always a tricky one, working out prices, isn't it?

Auntynet, how long have you been making jewellery for, if you don't mind me asking. I'm not sure at all how much to charge myself per hour so thought 5 is modest. But I've only been making jewellery for just over a year and I'm not confident enough at all to charge more. Might give myself a raise next year :)

25-06-2008, 10:52 PM
I've only been at it about 2 years now - self taught after looking at costume junk like so many other and thinking "I can do better".

As for what to charge - 5 per hour is below the minimum wage in UK so why would you want to work for that? I think 10 hour is very reasonable cos most of us can string a necklace up in under that if we're not interrupted;) and I work cost out to the nearest 15 mins which is fair.

I am lucky in that my hubby has his own market stall selling gemstones, crystals and stuff like that so my stuff gets sold there (if I'm lucky). We've recently moved to a better position on the market and business has just taken off but we've struggled to make ends meet for the last 18 months so it hasn't always been easy.

I'll tell you what my hubby says to me. . . . just make up your stuff and work out your prices. If someone likes it they will buy it, if not, don't get hung up about it.

I can have stuff sitting on the shelf for months before one day someone spots it and says "I have to have that" and other times I can sit and make something whilst I'm on the market (thats always a good crowd puller) and someone will wait for me to finish it so they can buy it. Its swings and roundabouts.

Keep at it and have some confidence in what you do and what you can charge - you must have some faith or you wouldn't be trying in the first place.