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sale or return

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  • sale or return

    Hi there,

    As a new "serious" crafter I've only sold items through word of mouth and one craft fair so far. To expand my empire(!) I'm thinking of approaching local gift shops to see if they'd display and sell my items.

    I mostly make leaded mirrors so they're not small inexpensive things!

    What are people's experiences with selling via shops? I expect most shops will want to do it on a sale or return basis. Is this a good idea? Should I prepare some sort of contract to state the conditions - the items belong to me, handed over in pristine condition, any damages to be paid for, sell price & comission, etc. Perhaps there's somewhere on the web which has sample contracts available?

    Any tips on approaching shop managers would be much appreciated. I'm not much of a saleswoman - yet!


    Anne. website ... my blog

  • #2
    Be prepared to lose a few pieces - you can't see how people are treating your stuff. As for approaching - if you think your work's good, it will pass on to the shopkeeper. Just take your best pieces, show them before you start talking, and ask if they think they could sell them. If they're good enough you shouldn't have to say much, they should sell themselves. Mackintosh is still 'in' so you should have some interest. One last thing - don't let the refusals get you down, it's their problem, not yours!


    • #3
      I sent some items of work for a gallery shop...they were sale or return and the couple of pieces that didn't sell were returned in great condition and had been treated with respect. I think shops selling handcrafted stuff and gallery shops will treat your items well.


      • #4
        I agree entirely with Samski about spe******t shops looking after your stuff - my cynicism is aimed at 'normal' shops, gift shops, newsagents, etc. I put some tamper proof bottles of essential oil into a hairdressers (a long time ago) and I got them all back opened, and most half full. I put some artificial floral displays (not so long ago) into a 'gift shop' - it wasn't even worth redesigning what came back! What I'm trying to get at is, if you value your work - make sure whoever you give it to values it as well! Think to yourself - would I lend this person my car?


        • #5
          I agree with what Peter says, I have had items returned in really shoddy conditions sometimes. I usually try to get a sale and then all you have to do then is check back to see if they have sold and would like anymore. Doesn't always work tho.


          • #6
            Thanks for the feedback. My fear is that my mirrors would get scratched if they're not stored/handled carefully and that would drastically reduce their value. Does the shop not have an obligation to return the items in the same condition in which they were received, this is why I was asking if there's usually a more formal agreement made between the crafter & the shop. I think I'll draw one up anyway and if the shop are reluctant to agree to what I think are fair terms then they're probably not worth dealing with!
   ... my blog


            • #7
              I think it is a good idea to draw up an agreement.

              This is what I have done in the past, and any shops who are worth being in will not take offence at a "Sale or Return Agreement"

              In it, you need to establish certain things, such as some of the following points. Quite how you arrange these issues all depends on how you want to work it really, the value of the stock you are leaving, how much of a "risk" you deem the shop to be etc. But points to consider could include:

              Who is responsible for damage or theft?

              How will your work be protected whilst it is in their care?

              Is your stock covered by their insurance policy, against fire, flood damage etc?

              Who is the legal owner of the business? ( try to get their home details if you can schmoozy it out of them. If the business suddenly goes bust and you turn up to find the gallery closed, you need to know whose door to go banging on!)

              What commission will they take on sales? Are they setting the retail price and paying you an agreed wholesale, or will you set the retail and they just take a percentage of that?

              What amount of time will items be left in the shop before you take them back?

              I can't think of much more right now, but will come back and post again if I do.

              I think sale or return is great, as it offers you a lot of flexibility and shop owners will be more likely to take your work as there is little financial risk to them. But they do need to play fair with you and make sure your needs are taken care of too, that is only fair.
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              • #8
                Hi Emma,
                Thank you very much for the reply - there's lots more to think of / worry about than I first thought! However, I think I'll give it a try and will take a couple of items along to my local tea room / gift shop so it's not exactly going to be a major exhibition! But I'll still put an agreement in writing.
                I also found this site which looks like it's full of useful information: h t t p : / / w w w . a r t q u e s t . o r g . u k / a r t l a w / c o n t r a c t s / c o n t r a c t s w i t h g a l l e r i e s . h t m
       ... my blog


                • #9
                  I used to sell my cards via the local shop on a sale or return basis. I made sure they each had a protective transparent slip and it worked out fine.

                  But very cheap to make so I wouldn't have lost much if there had been a disaster!

                  Last edited by Jane_Russell; 21-11-2006, 12:17 PM.
                  For his hat was a hundred and two feet wide,
                  With ribbons and bibbons on every side


                  • #10
                    A couple months ago I left 30-odd cards with a local hairdresser on a very casual sale-or-return agreement (no contract or anything). Seems to be going well so far, with about 20 cards sold already. As the cost of creating a card is so low, then the risk is also pretty low.

                    Start with small quantities of cards until you build up your relationship and trust with the shop.

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